Slushbelly and Harepaw

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  • #997
    Hareflight [Mel]
    Participant

    Two different coloured eyes peered out into the camp from the Medicine Cat Den, scanning over the cats in the camp, and finally, a cat emerged. The cat was small, just over six moons old, but small even for her age. Each step she took past her den was hesitant and her eyes were wide. It seemed that Harepaw was in an indefinite state of anxiety, although the tension around camp certainly didn’t help. And Harepaw, sleeping in the same den as Saplingskies, got a good feel for how much tension there was. It was starting to affect her too. She had attempted to have a friendly conversation with the deputy, and in her attempt to comfort him, had ended up bringing up Blazemoon and offending him. She wondered if it was possible for a cat so bad at being friendly to even be a medicine cat. Could Saplingskies have made a mistake about her?

    The fact that they hadn’t been able to get much training in hadn’t helped Harepaw’s nerves either. She was worried – worried that she wouldn’t be good enough, wouldn’t be a fast enough learner, that Saplingskies would hate being her mentor. Would Saplingskies tell her she should go be warrior apprentice? What if he told Hornetstar that she was an awful apprentice, and Hornetstar exiled her? Could she even survive as a rogue? With her shoddy balance, and constant fear, she thought probably not.

    Harepaw shook her head, forcing herself out of her hysterics. She was being ridiculous, and she knew it. Things would be okay – they were in a rough patch, and the uneasiness the Clan was feeling was just putting her more on edge than usual. She put one paw in front of the other, forcing herself to move to the outskirts of the clearing. Then, as if to find one simple task that she could complete without worry, Harepaw set to work on grooming her thick pelt, which was sticking up in various places.


    It would take a fool not to notice the tension in camp that had appeared after Blazemoon’s ceremony and vigil. Slushbelly could be oblivious sometimes, he would admit that, but he wasn’t so bad that he couldn’t notice things going on. The leader, deputy, and medicine cat seeming to be at odds, everyone else sensing the shift in dynamics and becoming uneasy in turn. It was worrisome he knew, but he was even more certain they’d get through this. ShadowClan was resilient, if anything.

    He had been keeping a closer eye on the young of the Clan though, certain they would be feeling the loss of one of their kind even more than the warriors and elders. Everyone should be well aware of their own mortality, leading the life of a Clan cat, but it was still another thing to see someone close to your age die. To be reminded that, even with big, strong warriors and an experienced medicine cat, that death could come so very easily and suddenly. Surprisingly he hadn’t needed to talk to anyone yet, but as soon as he saw Harepaw easing out of the medicine cat’s den, the orange and grey tom seemed to perk up slightly. His icy blue eyes locked onto her calico pelt, noting her appearance. Nothing concerning as far as he could see, but how in StarClan’s name was the medicine cat’s apprentice taking this? Blazemoon had been Saplingskies’ younger sister, if he recalled things right. Such a mess this whole thing was.

    “Hey there, Harepaw,” he greeted warmly, soft smile on his white muzzle. Slowly he took a seat by her, sighing softly as he studied the rest of the clearing. “Duties been treatin’ ya good? Newleaf always seems like such’a busy time fer everyone.”


    Having zoned in on her task, the voice from beside her made her start slightly. She fluffed up a little in surprised, and glanced over at the warrior, allowing herself to calm once more. Her amber and blue eyes fixed on the other, and a small smile fell onto her maw. “Oh- Hi! Hi, Slushbelly!” She said, her ears shifting to fix on him. At his question, she ducked her head in agreement. “Things have been going okay. As well as- Well, as well as they can right now,” her voice trailed off slightly towards the end, and she paused. Her paws shuffled against the ground for a moment. “Things are just busy.” She agreed, allowing a sigh to drop from her lips. “Especially with Saplingskies. We’re doing the best we can.”

    One ear flicked in dismissal as she felt the familiar pang of worry start to build in her chest. Saplingskies would be okay, and so would she. “But- But at least weather has been good, and prey has been as well.” She mumbled, her voice tripping once before she caught it again. As she spoke, she stuck out a paw to gesture to fresh-kill pile. Awkwardly, her voice trailed off and her head ducked. Harepaw wasn’t sure what else to say, and the worry of offending or angering someone else kept her from rambling on. She allowed her ears to flatten back against her head as she glanced around camp and away from Slushbelly.


    A gentle, slightly amused smile appeared on his lips as he realized he had surprised the young she-cat a bit. He wasn’t being condescending or rude in the least bit though. It faded slightly as she managed a reply, tired sigh slipping past his lips. Yes, he supposed her statement wasn’t too far off. Things could be going much worse, but they certainly could be going better.

