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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23. Imprisoned

When Snowpaw fell asleep, he found himself hoping that he would wake up to find himself in StarClan's forest; the white she-cat had led him to Wander, he was sure of it. She was still watching out for him, still watching over his Clan. He felt a glow of pride at the very idea of it, although the fact that he still did not know her name - or her story, whatever that meant - bothered him. Once they found StarClan, he swore to himself that he would ask, and not take no for an answer.

Snowpaw awoke to bright light searing through his eyelids. He blinked slowly into the morning sun, surprised to find himself in a strange nest. Wander took us here, he remembered. She said she'd be back for us at sunhigh, to plan our attack on the bright-rock-place.

Snowpaw rose to his paws, and found that Lightning was still asleep, although there was a dead mouse lying near Snowpaw's den; a gift from Wander. There was another near Lightning, so Snowpaw smiled to himself and ate his mouse, chewing slowly and enjoying the taste immensely. It wasn't enough to fill his hungry belly, but it took the edge off of his hunger at the very least, and that was enough, for now. Wander could show them someplace to hunt, later.

Wander's scent drifted towards his nose, and Snowpaw turned to find her entering their den.

"Good morning," Wander purred to him, and then glanced at Lightning.

"We're a bit tired from our journey," Snowpaw explained. "How is Fear?"

Wander considered Snowpaw for a moment. "Why do you wish to know?" she asked finally. Snowpaw shifted his paws, kneading the ground. He wasn't sure why he had asked; really, only that it had felt right. Out of all the cats, perhaps only he and Moss had once had a real conversation with Fear, been welcomed into her fold. She seemed evil to the other cats, but Snowpaw had seen her nicer side. Whatever she was, Fear was not completely evil, and from what Wander had said yesterday, Snowpaw knew Fear was hurting deeply, perhaps not physically, but mentally.

"I don't know," Snowpaw replied slowly. "It just...felt right to ask."

Wander blinked slowly. "You harbor no grudge against her?"

Snowpaw shook his head. "At one point, I even considered joining her," he confessed. "When I was first accepted into the group, Lightning didn't like me; he said I put Moss in danger, and he exiled me. Fear found me and offered me a place in her Pride; I guess since I was deaf, it seemed like I had a fatal flaw to her, like I belonged with her. But Frostpaw came looking for me, and I eventually realized that I belonged with Lightning's group, whether he wanted me there or not."

Wander's gaze strayed to the sleeping golden tabby. "He seems fond of you now, though."

Snowpaw shrugged. "We get on well enough...I think he's a bit worried about me, though. StarClan didn't speak to him like they did me, and he was afraid that I would become leader instead of him,"

"Do you want to?"

"No!" Snowpaw exclaimed, and then was surprised at the conviction he felt. "That's not the path StarClan intends for me, and it isn't one I want to go down. Lightning built this Clan with his own two paws; even if I hadn't come around, they would have still lived by a code of honor, even if it wasn't the warrior code. He's the only leader I would trust for this new Clan. I'm too young, anyway; it wouldn't be right for me to take command. I'm content having StarClan walk beside me, not within me."

Wander stared at him for a moment, before letting out a long, low purr. "You're a wise one for that," she said, tweaking his ear with her tail. "I'm sure StarClan will welcome you with open paws, when it is your time to join them."

Their conversation ended as Lightning shifted slowly, stretching and blinking his golden eyes. He stared uncomprehendingly at Wander for a minute, as if forgetting quite why she was there, before realization flashed over his face and he rose to hi s paws.

"So, you think you know what the prophecy means?" he asked. "Where we can find bright rocks?"

Wander nodded slowly. "There is a big Twoleg nest near here where we can look," she said. "It is full of bright rocks, but it is often busy. We'll need some sort of plan to get in, and even then I don't know how anything could connect with a pool or moon's light."

Snowpaw frowned, considering it. "It's the only idea we have so far," he said. "We have no choice but to pursue it; and besides, it might lead us to something else, right?"

Lightning nodded slowly. "It's our only option," he agreed, and turned to Wander. "Where is it, and what's our plan?"

. . .

