Rainpaw sniffed the air, sighing. Winter—well, leaf-bare—had taken over the forest now, making everything seem lifeless and bare. The cold soft snow was now covering everything, and even the trees looked plain. The normal scent of prey was now replaced with the bitter smell of Clan territories.
Speaking of territory, Rainpaw was nearly holding his breath now because of the stench that the RiverClan and ShadowClan borders were giving off as he and his previous mentor, Thorntail, made their way into RiverClan territory. It was even foggier in their territory, which meant that they could hardly see anything. Rainpaw couldn't even tell that it was already sunhigh! How could cats hunt in this weather?
"Are you thinking again?" asked Thorntail as they walked toward the spot Rainpaw remembered from the last time he'd entered RiverClan territory. "I can see that you aren't really paying attention." Rainpaw smiled to show her that she was right.
"Just mostly about how much this forest has changed since I've been here," said Rainpaw, noticing that a small stream next to them was frozen. "It's only been two and a half moons!" Thorntail giggled.
"It's always like this," Thorntail replied. "During new-leaf I can just feel the life. Kits are playing, the scents of prey are returning, and the green life of the trees are finally reappearing. It's just so magical. Then, in green-leaf, everything seems to be at a balance. It may be hot, but it's still all okay. The prey are all feasting and getting fat, some older kits are now apprentices, and the green trees are at their fullest. When it comes to leaf-fall, however, I seem to like the colours. Brown, amber and green are just so pretty together, you know? I also like the yellow colours as well. Sure, the weather may be cooling and fine the prey may be leaving but at least it's better than leaf-bare. With everything so white and boring, and with all the prey gone, it's actually not that interesting."
"That's not true," Rainpaw argued. "Back in the old days when I was a loner, I actually thought Wint—leaf-bare was the best. Even though I was only two moons old, I loved leaf-bare. It reminded myself that, even though life can be bland at times, it will get better sooner or later, all you have to do is wait and be patient. I also had fun throwing small balls of snow at my brother—he hated that." Rainpaw then realized that the months didn't add up—if he was only nine moons old right now, there was no way he was alive when the last leaf-bare had occurred. He just hoped that Thorntail didn't notice.
"Oh really?" asked Thorntail, looking very curious. "Huh, I never thought of it that way." Rainpaw smiled, but then paid attention to what they had to do. They were close now, and Rainpaw could already scent Wolfheart. The wind was blowing slightly away from them, meaning that their scent was being carried right toward Wolfheart. This was going to be a tough meeting, it seemed.
Feeling no need to hide himself, Rainpaw walked out with Thorntail, his eyes locked on Wolfheart, who was shocked. Wolfheart was surprised, that much was true, as the tom's wide eyes looked from Thorntail to Rainpaw.
"You brought your apprentice?" asked Wolfheart in shock. "Out everyone you could have told—you told your apprentice? He's a loner, how can you trust him?" Rainpaw growled in warning, his eyes narrowing and his ears going back toward his head. Wolfheart growled as well, but Thorntail interrupted their challenges.
"Wolfheart, he already knew," Thorntail explained softly. "He followed me last time we were out, and promised never to tell anyone. However, I had to tell others. Ravenstar and Snowdrift, the ThunderClan medicine cat, also know." Wolfheart eyes widened more as he heard this, but then he narrowed them dangerously at Thorntail.
"Oh calm down, mouse-brain," Rainpaw hissed, forcing Wolfheart to look at him. "She didn't just tell them because she thought it would be a good idea. Thorntail would be a mouse-brain if she hadn't told her leader—it's against the Warrior Code! Anyway, she told them because she had to." Wolfheart then looked to Thorntail, his eyes basically demanding to know why.
"Well. . ." said Thorntail. She looked at her paws now, probably afraid of Wolfheart. Then, she looked up to him. "I'm carrying your kits at the moment, Wolfheart. I'm having your kits in just one moon." Wolfheart's eyes grew wider with every word, obviously now knowing what was going on.
"You're having kits? My kits?" Wolfheart asked. "But how? I thought we established that we wouldn't be having kits! How could we let this happen?" Wolfheart then looked down at his paws.
"There's another thing," Thorntail said, her voice barely a whisper. "Ravenstar's making me keep the kits, telling me to keep the kits' father a secret. I'm going to have to tell everyone that I don't know who the father is."
"What?" asked Wolfheart, his gaze shooting back to Thorntail.
