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?

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5827181/1/Snatched-The-Story-of-Snowkit

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15. Coming Together

Tabby turned, and Snowpaw turned with her, as Lightning emerged from his den.

"Are you both okay?" he asked. "I was worried when you were missing as I woke up."

"We're fine," Tabby said quickly. "I just couldn't sleep, I was a bit restless. Snowpaw woke up later to get a drink and just decided to keep me company."

Lightning nodded slowly, and glanced towards the wall. The others were emerging as well, blinking in the sunlight. Wander followed them.

"I'll stay in the city until you two come for the kits," she said. "Just come and find me when you're ready, I'll still be sleeping here."

Lightning dipped his head to her. "Thank you for your help and hospitality. We're in your debt."

Wander shook her head. "Anything for a fellow wanderer," she purred. "I wish you good luck, and hope you return soon."

Lightning nodded and then flicked his tail, leading his group out of the alley. Tabby smiled at Snowpaw warmly, before padding forward to take the lead, showing them the way to the 'park.'

"Snowpaw," Lightning said, placing his tail on Snowpaw's shoulder.

"Yes?" Snowpaw asked, blinking up at the large golden tabby.

"I think you should go over the warrior code again, while we walk," Lightning said quietly. "There are still questions that I have, and as the leader of the group, I should at least seem knowledgeable."

"I want to learn more, too," Gleam said quietly, on Snowpaw's other side. Snowpaw blinked in surprise.

"We've got plenty of time, the park is a long while away," Tabby said, and Snowpaw smiled.

"Alright," he said, "let's start with the warrior code, and move on from there."

As they walked, Snowpaw went over everything he could think of, beginning with outlining the warrior code, warrior duties, and Clan life. He tried to speak of everything he could think of, finishing with Clan relationships.

"Kits and mates are vital to the Clan," he explained. "They are the Clan's lifeblood, what the Clan depends on to keep moving forward. Relationships between Clans is frowned upon, but actually almost necessary; if a Clan or group is isolated from the others, eventually inbreeding occurs, without new blood. We don't have other Clans to interbreed with, so we'll need plenty of different cats in our group, which we mostly already have. However, if rogues or loners pass through the territory, we shouldn't feel threatened. We should give them a home if they need one, and…well, if they decide to stay, they should be allowed to, and if they decide to have a family, we should let them. We've got to think of the future, not just the present."

The others nodded slowly. "Why is breeding with other Clans looked down upon where you came from?"

Snowpaw blinked slowly. "Breeding with cats from other Clans, for love, means that your loyalty will be divided between your Clan and their Clan. We don't really have to worry about that here, though, I suppose. We don't have any other Clans around…except Fear's, but I can't really see anyone mating from their group." Snowpaw smiled at Lightning, but there was something strange in Lightning's amber eyes, something that Snowpaw couldn't read. It made him uncomfortable, and he glanced away.

Tabby brushed her tail over Snowpaw's flank gently. He blinked at her, and she gave him a smile and a slight nod. He smiled back, realizing that she was saying Thank you, in her silent way. Snowpaw gave her the tiniest nod back, and along they went.

Snowpaw gradually began scenting something different, something…green. It was the only way to explain the scent; it was the green of grass, of leaves, of trees and morning dew.

"We're getting close to the park," Tabby explained. "That's what you smell. It's the best place in the city, full of grass and trees. There is a big lake to fish in, but Twolegs frequent there all the time. It used to be fought over by the bosses, but if a cat is actually living there now, Ruin's goons must have turned their attention to other parts."

The others nodded slowly, and Snowpaw couldn't help but let out a breath of excitement as the park came into view. There was so much smooth grass! It was admittedly much shorter than that of the field, but Snowpaw could practically smell the forest.

"There are little Thunderpaths all through it, but Twolegs usually just walk on them," Tabby said quickly. "There aren't any real monsters except these weird two-pawed ones that the Twolegs ride. They never hit cats or anything, though. Now, the lake is this way. Just follow me."

Tabby stepped onto the grass, letting out a sigh of relief. Snowpaw followed suite, relaxing as the grass caressed his feet. It was the first time since they entered the city that his raw pads hadn't been scraped or uncomfortable. He glanced over his shoulder, and saw that the other apprentices were enjoying themselves as well. He dropped back to join them, batting at Frostpaw's tail. She smiled at him, and twitched her tail over his nose, making him giggle as it tickled. His burden suddenly felt much lighter; it was funny how the feeling of being home did that. He blinked up at a large oak tree as they passed, looking at the leaves. Gold was already starting to seep into the leaves, and orange. Leaf-fall would be here before anyone knew it. Snowpaw shivered suddenly, at a cool breeze.

