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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22. Prophecy

He wasn't in StarClan's forest, that was for sure. He wasn't sure where he was; he was just floating, really, somewhere strange. He had never been here before, he was certain, but this didn't bother him. He was content just to float.

Suddenly, an image appeared in front of him; a rock so dazzlingly bright that it seemed to scorch his eyes. He blinked and squinted against the light, and it slowly faded, leaving him in the darkness again, blinded by the remains of the light imprinted on his eyelids.

And then, another light, this one gentle and soothing to his scorched eyes. It was a bright pool, glistening gently. He felt smooth earth underneath his paws, worn smooth by countless paws, and he saw his reflection, saw the water dancing on his face. He smiled, and as he smiled, the pool faded away, leaving him in darkness again.

And then, he heard a murmur in his ear, and caught the white she-cat's sweet scent as she whispered, "Find the path that glistens like brightest rock and gentlest pool, under the moon's soft light." As soon as the last word reached his ears, he felt a tug in his chest, as he was pulled from the darkness and the dreams into the land of the

Awake. Snowpaw blinked slowly as he came around, shaking his head groggily. Such strange dreams, he thought, and then his eyes widened. Dreams! Dreams from StarClan! Suddenly, the idea that he had thought of when speaking to Lightning about Nightpaw disappearing rose into his mind again. In the old forest, cats had to speak with StarClan, right? I remember now, the she-cat told me about it once; there was a huge rock, a giant glittering one that they touched and dreamed of StarClan! And the pool…I guess someday it will serve the same purpose? Will something happen to the rock and they'll need a new guide to StarClan…?

Snowpaw shook himself; he mustn't get distracted. Even Clan leaders had to use the rock – what was it called? The Moonstone? – to speak with StarClan. Medicine cats got dreams from StarClan when they really needed to, but they visited the stone for guidance. That's it! We need to find our own stone or magic pool, and then we can speak to StarClan too! It all makes sense!

Snowpaw rose to his paws, discovery giving him energy, and hurried out of the den. He blinked at the bright sunlight, taken aback after the darkness in his dream. It was halfway to sunhigh. I slept for this long? He thought wonderingly, before shaking himself again. He had to focus!

"Lightning!" he exclaimed, but the golden tabby's den was empty. Snowpaw turned to go, and found Mossflower standing in the entrance.

"Lightning's out on patrol," she purred, her whiskers twitching with amusement. "Leader or not, he pulls his own weight. He should be back soon."

"I need to talk to him," Snowpaw said. His eyes must have betrayed something, for Mossflower's own eyes softened with understanding.

"StarClan's told you something?" she asked. "You're about to go rushing off with him, aren't you?"

Snowpaw blinked, surprised, and she laughed. "You think I don't know that look in a tom's eyes?" she teased. "The I've-got-to-save-the-day look? I've seen it from Lightning more times than I can count." She brushed her tail against his muzzle. "He's helping Ruin and the others build their own camp," she said softly. "Be careful, okay?"

Snowpaw nodded, touched by her concern and her willingness to let him go. Speckletail – although it hurt to remember her – had never understood his need for freedom. She had always been trying to smother him, to hide his disability from the others in her Clan.

"I love you," he whispered to her, before padding out of camp, following the scent of his Clanmates and the strangers.

He found Lightning, Mudstripe, Ruin, Crunch, and Batter in a small clearing, digging out three dens together. Lightning looked up as he scented Snowpaw, and smiled. He said something to the others, before padding towards the white apprentice.

"Yes?"

"I had a dream," Snowpaw whispered. Lightning's eyes widened, and the old insecurity flashed in them, before disappearing.

"Well?" Lightning demanded, and Snowpaw quickly explained. If anything, Lightning appeared relieved; it meant Snowpaw hadn't gained nine lives after all.

"You really think it's that simple?" Lightning asked finally. "We find a magic rock, and I get my nine lives?"

"Speaking with StarClan is important for every Clan," Snowpaw said firmly. "It helps StarClan guide them; StarClan can only help them if they ask. We need to find this mysterious path. Then you can get your nine lives, and we'll have StarClan whenever we need them."