"There it is," Wander said, flicking her tail towards a large building with purple draped on the clear-glass surfaces, and a big purple thing hanging over the entrance as well. Snowpaw blinked at the clear glassy surface; through it he could see huge wooden things, on top of which were hundreds of glittering rocks that seemed to be inside metal, in boxes of glass.

"What are those for?" Snowpaw asked curiously. "Why are they all here in one place? How come some of the Twolegs are taking them with them? Isn't that stealing?"

"To understand this, you have to understand Twolegs," Wander explained. "Let me put this in your sort of terms. When you see a beautiful feather, or experience a fierce storm, what do you do? You want to feel that beauty and power as your own. You forest cats that those as your names; like your Breezefeather, for instance. It's part of who she is. With Twolegs, it's different. They seek to own, not experience. Twolegs love these shiny rocks and they adorn themselves with it, as if by doing so, they capture some of the rock's brilliance and beauty. Twolegs trade items with each other, much like cats do with pieces of prey."

Snowpaw nodded slowly. "So what's the plan?"

"Do you both need to go in there?" Wander asked, "or can one of you find what you seek?"

Snowpaw and Lightning glanced at each other. "It would be safer if I went alone," Snowpaw said finally. "I'm sure StarClan will point me in the right direction, if need be."

Wander nodded. "You'll be better, since you're smaller. Slip into the shop unnoticed; just follow a Twoleg in time to get through the door. Then, Lightning and I will cause some sort of commotion, sending the shopkeeper outside. Hopefully it will buy you enough time to get what you need."

Snowpaw nodded, and took a deep breath, glancing at the – what had she called it? Door? – and swallowing nervously. If a Twoleg saw him and shouted, he wouldn't hear it until it was too late.

"Let's get it over with," Snowpaw said quietly, rising to his paws.

"Hide in the shadows near the building," Wander whispered, pressing against him. "When a Twoleg enters – preferably one with a long gait, so you can slip through easily – follow them closely and then hide. Wait until the shopkeeper leaves before you start looking."

Snowpaw nodded and then padded towards the side of the building, slinking along in the shadows. His white pelt didn't give him away; the Twolegs kept their gaze directly ahead, not taking time to look up at the beautiful blue sky, or down at the cat at their feet. Snowpaw carefully worked his way towards the door, and then paused for a moment. Two people entered the shop, a woman and her kit, but they moved too quickly for him to follow. Then, there was a large man who entered, swinging the door behind him hard. Although Snowpaw didn't know it, the spring made the door shut slowly so as not to damage it, allowing the time he needed to scamper behind the man and quickly duck underneath a table. Cloth obscured his vision, except for a thin sliver at the very bottom, where the purple cloth didn't reach. He waited, muscles tensed, for several minutes before he felt vibrations in his paws and saw several dark shadows moving towards the door. Whatever Lightning and Wander had done worked; the Twolegs were leaving. Quickly, Snowpaw moved out from underneath the table, springing on top of it instead. All around him in the shop, bright rocks twinkled invitingly, covered by their shields of glass. Snowpaw sprang onto the nearest one, peering into the containers at the bright sparkling gems. He could feel nothing from the green ones, nor the blue, nor the red. When he got to the white, however, everything changed; he felt a prickling sensation in his paws, almost a thrumming feeling. He peered down at the gems, and for a moment he could have sworn he saw a cat's face reflected in them. Snowpaw let out a cry of surprise, and began scratching at the glass, only to find that he was barely making a scratch. How could he get to the bright rocks? They had power, he was sure of it!

Snowpaw looked around wildly, looking for anything that would help. There was a strange standing thing, almost log-shaped, with many multi-colored rocks hanging on it. He quickly moved behind it and reared back on his hind paws, bringing them down against the stand's side, sending it crashing to the ground onto the glass. He moved to the side and pushed the stand off of the entire table, trying to see if it had helped. The glass had several scratches and what might have been a crack, but it still wasn't enough. Snowpaw began clawing futilely at the glass, wanting to wail in frustration. What could he do now?