    The older warrior indulged her by listening with a soft smile as she rambled on about the weather and prey, following her paw pointing to the pile. “Tha’s all well ‘nd good, Harepaw,” he began, icy blue gaze flitting back to her. He turned full bodily to face her, showing she had all of his attention. “But how’re you doin’ personally, huh?” Obviously he genuinely cared, expecting her to answer honestly.


    As he spoke, Harepaw’s attention snapped to the warrior, and she hummed softly in thought. With everything going on, she had been trying her best to think about how others were doing before herself, and hadn’t sat to just think about how everything was affecting her. Thus, she took a few moments to think before even speaking.

    “I’m- I’m okay. I want to just get- get my training started because I feel like I’m kind of use-use-” She paused a moment, her claws stretching out of her paws in slight frustration. “Kind of useless to the Clan. While I don’t know a lot, that is. I obviously didn’t get to- to train as a warrior, so I can’t fight, and I barely knew how to be a proper medicine cat.” She hesitated a moment, her head ducking in embarrassment. “What if Hornetstar thinks I’m-I’m doing a bad job a-and exiles me??” Her voice had rose slightly in hysteria, but now she sighed softly, shaking her head.

    #1967
    Hornetstar
    Participant

    Useless? No one in the Clan was useless. “While ya may feel like that righ’ now, Harepaw, give it time. Ya still collect herbs when ya can, and Saplin’skies’ll start trainin’ ya soon. As yer prob’ly well aware, seein’ as ya work with ’em, he’s goin’ through a rough time right now,” he assured her softly, a gentle smile on his lips. She was quite adorable, though he wished she wouldn’t be so worked and hard on herself.

    “Exiles ya, huh?” Again he was chuckling, shaking his head in amusement. “Not gonna happen. He has no power over ya ’cause he ain’t a medicine cat. Only ones who can fire ya are Saplin’skies or StarClan, even then they can’t exile ya. Only one who can do that is Hornetstar. Case ‘n point? Yer perfectly safe.”

    #2150
    Hareflight [Mel]
    Participant

    She nodded her head, letting a breath escape through her maw. “I just wish I knew what to do to help him while he’s g-going through such a hard time.” Harepaw said softly. However, despite the fact that her eyes were fixed on the ground, her ears were perked and she listened intently to what Slushbelly had to say next. Then, she glanced up, her head tilting, and fell back into a sitting position thoughtfully.

    “I guess.. I’d never really thought of it like that.” Her dual-coloured gaze stared intently at the warrior for a moment. “And you don’t think StarClan will fire me, right? What if they made a mistake… and I’m just not right for the job.” Her paws kneaded at the ground beneath her as she considered Slushbelly’s words. Saplingskies seemed to believe in her, so she wasn’t too worried about him dismissing her, but she had barely even considered StarClan. Although she would never say this, she hadn’t had anything from StarClan since her visit to the Mooncave and she had no idea if that was normal. Out of fear that it wasn’t though, she said nothing about this, simply glancing nervously up at Slushbelly.

    #2366
    Hornetstar
    Participant

    “Jus: gotta be there ta support ’em, Harepaw. I know, sittin’ back and jus’ supportin’ sucks, but it’s about tha best ya can honestly do. Pushin’ too hard ‘nd too fast might only make thangs worse, ‘nd ever’body needs different thangs durin’ a time like this,” he explained, only too willing to offer the she-cat what wisdom he had. He may have still been relatively young himself, but he had learned a thing or two in his shirt lifespan.

    He raised an eyebrow at her, amused but warm smile curling his lips even further. “Now, what kinda harebrained question is that? Why would SarClan pick ya in tha first place if they’re jus’ gonna fire ya down the road? Seems awfully ineffecient ta me.” One of these days, hopefully Harepaw became more self-confident and less worrisome. Having a large ego wasn’t good, but similarly not having a large enough one wasn’t either.

    #2369
    Hareflight [Mel]
    Participant

    Harepaw nodded slowly and contently. Supporting was okay. She could do that. If she stayed secure and calm until all of this breezed by, it would be okay. She was more than happy to accept his advice and guidance – in times like these she was trying to get advice from anyone who would offer it. But that was what being a part of ShadowClan was – connecting, sharing advice and wisdom.

    Harepaw was pulled out of her thoughts as he spoke again, her ears twisting to face him and her head tilting slightly. Under her breath, she hummed thoughtfully, brows furrowing. “Well, they might have chosen me but what if I’m not living up to their- their expectations? There has been so much happening lately that it’s so hard to believe StarClan wanted these things to happen. What if they’ve been making mistakes and I’m just one of them?” Then, she spoke again more softly. “I don’t know if I could be a warrior, let alone a good one.”

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