Lightning appeared nervous, but he finally nodded. "How do we find this path?"

"I'm not sure," Snowpaw admitted. "We'll have to journey…we should return to camp. Maybe one of the others will know?"

Lightning glanced at Mudstripe. "Can you finish this?" he called. Mudstripe nodded, and Lightning and Snowpaw headed back to camp.

. . .

"And so, Snowpaw and I must find 'a path that glistens like the brightest rock and gentlest pool under the moon's light'," Lightning finished. The rest of the Clan simply stared up at him, lost for words. Mossflower was next to Snowpaw, translating for him. She didn't seem surprised, merely resigned.

"Path," Stoneclaw said slowly. "As in a Thunderpath?"

"Twolegs like bright rocks," Breezefeather said shyly. "Windheart and I tried being kittypets for a little while. It didn't work out, but we learned a few things; Twolegs like bright rocks."

"Gentlest pool, though?" Leafshine inquired.

"Twolegs have puddles and those rain-holders," Fernstep said, and she glanced at Snowpaw with a smile, letting Snowpaw know she was thinking of their night together in the Twolegplace, up on the water-stump. He smiled back.

Lightning still didn't appear convinced that Twolegplace held the answer. "The moon's light?"

"The moon is duller in the Twolegplace, because of all the lights at night," Ottertail pointed out nervously. He was still in trouble with Lightning after lying and hiding the reason he came to the Clan. Lightning had confined him to apprentice duties, but with Lightning gone, how long would that last?

"I don't see why we're worrying, we can't find it until Ruin and the others leave," Rainpaw observed. At this, Lightning seemed a little nervous.

"Actually," he said slowly, "we're going to have to go now."

Immediately, the Clan's attitude changed.

"What?" Leafshine exclaimed, automatically pulling Cricketpaw closer to her, as if she was surrounded by invisible warriors.

"With Ruin and the others here?" Fernstep demanded. "Lightning, do you have bees in your brain? We can't trust them!"

Stoneclaw pressed his pelt against Fernstep's protectively. "She's right, we cannot trust them," he rumbled. "We do not know them."

Lightning's claws gripped the rock. "This is something I must do!" he said, and Snowpaw saw how desperate Lightning had become. It had been two moons since their Clan truly existed, and he felt as if he was losing his power. Lightning had fought long and hard to build the framework for the Clan – Moss, Mud, Tabby, Slate, and Gleam – and he felt like he was losing control without StarClan's approval. This was more than gaining nine lives; this was proving to everyone and to himself that he was the right cat to lead the Clan.

Lightning took a deep breath, calming himself. "Speaking with StarClan is the duty of every leader," he explained, "and if I do not, I could put us all at risk."

"If you leave, we'll be defenseless!" Breezefeather squeaked. Snowpaw saw Lightkit quivering by Breezefeather's side.

"I'll take no warriors to accompany me," Lightning said. "This is something Snowpaw and I alone must do. Mudstripe is our deputy, and a good one; he can handle anything Ruin tries to throw at us. We are a Clan, are we not? Are we going to flee our home and give up StarClan for the sake of what might happen?"

"No!" Snowpaw declared loudly, and then to his surprise, Frostpaw yowled,

"No!"

The cry was taken up by all of the cats, even the reluctant Breezefeather, until it rang across the clearing, making them sound like a Clan of a thousand cats instead of just a pawful.

"Snowpaw and I will leave today, as soon as we can," Lightning said. "We'll head to Twolegplace…and take it from there, depending on StarClan's guidance."

The other cats murmured. "We will leave at sunhigh," Lightning announced, and then padded off of the StonePile, towards Snowpaw.

"Traveling herbs," Mossflower murmured to Snowpaw, rising to her paws and padding into the medicine den. Snowpaw followed her.

Mossflower laid out two packets of herbs, and let Snowpaw make two more.

