January 11, 2021 at 5:22 pm #10737
So then he was going to be a grandfather. With his ineptitude at being a father, he wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t been told directly, and had had to learn through Clan gossip. If he’d been even the slightest bit involved with his kits, he likely would’ve known sooner. Cocoaflower was expecting, with none other than Saplingskies’s brother’s kits, and the guilt had hit him hard. He had spent days now in something of a trance, his entire world crashing around him. Why had he always been such a worthless tom? His kits had deserved better. It was as though this news brought emotions to the surface that he’d fought long and hard to ignore.
He hadn’t always been this way; there was a time, long before Cocoaflower had even been conceived, that he’d been a great father. He’d devoted his life to his kits, had tended to them even to the point of neglecting himself. The day it all changed had been unforeseen, unexpected, and had ruined him entirely. Rowanberry… He had blamed her for his misfortune. The loss of their kits, an entire litter stillborn, had plagued him and had shaped his relationship— or lack thereof— with all kits that came after. He’d distanced himself from them, shut himself off completely and reacted coldly in their presence on the off chance he interacted at all with them, and he knew it had hurt them.
With his own father absent and cold, he had vowed never to become what had hurt him so terribly, but he had become his father regardless. He had no excuses, and he knew that he was getting just what he deserved. Was it too late to fix what had been done? Could he step in now and hope to form a relationship with those he’d wronged? Could he ever hope to mend his family?
He sought now his daughter, a deep ache in his chest and a broken heart accompanying him. Would she even speak with him? He knew he couldn’t force her; he’d never dream of putting her in such a situation where she’d feel obligated to speak with him. It was entirely her choice, after all he’d done. What would he even say to her? Hazel eyes falling on the young she-cat, he made his way over to her. As he reached her, he hesitated a moment before speaking. “Cocoaflower,” he began after a breath, “Could we talk?” His voice was slow, uncertain. She could tell him no, he knew. She had the right to.January 11, 2021 at 10:11 pm #10745
Cocoaflower ~ ShadowClan Queen
Although this was her first pregnancy and she wasn’t exactly showing as she had just completed her first moon. This is exhausting. She thought to herself, sitting on her rump beside the warriors den, her pupils narrowing as she looked down at her stomach. She could feel how her body was changing and the way she was craving certain prey, although she was withholding from stuffing her face. In the dead of Leaf-Bare, their prey was scarce and she wasn’t about to be the one that scarved it all down. Lowering her chin, she slowly draped her tongue over her small belly, she could feel the swell beginning to happen but her painted pelt was hiding the change well. As of yesterday she was forced to retire from her duties as a warrior, Hareflight wasn’t wrong. She needed to take things easy because of her pregnancy but it was getting difficult for her to just sit here idly. Lips pressed together as she slowly lifted her chin, different colored eyes gazing upon the ground in thought.
No one from her family really knew about her pregnancy but they wouldn’t care anyways. Her mother would have, Panthercloud would’ve been so excited for grandkits. Unfortunately green cough had taken her mother’s life when she was only just an apprentice and her father was never around for her, he didn’t care. He cared for she-cats when he needed comfort of his own but once they bore his kits, the affection was over. She didn’t want her kits to know of such a male, it wasn’t normal. Instead her mate had the father she desired, Hollowflame was a strong and well respected warrior of the clan, he bore strong children who knew the importance of family. In that way she was envious of Snappingfox, he had the father she desired.