"I can't come and see you anymore either," said Thorntail, looking at her paws. "I've moved into the nursery, meaning I'll be watched constantly and even more now that Ravenstar knows. I'm sorry it has to end this way, but it just does."
"So not only are you keeping the kits, you are never going to see me again?" asked Wolfheart. He then stood up, his anger obviously rising. "Are you mouse-brain? I'm the father! I should be allowed to at least keep one!"
"Someone would notice," said Rainpaw, also standing up. "Snowdrift always tells someone to help with the kitting. Besides, it's Ravenstar's order. Are you telling your own mate to disobey her leader just so that she can satisfy your selfish need?" Wolfheart then looked at him, growling loudly.
"You dare ask such a question to me?" asked Wolfheart, his eyes burning with anger. "I'm the RiverClan Deputy! No one but the other Deputies and Leaders are to treat me like that!" Rainpaw's eyes widened as Wolfheart lunged at him, not really expecting that response. Rainpaw was soon pinned down.
"Wolfheart, no!" Rainpaw heard Thorntail scream. Rainpaw closed his eyes, trying to keep from panicking. That didn't help. Sharpfang hadn't taught him anything about controlling himself, so if Wolfheart scratched his scar, it would all be over. Rainpaw shuddered to think of what would happen.
"Now do you question me?" asked Wolfheart. "Well do you?" Wolfheart then gripped harder, making Rainpaw's air suddenly leak out. He tried gasping for it, unable to hear any of Thorntail's screams. Wolfheart's paws was now on both of his shoulders, and Rainpaw was now trying harder to struggle away.
Then Wolfheart was off of him, and Rainpaw could only just lay still on the ground, breathing hard. Rainpaw then sat up, noticing that Thorntail only then let Wolfheart go.
"What on earth was that for?" asked Wolfheart. "He needed to learn his place!"
"Wolfheart, stop," said Thorntail, breathing hard. "You were just about to make a huge mistake, one that would only end in your death." Rainpaw, listening to the conversation but not quite understanding, just sat with his eyes wide. His breathing was quick and short. He needed to get a hold of himself.
"What do you mean?" asked Wolfheart. "He wasn't even able to move!" Thorntail shook her head then, lowering it after that.
"Yeah well—" Thorntail just sighed. "I can't explain it to you. Just trust me! Rainpaw is different, and you were just about to kill yourself." Rainpaw then seemed to calm down. He forced himself to stand, even though his body was somehow exhausted.
"Thorntail, can we just go?" asked Rainpaw, turning toward the lake. "Wolfheart obviously disagrees with the plan Ravenstar had, so we better go back and tell him." Thorntail walked up to him, then, and licked his forehead.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Thorntail asked then. "You look horrible."
"I'm fine," Rainpaw snapped before turning around. He then began running, unable to stay. He had almost killed Wolfheart—the Deputy of RiverClan! Why, oh why, was he cursed with such a power?
Rainpaw shook his head, realizing that he was right by the lake. He stopped and noticed that he was breathing hard now. Rainpaw then looked into his reflection, his heart dropping as he looked at his cat body. No matter how many times he remembered the good things of being a cat, he remembered what it was like when Alfie was alive. This life—it was different, too different.
While human, Rainpaw could run in the snow without worrying about crossing the border. While human, Rainpaw could sit in the sun without having to worry about glares or stares. While human, Rainpaw didn't have to worry about someone accidentally scratching his shoulder to protect them from his insanity. Why did he had have to die? Why did he have to become a cat? His life back then, with Alfie and Daniel and his mother, why couldn't it just reappear? Why couldn't he just start over?
"I am a monster," Rainpaw whispered, tears streaming down his face. "I am a killer, a murderer." He then lowered his head, remembering the bad parts of his life. Rainpaw remembered being forced to watch his own brother be beaten and broken, and then killed. Rainpaw remembered having to just scream through the pain that caused his scar. Rainpaw remembered having to live through his brother's death, the many stares and glares that he got when people saw his scar. Rainpaw remembered Daniel, crying over his dying body. Rainpaw remembered the pain he got when he died, the sorrow filled heart.
"I am nothing. . ." Rainpaw whispered then, closing his eyes. "Why? Why was I cursed with life? I'm going no where! When I was human, I did nothing but watch others die and scream for help. Now that I'm a cat all that I do is murder. What was the point of giving me this life? I am worth nothing! I am worthless!"
"Are you really?"