Then something, perhaps a sixth sense, made Snowpaw turn around. He found himself staring into the faces of Twolegs, holding some sort of strange, shiny pole. Snowpaw let out a cry of fright and turned to run, but he was too late. Some sort of looping thing came around his neck, tightening as he struggled to get away, until he found himself choking. There was a sharp yank – was the loop connected to the pole? – and Snowpaw found himself being lifted in the air. The Twolegs had him, and he could not escape. Hoping to trick them, Snowpaw went limp, drooping but keeping one eye opened slightly. One of the huge Twoleg monsters was parked on the side of the street. The back of it was open, and two little dens with metal covering the entrances were in the back. In one of the dens was Lightning, thrashing about trying to escape. He saw Snowpaw and his jaws parted in a scream, although whether he was trying to cry for help or tell Snowpaw to flee, Snowpaw couldn't tell. Fear gripped him as they neared the monster; was he going to be put into its belly? Snowpaw began thrashing wildly again, but to no avail; he found himself being thrust headfirst into one of the metal dens. The loop around his neck loosened and he instantly turned around to get out of the door, only to find it closing. Snowpaw backed up, not wanting to be caught in the sharp metal, but his paw was stuck between the door and the side. Snowpaw let out a cry of pain and one of the Twolegs cracked the door open enough to push his paw back inside, before closing it again. Snowpaw crouched at the bottom of the den, trembling with fear.

"Lightning?" he wailed, but received no answer. He closed his eyes, quivering with fright. Where were they being taken? Had Wander gotten away? Were they to be killed by these Twolegs? What was going to happen to them?

Snowpaw's consciousness crumpled under the weight of uncertainty, and when the blackness rose up inside of him, he ran to meet it.

. . .

Snowpaw awoke to bright light, and white everywhere. It took him several minutes to become orientated, to realize that he was on a cold metal table of some sort, with a Twoleg in white peering down at him and prodding him with metal objects. Snowpaw closed his eyes, trying to block the world out, only to have them opened again as the Twoleg shone a bright light in his eyes. As soon as she let go he collapsed on the ground again, trembling. He could feel the vibrations of her speaking with other Twolegs through the metal table, and he closed his eyes, wishing he was back home with Mossflower and his little sisters. Who knew if he would even see them again?

And then he felt himself being picked up again, and when he opened his eyes, he saw he was being carried down a long hallway. Hundreds of cats were being kept in metal boxes on either side of him. The scents clogged his nose, hundreds or even thousands of cats, some here and some gone, coupled with the sight of so many mouths moving, so many pelts, so many cats pacing and using a strange box filled with dirt and tasting the tang of metal on his tongue overpowered Snowpaw. He closed his eyes and kept them closed until he felt himself being gently set onto a soft bed. When he opened his eyes, the Twolegs were gone and he was alone in his own den. On one side was a bowl of water, and one of food. Snowpaw turned away from it. There was no way he was eating kittypet food, not after the food of the forest that had once filled his belly. Misery welled up within him. He missed his family, his Clan, his home. He missed the scents of the forest, the feeling of catching a vole between his claws, the taste of a cold stream on a crisp leaf-fall day. Snowpaw opened his mouth, and a heartbroken wail burst forth, no words, just a single note of misery. He couldn't hear it but he could feel it, ringing out and bouncing off of the metal boxes containing the other cats. And then finally when he had nothing left to cry, he curled up into a ball wishing to die.

. . .

For three days, Snowpaw refused to eat or drink the water or the food the Twolegs offered him. They quickly became worried, watching him all hours of the day, trying to tempt him with strange treats that smelled almost like fish or forest prey, but not quite. Snowpaw stubbornly refused them, and it must have seemed to the Twolegs as if Snowpaw was going to die. Indeed he thought he might; he was captive here, that much was certain, and the chances of him every getting out were slim to none. Would he even see Lightning again? They could have been inches away, separated only by a wall of metal, and he would have never known it. The other scents and tastes were overpowering; it was impossible for him to pick out one without finding a dozen more.

There was one Twoleg in particular that came to visit him, a female with bright green eyes and light hair. Snowpaw remembered those green eyes, the eyes of his captors, and he knew that she was responsible for his being in this prison. He always turned away when she came around, curling back into his little ball and shunning her. She never said anything that he could tell, she simply watched, until he found himself being lifted up by her gentle hands. Snowpaw was too weak to fight back and so he laid there, feeling as if he was a kit again, being picked up by his mother. He closed his eyes and felt the sensation of being carried, almost like flying. He found himself being laid down once more and opened his eyes, expecting to see his same den. Instead, he found himself blinking at Lightning's golden face.