Tabby twitched her tail, and the group stopped. Tabby's eyes narrowed, as she stared at the biggest stretch of water Snowpaw had ever seen. It must have been what Tabby had called 'the lake'. How had it been created? How did water collect that much? Was it a bunch of little puddles made together, or one big one?

Tabby laughed at his expression. "The lakes are made by Twolegs here," she explained, "and they had fish for Twoleg enjoyment. During green-leaf, Twolegs hang out by the lake and fish."

Snowpaw tried to picture a Twoleg splashing around in the water with their odd paws. He couldn't help but laugh.

"There's a side-stream that comes from the lake," Tabby said, "and I bet that's where this other cat lives."

The others nodded, and Tabby padded towards the edge of the lake. She bent to lap up some of the water, and the others copied her. Snowpaw frowned at the taste; it was strange, fishy and murky, and tasting of something else…those birds floating on the lake's surface, perhaps. Snowpaw drank his fill, and then the group began padding down the bank. Snowpaw wiggled his toes in the gentle soil near the lake. It felt good against his feet, like a balm to soothe their irritated skin. He let out a quiet purr. Rainpaw dabbed one paw in the murky water, and then playfully splashed Cricketpaw. Cricketpaw's mouth opened in a squeak, and he splashed Rainpaw back. The two of them raced down the bank, laughing and splashing each other. They disappeared from sight as they headed down a slope. Then, they suddenly reappeared, running back to the group.

"He's there!" Cricketpaw exclaimed, looking nervous. "He's fishing, but I don't think he saw us."

"Good, let's make sure we catch him before he leaves," Tabby said, increasing the group's pace. As they headed to the top of the slope, the stream from the lake came into view. It looked much brighter and cleaner than the lake, with large rocks strewn on the edges. A soft brown cat with sleek fur was sitting on one of the rocks, peering intently into the water. He looked up as they approached. His eyes were a warm golden-amber, and he smiled.

"Hello," Snowpaw read the word on his lips.

"Hello," Snowpaw said, taking a step forward. "What is your name? Do you live here?"

"I do," the tom said. "My name is Otter."

"We're looking for recruits, to come live in the forest with us," Tabby explained quickly. "We're making a Clan out of the cats who live here. Every cat here has Clan blood, or most of them do."

"Clan blood?" Otter echoed, looking interesting. "Tell me more."

Quickly, Snowpaw summarized the warrior code and what it meant, as well as their plan for the forest. Otter seemed to grow less and less interested as he spoke, and Snowpaw knew he was losing the sleek tom.

"I need to think about it," Otter said smoothly. "Why don't you come back in a day, or two?"

Snowpaw nodded, but his ears drooped, knowing that Otter wasn't really interested, and that he wouldn't change his mind.

"And, if you become the leader, you get nine lives," Rainpaw said unexpectedly. Otter's ears pricked, but his face remained the same.

"Come back in a day, and I'll have my answer," he said again, but his amber eyes seemed to glow. Lightning dipped his head respectfully, and the group padded away.

"Why did you tell him that, mousebrain?" Frostpaw growled at her brother. "There's no way he'll become leader!"

"It made him at least think about it though, didn't it?" Rainpaw demanded. "He'll join now. And you don't know that he'll never become leader; maybe he will."

Snowpaw felt uneasy. A cat who joined the Clan only for power wouldn't be a very good warrior. Don't make snap judgments, he scolded himself. Otter might not be just in it for power. And if he is, living in a Clan will change him, surely. He's a strong cat, if a bit arrogant, and he'll be good for the Clan.

"Are we going back to Wander?" Gleam asked Lightning. He shook his head slowly.

"We've got time, we should stop by those siblings that Wander and Buttercup mentioned," Lightning said. "We should make it to them by nightfall, at least."

The others nodded, and followed close behind. Towards nightfall, they stopped to rest and catch a few mice in an alley. Tabby showed them how to find nests in the simplest places, whether it was a scrap of dirty cloth, or space behind one of the large garbage-holders. Snowpaw settled down by Frostpaw, feeling faintly disgusted at the smells surrounding them. He sighed quietly, and closed his eyes, preparing to go to sleep. His blue eyes suddenly opened wide, as he remembered Tabby. He opened his eyes, glancing around, trying to spot her in the moonlight. Was she sitting out alone again? He didn't want her to feel like she had to be alone. Snowpaw rose to his paws and padded down the alley, finding Tabby at the end of it, blinking up at the moon. She was muttering to herself as Snowpaw approached; he could feel the vibrations in his paws.