Speaking of fathers, she was more than surprised as she heard a familiar voice, one that she had longed for when she was growing up. Ears stood up on top of her head as she showed that she had heard him, but her small heart was hammering within her chest. Why was he talking to her? Slowly she swallowed the lump in her throat before finally lifting her chin, one bright blue eye and the other a dark golden in color. The base of her pelt was a deep black with orange paint strokes all along her body, marking her as a tortoiseshell. She gazed upon the brown tomcat, his hazel eyes gazing upon her with cautiousness and yet… sadness. Cocoaflower was silent for a mere moment, unable to find the words before she slowly exhaled. “Sure… we can talk.” Cocoaflower said softly, her eyes full of question and unease. He never wanted to speak to her before, so what’s changed? “Is here good?” She asked, her long tail swaying behind her. Perhaps he had heard the news as well, everyone else had been congratulating her throughout the day once they realized she was expecting. It was silently exhausting for her mental health. “Is everything okay, Tawnypainter?” She asked formally, whiskers twitching.January 13, 2021 at 5:47 pm #10772
As Cocoaflower hesitated before answering, the senior warrior felt his stomach drop. He worried for a moment that she’d actually turn him away, as he’d feared, but then she agreed to speak with him, and offered him a seat. “Here is fine; of course,” he agreed, swallowing hard as he settled himself beside his daughter. His eyes fell on his paws before the queen asked if everything was okay, when he turned his gaze to her and meowed quickly, “Yes, everything’s okay.” His ears fell to his skull, and his shoulders slumped. “I mean, not really.” But that didn’t sound right, either. “Well…” His head fell to the right as his brows furrowed, his tail-tip flicking in annoyance with himself.
“I, uh… heard the news,” he admitted, keeping his gaze averted now. “I know every-cat else has probably been making a scene in congratulating you, so I’ll keep that part short, I guess. Congratulations, Cocoaflower,” he murmured, finally now looking to his daughter again. “I’m sure you’ll do great. A lot better than I’ve done, for sure.” With that admission, he gave a lopsided smirk, looking almost sad. He had worked over in his mind how he’d say this countless times, but nothing had ever felt right when he’d considered it. He’d decided finally to just wing it; he didn’t think there was any right way to apologize for being a deadbeat.
“I… was hoping maybe you could find it in yourself to let me try and be the tom I should’ve been many moons ago,” he admitted. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not being there; you deserved much better than me, but I was who you were stuck with. I should have been there for you, and for your brothers and sisters. Nothing will undo what’s been done, but if you could please…” He trailed off, looking away now as he became overwhelmed with the guilt he’d been fighting off for moons. “Please let me try and make it right,” he concluded, his stomach tying in knots and threatening to empty itself. He was thankful he hadn’t eaten yet that day, or it very well could’ve made him sick with the gut wrenching shame he felt now admitting his wrongs.January 13, 2021 at 6:25 pm #10775
Cocoaflower ~ ShadowClan Queen
Cocoaflower didn’t know her father very well but even she could tell that he was lying when his first reaction to her question was to lie and proclaim that everything was okay. The sadness in his hazel eyes and the way his ears fell back against his skull immediately after he had answered her quickly answered her question truthfully. No, something wasn’t right. Was he angry that she hadn’t told him about her pregnancy? To be honest she didn’t think he would care, he barely noticed her existence so it was very surprising indeed that he was speaking to her even now. Then the shoulder blades slumped as he admitted that something wasn’t okay, causing her own head to tilt in a mimic to her father as he seemed to be trying to find the right answer to her question. “Which is it?” She chuckled softly out of amusement, he was flustered and she found it exhilarating. To be ignored almost throughout her kithood, it was amusing to see her father unravel before her eyes.
Slowly her smile began to disappear, so he had heard the news. She was carrying his grandkits, her ears lowered back against her skull. Was this the only reason he was now approaching her? Regardless she wouldn’t spit venom, it was good news and silently she had hoped her own father would congratulate her. Somehow it made it all feel very real. “Thank you.” Cocoaflower breathed softly, her pupils narrowing slightly as she watched his facial expression. The lopsided smirk made her blink slowly, choosing not to respond verbally to his own jab towards his parenting, or lack of for that matter. How long had she waited for this moment? And here she sat speechless. I surely hope I’ll do better. She thought to herself, although she desperately wanted to throw that in his face, she didn’t. She wasn’t like that. “Well… only time will tell.” Cocoaflower said softly, her one blue and one golden eye watching Tawnypainter cautiously but curiously.