Rainpaw didn't look up as he heard Cheetahfur's voice, unable to look at anyone at the moment. Hatred, sorrow and emptiness was filling his black heart.
"Rainpaw, remember what you came here for." Cheetahfur's voice sounded again, making Rainpaw look up. His eyes was narrowed at her, anger flashing through them.
"There isn't a reason in the world that I'm here!" Rainpaw hissed. "I'm only here because of pity and regret, aren't I? I'm completely worthless! I only bring sadness and sorrow—I'm not good!" It was quiet for a few seconds as Cheetahfur's ghostly figure stood before him, looking disappointed.
"Rainpaw, you are anything but worthless," Cheetahfur whispered. "We didn't just give you another life because your other one didn't work well—we gave it to you as hope." Rainpaw looked up, his heart beating quickly.
"What?" he asked, shocked and surprised.
"We gave you another life because of a prophecy," Cheetahfur explained. "It's difficult to explain, but I can say this. Your life fit what the prophecy was looking for, and therefore we changed you so that you could become the prophecy cat."
"I-I'm from a-a prophecy?" Rainpaw asked. "I-is that why my mind changes whenever my scar is scratched or bitten?"
"First of all, you aren't the Prophecy cat," said Cheetahfur. "You can't be, because in truth, you're human, and no human can be the Prophecy cat. Second of all, that is not why your mind changes. That was our fault, a glitch in your making. I wanted to make you forget the pain and sorrow while you lived this life, so I basically took a part of your soul and split it from the rest of your soul and body.
"Of course it didn't work," said Cheetahfur then, lowering her head. "Instead of actually leaving your body like I'd hoped, it hid in the corner of your mind, waiting for a reminder that it exists within your body. Once it does, you're unstoppable. It's like being hit with all of your worst memories at one time. No one but your most trusted can save you."
"So I am a monster, huh?" said Rainpaw, lowering his head again.
"No, you aren't," Cheetahfur growled, obviously offended. "Look, I'm sorry. If it makes you feel any better, that's the main reason I convinced the four leaders to give you the ability to go inside of your mind. Just don't give up. You have a full life ahead of you."
"But I'm a murderer!" Rainpaw protested. "I've killed seven cats, Cheetahfur. It doesn't mater that they were all evil anyway—I killed them! This life isn't helping me at all—I just want to die again." Cheetahfur then suddenly narrowed her eyes, a blue fire rising in the large orbs on her face. Rainpaw's eyes widened, never seeing a cat so angry.
"Rainpaw, you should think more of yourself!" Cheetahfur scolded. "Have you ever thought of the good things of this life? Have you ever thought of the friends, the families, and the elders you've made friends with? Have you ever thought of the love they've put in you? Do you want to cause them just as much pain as you did Daniel? Do you?"
Rainpaw then remembered the good things about this life. He remembered Ravenstar's welcoming smile, Robinpaw's lovely grin, Shadowpaw's cute face, Sweetkit's promise, and most importantly, Thorntail's lick on the forehead. She. . .she acted like his mother, and he just ran off. Tears began to fill his eyes then as he was unable to control his emotions.
"You will never know how much the four leaders gave up for you," Cheetahfur said, continuing with her lecture." Nobody has talked to me since I granted you life, Rainpaw. Nobody but the four leaders have looked at me with kindness. I gave up so much, and yet you want to throw it away? Why not learn to love first? Why not prove to them that you can change, that you can protect. Just show them. Do it for us, not for yourself. Erase the black wall of clouds in your heart. Let the memories flood to you, Rainpaw. Forgive yourself, and then forget it. We are constantly at war with the other Clans, and right now you've caused a riot in RiverClan. Just go now, return to your life. Remember, though, that we made you, and that we did it for a reason. Prove to us that we gave you life for a reason!" Cheetahfur then faded into nothing, making Rainpaw sigh. He kept what she said in mind, because that was what mattered.
Rainpaw then dipped his head for no apparent reason, and then stood as Thorntail came up behind him. He could smell RiverClan coming near, making his heart beat faster. He kept a brave face on, though, hoping not to worry her.
"RiverClan are coming!" Thorntail exclaimed. "We need to leave—come on!"
"No," said Rainpaw. "We can't leave. We'll just demand to get shown to their leader, and then explain. If we don't, they will tell Ravenstar at the gathering, and to tell you truth, I really want this to be secret." Thorntail, obviously at a loss for words, nodded and then they waited.