"Tabby, are you okay?" Snowpaw asked anxiously, sitting down beside her. Tabby turned, blinking at him.

"I should have known you'd be out here," she said.

"I didn't want you to be alone the entire night," Snowpaw said quietly. "What's wrong? The same thing as before?"

Tabby scowled. "It's worse now, actually," she groused. "See, if Otter joins the Clan, there will be another available tom. Mud's too old for me, and Slate thinks he is, so up until now I've been able to maintain that Slate is the only tom for me. But if Otter joins, Slate will never give in. Otter's strong and handsome, but I could never love him the way I do Slate...he'll never believe me, though." She sighed quietly. Snowpaw licked her shoulder.

"He cares about you and wants to protect you," Snowpaw said. "Slate just wants what is best for you; you just need to show him that he is it."

Tabby nodded slowly, and Snowpaw nudged her. "You can't lead us around the city if you're all tired out," he purred. "Just go to sleep. The sooner we round up our Clan, the sooner we can all go home."

Tabby nodded, and rose to her paws. "Thank you, Snowpaw," she said quietly, brushing against him as she padded back to the group. Snowpaw paused for a moment, and then followed her. He curled up beside Frostpaw again, and drifted off to sleep.

* * *

Snowpaw woke up with a quiet sigh. His dreams seemed so empty now, without the white she-cat in them. He found himself missing her dearly; he couldn't wait to go home.

Lightning woke up the group, and they set off once again, through the tangled maze of streets. Snowpaw found himself actually recognizing the territory, after Frostpaw alerted him to Lincoln barking nearby, and Buttercup yowling at the dog to be quiet.

"Buttercup and Wander both said the siblings come here early in the mornings," Frostpaw said, glancing around, "so where are they?"

"The only reason for any cats to be here in the mornings is for the trash," Tabby said. "The easiest thing would be to go around the front of the Twoleg nests instead of the back, and look at the trash-containers there. We'll split into groups to cover more ground."

"Two apprentices and two warriors to a group," Lightning said.

"I'm with Snowpaw!" Frostpaw declared.

"I'll be with Cricketpaw," Rainpaw growled.

"I should be with my apprentice, I suppose," Mud said, padding to stand beside Rainpaw, who looked pleased.

"I suppose the same goes for me," Tabby said. Gleam blinked at Cricketpaw anxiously.

"He'll be fine with me," Tabby assured her.

"I guess Gleam and I will be with you two, then," Lightning said to Frostpaw and Snowpaw, and flicked his fluffy tail. "Let's be off."

The two groups separated at the front of the Twoleg nest, one going up the long Twoleg path that led to other nests, the other going down.

"I should think that we will find the siblings," Lightning said. "I imagine if they are moving from trash to trash, they will be going upwards, the way we are going."

"I hope we find them!" Frostpaw exclaimed.

"I don't," Gleam said anxiously.

"If we don't find them, Cricketpaw's group will," Frostpaw reminded her mother, and Gleam looked even more anxious than before.

Snowpaw lifted his nose to the breeze. He had the best scenting out of the apprentices, thanks to his deafness. If any cat would pick up a scent, it would be him. However, the scents of the Twolegs, their trash, and their nests seemed to hang over the area, clouding his nose. Snowpaw frowned, rubbing it, when he thought he saw a flash of gold out of the corner of his eye. He turned, and saw a pair of cats slinking over a fence. Both cats were watching Lightning and the group nervously.

"Hello!" Snowpaw called, and then said quickly, "Please don't run! We just want to talk to you!"

The golden cat paused and glanced at the other cat, who was a silver-gray she-cat. They blinked at each other for a moment, as if silently deciding something, before they both leaped down from the fence and padded towards Snowpaw and his group.

"Hello," the golden tom said, with a dip of his head. So respectful, Snowpaw remembered Buttercup saying. "You four aren't from around here, are you?"

"No, we're from the forest," Lightning answered. The tom looked faintly surprised.

"The forest? Outside the city?" he asked, and then smiled. "How funny. Bree and I were raised on tales of vicious forest cats, and how no cat could survive there unless they were truly brutal…you four seem nice enough, though. You haven't attacked us at least, which is more than I can say for some cats here."

