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?


16. Home

They would not reach the meeting spot for Gale and Bree by nightfall, Snowpaw knew; they would have to get there in the morning. On the way, Otter spoke to Rainpaw in hushed tones, probably disguising the nine lives thing. It was clear Otter wanted nine lives, or some sort of power. Snowpaw just hoped the brown tom could be trusted.

They settled down again in another alley, this time on a patch of old cloth that some Twoleg had cast down from their nests. The group dragged it into an alley where they would not be visible, and curled up on it. Snowpaw closed his eyes but remained alert, eager to see if Otter was nervous around so many other cats. Strangely, he was not; in fact, Otter fell asleep quickly. It was Gleam who remained awake. Remembering her strange behavior around Gale, Snowpaw was slightly worried. If Gleam had experienced some sort of premonition about Gale, the Clan would need to know.

"Gleam?" Snowpaw asked quietly, moving closer to her. "Is something wrong?"

"No," Gleam said quickly, but Snowpaw could read the anxiety on her face.

"You were practically hiding from Gale today," Snowpaw said slowly. "Why?"

"He…we knew each other, a long time ago. Very well, I suppose you could say," Gleam said slowly. Snowpaw blinked, pondering this. Gleam had looked very familiar to him, for some reason; was he related to Gleam? Something about his blue eyes….

Snowpaw's gaze slid to Rainpaw, studying his gray-flecked coat in the moonlight. Then, his eyes widened.

"Gale is their father," Snowpaw whispered. "Right?"

Gleam nodded slowly, and Snowpaw's eyes widened. It made sense, in a strange sort of way. Gale's pelt was very similar to Cricketpaw's, if a bit lighter in color, and slightly more ruffled. Bree, on the other paw, had the same silvery-gray coat as Rainpaw, although Rainpaw's fur was flecked with darker gray. Rainpaw and Frostpaw had gotten blue eyes from their father, and Cricketpaw had gotten his pelt color from Gale.

"Why didn't you say anything?" Snowpaw asked, and then blinked. "Why did you leave him when you were with kits?"

Gleam's ears flattened. "He never wanted kits," she confessed, "and when I realized I was pregnant, I didn't know what to do. I knew kits wouldn't survive in the city and I knew he might not help me take care of them, so I fled to find them a better home. I gave birth to them in that field and we lived there for awhile until Cricketpaw got sick and I had to get help for him. Moss tended to me and the kits, and eventually we just sort of became part of the family, especially after you joined us…." Gleam trailed off, closing her eyes. "I was lucky he didn't see me, or recognize my scent; I'm sure it has changed since we knew each other." She sighed quietly. "I'm not sure if I can be in the same Clan as him, Snowpaw. It would be so…strange. I'm not sure if I still love him, or if he still even loves me."

Snowpaw frowned. What would they do now? Gleam wouldn't leave without her kits, meaning they would lose almost half the Clan. At the same time, Gale and Bree seemed so perfect for the Clan…was there a third option, a middle way?

"Can't you talk to him?" Snowpaw asked quietly. "I know it will be awkward, but he doesn't even know he's a father. I have a feeling that Gale and Bree might be very essential to the Clan we're building, just like you are. If you two do have feelings for each other still, you should pursue them. If not, well, you can still just be warriors together, right? Relationships and break-ups are common in Clans, what with so many cats living so close together, and all."

Gleam nodded slowly. "I don't want to hurt the Clan; I owe Moss and Lightning for taking me in when I needed them most," she said softly. "And I think Gale will make a very good warrior; he has the heart of one."

Snowpaw nodded, and licked her ear, before retreating back to his own nest. Within moments, he was quickly asleep.

* * *

The next day, Snowpaw couldn't help but feel energized. Today they would get the two kits, as well as Bree and Gale, into the Clan. Not only that, but they might even make it home, back to Moss and Slate. He couldn't wait to see his mother again, and to see how his little sisters had grown.

Snowpaw blinked in surprise. His little sisters? Were they really? Or….He knew Lightning had let him into the group, but that In no way meant that he was party of Lightning and Moss's family. Did Lightning think of him as a son? Did he want Lightning to?

He glanced at Frostpaw, who was smiling slightly, turning her head to the right. "I can hear Lincoln," she explained to Snowpaw, when he looked at her questioningly. "We're getting close."

The group ascended the fence, just as they had the first day.

"We're meeting two more cats for the Clan, Gale and Bree," Rainpaw explained to Otter, behind Snowpaw. "They're going to have two kits with them, named Angel and Kit. They're also going to be in the Clan."

Snowpaw glanced over his shoulder at the two toms. They had definitely hit it off, it appeared.