It didn't take long for the RiverClan patrol to come, with Wolfheart obviously leading it. However, there was a much older cat that seemed to understand when Rainpaw and Thorntail asked if they could see Bravestar, the RiverClan leader. There was a bit of an argument, but not enough for anyone to notice.
There were a few murmurs from the patrol about how an apprentice and a queen, since Thorntail already seemed to be showing, would be such a threat. Apparently Wolfheart had basically ran off and told his whole Clan that they were trespassing and, from the scent, they had been there every single day for the past two moons. This would make things difficult, of course, but Rainpaw wouldn't back out. Not yet.
Their camp was reeking with RiverClan stench, but it seemed very protected. Rainpaw wasn't surprised that everyone's eyes was glued to his scar, but he was surprised that they weren't giving Thorntail dirty looks. Ignoring that fact for now, Rainpaw then turned his head to a large majestic cat that was no doubt Bravestar, the leader of RiverClan. The patrol separated from Thorntail and Bravestar, then, making Rainpaw stop. He didn't trust any of these cats, so he would not give them a reason to blame him for anything.
"Are you the two trespassers?" Bravestar asked, his bright blue eyes looking into Rainpaw's. Rainpaw nodded, sitting down so that he could show the others that he was not a threat.
"Yes, we are," said Thorntail, lowering her head. Rainpaw looked at her reassuringly, hoping that her confidence would gather soon. She was older then him, and therefore she needed to be the one to speak. Thorntail nodded, seeming to understand his words through his eyes. She then looked back to Bravestar.
"Well, is there a reason you were crossing the border?" asked Bravestar, tilting his head to the side. "I mean, it would be easier to hunt on ShadowClan territory, wouldn't it?" Rainpaw growled lowly, narrowing his eyes, but then calmed down.
"We weren't hunting on your territory, Bravestar," Thorntail explained, a little bit more confident now. A few cats disagreed with her statement.
"That's just a lie!" hissed a large and strong looking she-cat. "You just want to save yourself." Rainpaw narrowed his eyes, but did not stand. The last thing he wanted to do right now was fight, especially if they accidentally scratched his scar.
"Stonefur, quiet," Bravestar growled softly. "They have not finished, have you?" Bravestar then looked back to Thorntail.
"W-we were just trying to get to Silverdew, b-because of the. . ." Thorntail drifted off then, obviously bad at the whole lying. Rainpaw hissed lowly in frustration, hoping she wouldn't hear. Stonefur, the cat who yelled last time, laughed.
"That sounds like a lie," said Stonefur with a smug smile. "Is it?"
"Leave her alone," Rainpaw growled lowly, narrowing his eyes. "She's just nervous."
"Oh yeah, pipsqueak?" Stonefur hissed. "Who are you? From your description, I'd say you're the loner that ThunderClan picked up." Rainpaw winced as he was called a loner, trying hard to keep his anger down.
"I am Rainpaw of ThunderClan," Rainpaw growled. "I will not fight, unless you attack Thorntail. She's a queen—a moon from her kitting, actually. So I expect you leave her alone."
"She's that far into the pregnancy?" Bravestar asked then. "Why isn't she in the nursery?" Rainpaw, trying hard not to speak for Thorntail, looked over to his mentor and nodded reassuringly. Thorntail nodded a bit in response and then looked back up to Bravestar.
"That's what we're here for," said Thorntail, lowering her head again. "We need a herb from Silverdew, one that Snowdrift doesn't have." Bravestar seemed to believe this, but Stonefur still didn't.
"You aren't even showing the signs!" Stonefur hissed. "You claim you're a moon in, but you haven't changed a bit! Trust me," said Stonefur then, looking to the other cats. "I was a queen once!"
"Oh really? Where are your kits? I feel sorry for them." Rainpaw didn't know why he'd said that—maybe it was because Stonefur called him a loner—and he regretted it from the moment it came out of his mouth. Stonefur glared at him, her eyes filled with rage. He stood up then, unable to resist the temptation to fight the one that called him a loner.
Stonefur attacked, pinning his small body down quickly. Rainpaw thought quickly and kicked his hind legs into her stomach. She screeched, and then gave him an opening. Rainpaw then got on top of her, making sure she couldn't move. She probably could, but she didn't try. Stonefur seemed too shocked that he was able to do that.
"Stonefur!" a dark grey tom screamed. This tom was apprentice looking, and he resembled Stonefur a lot. This was one of Stonefur's kits.
