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?


11. Spy

It soon became apparent over the next few days that no one could stand Hag. She wasn't simply prickly, she was downright mean. Cricketpaw had actually offered to help take care of her one day, which was a big step forward for the little cat, but by the end of the day she had almost reduced him to a puddle of quivering fur with her taunts. Snowpaw had checked her for disease because of her coughs, but it appeared she didn't have any; she was simply getting on in her years, her body wasn't working as it had used to. That would have been a point for sympathy if she had been a bit nicer, but the way she often coughed in his face made him grit his teeth and turn away.

Not only that, but her demands for food (and for said food to be chewed) coupled with the fact that she was next to useless, and clearly had no idea about the warrior code or even any sort of code of honor was beginning to make Snowpaw doubt whether Hag was truly destined to be an elder of the Clan.

She did at least seem to take an interest in the activities of the Clan; her sharp yellow eyes were always watching the other cats as they went about their days. She seemed to watch Snowpaw and Moss's den where she and Lightning were most often, which made Snowpaw uneasy.

Finally, about a quarter-moon after Hag had been found, the apprentices came together to discuss her.

"I can't stand her!" Rainpaw exclaimed his pelt bristling. "She called me a mouse-brained fox-hearted quivering pile of dung today! I was ready to shred her stupid face off."

"We have to be respectful to elders, it is in the warrior code," Snowpaw said, trying to be fair. "She's just old and has had a hard life."

"It's all your fault," Rainpaw grumbled, "you brought her here in the first place. You should be the one that has to take care of her!"

Frostpaw glanced at Snowpaw, and then nodded with a quiet sigh. "She is your problem," Frostpaw said, "but you shouldn't have to do it all alone…perhaps we can take shifts, or something?"

"I'll do it all today," Snowpaw offered. "We'll see how things go tomorrow."

The others nodded and the little group broke apart.

That day, Snowpaw was spat at, yelled at, coughed on, nearly clawed, and forced to chew an entire mouse for Hag. He attempted to keep silent, and once actually thanked his deafness, that he could not hear Hag's insults without touching her, which he definitely didn't want to do. It soon became apparent that she had both fleas and ticks, however, and so he was forced to groom her, berated all the way. He was very tempted to slip her poppy seeds in her chewed up food, but forced himself not to, and she eventually went to sleep herself, allowing him moments of peace.

He left Hag's den, and was surprised to find Lightning waiting for him. "Do you still think she should stay, after you've cared for her all day?" Lightning asked. Snowpaw hesitated; he was coming very close to hating Hag, but at the same time she couldn't survive in the forest herself. That cough would scare all the prey away, and even if she caught it she would have a hard time eating it.

"Where I come from, we take care of our elders even if they are a bit ill-tempered," Snowpaw said slowly. "She wouldn't survive without help."

"This advice comes from your Clan?" Lightning asked, and Snowpaw nodded. Lightning paused for a moment, thinking. "The decision is yours," he said finally. "You found her. But if you keep her, you'll have to take care of her."

Snowpaw nodded, and Lightning padded away. Snowpaw nibbled his lower lip nervously. How could Lightning let this be his decision? He didn't want to take care of Hag until she died! For a moment, deathberries flashed through his mind, but he pushed that thought away sternly.

I'll decide tomorrow, when I'm not exhausted from taking care of her, he thought.

Hag's sleep proved to be fitful, and once she woke up again she was in a worse mood than before.

"Get me some of those sleeping herbs!" she demanded Snowpaw. "Those ploppy seed, or whatever they're called!"

"It isn't even nightfall yet, you don't need them," Snowpaw said patiently. Hag snorted.

"What does a mangy kit like you know about herbs?" she sneered. "Why, Twist would have…." Her eyes widened at her mistake, and she clamped her jaws shut.

"Twist?" Snowpaw asked, remembering the crazy she-cat from the Pride. "You know Twist?"

"Who's Twist? Are you making stuff up now?" Hag asked suspiciously, her eyes narrowed, but the fear in her golden eyes revealed all that Snowpaw needed to know. He turned away from her, and padded away.

As the sun sank towards the horizon, Snowpaw's head was abuzz with thoughts. Hag knew Twist? He wondered. Did she stay with the Pride for a short time? Is she still loyal to them? Why is she here? If she stayed with the Pride she must have some sort of flaw…like her temper, her inability to be civil, the way she knows exactly the wrong thing to say! It makes sense! But then, why is she here?

Snowpaw uncurled from his nest, and peeked out of the apprentice den, peering at Hag's. There was no movement from within, but Snowpaw felt uneasy. I'll stay up tonight and watch her, just in case, Snowpaw decided, and he padded out of the den, curling up just outside of it. He would have to keep awake; there would be no noises waking him up or alerting him of Hag's presence if he dozed off.

"What are you doing?" Frostpaw asked curiously as she padded towards the den. Snowpaw blinked at her.

"Nothing, I just, er, want some fresh air tonight," he lied. Frostpaw laughed and licked his ear.

"You're a terrible liar," she purred, "but I think that's a good thing. Just don't make too much noise when you come back in for the night, okay?"