"Eat these two now, use cobwebs to bind these two for later," she instructed. Lightning and Snowpaw ate the first packets obligingly, both wrinkling up their faces in identical grimaces at the bitter taste. Mossflower expertly wrapped the other packets in cobwebs, before nudging them towards the two toms. Snowpaw and Lightning picked them up in their mouths. Snowpaw nuzzled Mossflower gently.

"Love you," she whispered, but all Snowpaw could do was nod.

When they left the den, it was sunhigh, and every cat in the Clan was gathered at the entrance of camp, waiting. The Clan's warriors whispered words of safe journeys and quick returns to Lightning and Snowpaw; Snowpaw couldn't hear them, but he could feel them, their words sliding over his fur like a gentle caress, a feeling of love. He felt a glow in his heart, as the herbs' magic coursed through his veins and his Clanmate's farewells ringing in his ears, as he and Lightning entered the forest.

Snowpaw couldn't help but steal a glance backward, as Lightning increased the pace and the camp began fading away behind them. What Snowpaw didn't expect to see what a white bundle of fur racing towards him. Snowpaw stared in utter amazement, almost dropping his bundle as Frostpaw hurried towards him. She stopped only half a tail-length away, and after the slightest hesitation, reached forward and licked his muzzle gently, slowly, lovingly. Snowpaw felt his muzzle heat under her touch, and he flushed under his fur. And then she was gone, bounding away back to camp. He turned to Lightning, as the golden warrior turned just in time to see Frostpaw disappear back into camp. Lightning raised one eyebrow, and Snowpaw simply shrugged, following Lightning once more. Each pawstep felt easier somehow, as if he was walking on air and not solid earth. He felt as if he could fly, soar above the clouds and touch the stars with his paws.

One thing was for sure; even if Frostpaw hadn't licked him, even if her eyes hadn't sparkled the way they did, when Snowpaw and Lightning returned, nothing would be the same again.

. . .

They made excellent time, thanks to the herbs, actually making it to the outskirts of Twolegplace by nightfall.

"Do we go in?" Snowpaw asked Lightning. Lightning shook his head.

"We'll camp here for the night," he rumbled. "Tomorrow, we try to find help in the city."

Snowpaw yawned and helped Lightning flatten the grass so that they could sleep, even though he still buzzed with energy and readiness. Snowpaw stared up at the sky, watching the stars twinkle above. StarClan, he thought. Can you hear me, up there? Are you watching us from the skies? We're coming for you, StarClan. We're coming to find you.

He closed his eyes, but it seemed to him that he could feel the stars shining brightly in the sky, their light bathing his fur. StarClan, he thought, as his consciousness began to ebb, protect Frostpaw…and my Clan.

. . .

Snowpaw opened his eyes to dazzling sunlight, and Lightning prodding him roughly.

"Let's go," the golden tom said impatiently, and Snowpaw rose to his paws. He was about to suggest hunting, before realizing he didn't feel hungry. The herbs are still working, he thought, and remembering his precious bundle, he picked it up again. He and Lightning padded through the grass together, pelts close enough to touch without quite rubbing. The scents of the city filled Snowpaw's nose, making him nervous.

We don't have Fernstep, or the others, he thought. Who knows if we even have Wander?

The thought of the gray she-cat made him blink; if she was still here, she might know where to find a path of shining rocks!

"Wander!" he exclaimed, and although his voice was muffled by the packet of herbs, Lightning was close enough to hear him.

"Yes," Lightning said slowly. "I'm sure she would know, what with her travels and all. We should find her."

Emboldened by actually having a goal in mind, the two cats set off, weaving their way through the tangled mess of streets.

They soon realized they had no idea where they were going. Over a moon away from Twolegplace had caused them to lose almost any memory they had of the streets. Lightning and Snowpaw soon found themselves wandering in circles, quickly becoming hopelessly lost.

Snowpaw blinked up at the sinking sun, unable to believe that they had wasted an entire day wandering around. How big could the Twolegplace be? Bigger than they had originally thought, apparently. How were they supposed to find Wander in this maze?