"I know Gale and Bree," Snowpaw read Otter's mouth-movements. "They're nice enough, I suppose. We've never really hit it off, but it will be interesting being in the same group with them."

"Just up ahead," Frostpaw whispered to Snowpaw, and Tabby sprang down lightly into the yard, with the others following her quickly.

"Hello, Gale," Lightning dipped his head to the golden tom, who smiled back.

"Good to see you again, Lightning," Gale said with a smile. His gaze swept over the group, and Snowpaw felt Gleam stiffen beside him. It seemed that Gale's eyes widened slightly when he saw her, but Snowpaw couldn't be sure.

"Otter," Gale said, and nodded. "Good to see you as well. You're in the group, I take it?"

"Indeed," Otter replied.

"The kits are here," Bree said quietly, and glanced down at her paws. Snowpaw followed her gaze, and saw the two kits huddled by her silvery-gray paws. One was black, staring at the new cats with a narrowed gaze, almost a glare. His black fur was bristling, and he looked angry.

He doesn't want to go with us, Snowpaw realized.

The other kit was practically invisible, hiding behind Bree's forepaw. Her white fur looked as soft as silk, and her eyes were huge in her little face. Snowpaw felt sorry for her; she apparently didn't want to go either. Still, Snowpaw trusted Wander's judgment; if the she said the kits had to go, then they needed to go.

"I'm here too," Frostpaw whispered to Snowpaw, pressing her pelt against his. Snowpaw blinked at her in confusion, until a gray pelt emerged from around the Twoleg nest, padding towards them.

"I'm not sure if you'd want to see me before you left," Wander said, her yellow eyes glowing. "I thought I'd visit though, to see you off."

Lightning smiled at her warmly. "We can't thank you enough," he said. "Because of you, we've got the makings of a fine, strong Clan. Because of you, we have a fighting chance to win our home back. If you ever need anything, just come and ask us. We'll help you with anything."

"Just take care of the kits, it's all I ask," Wander said, and there was a glimmer of sorrow in her eyes. She padded forward and bent down to face the kits. "Kit, I know you don't want to go, but I'm sure you can adapt. You'll make an excellent warrior; it's in your blood. This is your better place. This is what you've been looking for." Kit stared at Wander for a moment, before giving a little nod. His fur lay flat again, although he still looked uneasy. "Angel," Wander said to the other kit, "I know you're scared, terrified even, but you'll be safer with them. They'll take care of you; you can depend on them."

Angel's face was hidden, and so Frostpaw had to tell Snowpaw what she said, "I want to depend on you."

Wander's gaze softened. "I'll be moving soon, love," she whispered. "I'll be moving on like I always do; I never stay anywhere for long, you know that."

"I know," Angel said softly. "But…I wish I could go with you."

"I know," Wander said, and she licked Angel's head. "Be brave, little one. You've got the heart of a lion, deep down inside."

"Mine is like a tiger's, then, right?" Kit asked. "I'm strong and brave and not afraid of anything!"

"Yes, you're a little tiger," Wander purred, "but you'll have to control your spirit if you want to fit in with these cats. They'll care for you as well as I will; they'll understand your wild ways."

Kit nodded slowly, and again Wander dipped her head to the other cats. "May your gods light your path," she said softly, and then padded away, disappearing behind the Twoleg nest.

"Is everyone ready to go?" Lightning asked. The group glanced at one another, and then nodded. Lightning flicked his tail.

"Then let us be off."

This time, it wasn't only Tabby that knew the way; Gale and Bree were very street-smart as well, although Bree stayed behind with the kits and Gale stayed close to her. Otter seemed uncomfortable, as it appeared he stayed within a day's journey of the park at all times, never straying too far away from his food source. Otter was a good fisher, but not a very good hunter, as the group learned when they stopped to catch mice.

"My skills need a bit of work," Otter admitted as another mouse slipped out of his grasp by a whisker.

"I'll help you," Rainpaw said, and puffed his little chest out. "I'm the best hunter in the Clan!"

"Yeah right, furball," Frostpaw purred, batting her brother's ear. He sent her a glare, and turned back to Otter.

"He wants to look good in front of Otter," Snowpaw explained to Frostpaw quietly. "He wants to prove himself to Otter; I think he admires him."

Frostpaw rolled her eyes. "Why would anyone admire him? He can't even catch mice!" she giggled.

With every step they took, they were drawing closer and closer to Moss and Slate. Snowpaw couldn't help but feel cheered. Soon, they would be home again. Soon they would begin laying the groundwork for their new Clan.

Snowpaw lifted his nose to the breeze, letting it caress his face as they walked down the dirty street together. Then, his eyes widened.

"I can smell it!" he exclaimed. "We're nearly there!" He could feel the excitement in his voice, and from a glance over his shoulder, he could tell his excitement was contagious.

