Fire and Shadow

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

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4992672/1/Fire-and-Shadow

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2. Chapter Two

Rusty felt his head swimming as the two cats flanking him "escorted" him. He barely had any sense of where he was going. The excitement, the terror, the exhaustion...so many strong sensations for a house cat it was a wonder he knew which way was up.

His eyelids started drooping until Rusty felt a cat bump into him. "Stay awake kittypet, I'm not dragging you back to our camp by the scruff like a queen," snapped the cat on his left.

"Ease up Brownpaw," said the other. "It's not much further." Brownpaw dropped off into incoherent mumbles. Wetpaw, the other cat helping Rusty, looked up. "There's the patrol." He raised his voice and meowed, "Boulder!" he called out his mentor's name.

A silver-gray skinny tom with bright eyes and a ragged ear looked up. His apprentice had been detached from him to go on patrol while Boulder went hunting. He blinked at the sight of his apprentice helping up an unfamiliar orange kitten with no clan scent, but ripe with a scent he knew all too well. Twolegs!

"Wetpaw...what is that kittypet doing here?" He demanded. The two apprentices started talking over one another, each eager to be the one who delivered the important news.

"Blackfoot told us to bring him—" "He ran across the border—" "—told ThunderClan cat to go—" "—Stood up to Tigerclaw!"

Boulder flattened his ears. "Apprentices!" He thought. Raising his voice he yowled over the two of them "Enough! I think I get the idea." He twitched his tail and made his way over to Rusty. The ShadowClan warrior stood over the young cat, watching him. Rusty looked up at him. Small and tired, but somehow...not afraid. He met Boulder's gaze. Boulder twitched an ear. "Alright, take him to Yellowfang. Then report back to me Wetpaw."

Wetpaw nodded eagerly. "Right Boulder! C'mon..." He nudged Rusty ahead toward the medicine cat's den. "Yellowfang will take good care of you—"

As they drew near the medicine cat den, they heard an exasperated female yowl. "Runningnose I told you I needed poppy seeds, not nettle seeds! Mouse brain! Do you keep your mind in your tail, so that you squash it whenever you sit down? It's the only explanation I can think of..."

"—Or not." Brownpaw smirked. "With ol' Yellowfang, some cats would prefer to be sick than see her. Disease isn't as painful."

"I heard that!" Yellowfang yowled from inside the den. Brownpaw's ears flattened and he winced as Wetpaw purred in amusement.

"Tough luck." He said, half sincerely. Then he proceeded to prod Rusty forward. "Go on in. She wont claw you...much."

Too tired and exhausted and in pain to really care, Rusty dragged himself into the medicine cat den. He scented two cats inside before he saw them. An old dark gray she-cat with a broad, flat face and a small gray-and-white tom with a wet nose regarded him. Yellowfang opened her mouth to take in his scent; almost gagging upon doing so. "A kittypet?! What are you doing here?"

"Blackfoot sent him." Wetpaw answered respectfully, not wanting to get on Yellowfang's bad side.

Yellowfang's eyes widened. "Blackfoot? That's...hard to believe." She said in lieu of something stronger.

Brownpaw chimed in. "He did it to annoy ThunderClan."

Yellowfang blinked. "...Alright, that's not so hard to believe." She purred, walking over to butt Rusty's side with her head. "Let's take a look....hmmm. Runningnose, we're going to need cobwebs for those cuts."

"And poppy seeds so he can rest?" Sniffed her apprentice. Yellowfang nodded. Rusty tensed as Yellowfang approached him, her paw full of cobwebs.

"For StarClan's sake, what is it about being healed that makes all toms into mice?" Yellowpaw mumbled as she dabbed a wad of cobwebs in his chest. "Hold still."

Rusty winced. "I'm fine. Thank you..."

"The kittypet speaks!" Yellowfang's whiskers twitched. Then they twitched again and her face took on a distinctly unhappy look as she scented someone standing in the entrance of her den.

