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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35. Epilogue

"How are you feeling?" Shadelight asked anxiously, peering down at him. He simply smiled at her, but he couldn't help but let out a slight rattle as he breathed. Shadelight's face twisted in a frown, but Snowhawk touched her muzzle with his tail.

"Don't worry about me," he rasped. "It's nothing. You should be tending to Graypaw; Sorrelstripe and Nightstorm won't be pleased if their son gets sicker."

"It's only whitecough," Shadelight replied, "and our catnip plant is growing strong, remember?" Despite her confident words, Shadelight's green eyes were still dark with worry. Snowhawk smiled at her warmly.

"You're a medicine cat now, and this isn't your first leaf-bare as one," he rasped. "Be confident, Shadelight; I've got total confidence in your abilities."

"I know," Shadelight purred at him, but the purr faded quickly. "I'm just worried about you, Snowhawk; how am I supposed to be a medicine cat without you?"

"It's not that hard," Snowhawk purred back, "you just find yourself an apprentice and keep dealing with apprentices being a little stupid and warriors being a little helpless when it comes to their injuries."

Shadelight swatted him with her tail. "That's not what I meant, furball!"

Snowhawk laughed. "No, but it's good to see you laugh again. We both know I'm ill, and my time is coming to an end soon. Nothing our herbs seem to do anything against it, although they do ease the pain…still, SnowClan will be in excellent condition in your paws. You've done everything a medicine cat needs to know how to do; you delivered Fernstep's kits when you were an apprentice, remember? Without a hitch, too. You delivered Sorrelstripe's kits too, and you'll have Honeyblossom's soon as well. You and I dealt with greencough without losing a single cat together, thanks to that catnip plant you brought back from Twolegplace all those moons ago…we've lost a few cats, but those weren't your fault; some of them were just old. You're everything a medicine cat should be."

Shadelight gazed at him. "Thank you," she said softly, and nuzzled his side. "That means a lot, coming from our first medicine cat, and all."

Snowhawk let out a rasping purr, resting his muzzle against the ground. "I feel Crowfoot approaching; the mouse-brain probably has another thorn in his paw. You know the fuss he makes."

Shadelight nodded, and padded towards the entrance of the den. Snowhawk's gaze wandered around the medicine den, as he drank up the scents of the herbs they'd harvested together, before Snowhawk became too stiff to move easily. It wasn't too long after that before the fluid had started building up in his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe and almost impossible to move. Snowhawk knew it would have been wise to move to the elder's den and get out of Shadelight's way, but he also knew that she still needed that quiet comfort of having him there to support her and make sure she didn't make any mistakes; she still worried over her tansy mistake all those moons ago.

It was more than that, however; this den, the medicine den, was where Mossflower had first welcomed him into the Clan. This was where they had lived together as adopted son and mother. This was where Mossflower had originally birthed her kits. This was the den where Snowhawk had lived since he became a medicine cat. It was like home to him, and inside he felt that this was the place that he would eventually stop breathing.

Several times, his thoughts turned to StarClan. He had been unable to make the journey to meet with StarClan for some time now, and they hadn't visited him in his dreams. He wondered about them, sometimes; did they approve of the choices he had made in his life? Did they understand why he had done the things he had done? Had they forgiven him for his mistakes? Did they understand why he had chosen to adopt the little kit Frostflight had brought into the world as his own?

Snowhawk let out a small sigh, wincing at the pain even that brought him. He wouldn't mind dying, in truth, if it meant a freedom from the pain. He knew Shadelight would mourn for him; the entire Clan would, but it was his time. He still wasn't a very old cat, but this wasting disease had taken its toll on him, and he knew he wouldn't regret his final breath, so long as he died in the Clan he had worked so hard to create.

His eyes had drooped closed, only to open again as gentle pawsteps approached the den. He found himself smiling as the slim white she-cat padded towards him, coming to sit beside him as she had done ever since the signs of his disease had first started to show.

"How are you?" Cloudshadow asked, her amber eyes warm and anxious as she gazed down on the tom she insisted upon calling 'Father'.

"I think it's near," Snowhawk rasped, not wanting to lie. Cloudshadow's eyes darkened, but Snowhawk smiled at her. "No regrets," he warned her, and she smiled despite her sorrow.

"You led a good life," she agreed, laying down and resting her muzzle against his. "I owe you so much, for taking care of me, raising me…."

Snowhawk let out a low, rumbling purr despite the dryness in his throat. "I love you like a daughter," he reminded her. "Never forget."

"You taught me so much, about everything," Cloudshadow whispered, her eyes shining. "I'm going to miss you…."

