Fire and Shadow

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


34. Chapter Thirty-Four

Firefang had been sitting by himself shortly before Ravenwing left. After his talk with Nightstar he just wanted to be alone to think. He intended to spend the last night before the battle alone, in contemplation. He sighed.

"Firefang?" A soft voice mewed from behind.

Fate, it seemed, had different plans. Firefang turned his head and a pretty black she-cat padded up to him. "Hello Nightpaw." He replied.

"May I sit with you?" She purred. Firefang didn't have the heart to turn her away. He nodded. She sat down right beside the orange furred deputy, her tail curled around her feet. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." He replied. A moment later he felt her brushing her head against his shoulder, her tail wrapping itself around his own. She was purring and Firefang felt himself purring as well.

It was confusing for the poor tom. On one level Firefang still had feelings for Mistyfoot. But she was right when they realized that they couldn't be together. The two of them were from different Clans that neither could forsake. Especially now that they were both deputies of their respective Clans. She might as well have been a medicine cat as far as Firefang was concerned. But Nightpaw….

Firefang really didn't pay her much attention until he saved her from that adder. Her youthful crush had been alternatively awkward and amusing. He hadn't really paid it any heed; that is, until she started growing up. He remembered her standing up to Brokentail when he ordered Firefang and Onewhisker put to death, standing up to Tigerstar at the Gathering...she was magnificent, even if she hadn't had he warrior naming ceremony yet. She was brave, proud, and beautiful. But was it right for Firefang to take a mate, be it Nightpaw or any other she-cat, when his first love was Mistyfoot? Wouldn't he just end up treating them as his second-choice?

Then suddenly a thought occurred to him, almost as if a revelation. You can't be in love with a memory, or with the past. In his core, Firefang knew that Nightpaw wasn't a replacement for Mistyfoot anymore than she was Mistyfoot herself. Mistyfoot was Mistyfoot. Nightpaw was Nightpaw. Firefang couldn't compare the two anymore than he could compare the sun and the moon. He knew that while he would cherish what he and Mistyfoot had shared, that he could—and would—love Nightpaw for all the moons to come. Of the two she-cats Firefang had known and come to care for, Nightpaw was the one StarClan had allowed him to be with.

She looked up at him, her black fur somehow shining beautifully in the darkness of the night. "Tomorrow is going to be the largest battle in the history of all the Clans." She mewed.

"You'll come through okay." Firefang meowed. "I promise." He meant it.

Nightpaw blinked her eyes and dipped her head in acknowledgment. "It isn't me that I'm worried about." She looked up at him. "Nightstar may be the leader of our Clan, but you're the warrior who brought the Clans together. You're more than any leader the forest has known. We can't afford to lose you." She paused before adding softly, "I can't lose you."

Firefang purred, rubbing his head against hers. "You won't. I still have to be there for your warrior ceremony."

Nightpaw purred delightedly. "I'll shred an entire patrol of those rogues!" Her eyes gleamed, looking forward to being made a full warrior. Firefang was happy for her. At least she was looking ahead to a time after the battle. He couldn't think of anything else but the battle itself.

But when Nightpaw started licking his ears Firefang managed to forget, for a while, all about the upcoming battle. For now there was only tonight and Nightpaw. And Firefang promised to himself that he'd never let himself lose her. And StarClan have mercy on Tigerstar or any rogue that tried to lay a paw on Nightpaw, for Firefang would have none.

Firefang lost all sense of time. He was barely aware of it until he heard a cat meow from behind him. "Firefang?"

"Huh? Ravenwing?" Firefang craned his head around as Nightpaw sat up and stretched beside him. "What is it?"

The black ThunderClan tom twitched his ear nervously. "I brought someone I think you ought to talk to." He meowed. "I went to the ThunderClan camp and, well, he can tell it better." Ravenwing stepped aside to reveal another cat behind him.

Firefang hissed when he saw who it was. "Blackfoot."

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