June 22, 2019 at 7:19 pm #1725
The first day’s hunting patrol was returning back to ShadowClan camp, the sun still hung high above the sky, basking the cats in its mid-day heat. Dawncloud was never a fan of hot weather, even though Newleaf blessed the Clan cats with new growth and the return of prey, she found the weather to be particularly difficult to deal with. The ShadowClan warrior would have liked to say that the heat was what was throwing her off today, but she knew that she would be lying to herself.
She hadn’t come back to camp with a single shred of prey for her Clanmates and she winced as she set her paws down on the ground in front of her. Dawncloud had been distracted while she was out hunting and had gotten her paw wrenched in a snake’s hole as she was chasing a shrew. Her Clanmates on patrol had tried to warn her, but it came too late and she had managed to get her paw stuck through the small dent in the ground.
The diluted calico cat scowled as her Clanmates helped her back into camp grounds. She hoped it wasn’t broken, it was swollen and it hurt to put her weight on it, but it could look worse off… Maybe. If her mind wasn’t still so clouded with grief at the death of her mate, Cinderfoot, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten herself into this predicament. It had been more than several moons now since his passing, but Dawncloud still had yet to get past the loss.
As the hunting patrol breached the entrance of ShadowClan camp, a member of the patrol party offered to lend her a shoulder to get her off to the medicine cat den, but Dawncloud stubbornly shoo’d them off. She had gotten herself into this mess and now she would see herself through it, too.June 22, 2019 at 7:42 pm #1726
It was a day much like any other, filled with trivial pleasantries and solitary hunting to try and kill his thoughts. It hasn’t worked so far, but Tawnypainter was known to be quite persistent as he ran his life into the ground every few moons. He’d been actively avoiding closeness with any others, enjoying his solitude and the voice in his head screaming no-cat wanted to hear him complain far more than he could the company of some-cat who would pretend to care.
And so it was no surprise that he was settled at the edge of camp, having contented himself with his pitiful catch of a single shrew earlier in the day and resigning himself to brooding for some time. His plans were cut short as a hunting patrol returned. He lifted himself to his paws, padding over with the idea he’d check in how their trip had gone; he, however, came to see Dawncloud had returned with a visible limp.
She was sending off the rest of the party just before Tawnypainter reached her, his approach timed just perfectly for him to hear the last couple words of her dismissal to the others. Without hesitating, he placed himself at her side, propping his shoulder up under her own so as to take some weight off the paw she was favoring.
“Don’t even think of trying to scare me off,” he grumbled quietly, keeping his eyes averted. He might be a miserable, unbearable wretch as of late, but he would not back down as easily as her previous companions seemed to. “We’ll get you to Saplingskies’s den,” he explained, turning his paws in the direction of the medicine cat’s den and guiding Dawncloud there.June 22, 2019 at 8:18 pm #1727
Dawncloud started in surprise at Tawnypainter’s abrupt appearance by her side. “Wh-what? Wait–” Her indignant reply was cut off by the deputy’s stern words. He clearly had overheard her shooing away her Clanmates earlier and was making no room for her to reject his help as well. Although she did not want any help getting around on her own paws, the warrior kept her jaws shut as to not say anything out of line.
She made her way to Saplingskies’s den in no time thanks to Tawnypainter’s help. It wounded her pride to need help across the clearing, but the fact remained that she was having trouble walking on her own paws at the moment. She nodded a thank you to the two-toned tom. “Saplingskies?” Dawncloud called as they entered the medicine cat den, “I’ve.. uh, I’ve wrenched my paw.”June 22, 2019 at 8:37 pm #1728
Saplingskies was enjoying his morning meal, brought to him Harepaw. The young she-cat had already finished and was off performing her morning chores, leaving the medicine cat to eat alone.
He hadn’t groomed and was eating at a leisurely pace, obviously not expecting to be needed so early in the morning. He wasn’t even halfway finished before two cats made their way into his den. He swore under his breath as he got to his paws, beckoning the two warriors in. By their scents, he could easily tell who he was speaking to, even in the dark.
“Bring her to a nest, Tawnypainter,” he instructed, sleep still heavy in his voice. Abandoning his meal, he turned to the herb collection and began to pick out everything he needed. “Can you tell me what happened, Dawncloud?” He asked, swiveling his ears back towards the she-cat as he collected his materials.June 22, 2019 at 8:47 pm #1729
Tawnypainter was quite pleased that Dawncloud decided against protesting. It would have only ended in his scolding her, and he didn’t much feel up to scolding an injured Clanmate. As a stubborn thorn in every-cat’s sides himself, stubbornness was not often something he admired– or even tolerated. His likeness in others was usually only an annoyance.