Snowpaw nodded, and Frostpaw disappeared into the den. Rainpaw followed without paying attention to Snowpaw, and although Cricketpaw peered at Snowpaw curiously, he too said nothing.

Snowpaw waited until the moon was high in the sky. He kept yawned and pricking himself with one claw to keep awake. He was about to admit defeat, thinking that his fears about Hag had been unfounded, when he saw the glint of yellow eyes in her den. Snowpaw froze, glad that the shadows of the wall behind him were barely covering his white pelt. Hag's head appeared in her den, and she glanced around quickly, looking for any sentries, before heading towards the camp exit. Snowpaw wait until she had disappeared from sight, before rising to his paws. Then, he hesitated; if she was going to meet with someone, wouldn't he need some help, in case she saw him and it turned into a fight? He hesitated, torn, aware that he was losing precious time. Finally, he scrambled back into the apprentice den, nudging Frostpaw to wake her. She blinked at him sleepily and he whispered everything to her. Her eyes widened and she rose to her paws.

"It's like a secret mission!" Frostpaw exclaimed, and Snowpaw shushed her by putting his tail over her muzzle. He guided her to the entrance, and then the two of them took off after Hag, following her scent.

Hag wasn't very fast because of her age, and the two apprentices soon caught up to her, being careful to stay low to the ground and out of sight as they followed her. Snowpaw's heart sank further and further as they drew nearer and nearer to the Pride's camp, until their scents flooded his nose. Snowpaw and Frostpaw finally halted near the camp, hiding in the brush and peering out with wide eyes.

All of the Pride was assembled, their pelts colored silver by moonlight. Fear was at the head, her eyes glittering as she saw Hag.

"Tell me what they're saying," Snowpaw whispered to Frostpaw, and she nodded, pressing her pelt against his.

"You bring news?" Fear demanded, as Hag slunk forward.

"Hold your fur on," Hag snapped, "it is a fair distance and I'm not as young as I used to be." She sat down and took several deep breaths before pausing, taking her sweet time. Fear's pelt prickled in anger.

"We made you the spy because you're elderly, and they wouldn't dare turn you away," Fear hissed, "but that doesn't mean we won't shred you if you don't hurry up!"

Hag rolled her eyes. "They're becoming closer, just as you said. That kit, the one you thought would stay here – Snowface, or something stupid like that – seems to be the defining factor. The other apprentices follow his lead and I overheard Lightning speaking with him about me, although that was mainly because Snowface brought me there in the first place."

"Snowpaw," Fear interrupted, her eyes narrowed. "His name is Snowpaw."

"Yes, that," Hag said dismissively. "Anyway, Snowpaw talks a lot about this Clan business, and just as you suspected they're getting closer and closer to becoming a Clan-thing. Out of the stuff you told me about Clan's they're getting close; the kits have become apprentices and sleep together in the same den, they take care of the elders – me – Moss and Snowpaw seem to kind of be those medicine cat things, and after their hunting for Gleam they've actually made a fresh-kill pile of sorts. Snowpaw talks about StarClan plenty, too."

Fear frowned. "Another Clan," she spat, "just what we need now." She let out a low growl, and began pacing. "If Lightning accepts this Clan idea, he'll get nine lives. We outnumber them now, but if Lightning can die and fight nine times…." She shuddered, her muscles rippling under her chocolate pelt. "We can't let that happen. We must strike first, before he accepts the idea of a Clan. We must kill them all." She halted and closed her eyes, appearing eerily still like a statue. Frostpaw was quivering beside Snowpaw, her voice trembling as she repeated Fear's words, "We attack at dawn. No holding back, kill everyone and everything. I assume Moss has had her kits….Kill them as well."

Snowpaw's eyes widened, and he looked at Frostpaw in fear.

"Hurry," Snowpaw whispered, and he and Frostpaw slipped away, racing back to camp.

"Everyone, wake up!" Snowpaw yowled as they entered camp. "Hurry! Wake up! Wake up!"

Heads appeared inside of dens, and Lightning strode out of Moss's den.

"What are you doing, trying to wake up the whole camp?" he demanded. "Why?"

"Fear and her Pride are going to attack at dawn!" Frostpaw said urgently. "Hag is a spy! Snowpaw followed her on a hunch and took me with him and she was talking to Fear about us becoming a Clan and stuff. Fear doesn't want that because if we become a Clan you get nine lives and so she said she was going to attack us all at dawn and kill everyone she could, so Snowpaw and I had to come back and hurry and find you!" Frostpaw trailed off, panting.

Lightning's eyes widened, and he glanced behind him, towards Moss and her kits. Snowpaw knew what he was thinking; would Fear really harm newborn kits?

"Everyone, wake up!" Lightning growled, lashing his tail. "Get out here, all of you! We must prepare for the attack!"

"A-attack?" Cricketpaw stammered, blinking the sleep out of his eyes.

"Fear and her Pride are coming to attack us tonight. Thanks to Snowpaw and Frostpaw we have been warned of this. We must prepare!"