"I'm sure Stormclaw will be there to comfort you," Snowhawk laughed quietly. Cloudshadow blushed at the mention of Fernstep's son's name.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Cloudshadow meowed, but Snowhawk could see the emotion in her eyes.

"Promise me you'll tell him," Snowhawk meowed. Cloudshadow simply blinked at him, and then her muzzle curled in a sad smile.

"You always know best, I suppose," she mewed. "I promise…although it might not be for awhile. I've got you to look after." Snowhawk opened his mouth to protest, but Cloudshadow put her tail to his muzzle. "Shadelight thinks you have until sometime this night before the fluid builds up too much," she said. "I promised her I'd stay with you until…you know. She wanted you to not be alone, while she speaks with StarClan tonight. She wanted to stay too, but I told her SnowClan needed her to share tongues with our ancestors…." Cloudshadow's eyes were bright with pain. "I'm not ready to say goodbye."

"It's not 'goodbye,'" Snowhawk meowed, beginning a line he and Cloudshadow had shared for moons.

"It's only 'see you soon,'" Cloudshadow finished, and it seemed to Snowhawk that her face seemed to ease a bit.

And then an easy silence came over them, as they watched the sun begin to start its journey downwards. Snowhawk must have drifted off, for when he awoke the stars were shining brightly in the sky.

"Shadelight had to go, she didn't want to wake you to tell you goodbye," Cloudshadow told him. "She knew you needed your rest, to be comfortable…she didn't think you'd wake up again. I'm glad you did, though." She licked his muzzle.

Shadelight's prediction must have been accurate, for Snowhawk found it even more difficult to breathe; every breath was a struggle for him, as if he was drowning in air. He could see the pain in Cloudshadow's eyes as she watched him flounder for breath, until finally she tore her gaze away, returning with several black seeds.

"Poppy seeds," she told him. "Eat them and go to sleep…you won't wake up again." Her warm eyes were round with sorrow, but Snowhawk knew she just wanted his pain to end. A bit of stubbornness flared inside of him, but as another painful breath came and went, and he saw the pain it was causing Cloudshadow as he struggled, he gently licked up the seeds; not for himself, but for Cloudshadow. He didn't want her to have to see him die in pain.

He soon felt drowsy, and with every blink was uncertain if he had the strength to raise his eyelids again. Finally, the struggle stopped, and he felt the poppy seeds beginning to drag him away.

"I love you," he managed to whisper, and before the blackness took him away, he thought he felt a gentle lick on his muzzle.

Birdsong. It was the first thing he had ever heard while alive, and now it was the first thing he heard while he was dead. Snowhawk opened his eyes to find himself in StarClan's forest, of course. He smiled, breathing in the scents of the flowers and letting out a yowl of joy as the breath came without pain or trouble. His heart clenched as he realized how Cloudshadow and Shadelight and the rest of the Clan would mourn, but they knew he was in a better place now, at least.

His eyes suddenly widened, and he swept his gaze across the forest. Who would greet him? Snowfall? Fear?

He saw a flash of a white pelt, and he smiled. "Snow—" he started to call, only for his breath to catch in his throat as a pair of mismatched eyes blinked at him through the foliage. A streak of white suddenly flew forward, knocking him on his back as Frostflight grinned down at him, every bit as beautiful and spirited as he remembered. She licked his muzzle tenderly before allowing him to rise to his paws.

"Frostflight!" Snowhawk meowed, overjoyed and wanting to pounce on her himself. Then, he froze, and guilt shadowed his eyes.

"I'm still a medicine cat," he said softly, but Frostflight laughed.

"Do you know how many cats have died and come to StarClan?" she purred. "And do you know how many of them were medicine cats?"

Snowhawk blinked at her, and Frostflight laughed again. "StarClan's got all the medicine cats they need," she mewed, entwining around him. "There are no future generations to uphold the warrior code for here."

Snowhawk breathed in her scent, tasting her on his tongue. "I missed you, I regretted it," he breathed. "If I could have done things over, I would have…."

"You raised Cloudshadow, you saved her for me," Frostflight mewed, rubbing her muzzle against his and sending prickles of delight through Snowhawk's body. "I regret what I did too; every life is sacred, but it was the only way out for me at the time…I'm glad Cloudshadow become a warrior, and a loyal one at that. Eventually she'll join us here and she can judge me then. I'll be ready." Frostflight smiled, her eyes glinting with mischief. "We never really had a chance in life, did we? But you know, Snowhawk…StarClan has nights too."

Snowhawk felt the brightest smile he had ever given light up his face, and as the two of them entwined, he whispered,

"I look forward to it."

 
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