Bree, whom Snowpaw assumed was the silver she-cat, nodded slowly. Her fur was silky, with feather tabby marks around her face. The tom's marks were bold against his golden fur. Unlike Bree's, his was not soft and smooth; rather, it seemed faintly ruffled, as if a gust had just swept through it.

Snowpaw glanced at Frostpaw, and then blinked in surprise as he saw Gleam staring at the golden tom as if she was terrified. She was semi-crouched behind Lightning, so the tom hadn't seen her yet, but if they joined Lightning's group, he definitely would.

"My name is Gale, and as I said, this is my sister Bree," Gale said, flicking his tail to his sister. "We live in this part of town, although we don't exactly have a territory."

"We're from the forest, as we already said," Lightning rumbled. "We're looking for recruits, cats to join us. Other cats ran us out of our territory, and we're forming a Clan to win it back."

"A Clan?" Gale echoed, looking deeply interested. "Do tell."

The group, taking turns (except Gleam) began speaking of the Clan; how it came together, how cats interacted, duties of the cats. Unlike Otter, Gale's blue eyes gleamed with interest, and Bree asked several small questions in a gentle voice.

"Would you like to join us?" Lightnign asked finally. Gale and Bree looked at each other wordlessly again, communicating silently, and then Gale nodded.

"We would love to," he purred. "Bree and I have always wanted something more than living just to survive. With a Clan, we'll actually have purpose, something to strive for. When can we start?"

"Now," Lightning said, flicking his tail slightly. "We'll have to find the other half of our group, though. Then we'll find Otter again, and he'll have his answer, and we'll pick up a couple kits from Wander."

Gale smiled. "I know Wander very well," he purred, "we've shared a few meals with her. Bree and I can pick up the kits if you like, while you find Otter. We can meet somewhere, perhaps?"

"That would be best, and definitely cut down on the time spent traveling," Lightning purred. Snowpaw's pelt prickled slightly – was it wise to trust cats that they knew so little about? – but he said nothing. "We can meet somewhere nearby, I suppose…." Lightning trailed off uncertainly.

"There's a Twoleg house nearby with a waterfall and pond," Gale offered. "We can meet there."

Where we met Wander, Snowpaw thought, and Lightning nodded. "At sunset," he purred, and both Gale and Bree nodded.

"We'll be on our way, then," Bree said quietly, and the siblings, after giving another polite nod, headed back towards the fence. Lightning turned and padded away, and the others followed him.

Gleam looked nervous; she kept glancing over her shoulder anxiously. Snowpaw and Frostpaw glanced wonderingly at each other, curious as to why she was so nervous. Had either of the cats upset her?

"What's wrong?" Snowpaw asked, resting his tail on Gleam's flank. She almost jumped out of her pelt with surprise. She blinked down at him with worried green eyes.

"N-nothing," she stammered. "Nothing's wrong. I was just…surprised they agreed to come, is all. We haven't had much luck."

Snowpaw knew she wasn't telling the truth, but with Frostpaw around, he didn't want to press Gleam further.

They padded down the Thunderpath together. A monster roared past and they scattered, hiding behind the trash-containers, watching as the monster rolled past and pulled into one of the branched-off Thunderpaths. Several Twolegs emerged and padded into their nests, waving their paws and speaking in their strange Twoleg voices. Lightning's group gathered again as the Twolegs disappeared into their nest, and they continued along.

"Tabby!" Snowpaw called, spotting the other group in the distance. Tabby's mouth moved, but she was too far away for Snowpaw to read it.

"We found them!" Lightning called, as the two groups approached each other. "They agreed to come with us."

"Brilliant!" Tabby's green eyes glittered. "Where are they, then?"

"They're going to get the kits while we find Otter," Lightning explained. Tabby nodded, and then flicked her tail.

"We'd better hurry then, eh?" she asked. "What're their names?"

As they headed back towards the park, Lightning filled in Tabby's group about Gale and Bree. They headed down the lakeside towards the stream. Otter was dabbing his paw in the swift-flowing water absently. He looked up as they approached, eyes glittering, and padded up the bank towards them.

"I've decided that I'm joining you also," he purred smoothly.

"Excellent," Tabby replied, although she sounded less enthusiastic than she had about Gale and Bree. "Just come with us again, will you?"

The group set off again, heading back towards the city, stopping to rest on the way to catch a few fish. Otter had plenty of prey, and he was strong and sleek because of it. He regaled them with stories of adventure, and the others soon warmed to him.

Snowpaw found himself smiling, as the group rested, speaking in soft tones to one another. Perhaps they would become a real Clan after all, with these cats at his side.

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