Never before had he been so happy to see the golden tabby. He could see Lightning mouthing "Snowpaw?" in utter disbelief. Snowpaw turned towards the Twoleg, thinking almost to thank her, but she had already gone.

"Snowpaw!" Lightning exclaimed, and this time Snowpaw could feel it as Lightning pressed his flank against Snowpaw's white one. "Snowpaw, you're alive!"

Lightning pressed himself against Snowpaw's side. "I didn't think I'd ever see you again," the golden tabby rasped, his voice constricted with emotion. "You're so thin...have you been eating?"

Snowpaw shook his head. "I didn't want to. We're never getting out of here; the sooner I join StarClan, the better."

Lightning's eyes narrowed. "I don't want to hear that kind of talk," he spat. "Get over here and eat this, or I'll drag you there." Snowpaw could tell from the look in his eyes that Lightning meant it. Snowpaw rose to his paws shakily, stumbling over towards Lightning's food bowl. The golden tabby kept his pelt against Snowpaw, supporting him. Snowpaw hesitated, and then slowly took a bite of the dry kernels, crunching them between his teeth. His longing for forest prey intensified, but hunger drove him forward, and he ate half of the bowl before Lightning was satisfied.

"Water," Lightning ordered, and Snowpaw obediently lapped out of the water bowl, ignoring the tang of metal. For once, it truly felt like he was an apprentice, being bossed around by his mentor.

Lightning helped Snowpaw towards the cloth nest they would now share, and curled up around him. Snowpaw's eyes drooped closed as he was soothed by the warmth of Lightning's pelt. And, for a moment, he wished Lightning could have been his father.

. . .

Over the course of several days, Snowpaw began growing stronger again. Lightning forced him to eat and drink and even do a few exercises, so that when they were free again they wouldn't be out of shape. The golden Twoleg with the green eyes visited each day, and she seemed very pleased with Snowpaw's progress, and certain that she had made the right choice in reuniting him with Lightning. Snowpaw began to slowly adjust to life in the den; he began learning what time his food would come, when his water would be changed, when the box where they made dirt would be cleaned, and when the Twoleg would visit. There were some things, however, that he did not understand. Lightning refused to go to the left side of the den; many days he stayed pressed against the right side. From the way Lightning's ears twitched, Snowpaw guessed there was another cat in the den next to them on the right, which apparently made a lot of noise. If Snowpaw pressed his face to the right side, he could barely feel them, the vibrations of wailing. Still, he knew the cat to their right wasn't the only one wailing, and he didn't understand why it agitated Lightning so. He asked Lightning about it several times, but received no reply.

As Snowpaw began growing stronger, Lightning began speaking of escape. The golden tabby would pace from side to side in the den, mumbling under his breath of plans that Snowpaw could barely feel through his paws. Snowpaw never said anything, never added any opinion to these plans. He didn't see how they could ever come true, how they would ever escape this metal prison.

But eventually as the days wore on, Snowpaw also began pacing and thinking of plans. He missed his forest home, and he was worried about it; he and Lightning hadn't meant to be gone for this long. It had seemed so easy with the prophecy at their side, but now that they were here, he was worried about Ruin and his minions. Would more city cats come to the forest? Would the Clan be able to run them off, or would they lose their territory again?

Each night - their nights were simply known as when the lights were shut off - Snowpaw prayed desperately to StarClan for them to save him and Lightning. He prayed for some sort of sign, for some sort of help to get them out of the den.

And then, Snowpaw made a discovery.

He was using the dirt box with his muzzle pointed towards the outside, when he saw a flicker of motion at the right edge of their den's entrance. After carefully scraping over his dirt, he padded towards the entrance, and his eyes widened as he saw a chocolate-colored tail sticking out of the den next to his. Because of the angle of the dens, Snowpaw could not see inside the den, to see who the owner of the tail was. The sight of the chocolate tail, swinging back and forth as if looking for some sort of freedom, transfixed him. Slowly, he moved his own tail through the metal bars, towards the brown tail. Instantly the brown tail disappeared as the cat moved away, and Snowpaw drew his own tail back into the den. He pressed his muzzle against the wall to feel for vibrations, but felt nothing.