"Mumma!" a black she-cat with white streaks spoke then, a worried look on his face. Rainpaw looked over to the two apprentices, and then back to their mother. He couldn't even scratch Stonefur now.
Rainpaw then stepped off, not looking at Stonefur or Thorntail as he did so. Those kits weren't going to experience what he did. They were going to live on happily with their family, and that was that. Rainpaw seemed happy then-he finally save a life rather than putting it in danger for once.
"You'll regret that decision, kit!" Stonefur suddenly yelled from behind him. Rainpaw had no warning after that. Stonefur had lunged at him, and soon had him pinned down again.
"No—" Rainpaw tried to say, but was interrupted by Stonefur, who was enjoying his struggle.
"Those are my kits, and since you are probably only five moons yourself, I won't kill you." Stonefur explained, a grin forming on her face. "I will, however, have to give you something to remember me by." She then raised her right paw, and from what Rainpaw could tell it was headed straight at his scar.
Rainpaw didn't know what to do. If Stonefur scratched him, he would go berserk and kill her. Oh no, and not just her. The whole Clan would be in danger, then. It was something he didn't want. He looked to Bravestar with a look that only begged for him to do something. Yell something—do something. He didn't care. He just wanted Stonefur off of him.
Help me, Bravestar! He was thinking. Your Clan will die if she fights me! Help!
Then, just as Rainpaw brought up the memory of the rogues that attacked him, he seemed to lock eyes with Bravestar. Something was pushed to Bravestar after that, something from Rainpaw's mind. It was painful, but soon he could tell that Bravestar was seeing something. Rainpaw didn't know what yet, but he had an idea. Bravestar seemed to be watching the memory that Rainpaw seemed to push into his mind.
Rainpaw didn't care how or why it happened, only that it did. Soon, Bravestar seemed to return to the real world, and the memory seemed to then be pushed back into Rainpaw, making him whimper a little bit. Bravestar then looked to Stonefur and stood up with his tail lashing.
"Stonefur—stop!" Bravestar yelled, making Stonefur look up to her leader. "Get off him—he's just a kit!"
"He threatened my family!" Stonefur protested, her paw still raised dangerously close to his scar. "He deserves punishment!"
"Tell me, Stonefur," said Bravestar then, his eyes showing that he was relieved that Stonefur had not scratched him. "Would you sacrifice your Clan just so you could avenge your family?" Stonefur was obviously confused, but then she shook her head. Stonefur then backed off of him, making Rainpaw sigh with relief.
Rainpaw sat up quickly after that, hurrying over to Thorntail. He was breathing quickly, but not as quick as last time. Rainpaw suddenly caught Wolfheart's expression out of the corner of his eye. The RiverClan deputy seemed confused and angry, as if he'd expected something else. Then he looked to Bravestar, who looked horrified at the sight of Rainpaw at the moment. There was a few moments of silence, but of course it didn't last long.
"Rainpaw, Thorntail and Wolfheart," Bravestar called loudly so that the rest of the Clan could hear him. "Please follow me into my den, you have some explaining to do." Rainpaw had been expecting that, but at least he would be able to tell Bravestar the truth now.
It didn't take them long to get to the leaders' den, which, like the other two, were enormously large. Rainpaw laughed silently as he realized that he'd been in every Clans' leaders' den except for ShadowClan. He'd bet anything that no other cat had done that before.
"So is what I saw true, Rainpaw?" Bravestar demanded, his eyes expressing nothing at the moment. Rainpaw had no choice to nod. Suddenly his stomach lurched as he realized that Bravestar would now know what he was: a monster. Bravestar's bright blue eyes flashed with a look of worry, but then the brave leader erased it, making Rainpaw feel more at ease.
"That day was not the first, either," asked Rainpaw. "Sharpfang was the first, and then I did it on the rogues. With Sharpfang, I never controlled it. Robinpaw, a friend of mine, actually had to make me go to sleep in order for me to sort my mind out. With the rogues I had the lucky shot of being wounded enough to just pass out." Rainpaw lied about the last part, hoping to avoid telling Bravestar and everyone else in this room that StarClan gave him a power to see into his mind.
"How do I know this is true and not just a trick that you're playing on me so that you can go free?" asked Bravestar, narrowing his eyes. Rainpaw simply flicked his tail toward Thorntail.
"She was there—she can tell you anything you want to know." Rainpaw said, smiling a bit. Bravestar then looked to Thorntail.
