Snatched: The Story of Snowkit

Snowkit was always assumed dead by ThunderClan. But what if he wasn't? What if StarClan took him away from the Clan that would have never given him a chance? What if he had a greater destiny than anyone in ThunderClan could have believed?


6. Choice

Fear flicked her tail to Snowkit. "You'll be known as Snowpaw now," she announced, "and if you have that name it means you are in training. I know the way of the Clans," she added, catching his surprised look. "Come on, then, let's go; I doubt you've ever had any decent training. Most cats won't waste their time with cats like you." She flicked her tail again. Snowkit thanked Corse quietly, before rising to his paws and following Fear. Sin and Hog followed, although Snowpaw saw by Fear's shoulder-flick that she didn't want Hog along. Snowpaw didn't like the way Hog looked at him…as if he was something to eat, to be consumed by the large, scarred tom.

Fear led the four of them, although Sin kept constantly by her side, as if he was her bodyguard. Snowpaw noticed something between the two of them; Sin had a devoted gleam in his eyes when he looked at Fear, and he seemed to respond to silent commands from her easily. It wasn't love, exactly; Sin didn't care for Fear that way and she didn't for him, Snowpaw could see. It was more devotion, admiration. Sin cared deeply for Fear, like an apprentice would to his mentor, although it appeared that Fear was younger than he.

Sin stiffened suddenly, and Snowkit did too, as he caught the scent of something – prey? Snowpaw found himself smiling. Maybe the white cat in his dreams was right; he was indeed sensing more than he had before…not just things like prey either, but like the connection between Fear and Sin and the strange dislike that Fear had for Hog, although he was in her group. They were sort of like lines, or strings, binding them together in Snowpaw's mind. Maybe he wasn't useless after all.

Fear suddenly bounded forward, more quickly than Snowpaw would have thought she would have been able to. She re-emerged moments later with a rabbit clutched in her jaws. She was panting slightly, but she dropped it on the ground and nodded to Snowpaw. He blinked at her and she flicked her tail towards the prey. He hesitated, unsure if she was going to let him have it. His stomach rumbled, and she made the signal again. Snowpaw approached carefully, taking a bite of the rabbit and letting the taste flood his mouth. He let out a warm purr. Hog was still watching him, making Snowpaw nervous. Snowpaw ate sparingly, not wanting to appear a glutton. As soon as he pulled away from the carcass, Fear finished it off. It appeared that Hog and Sin would have to catch their own food, if they wanted to eat.

The little patrol continued through the forest. Sin made a catch but Hog did not, and his hungry gaze seemed to intensify, leaving Snowpaw feeling more nervous than before. He couldn't meet Hog's eyes, and instead kept his own blue eyes on his white paws. As they walked, Snowpaw enjoyed the feeling of muscles rippling under his pelt, and how the last echoes of pain were nearly gone. His back wasn't completely healed or anything, but he did have more free range of motion than before.

Then, Fear froze and her lips peeled back in a snarl. She suddenly transformed from the at least moderately kind cat he had met, to some sort of ferocious beast. She held her tail up straight in the air, and both Sin and Hog froze. There was a rustle in the brush, and suddenly a bright white pelt became visible. For a moment Snowpaw thought that the cat from his dreams had appeared and was struggling towards him, but then he saw the mismatched eyes, and he realized it was Frost.

"Lightning," Fear hissed, Snowpaw could see the word forming on her lips. Frost let out a gasp of fear when she saw them, and then another when she spotted Snowpaw.

"Snowkit!" she exclaimed, as Snowpaw recognized his old name – already it was old to him, he realized – and she rushed forward. Fear hesitated, and then flicked her tail to Hog. Snowpaw recognized the same signal that had invited Snowpaw to eat the rabbit, and Snowpaw's jaw dropped as he suddenly realized why even Fear was repulsed by Hog. He was going to eat Frost.