They did remember a few things that Fernstep had taught them, at the very least; they managed to find a place to sleep in an alley, although they had no bedding for a nest. Snowpaw and Lightning huddled together for warmth, and were quickly asleep.

A rough jab woke Snowpaw, and he blinked up at a dark tabby face. It took him a moment to remember the name, but once he did he was surprised.

"Shaw?" he asked, and the dark tabby smiled.

"You remember my name," Shaw said, sitting back. Lightning uncurled slowly, blinking at the old tom.

"What are you doing here?" Lightning asked, and Shaw laughed.

"I could ask you the same thing," he said, and stared at them. "Why're you back in the city? I thought you forest-folk left a long time ago. Is Tabby alright?"

"Tabby's fine," Snowpaw assured him. "She's a warrior, she goes by Fernstep now."

"So why're you here?"

"We're looking for Wander," Lightning said. "Do you know her?"

"Gray with yellow eyes, likes to tell riddles," Snowpaw added. Shaw considered it a moment.

"Aye, I know her. She's moved her nest though, I dunno where in the city she is now. Haven't seen her for several days. Might have left this place altogether, I wouldn't blame her."

Snowpaw's shoulders slumped with defeat. Then he blinked, as something occurred to him. "Can you take us to Buttercup's house?" he asked eagerly.

"The cat that lives with that yappy dog?" Shaw asked, and Snowpaw nodded. "Suppose I could, for you taking in Tabby the way you done," Shaw said, and rose to his paws. "This way."

Lightning and Snowpaw glanced at each other, before obediently following the elderly tom.

Old or not, he seemed to know exactly where he was going, for the twitching of Lightning's ears as they neared a row of Twoleg nests suggested that Lincoln was close, and loud. For once, Snowpaw was glad he couldn't hear; Lincoln's barking was apparently very grating on the ears, and served no real purpose.

Shaw, Lightning, and Snowpaw sprang onto the white wooden fence together, padding along until Shaw held up his tail to stop them and peered down into one yard. The Clan cats copied him, and Snowpaw blinked down into Lincoln's golden-brown and white face. He was a strange looking creature, almost fox-like with his long, narrow muzzle and pointed ears.

"Buttercup's in the nest, but Lincoln'll bring her out," Shaw observed. "What're you meeting her for?"

"We aren't," Lightning admitted, "but there is a place near here that we're hoping to meet Wander at, if she's still her."

Shaw nodded slowly, and then smiled at them. "Good luck with…w'ever you're doing. Tell Tabby hello for me, when you see her again."

Snowpaw promised he would, and then much to their surprise, Shaw sprang down into Buttercup's yard. Lincoln stopped his barking and stared down at the tom, and Snowpaw tensed, sure that the furry creature would attack. Lincoln's fluffy tail began wagging in a way that somehow seemed friendly, and Shaw gave Lincoln a nod before springing onto the other side of the fence, and walking away.

Lightning and Snowpaw continued down the fence, looking into each nest they passed, for hope of seeing the pool where they had first met Wander. Snowpaw recognized the flowery yard where Hedge lived, but luckily she wasn't outside.

Then, finally, the sound of water flowing over stones caught Lightning's attention, and he looked down into a Twoleg nest to find the sought-after pool. He and Snowpaw smiled at each other, feeling almost excited, before dropping down into the yard. They both took quick drinks of the pool, and Snowpaw saw with surprise that there were little golden fish swimming all around. He was tempted to catch one, for they were both hungry, but he realized these were the Twoleg's fish, and they might not take kindly to thieves.

"We'll wait until the sun goes down," Lightning said. "If she doesn't come here by then, we might just have to give up and find someone else to help us."

Snowpaw nodded slowly, and the two of them settled themselves in for a nice, long wait.

After several hours of waiting, Snowpaw found himself extremely close to stealing a few goldfish and daring the Twolegs to come after him. He had moved to a resting position with his head on his paws, pressing his stomach to the ground and trying to ignore the rumbles of hunger clawing his belly.

Lightning shifted his paws restlessly. "The sun's nearly down," he sighed. "We'll have to leave and find somewhere else to spend the night."