"Were you there that sunhigh when the rogues attacked?" asked Bravestar. Thorntail nodded, though she was surprised by the answer.
"Were you there when he was scratched?" Bravestar asked then, surprised when Thorntail shook her head.
"I wasn't there when they made his sanity leave," said Thorntail. "However, I was there in the aftermath. There were seven dead bodies—all of them had been killed by Rainpaw. I know because they all had his scent on them."
"They were actually really good at restraining me," said Rainpaw then, just saying his thoughts aloud. "I was surprised. Well, I was surprised after I woke up. I was too busy trying to kill them before that." Thorntail glared at him, but he didn't really notice.
"Anyway," Thorntail continued after looking back to Bravestar. "He was still insane when I got back with the rest of the patrol that Ravenstar had sent. His eyes were a dark blue, different from the normal lightning blue, and his scar was glowing." Bravestar nodded, probably recognizing these symptoms from the vision Rainpaw assumed he had. "But then he just looked blankly at the others and I. Like one part of his mind was telling him to attack while the other half was telling him to stop."
"That's true," said Rainpaw. "I'm able to reject it once the enemy is gone, but only if their far away. If they came anywhere near me I probably would have killed them all." Bravestar nodded.
"Do you want to kill even when your scar is not scratched?" Bravestar asked Rainpaw. "Or is that new for you?"
"I do not kill," Rainpaw answered. "I have seen my brother die in front of me, and I have nearly experienced death itself, though I didn't ever actually die. I would not wish it on anyone—I would rather protect. I am horrified when I change—I feel like I'm never going to return to my original state. However, in some other ways, I feel relieved. It's like a large burden taken off of my shoulders. It's as if, since I don't have to think about anything or anyone anymore, I'm free to do what I wish. I've never wanted to kill, and I never will. I am still sad about the seven cats that I killed, no matter if they were the enemy or not. They were cats—they deserved to live, and yet I took away that chance." Rainpaw shook his head, then, unable to go any further. Bravestar nodded.
"Well that solves those questions," said Bravestar. "You are not a threat, and so I will not keep you here like I was intending. I won't tell anyone, but in return you and Thorntail must tell me why you have been in our territory. Oh, and the truth would be nice." Rainpaw nodded and then took a step back. Now it was Thorntail's turn, not his. He only knew half of the story, and not Wolfheart's. This conversation wasn't for him.
"Bravestar," said Thorntail then. "Please don't exile Wolfheart when I explain this—none of what I'm about to tell you his fault." Bravestar nodded, agreeing to her request, and then she continued.
"Wolfheart and I met at my third Gathering, the first Gathering I'd been at since I was a warrior. Wolfheart had congratulated me after introducing himself, and then we just started talking. After the Gathering, I asked him to meet me in his territory at sunhigh. He told me no.
"At the next Gathering, I asked him again. He said no. Then, at the last Gathering, he. . . well. . .before hand, he said no, but then afterword, I convinced him. So, after that, we started seeing each other night after night.
"We promised each other that we'd never have kits, for his sake so that you didn't get mad. However, Wolfheart told Leopardclaw, his mate, about me, admitting that he loved me more." Thorntail then looked to Wolfheart, urging him to tell Bravestar now. Bravestar then looked at Wolfheart, forcing the deputy to talk.
"Leopardclaw seemed to understand, and after mentioning that we could still be friends, she agreed not tell anybody. So that problem was fixed." said Wolfheart.
"Rainpaw, however, seemed to notice that I was acting different, and so he followed me one day." Thorntail looked to Rainpaw, then, her eyes telling him to tell the story.
"I was just interested in where she was going and why she was going there." said Rainpaw "After all, it wasn't like Thorntail to just leave like that. Also, I had been interested as to why she was tired, so it just made sense to follow her. However, after following her to RiverClan, I was actually worried for her. I found out later that they loved each other, so I just lived with it. My mentor could do what she wanted with her life—it wasn't mine."
"When we returned to our territory, the rouges attacked. They ended up killing Snowstorm, a warrior of ThunderClan before. . .well you know what happened." Rainpaw continued
"After Rainpaw woke," Thorntail went on. "life seemed to go back to normal. Well, almost back to normal. I started feeling weird—like something was moving inside me. I kept eating twice my share of fresh-kill but I didn't really know why. Then Snowdrift saw me and announced that I was having kits.