Suddenly she was wishing that Snappingfox was beside of her, someone to lean on as she stared at her father. He was asking for forgiveness. He was actually asking?! Cocoaflower was staring at him dumbfounded, unable to use her tongue to form words for a moment as she shifted, her long painted tail curling around her small forepaws. Was her father going to speak to all of her siblings like this? Her eyes narrowed slightly for a moment. “Tawnyshade. Tawnyshade needs for you to beg for his forgiveness, to give that young tomcat a father and some meaning that a parent loves him. I love him dearly but it’s a little different when it’s an older sister… he’s a bit awkward but he’s a good Tom.” Cocoaflower said softly, she didn’t have much of a relationship with her other siblings, but Tawnyshade… she cared for that kid. Breathing in slowly, she closed her eyes and slowly breathed out. “Frogs.” Cocoaflower said softly, looking at Tawnypainter’s confused expression before she smiled softly. “My favorite meal are frogs. Roses are too sweet for my nose but I enjoy the sunflowers that grow along the WindClan border.” She admitted, telling the tomcat about herself. If he wanted to be her father, these were things fathers knew about their children. “I love the snow but I hate the mud, it’s too sticky.” Cocoaflower said softly, her whiskers twitching faintly. “What about you, Tawnypainter? Tell me about yourself so I can learn who my father really is.” She decided to push past her rage, this was what she really wanted wasn’t it? Give him a trail run and see what happened.January 13, 2021 at 10:39 pm #10781
This was going so much better than he could’ve hoped; Cocoaflower wasn’t seething with rage, as far as he could tell. She seemed rather open to his words, if a little quiet. Even her scolding wasn’t laced with malice; she wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t true. He’d planned to have a similar conversation with each of his kits in turn, and he couldn’t deny that Tawnyshade had suffered most from his absence. He nodded once, ducking his face from view in doing so. “Yes, I… I know I hurt all of you in how I’ve behaved; I know Tawnyshade was hit especially hard,” he agreed, shame darkening his tone. His son, the tom forced to carry his name, would be the next he’d approach.
He looked back up as Cocoaflower suddenly spoke a single word— frogs. He was confused, and his expression showed as much. His lips parted to question her, but she was answering his query without his having to ask. She was giving him small preferences of hers, and his brows turned up as he struggled not to cry. He’d never known such things about her, or any of her siblings. Such small things reminded him how little he knew about his own blood, how little he’d cared until now. He gave a sad, strained smile as she finished and asked on him, unsure if he could come up with anything to tell her. What really was there that made him who he was? He’d never really had much of a personality past womanizer and toxic.
“I like to watch the starlings,” he decided on, “They bring back memories of the best, closest friend I ever had.” He quickly moved from that subject, not wanting to throw a pity party for himself when he was finally able to speak with his daughter. “I’m more of a lily cat, myself; I’m rather fond of the white ones,” he continued, struggling to think of anything else. He’d spent so long putting on a mask to play a part, he hadn’t truly thought of himself, or who he was underneath. He fell into awkward silence, realizing just how little personality he had. “I guess I don’t really know myself much better than I know you,” he joked, only realizing after he’d said it that perhaps he shouldn’t have.
Clearing his throat, he changed the subject. “How are you adjusting to the nursery? Is there anything you need? More moss for your nest, or perhaps some feathers to keep it warm?” he asked nervously, glancing over at Cocoaflower as his ears flattened to his skull once more. How was he supposed to do this? What did a father even do? He was full of questions, but didn’t seem to have any answers.January 14, 2021 at 9:24 am #10789
Cocoaflower ~ ShadowClan Queen
Even though Tawnypainter was speaking to her, it wasn’t really settling in just yet. Her own father was having a conversation with her that she didn’t have to start, her wee heart was hammering within her chest as she fought to stay calm as she watched the guilty expression that was already sitting upon his face deepen as Tawnyshade was mentioned. “Be gentle with him, he’s a fragile soul, even if he appears angry with you. Don’t stop trying.” She said softly, the tip of her tail twitching slightly before she pressed her lips together. “I don’t know how Juncoberry has been with all of this but… if anything he would like to be congratulated on his new position, even if he is bee brained.” She laughed lightly, her older brother was a kind hearted tomcat but his brain was scattered in the clouds at times. But then she hesitated, pressing her lips together. “I…. honestly don’t know much about Freckleberry.” She admitted in a thoughtful tone, none of the siblings were very close outside of their litters, and Cocoaflower had been the only kit within her litter. Tawnypainter seemed to be taking everything she said to heart, her chin tilting slightly, she wasn’t doing this for him but for them.