"Just a few more minutes," Snowpaw said. "She might just…be busy or something. She comes here for a drink and stuff, remember? Unless she's moved near the park…with Otter gone, she can have the stream…." He frowned, feeling uneasy. Wander was the best hope they had of finding the answer to StarClan's hint.

They waited a bit longer, until the sun had all but disappeared.

"Let's go," Lightning said finally, rising to his paws. "We should head to the park; she might be there after all."

Snowpaw yawned and sighed quietly. He was about to follow Lightning, when he caught a strange scent. He turned, blinking slowly. His eyes widened as he recognized the scent; the white she-cat from his dreams! Had she somehow come to the living world, to show him the way?

"Wait!" he called to Lightning. The golden tabby turned to him, his amber eyes curious in the dim light. Without waiting for him to reply, Snowpaw raced after the scent, running around the side of the Twoleg's house. He opened his mouth to call out for her, before remembering that he didn't even know her name.

Snowpaw ran down the street, his pads thudding against the rough, sticky Thunderpath, his heart in his mouth. Could StarClan really do that, appear to cats in real life?

He turned the corner, heading down another street. The scent was growing stronger, as he ducked into an alley. He let out a gasp as he reached the end of the alley. There was nothing there, not even a single white hair. Where was the white she-cat?

He felt a touch on his flank and turned, thinking it was Lightning. He let out a gasp of surprise as he saw it was not Lightning, but Wander, blinking at him with curious yellow eyes.

"Snowpaw!" she exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"

Behind Wander, Snowpaw saw Lightning enter the alley. His eyes widened as he saw Wander and Snowpaw.

"H-how?" Lightnign stammered, padding to Snowpaw's side. "How did you know…?"

Snowpaw considered telling him about the scent, but decided that it wouldn't make Lightning feel any better, knowing that StarClan had chosen to guide Snowpaw instead of Lightning. "It just felt right," Snowpaw lied. "Wander, why are you here?"

"I moved my nest," Wander explained.

"Why?"

Wander's gaze shifted away from Snowpaw. "I, er, met someone."

"Who's the lucky tom? Anyone we know?" Snowpaw purred. Wander closed her eyes.

"She isn't a tom. And yes…you know her. Or you did, at least," Wander shifted slightly.

Snowpaw and Lightning glanced at one another, feeling puzzled. "Buttercup?" Snowpaw wondered. "Or…Hedge?"

Wander sighed. "Her name is Fear."

Immediately, Lightning stiffened. "Fear?"he demanded. "Why is she staying with you? Do you have any idea who she is? What she's done?"

"I know her better than you do, I would guess," Wander said coolly. "She isn't who you think; she's had a rough time. She was betrayed by a member of her Pride, and she fled to the city. She met up with me there; she was broken, alone, confused…so yes, she's staying with me. And there's nothing you can do about it now."

Lightning's eyes narrowed. "Fine," he spat, and glanced at Snowpaw. "Let's go, Snowpaw. We don't need traitors." Lightning turned to go.

"Wait," Snowpaw said quickly. "Lightning, Wander helped Fear because she thought it was right. And maybe it is; Fear's gone now, she isn't our enemy anymore."

Wander glanced between both of them. "Why are you here?"

"We came looking for you," Snowpaw explained. "We need to find a way to speak with StarClan. They gave us something to follow, but we honestly have no idea what it means."

Wander cocked her head to one side; she looked curious, just as Snowpaw had hoped. The fact that the prophecy was almost a riddle would make things even better. He recited the riddle, and Wander listened carefully, making him repeat it twice more.

"Brightest rock," she said slowly. "I'm not really sure, honestly. But brightest rock…there is a place I know that is full of bright rocks. Twolegs go there all the time, though, so we might have to be sneaky…."

"That's the best lead we've got," Lightning said slowly. His fur was still bristling slightly, but he wasn't about to walk away now.

Wander smiled at them. "Come with me," she purred. "You can't sleep near Fear, I suppose, but I know another place for you. Tomorrow, we can make our plan."

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