"I had to tell Ravenstar—I just had to! They were definitely Wolfheart's kits, so I needed his help to decide what to do. After explaining the situation to Ravenstar, Snowdrift called Rainpaw in, since he knew about me and Wolfheart and therefore needed to know that I was having kits.
"Rainpaw then came up with the idea of going to see Wolfheart and telling him. You know, just so that he wouldn't freak out at the next gathering when Ravenstar announced that I was having kits. So we came today, hoping that Wolfheart would respect my decision to keep the kits.
"Well, as we found out today, he didn't. Wolfheart wanted one, but I didn't let him. I was on Ravenstar's orders, so how could I give him one?"
"And then I kinda provoked Wolfheart," said Rainpaw then. "He attacked me, about to make me go insane again, but then Thorntail was quick enough to push Wolfheart out of the way. That wasn't really the best experience for me, mostly because I'm too scared of myself."
"You're scared of yourself?" asked Thorntail curiously, a little worried for some reason.
"If you killed seven cats in ten heart-beats would you be scared of yourself?" asked Rainpaw as he looked at Thorntail. Her green eyes gave a flash of horror, but then she calmed down. "See? Well, anyway, Sharpfang is going to give me special training. Maybe I'll be able to control it, after that." Bravestar chuckled to himself as Rainpaw finished, making everyone look at him.
"If you do end up learning how to control it," said Bravestar. "RiverClan won't attack ThunderClan, you'll have my word. A dangerous little kit like you? That's bad enough. But controlled and all grown up? I feel sorry for anyone who wants to fight you." Rainpaw smiled a little at this, not really sure if he should be happy, or sad.
"Well, we better be going. . ." said Thorntail then.
Bravestar dipped his head respectivly. "I will see to it that you two are escorted, just in case a few of my. . .loyal warriors decide to attack. It is very important that you are kept safe—Ravenstar should know." Rainpaw smiled in response and waited for Wolfheart to lead them out.
As Rainpaw had expected, everyone at camp were on their paws as he walked into the clearing. For a few heart-beats, everyone just stared at head other. All of them were looking at Rainpaw of course, but Rainpaw wasn't trying to glare at them at all. He just wanted to see Stonefur and hopefully explain the best he could that he was sorry and why.
"Bravestar has decided to let them go after hearing their story," Wolfheart announced, then. "They did not steal any prey—they did not break any rules of the Warrior Code and therefore are to go home and are not to be harmed, understood?" There were a few murmurs, but then it was quiet. They didn't think Bravestar was doing the right thing, from what Rainpaw heard. He believed it, because if he was in their paws, he'd think the same.
"Good," said Wolfheart then. "Bravestar has ordered me to make an escort patrol for their protection. Those who will be going will be as followed: Whitestream, Cloudpaw, Ashbreeze and Softwillow. Escort them to ThunderClan territory, but that is it. We don't want to stir up any trouble, do we?" The cats he had called walked up to them soon enough, and then they were off.
Rainpaw didn't really pay attention to where he was going, not when he had so much on his mind. First he thought of his talk with Bravestar and if telling him was the only thing he could do. And what if Bravestar told the rest of the Clans what he, Rainpaw, a small under-age looking loner who was nine moons old and a complete disaster, could do? What would happen then?
However, after thinking of this, Rainpaw remembered the good things. Bravestar would now think twice before attacking ThunderClan, and also be cautious of making any ThunderClan cat angry or hostile. It wasn't all bad, but still it was stressful knowing that Bravestar knew about him.
Rainpaw jumped to the side as he heard that. After being lost in thought for so long, he hadn't expected the loud, high-pitched greeting that he'd just gotten by the small black and white apprentice. This was Stonefur's daughter, if he remembered right, so why would she be talking to him? Clan cats were weird like that.
"Um, hi." said Rainpaw back. The kit's name was obviously Cloudpaw, because Wolfheart had only counted one apprentice and this was the only apprentice looking cat in the patrol. The name suited her—after all, the streaks on her flanks looked like a few of those weird straight, long looking clouds that sometimes tried to cover up the moon at night.
"I'm Cloudpaw!" said the jumpy black-and-white she-cat. "What's your name? I missed it before." Rainpaw tried to stay as calm looking as possible, though he didn't feel it. His ears hurt from the loudness coming from Cloudpaw, but it wasn't like he could tell her that. She was being way too nice.