"We left two of our cats behind," Rainpaw explained to Otter. "Moss had kits and couldn't move them, so Slate stayed with her. Snowpaw's excited to see them because Moss kind of adopted him."

Otter nodded slowly, watching Snowpaw with his golden eyes. It make Snowpaw's pelt prickle, and he turned away.

Snowpaw looked towards the front of the group, watching Tabby. She seemed nervous, more nervous than before. Snowpaw knew why. Slate would not think he had two different toms for Tabby to fall in love with –Otter and Gale – despite the fact that Gleam and Gale had been mates in the past. Even if Gleam told the Clan this, there would still be Otter for Tabby. Tabby and Slate might never be together.

Snowpaw glanced at Gleam, who was also looking nervous. Her tail was touching Cricketpaw's shoulder as they walked, as if his quiet determination would ease her fears. It wasn't easy for her, Snowpaw knew, traveling with the mate she had left behind. Did he recognize her? Snowpaw had thought that he did, but they hadn't spoken at all, so he wasn't quite sure.

Snowpaw's pelt prickled as the scent of grass became stronger. Suddenly, as if it had been rehearsed, the entire group broke into a run, dashing down the city street, towards the gently waving grasses just ahead. Snowpaw's paws rejoiced as they felt soft grass and earth beneath them, and he couldn't help but let out a cry of joy as he scented Moss and Slate on the breeze. Lightning was moving faster than anyone, intent on reaching his mate and kits. Tabby was moving almost as quickly as the golden tom, in her haste to reach Slate.

Grass whipped into Snowpaw's face as he ran, until the group entered a clearing. There was Moss, tucked around her two kits, smiling at Lightning warmly. And there was Slate, returning from a hunt with a mouse in his jaws. His gaze met Tabby's for a single moment, until he abruptly turned away, heading back into the grass. Tabby's green eyes clouded with pain, and she stared at her paws.

Lightning padded up to Moss, and the two of them rubbed muzzles as Lightning stared down adoringly at his kits. Their eyes were open now, and bright as they gazed up at their father for what might be the first time. Their eyes were still blue, but tinged with other colors; green for Sorrelkit, golden for little Willowkit.

Snowpaw approached Moss hesitantly, and Moss licked his muzzle.

"Glad to see you're safe," she murmured to him, before blinking at the other cats. "Are these the new cats in our group?"

Lightning nodded, and began telling Moss their names, pointing at each cat with his tail. "Gale and Bree are siblings, we found Otter in this strange place called a 'park', and Kit and Angel were told to us by Wander, a loner who helped us along the way."

Moss nodded slowly, and smiled to each cat in turn. "Welcome," she purred. "We're very glad that you've decided to join us; we'll need every paw we can get to help win our home back."

"Is that it, up there?" Gale questioned, flicking his tail towards the trees. Moss nodded.

"That was our home until Fear and her Pride drove us out," Moss explained.

"Have they given you any trouble?" Lightning questioned. Moss shook her head, frowning.

"It's the strangest thing; they haven't marked their territory in awhile now. Slate and I weren't sure why, and he didn't want to venture into the forest alone, lest they realize we aren't gone after all."

"There are more of us now," Lightning said, his voice ringing with confidence. "We can scout out the territory now if we please."

"That will be our next objective," Mud said, his tail twitching slightly. "We will also need to work on training these new cats; they'll be used to fighting in the city, not the forest."

"We'll need battle training," Lightning agreed, and turned to the apprentices. "You'll have to share your mentors for the time being, but I want you to all train as well."

"Of course," Rainpaw said, raising his chin proudly. Lightning's tail twitched slowly, as he thought. "Cricketpaw, you mentor is Tabby, correct?" he asked, and Cricketpaw nodded. "Tabby will work on training the kits, Kit and Angel. You'll train with them; help them all you can. Rainpaw, with Mud as your mentor, you'll need a training partner as well."

"Otter!" Rainpaw exclaimed immediately. Mud looked slightly displeased, but Lightning appeared to be amused. "Fine," he said, and turned to Frostpaw. "Frostpaw, with Slate as you're mentor you'll have two training partners; Gale and Bree. I assume you two want to train together?"

"Of course," Gale said, and Lightning nodded.

"W-what about me?" Gleam stammered. "I…I want to learn how to fight as well."

Lightning considered this for a moment. "I can help train you," he said finally. Gleam smiled nervously, and glanced quickly at Gale, obviously relieved that they wouldn't have to train together.

What about me? Snowpaw wanted to ask, but he knew he was useless. He couldn't hear his enemies coming, and if someone ambushed him from behind, he would be vulnerable.