"No!" Snowpaw shouted, and both Hog and Frost stopped in their tracks to stare at him. "No," Snowpaw told Fear, his blue eyes burning. Fear blinked at him, and he reached his tail out to her imploringly. She took it. "Frost's my friend," Snowpaw said, turning to Frost. Frost whispered something, and Snowpaw thought he saw the word 'dead'. Of course, Lightning would have told everyone I died, Snowpaw thought. But she came looking for me anyways, even knowing that she could face the same fate. Warmth grew inside of him, until he realized, she still might.

Frost shrank back, blinking up at Hog with wide eyes. Fear hesitated for a moment, and then motioned for Hog to come back. He glanced at her, and she said something. Hog's eyes narrowed and he slunk away. Sin looked hurt as Fear spoke to him, telling him to leave as well. Snowpaw blinked slowly, as Fear turned to him and motioned for his tail. He obeyed, glancing at Frost, who appeared scared and confused.

"Let her have her say," Fear said, nodding to Snowpaw. Snowpaw put his paw on Frost's throat. She tensed slightly, her eyes wide.

"Snowkit—" Frost began, but Snowpaw interrupted her.

"Snowpaw," he said. "My name is Snowpaw now." Frost blinked at him.

"Snowpaw," she said slowly, "everyone thought you were dead. There was blood everywhere…Lightning said you wandered off and didn't hear him call and he went after you and found the blood and Fear's scent…." Frost looked at Fear with fright in her eyes. Fear looked pleased; a slight smirk curling her muzzle. "He returned without you and told us and Moss was distraught and Tabby wanted to go look for you but Lightning said she couldn't. And Slate was watching Tabby so she wouldn't run off and Lightning was comforting Moss. And I didn't believe you were really dead, you couldn't be dead, and I tried to get Cricket and Rain to come with me. But…you know Cricket. He was too scared. And Rain was protective of him, and wouldn't leave Cricket behind, so I had to come alone while they distracted Gleam…." She gazed at Snowpaw. "But you're alive! You can come home now." She smiled at him, and Snowpaw blinked in surprise. Home? He wondered. Is my home with them? Or with Fear?

"He cannot," Fear said smoothly. "Snowpaw belongs here, with us. He's more like us than he is to you."

Frost bristled slightly. "He is not!" she said hotly. "Snowpaw is nice and kind and friendly, not like you and your kind! He would never hurt anyone!"

Fear's eyes narrowed, but she simply turned to Snowpaw. "Choose" she said. "Are you going to stay with us, or with them?"

Snowpaw's head was abuzz. He had thought he had no place with Lightning, that no one liked him. But Moss was distraught and Tabby concerned, if what Frost had said was true. And, Frost herself had come looking for him, risking her own life, risking the same fate he might have met, to bring him home. That took real courage, Snowpaw knew. He had thought that the Pride was alright, just a little misunderstood, but they had attacked Lightning first, after all.

"You have to come with us, Snowpaw," Frost pleaded, and then her voice dropped to a low rumble that only Snowpaw could feel. "That cat was going to eat me," she whispered. "And Fear was going to let him." Snowpaw turned to Fear, starting at her for a moment. There was a smug smile on her muzzle, a knowing look; she thought she was going to win for sure. She thought Snowpaw didn't belong with healthy cats, no, that he belonged with messed-up cats like herself and her Pride. She thought he was an outcast, a freak.

Snowpaw found himself hating her for it.

He got to his paws suddenly, and came to stand beside Frost.

"I'm not going with you," he growled, raising his chin and looking Fear in her golden eyes firmly. "I'm going home."

Disbelief, anger, and perhaps a trait of hurt flashed over Fear's face, quicker than she could control it. Then she wiped her face blank, and blinked at him emotionlessly. She mouthed something – 'your choice' or 'you wish', something like that – and then turned, disappearing into the forest. Snowpaw blinked with surprise, unable to believe that he had won, just like that. She had just decided to let him go?

Frost didn't allow him much time to think; she grinned at him and nipped his shoulder. "Come on," she chirped, beckoning him with her tail. "Let's go home, and hurry!" She scampered away, leaving Snowpaw alone for a moment. He rose to his paws, but before he followed Frost, he glanced over his shoulder. For a moment, he thought he saw a bright pair of golden eyes. Then they blinked, and were gone.

He followed Frost home.

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