"I'm Rainpaw," he said calmly. "I thought you were Stonefur's daughter." Cloudpaw bobbed her head repetitively for a few seconds before replying.
"Yeah, I am." Cloudpaw put simply. Then she tilted her head to the side with a curious glint in her eye. "Why?" she asked, making him sigh.
"Well, since I provoked your mother to attack me, I sort of thought that you would hate me." Rainpaw explained, an awkward tone coming from him. Cloudpaw laughed, letting him take a turn at being curious.
"I wouldn't hate you just because of that silly!" Cloudpaw explained. "Thunderpaw, my brother, might hate you, but I'm perfectly fine! Mumma can be a little protective over us sometimes because of—well..." Cloudpaw lowered her head then.
"What happened?" Rainpaw asked, realizing the horror and grief that was flowing through Cloudpaw's eyes. Cloudpaw looked up to him slowly, her eyes meeting his after a few moments. Her bright green eyes were comforting in a way. It looked to be the same expression he found himself wearing when he first looked into the mirror after finally grabbing a hold of himself when he was a human after Alfie died. It was as if he was relieved to find someone that felt the same way—sad, depressed, and guilty. How could she, only around nine moons old, feel the same way? She only had nine moons—months—and yet he had nine years to experience something like that! What possible could have made her feel that way?
Then it happened again, but it was different. Instead of sending a memory over to her like he'd done Bravestar, Cloudpaw sent a memory to him! One moment, he was standing their looking into her beautiful green eyes, and then next he was looking through them as she watched a black tom battle another tom. From what Rainpaw could see, Cloudpaw was in the nursery and therefore still only a kit. Beside her was the dark tom that Rainpaw assumed was Thunderpaw.
Then, as Cloudpaw started paying more attention to the black tom, Rainpaw noticed that their mother, Stonefur, was also near, comforting the two helpless, scared kits. Rainpaw knew what was going to happen, even as Cloudpaw screamed 'Shadowstrike', the name of the black tom.
As Shadowstrike fought, Rainpaw could tell that the tom was at a disadvantage. Then, just as Shadowstrike seemed to be catching onto the other tom's moves, he was killed by another cat. The cat that killed Shadowstrike was faintly familiar to Rainpaw, but it rushed out of his mind quickly. Cloudpaw's memory then shot out of his mind after making what seemed to be a copy and leaving it with Rainpaw.
". . .I don't remember what happened after father died—it just happened so fast. . ." Cloudpaw was saying, though Rainpaw's sudden gasp made her stop. She looked up to him with a confused look on her face as Rainpaw tried to regain his footing. Receiving a memory like that forced a lot out of Rainpaw, one of those being his breath.
"Rainpaw?" asked Cloudpaw then. "Are you okay?" Rainpaw nodded through breaths, trying to get himself breathing like a normal human—cat—again. His head was aching a bit, as if the whole experience had really irritated it.
"I'm. . .fine. . ." Rainpaw lied between breaths. "That story just left me breathless." Cloudpaw seemed to buy it, but it still bothered Rainpaw that she was so happy, even after explaining the story. So, because of that, he tried something else.
"Just so you know, Cloudpaw," said Rainpaw, getting the small apprentice's attention. "I've gone through the same thing." Cloudpaw was excited a bit at this, curious as to what she was interested about.
"Really?" she asked in her usual high voice. Rainpaw nodded.
"Really." Rainpaw answered. "Except it was my brother who was killed. It's how I got the scar, by the way." Cloudpaw then looked at the star-shaped scar on his shoulder, her eyes widening in wonder.
"Wow," she murmured. "I wish I could control my emotions like you could! You're so good at it!" Rainpaw smiled, realized that ThunderClan territory was near by, and then quickly replied.
"I'm not anything special, Cloudpaw," Rainpaw said simply. "It's actually good to show your emotions to others sometimes. You know, so they can comfort you. I envy you on that, mostly because it's a flaw of mine to hide everything from everyone." Cloudpaw giggled, obviously a bit bashful underneath.
"You really think so?" Cloudpaw asked.
Rainpaw nodded. "Trust me, Cloudpaw. Showing your emotions helps in life, especially with a death like that one. Well, I gotta go. See ya later!" And with that, he bounded off to go with Thorntail back to camp.
As he heard Cloudpaw's farewell, Rainpaw couldn't help but feel at ease. She knew what he'd gone through, and same with him. They understood each other, which was something Rainpaw didn't really get often. It was just. . .normal between them. Just so wonderful!