"Yellowfang!" It was Jaggedtooth. "Brokenstar wants to see you in his den, immediately." Yellowfang snorted. "I'm with a patient..."

Jaggedtooth took a step forward. "You are with a kittypet." He hissed. "Your leader summoned you. If you call yourself a ShadowClan cat you will come with me. Now." Yellowfang hissed back. Jaggedtooth unsheathed his claws....

"I can take it from here Yellowfang." Runningnose said quickly, offering Rusty a poppy seed. "Eat this. It'll help you sleep." Rusty ate it without thinking, too confused by everything going on. What was this place? Who were these cats? And...and...his eyelids fluttered as the poppy seed took effect.

&&&

Yellowfang walked into Brokenstar's den, ignoring Jaggedtooth as he stopped outside the entrance and turned away. "You wanted to see me." She said flatly, not a question. A long-haired, dark brown tabby tom grumbled as she approached.

"I did, old one." Brokenstar said not bothering to hide his contempt. "Blackfoot gave me his report from the Thunderpath. Could this...this kittypet be the one StarClan spoke of? The fire that will save the clan?" Yellowfang's tail curled and she forced herself to nod, once.

"It...seems likely."

Brokenstar got up and paced around his den angrily. "A kittypet to save ShadowClan? And save it from what?!"

"That I could not say." Yellowfang meowed, all emotion kept out of her voice. "StarClan hasn't revealed that to me." Brokenstar snorted.

"Do you really think that he could last a day as a warrior?" He asked incredulously.

Yellowfang's blinked her eyes slowly. "There is only one way to find out."

Brokenstar said nothing for a long time. Finally he mewed evenly. "Send Blackfoot in."

&&&

"You can't be serious." The words had burst from Blackfoot before he could restrain himself. He immediately regretted it when Brokenstar glowered at him, growling.

"I am always serious. You should know that by now."

Blackfoot backpeddled, grateful no one else was present for this. "Brokenstar, I know I brought that kittypet here by your order—and I admit that angering ThunderClan is in itself no small pleasure—but how could we permit a kittypet to join our clan? He knows nothing of our ways! Kittypet blood is inferior to warrior blood!"

Brokenstar's tail languidly waved. "I have my reasons, which as your leader, I do not have to tell you of." Brokenstar had told no one else of the prophecy Yellowfang had told him of the night before and ordered her to keep silent as well. "If I tell you to do something, you will do it and that will be all. Understood?"

"Yes Brokenstar." Blackfoot's eyes flickered down. "I meant no disrespect."

"In any event," Brokenstar went on, essentially ignoring Blackfoot. "I would remind you that the same could—and was—said of Boulder when I welcomed him into the clan. Even Raggedstar balked until I won him over." Neither one of them commented that Raggedstar's pride in his son and then-deputy was such that he could never deny Brokenstar (then merely Brokentail) anything. Brokenstar went on. "And now he is one of our clan's finest warriors."

Blackfoot though about disputing that but thought better of it. Instead he merely said, "Boulder was never a kittypet though. He had to live, hunt, and fight all on his own to survive as a loner. That accounts for much of his strength and skills which, as you say, are a benefit to us. But that little furball probable never hunted so much as a mouse!"

Brokenstar gazed levelly at Blackfoot. "He will, of course be tested. Should he pass, I will make him an apprentice so that he may learn the skills he needs." When Blackfoot looked like he was about to object Brokenstar added. "Continue to complain and I will be sure that you are chosen as his mentor." Blackfoot closed his mouth. "Tomorrow once he has rested somewhat, I will test him. If he passes he will be apprenticed. If not...." Brokenstar gave a languid flick of his tail. "Go."

Blackfoot nodded and departed. A pair of eyes watched him go, dark with suspicion as he watched the leader's den. "He will ruin us." The cat meowed to himself. He didn't know what was happening with the strange things Brokenstar had done since becoming leader...especially this latest episode with bringing that kittypet back to their camp. "StarClan save us, he will ruin us all."

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