Mud padded forward to stand beside Lightning. "We can fortify the camp in the few hours we have left, to make it easier to defend," he growled. "Some sharp branches, brambles…those will help."

The other cats were coming out of their dens too, growling with unsheathed claws. There was going to be a very real battle here, and it was unlikely many of them would survive.

"Wait," he said, turning back to Lightning. "We can't fight them."

Lightning's eyes narrowed. "What other choice do we have?"

"We have to run," Snowpaw said. Ignoring Lightning's incredulous look, he turned to the rest of the group. "Fear's numbers are much higher than our own, in both the number of their total cats and the numbers of their warriors. Moss can't fight anymore, and Lightning, Mud, Slate, Tabby and Gleam are the only ones who stand a chance. Frostpaw, Rainpaw and Cricketpaw aren't yet strong enough to take on their warriors. Not only that, but this time they have sworn to kill us all or die trying."

Slate looked troubled, and Snowpaw offered him his tail. "The battles we have had before, the Pride has only attempted to drive us away," he said. "I shudder to think what might happen if they are actively trying to kill us."

Tabby spoke also, "Savage is a berserker, he won't mind the killing. Not only that, but that scarred tom…he eats cats, doesn't he? He might eat Moss's kits, or any of us!"

Gleam's voice trembled as she spoke, "I don't want my kits getting killed in a battle we cannot win."

Lightning was looking indecisive. "But where will we go?" he asked. "This is our home. We have made it for ourselves; we can't simply leave it."

"We'll come back," Snowpaw assured him. "We just need to find more warriors…we have to become a real Clan." He sighed quietly. "My gods, StarClan, brought me here to let you become a Clan again," he said. "Long ago SkyClan was drive away from the forest I lived in. Several SkyClan cats left their Clan to join this forest instead. Their blood is in your veins now. You can never be SkyClan again, but another Clan could be formed here, and that is what I have been sent to do. Fear realizes this, and she can't let it happen, because she fears the powers a Clan has." He turned to Lightning. "If you are recognized as a leader by StarClan, you'll gain nine lives. But before that can happen, we all have to come together and become a Clan. That means finding more cats for our Clan. Then we can win our territory back and claim it once more, together." No one said anything, and Snowpaw swallowed.

"I've been trying to create a Clan here ever since I joined," he continued. "Frostpaw, Rainpaw, and Cricketpaw becoming apprentices was my idea; all cats there age train according to the warrior code. The fresh-kill pile we have now was from my Clan, the idea of the apprentices sleeping together was from my Clan, and the stories I tell are from StarClan as well. I was afraid you all wouldn't understand so I couldn't tell you what exactly was going on, but I'm telling you now. And aren't they helpful, those ideas? We've got a store of prey all the time now, three more young cats training to defend their home, stories to uplift and teach us all, and our cats are sleeping together and becoming more united. That's what a Clan is all about, all of those things together. This is what I was sent here to do."

Again, the group was silent for a moment.

"StarClan?" Moss whispered, coming from behind Snowpaw and touching his back with her tail. "Is that what you said?"

Snowpaw turned to her, puzzled but nodding.

"What he says is true," Moss said softly. "StarClan exists, and I believe we should follow Snowpaw. He is right, we cannot fight here and expect to win."

"But what of our kits?" Lightning asked, and from the way his ears were twitching Sorrelkit and Willowkit were surely crying out for their mother. "They are too young to travel."

"They are too young to be slaughtered, also," Moss replied, meeting his gaze firmly. "What other choice do we have?"

Lightning's shoulders slumped, and he appeared defeated. "Where will we go?"

"SkyClan's descendants are probably still nearby," Snowpaw said. "They might not be wild anymore…some could be kittypets in the Twolegplace nearby. I saw it when the hawk was carrying me."

"Take a kittypet into our group?" Slate asked when Snowpaw touched him with his tail. His voice felt reluctant.

"What's wrong with kittypets?" Tabby demanded, as Snowpaw read the words on her lips. Slate's ears flattened.

"You were only a kittypet for the first part of your life, you were wild the rest of the time," Slate replied, looking uncomfortable. "But a kittypet that has lived their entire life as one…."

"There will be street cats too," Snowpaw said to Lightning, who was nodding.

"We don't have much time to decide," Snowpaw read Mud saying, "Dawn approaches in only a few hours, and who knows if they will attack sooner."

Lightning sighed quietly, and then nodded. "We must go; we have no other choice. Moss and I will carry the kits. The rest of you, eat; you'll need all of your strength." With that, Lightning and Moss retreated back into the nursery, leaving the rest of the group feeling shell-shocked.

"We'll come back, right?" Snowpaw saw Cricketpaw ask his mother. She wrapped her tail around him.

"Of course," Gleam whispered to him.

Frostpaw came to stand beside Snowpaw again. "I'm scared," she whispered, pressing her pelt against his. Snowpaw rested his chin on her head.

"Don't be," he said quietly. "If we leave, Fear won't follow; she'll have her territory, she'll have everything she wants. And then we'll win it back. I promise."

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