When they finally reached Saplingskies’s den, the painted tom couldn’t help the way his stomach tied in a tight knot, as though trying to prevent him from entering the den. They’d made amends, but the wounds were still healing. He saw that they’d interrupted the medicine cat’s meal, and guilt pricked at his belly. He supposed if something was going to happen, it would be at the worst possible time as always.
At Saplingskies’s direction, Tawnypainter led Dawncloud to the closest nest. He helped her settle before taking a step back, feeling rather out of place. He wanted nothing more than to run away, head back to his spot within the camp clearing and avoid every cat like he had been intending to do, but he would wait for a dismissal, should one come. Saplingskies or Dawncloud might find they needed him for something, maybe… Perhaps it was just this small hope of feeling needed for the first time in a while that kept him lingering; he’d never admit it, even if it were true.June 22, 2019 at 9:00 pm #1730
Tawnypainter had helped her adjust to a nest in the medicine cat’s den per the request of Saplingskies and Dawncloud adjusted to resting in the soft moss with a wince. She sat herself upright and took care to lift her injured paw off of the ground as not to irritate it any further and to make it easier for the medicine cat to inspect. The diluted-colored feline also felt a pang of guilt for disturbing the healer’s morning meal, but she pushed it out of her mind as she replied to his inquiry, “I was chasing a shrew on the morning hunting patrol and I accidentally went right into a snake hole.”
Dawncloud felt an awkward burn on her ears and she flattened them to her head to try and stifle the embarrassment that crawled up her spine. It wasn’t like well-grown warriors to make such flea-brained mistakes and she was preparing herself for the scolding she would receive from one of the toms. Deputy or medicine cat, being reprimanded by either one of them would be just plain embarrassing and just the thought made her nauseous.
On top of that, the tension already mounting the den was not lost on her. It wasn’t exactly common knowledge in ShadowClan that their deputy and their medicine cat fancied one another, but Clans spread rumors quickly and the uneasiness ebbing off of Tawnypainter in waves certainly wasn’t subtle. She wondered for a heartbeat if she should dismiss the two-toned tom for Saplingskies just to ease the awkwardness of the situation, but it wasn’t her place to do so. They would just have to bear with it.June 22, 2019 at 9:31 pm #1731
Saplingskies nodded as Dawncloud told her story. “An honest mistake,” he mewed, approaching the warrior and deputy with a bundle of herbs and some materials for a splint. “I’ve seen to plenty of warriors who have done the exact same thing.”
He set his materials down and settled beside Dawncloud, crouching to inspect her paw. “Now, judging by the way you didn’t come into my den crying and screaming in pain, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not broken. However, I’ll do a quick examination just to be sure…”
He trailed off, noticing the uncomfortable look on Tawnypainter’s face and the tension radiating off him. The tom’s attitude was getting a bit ridiculous at this point. “Tawnypainter, why don’t you go fetch Dawncloud something to eat? I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.” His voice was firm, but he wasn’t being unkind. “Once you’ve done that, you’re free to go if you so desire, but stay close by so you can help her back to the warrior’s den once we’re done.
After giving his instructions, his focus returned to Dawncloud. “I’m going to press on your paw a bit to feel for any breaks. This won’t feel good at all, but I promise it’ll be over quick, alright?” Once he had given her the warning, he gently felt her paw in a few different places, trying his best not to cause too much pain or discomfort.
“I don’t feel any broken bones. Can you do this?” He asked, raising his paw and wiggling his toes a few times. “Typically a break prevents you from doing this movement, while a sprain just makes it a bit uncomfortable.” He explained, lowering his paw and watching her mimic his gesture.June 23, 2019 at 2:31 pm #1744
He knew he wasn’t helping any, but ignored the firmness in Saplingskies’s voice as he was ordered away. Breathing a small sigh, Tawnypainter didn’t speak a word before ducking out of the medicine cat’s den to do as he’d been told.June 23, 2019 at 8:23 pm #1756
Dawncloud winced at the pressure that Saplingskies put down on her paw, but the pain wasn’t exactly unbearable. Relief flooded through her when the medicine cat told her that it was not broken. At his instructions, the warrior stretched out her paws and flexed her claws, her expression twisting in pain once again at the discomfort that flashed through her leg as she did so.
