Fire and Shadow

AU. Rusty has been adopted not by ThunderClan...but ShadowClan!


10. Chapter Ten

When Firestar's vigil ended that morning he retired to the warrior's den, intent on cramming a moon's worth of sleep into one day. Between the battle, his promotion, the nighttime burial, and his vigil; Firefang was exhausted. He fell into a deep sleep that lasted most of the day.

It was only after he'd woken up and padded over to the fresh kill pile did he remember that he had something to do. Picking up a mouse in his mouth, Firefang walked over to the medicine cat den. The wounded from the battle with WindClan were so numerous that the medicine den couldn't hold them all, so they didn't even bother trying. They were treated out in the open, save for the most serious cases which were resting in the empty elders den—the elders having been banished.

There was now only one cat kept in the medicine cat den, and held there by force: Onewhisker, the WindClan warrior prisoner. Either Yellowfang or Runningnose were always inside with him and a guard was kept posted at the entrance.

Fortunately for Firefang, it was Wetfoot this time. He nodded idly to him as he walked into the den, mouse still dangling from his jaw. His friend nodded and didn't bar him entry. Wetfoot had been distracted since Brownpaw's death.

Firefang promised himself he'd talk to Wetfoot....later. When he got close he saw Yellowfang pressing a poultice onto Onewhisker's flank.

"What are you doing here?" Yellowfang meowed, looking about as tired at Firefang had last night.

Dropping the mouse at his paws, Firefang nodded. "I'd like to speak to Onewhisker." Lower, he added. "You should get some sleep, Yellowfang."

Yellowfang's eyes flashed. "Don't lecture me kit, I'm not an elder yet!"

"You're not likely going to become one if you keep pushing yourself." Firefang's replied sharply. Yellowfang hissed, her fur bristling.

An annoyed sounding yowl distracted them both. "Great StarClan would you two shut up?" Onewhisker meowed plaintively. "Show some respect for the dead!"

Snorting, Yellowfang flicked her tail over the WindClan warrior's ears. "You're not hunting with StarClan yet and aren't about to anytime soon."

"Until Brokenstar's done with me anyway." Onewhisker muttered. Yellowfang shook her head and retreated to the back of the den.

"I'm going to lie two share tongues or compare your claw lengths or whatever it is young toms do."

Firefang flushed and rolled his eyes. Onewhisker rolled over on his side so that he was facing Firefang. "...are all ShadowClan she-cats like that or is she just special?"

"Don't ask." Firefang flicked his tail. He nosed over the mouse he brought. "Hungry?"

Without a word Onewhisker took a bite. After a few more bites he looked up at Firefang and quietly meowed: "Why?"

The orange tabby knew he wasn't asking about the mouse.

"It—it was wrong." Firefang meowed at last, his tail curling up around his paws. "What Jaggedtooth was doing, what Brokenstar was going to do...all of it."

Onewhisker looked at the orange warrior levelly. "...Last night I would've torn you apart for what your Clan did to mine." He meowed seriously. "Part of me still wants to."

Flattening his ears against his head Firefang nodded. "I don't blame you." He hung his head.

"StarClan save me." Onewhisker twitched his nose, half bemused. "A ShadowClan cat with a sense of shame." He let his head lay back against the ground. "StarClan save me...they didn't save my Clan though, did they?"

Firefang licked his ears. "It'll be okay...somehow, I know WindClan will survive. StarClan will protect them. And you and Gorsekit."

" is he?"

"One of our queens is suckling him." Firefang reported. "Brightflower. She...just lost her kits."

Onewhisker flattened his ears. "And raise him to be a loyal ShadowClan lackey of Brokenstar like the rest of you?"

That stung. Firefang winced. "That's not fair—" Even before he finished, Firefang knew that was exactly the wrong thing to say.

"Fair? Fair?" Onewhisker yowled. "What about what happened to my Clan? Was that 'fair?' " His hissed and spat.

"I know, I know!" Firefang raised his voice. "And I swear by StarClan I will find a way to make it right!"

His empathic declaration hung in the air. Onewhisker looked up at Firefang, eyes wide.

"...Do you know what you're saying?" Onewhisker meowed, strangely calm.

Firefang nodded. "Yes...I swear by all the warrior ancestors of StarClan that no matter what it takes, Brokenstar or no Brokenstar...I will set things right for WindClan." He said steadily, looking Onewhisker straight in the eyes, never looking away.

Onewhisker said nothing for a long time. Finally he meowed. "They say ShadowClan cats are the best liars in the forest." He said finally. "The cleverest schemers, best planners and strategists...but somehow I don't think you're a liar Firefang. Your eyes are too honest."

Dipping his head, Firefang meowed gently. "Thank you. And I'll do my best to help you and Gorsekit until we can help WindClan."

"That's a noble promise." Onewhisker sighed. "I trust that you're going to try to honor it—StarClan knows why—but, how?"

Firefang opened his mouth to answer—what he was going to say he didn't know. But he was saved from answering by Boulder yowling. "Firefang it's time for the Gathering! Come!"

With a last look at Onewhisker, Firefang murmured. "We'll talk later." With that, he darted out of the den and joined the assembled ShadowClan cats on their way to the Gathering.

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