Could it be? he wondered briefly, before pushing the thought away. It would be too much of a coincidence...and how could it happen?

The next day, the tail was back, and Snowpaw watched it for a short time before offering his own. Again, the brown tail retreated quickly, and Snowpaw moved back away from the entrance as well. This went on for several days, until finally the brown tail simply did not move away. Snowpaw didn't dare touch it, not yet, and instead he just kept his out, swinging close enough to touch, but keeping a hair's width between them. He did this for several days, until finally, one morning after the Twoleg had left, he reached out and touched the tail gently with his own. It quivered, but the cat didn't move away; rather, the tail seemed to grow closer to Snowpaw's, as if the cat was seeking some sort of companionship or comfort. Snowpaw kept his tail there, and there the two cats sat, tails touching, until the Twolegs turned the lights off.

. . .

"Stay away from that cat." Lightning warned the next day. Snowpaw blinked at Lightning curiously, not betraying his growing suspicions.

"Why?"

"She's dangerous!" Lightning spat, his own tail lashing. Snowpaw simply stared at him for a moment, before asking,

"It's her, isn't it? Fear?"

Lightning's gaze slid away from Snowpaw's, and Snowpaw found himself growing angry. "Why didn't you tell me it was her there? Why did you tell us that our formerly most powerful enemy was in the cage next door?"

"I don't know!" Lightning growled, and he began pacing, moving so quickly that it was hard for Snowpaw to read his words. "I was just afraid…when Wander said that she had taken Fear under her wing, you didn't respond at all the way you should have! It was as if…as if you felt sorry for her!" Lightning turned to stare Snowpaw in the eyes. His amber gaze was intense, and Snowpaw felt as if his pelt would burst into flames. "Do you?"

This time, it was Snowpaw who looked away. "Maybe," he said softly. Lightning shook his head in disgust, and began pacing again.

"It's my place, as a medicine cat!" Snowpaw said defensively. "We aren't supposed to get caught up in the affairs of others; we aren't supposed to be enemies with any cat. We're neutral above all else. If I feel pity for her, it is because she is clearly alone, with no family and no friends. She's no better off than we are; worse, even, for at least we know we have a family waiting for us, and StarClan in the afterlife. She has none of that security. She has nothing." Snowpaw looked away from Lightning, towards the den where Fear was being held.

"I don't want you talking to her," Lightning growled, "medicine cat or not. She's an enemy, and just because we're in the same place, doesn't mean that's about to change."

Snowpaw turned to Lightning, meeting his gaze firmly, before padding to the den. He reached out his tail for a moment, before softly calling,

"Fear?"

He received no reply for some time, but he did not move. Instead he sat there, feeling Lightning's gaze scorching his pelt, refusing to budge or buckle under the golden tom's anger. Then, he felt something touch his tail, as Fear's chocolate tail reached out to him.

"Snowpaw?" he felt her ask, curiosity, fear, and uncertainty in the vibrations.

"Yeah, it's me," Snowpaw said softly. "Lightning, too."

"I thought as much," Fear replied. "I don't know how it happened, us being together here; I suppose they put us in order of capture. That would make sense..." She trailed off uncertainly.

"When were you captured? Wander thought you were fine," Snowpaw asked. Fear didn't reply for several minutes, and Snowpaw thought she wasn't going to. He nearly leaped out of his pelt when she spoke again.

"I was looking for Wander. She didn't come back to me, after she found you I assume. I was worried about her…she was the only cat I had left."

"What about Sin?" Snowpaw asked, remembering the black tom, his adoring demeanor around Fear. "Wasn't he with you?"

"Sin's dead," Fear said, and Snowpaw could feel the rasp of misery in her voice. "Dead, dead, dead….He swore he wouldn't leave me but he did, and it's all my fault…."

Snowpaw wished he could press his pelt against hers, or see her face, or touch her flank, anything to ease her sorrow. For, he found, he did truly feel sorry for her; the Clan saw her as an evil cat, but he was one of the few that had ever seen her kinder side, a side that perhaps he would have seen more of, had things turned out differently. Instead, all he could do was touch her tail with his own, and feel the vibrations of her heartbreak.

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