"I'll help you," Frostpaw murmured to Snowpaw, low enough that only he could feel or hear it. "We can train in secret, and I'll teach you everything I learn."

Snowpaw blinked at her gratefully, and smiled.

"We should start on hunting lessons for right now," Lighting said, with a quick glance at the sky. "We won't have enough time to send out a border patrol just yet. Break into the groups I've just arranged you in. Slate's group, come with me and Gleam. We'll find Slate and you can explain to him his new duties." Lighting's amber eyes glittered, and Frostpaw grinned. The group split up, each padding a different way into the grass. Soon, only Snowpaw, Moss, and the kits remained behind. Snowpaw's shoulders slumped, and he felt useless.

"Why can't I train too?" he complained. Moss blinked at him with gentle green eyes. "Lightning has his paws full at the moment; don't blame him for being inattentive. Snowpaw, there's no reason to feel ashamed. You've already done so much for us! You warned us of Fear's attack—"

"Only because I brought Hag into our camp in the first place," Snowpaw said glumly.

"Because you were kind enough to take pity on an unhappy elder," Moss replied. "You have started us on the path of something that I think will be wonderful; the building of a Clan."

Snowpaw shrugged morosely; Moss was kind, but she wasn't making him feel any better. Snowpaw sighed quietly and sat down, resting his head on his paws. Without meaning to, he soon fell asleep.

"Snowpaw!" he heard the white she-cat purr, and his heart leaped as she padded towards him, licking his muzzle warmly. "I'm so proud! You've got so many strong warriors in the Clan now!" her blue eyes glittered down at him, and Snowpaw found himself relaxing for the first time in days.

"I'm still nervous," he admitted. "Do these cats really belong in our new Clan? Can I really help it at all? I'm worried that I'm not as useful as they think I am…as you think I am."

Her blue eyes softened. "You're special, Snowpaw," she murmured to him. "You've got a great destiny in helping build this Clan. I cannot tell you what is right and what is wrong while building it, but I can tell you this: the forest is yours again…for the moment." There was great foreboding in her voice, and it scared Snowpaw.

"What do you mean? Is Fear's group gone, or can we win it back right now?"

She shook her head. "I'm sorry, Snowpaw, StarClan isn't allowed to tell you everything. We have to hide some things from you to preserve your freewill. We can't alter your decisions, Snowpaw."

"And if you told me what happened to Fear, it would change what we do about it?" Snowpaw asked, frowning. The she-cat rolled her eyes.

"You're too sharp for your own good, kit," she purred and cuffed his ear. "Wake up now, you're friends are waiting. You've had a tough day; you need something to fill your stomach."

Snowpaw frowned at her and opened his mouth, but the dream was already fading away.

The paw jabbed him again, and he blinked up at Frostpaw.

"You were sleeping pretty deeply there," Frostpaw smiled down at him, and pushed part of a mouse towards him. "Here, I brought part of it back for you."

Snowpaw smiled at her tiredly, rubbing his eyes with one paw. He sat up and took a little bite, and then said, "Thank you," realizing that Frostpaw expected some gratitude.

"Welcome," she purred, beaming at him brightly. Snowpaw glanced up at the sky, seeing the first stars appearing in the blue-rosy-ness. He smiled up at them, wondering if one of them was his white she-cat.

"So," Frostpaw said, laying down beside him, "we did good, huh? We've got three new warriors and two cute kits…things are looking up. I bet we could beat Fear's Pride easy now, don't you?"

"It depends on whether they are still there or not," Snowpaw replied without thinking. Frostpaw blinked at him.

"What do you mean?"

"Er, nothing," Snowpaw said, staring down at his mouse. "Nothing at all."

"No," Frostpaw said suspiciously. "You know something…the cat, the one in your dreams! She told you this, didn't she? She told you something!"

"Maybe," Snowpaw admitted.

"Well, what is it?" Frostpaw asked, her eyes glittering with excitement. "What did she tell you? What did she say?"

"I shouldn't," Snowpaw mumbled, looking down at his mouse again.

"I won't tell, I promise. But what did she say?"

"Well…." Snowpaw lowered his voice so that no one would overhear. "She said that the forest might be ours after all," he said. "I think…I think Fear might not be there at all."

Frostpaw's eyes widened. "But how? We weren't gone for very long, were we ?"

"Only a few days, I think…." Snowpaw frowned, trying to remember. It seemed like longer than it had been. "I wonder what could have happened in such a short space of time?"

Frostpaw frowned. "I dunno," she said, and then gave a little yawn. "I'm beat, though," she said drowsily. "I'm sure we'll go on a patrol tomorrow…or something…." Within minutes, Frostpaw was asleep. It wasn't until all of the stars were burning brightly in the sky that Snowpaw followed her.

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