“So I’ve just sprained it, then..?” She muttered to the tom as she lowered her paw once more to the ground. At least a sprain could be solved in a matter of a few sunrises, instead of a break which would prevent her from her warrior duties for possibly a whole season.
Dawncloud’s head lifted as movement from the medicine den indicated that Tawnypainter had left them, wordlessly at that. Perhaps he was more bothered by being around the Clan healer than he let on..?June 24, 2019 at 5:53 pm #1785
The medicine cat nodded, curling his tail around his paws. “Yes, you should be able to return to your duties in a few days. I’ll put a poultice on it and wrap it up. You can eat once I’m done, then I’ll give you some poppy seeds and let Tawnypainter help you to the warrior’s den.” He explained, beginning to chew up the herbs he had selected.
Once he was finished chewing, he mixed everything together and began applying it to Dawncloud’s paw., rubbing it in gently to avoid hurting her. Once he was finished, he created a splint out of cobwebs, sticks, and bindweed, wrapping her paw carefully so it would heal correctly. He checked his work before stepping back.
“Rest now,” he cooed softly, motioning for her to lay down. “Tawnypainter should return with your meal any moment now.” He smiled at her before turning to put the few herbs he didn’t use back.June 24, 2019 at 6:12 pm #1786
Returning now with a vole clamped in his jaws, Tawnypainter shouldered his way into the medicine cat’s den. He seemed to be just as unsettled as he’d been before he’d left, but he made a point of ignoring it. Dropping the prey at Dawncloud’s paws, he then took a step back and settled onto his haunches.
“You need to be careful,” he meowed slowly, his tail tip flicking for a moment. “From some-cat who didn’t care about being careful, don’t make a habit of injuring your paws.” He glanced away, ignoring the way his pelt prickled hotly.June 24, 2019 at 9:12 pm #1790
Having her paw so tightly bound made Dawncloud feel awkward and restricted, but she knew that it was necessary for it to heal correctly, so she did not complain despite the discomfort. “Thank you, Saplingskies.” The warrior mewed her appreciation to the medicine cat as she settled down as comfortably as she could in her nest. It felt awkward with her paw sticking unceremoniously out from under her, but she supposed it was the best she could settle for now.
When Tawnypainter reappeared with a piece of fresh-kill for her, Dawncloud smiled up at him to show that she appreciated his assistance as well. His words of advice administered nothing more than a flick of her ear to show that she had heard him. But he didn’t need to worry about that, she was not quite so stubborn that she would not allow her body to heal properly.
“So,” she started casually as she bit into the vole, “Have you two announced your mateship to the Clan yet?”June 24, 2019 at 9:27 pm #1792
A small choking sound left Tawnypainter as Dawncloud asked on his and Saplingskies’s relationship, his heart constricting painfully. His ears fell to his skull, and he spoke before he could even think of his response. “I prefer she-cats, thank you,” he muttered, his cheeks burning hot. He didn’t look to Saplingskies, instead averting his gaze and desperately fighting the tightness growing in his chest.
Denial was quite the cushion to fall back on when being open with oneself would bring questions better left unanswered. Even with his very obvious fondness for toms, Tawnypainter had never admitted to such feelings. StarClan, he’d even taken a tom as a mate in the past! But still, he couldn’t accept he might be anything but heterosexual.June 24, 2019 at 9:36 pm #1794
Saplingskies offered a lighthearted chuckle at the she-cat’s question. His response was intended to be a playful ‘Maybe someday,’ but the deputy’s words stopped that thought right in its tracks.
The medicine cat visibly flinched, causing him to drop a stick he had picked up to to return to storage. collectionHis demeanor changed almost immediately. His ears flattened to his head and his whole pelt burned with embarrassment.
‘So, it was all a lie after all,’ he thought bitterly to himself, shaking his head. He didn’t say a word. He just quietly continued to fiddle around with his herb collection, curling his tail tightly around his paws.June 24, 2019 at 10:10 pm #1796
Dawncloud’s pelt stood on end after Tawnypainter’s outburst. Fiery hot rage burned her from within so hot that for a heartbeat, she could have sworn her fur was hot to the touch. She had never known the deputy to be so abrasive and she was shocked to hear him so blatantly dismiss someone that she had thought he cared for.
“You should be ashamed of yourself!” She retorted, narrowing her blue eyes in the two-toned tom’s direction. She stretched awkwardly in her nest to rest her tail comfortingly on Saplingskies shoulder, offering him what little comfort she could manage in this dreadful situation.
“Whether or not your feelings are in order, you had someone who cared deeply for you. You should at least have the gall to respect how he feels!”
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