Her fathers confused expression then turned to one of surprising and interest as she told him little things about herself. Her personality went far beyond these trial little things, but they were things that Hollowflame knew about her, and he was Snappingfox’s father so she figured she would start out small. If he was really interested in getting to know his kits, then she would entertain the notion and see how far it went. Although when she asked about him, he seemed to freeze and the gears were churning within his mind as he sought out things about himself that would be of some interested. Starlings. Birds of browns and greys, with a voice to match, eerie but strangely beautiful within the dark pine forest. Of course, she didn’t know about this supposed best friend he had, then again she didn’t know about all the mates and kits he had either. Her own father was a mystery. Lilies. These flowers often grew around the swamp, where the lily pads and their pink hues flowers bloomed. But every now and then a white lily would blossom, brightening up the scenery with its bright hue and sweet scent. “Lilies are very pretty. My mother used to favor lilies, although she preferred the pink lilies.” Cocoaflower said softly, her mother had been a bit of an odd ball but she found herself missing the comfort of the older she-cat. An amused smile reached her lips as Tawnypainter wrecked his brain to find more things that would be of interest to Cocoaflower, causing her chin to tilt as she gazed at her father. “I’m sure there are more interesting things about yourself, you are just being bashful.” She teased lightly, not taking his words to heart.
Ears perked up when her father cleared his throat, causing her to focus upon his face as he changed the subject entirely. He was uneasy about this but he wasn’t backing out, causing her to smile briefly as he questioned her. “I’m not too sure yet, yesterday Juncoberry took me off Warrior duty. I think Hareflight must have told him I was expecting, I planned on continuing my warrior duties until I was showing.” She chuckled and shrugged. “Perhaps it’s for the best but I’m honestly… a little bored.” She admitted, her two different colored gaze watching the brown tomcat before her. “No the nest is comfortable for now.” She smiled softly, her left ear twitching. “Maybe when I’m closer to term, the feathers would be nice, Tawnypainter. To keep the kits warm and entertained.” Cocoaflower said softly, watching his face curiously. This was nice.January 20, 2021 at 6:38 pm #10844
To be reprimanded was nothing new to Tawnypainter, but to be reprimanded by his daughter certainly was. For some reason, it stung more coming from Cocoaflower now than it had coming from various cats throughout his life. He knew that, regardless of what she said now, if Tawnyshade were to turn him away, he likely wouldn’t fight to earn his trust. He had never been the type to beg, save in the
countlesstimes he’d been caught by mates doing something he shouldn’t be doing. With that thought, he realized yet again just how awful a cat he truly was. He supposed this was why he avoided emotional conversations entirely; he fell into a cycle of insulting himself within his own mind and his proud and strong exterior cracked to show others just how vulnerable he truly was.
“Yes, I have yet to… congratulate Juncoberry,” he admitted awkwardly, scuffing his left forepaw against the ground beneath him. It was strange to see his son where he’d once stood, but doing a much better job already than Tawnypainter could’ve done. The Clan seemed to like Juncoberry, as far as he had seen. He was tactless and impulsive, but that didn’t seem to matter much just yet. And he had to admit he knew nothing about Freckleberry; he likely wouldn’t be able to even pick her voice out of a crowd at this point in their lives. He’d been especially absent from that litter’s lives, only showing up enough to berate Juncoberry as a kit for falling into the marsh.
At mention of Cocoaflower’s mother, the painted tom took a wistful look. “She did, didn’t she?” he agreed, a soft smile settling on his lips. He was dragged from his thoughts as the she-cat claimed he knew more about himself, his smile turning sheepish. He didn’t have the heart to tell her there really wasn’t much to him at all. “I guess so,” he hummed, looking away once more. He thankfully didn’t have to worry much more on that subject, as she accepted his change of subject. “I believe it would be boring to sit around camp all day,” he soothed, feeling his stomach drop as he thought of the day he’d be forced to retire from his duties and remain in camp all day. There wasn’t much that was worse than being stuck in one’s own thoughts; he dreaded what might happen to his mind when that day came.
He gave a nod as she declined his offer, breathing a sigh. “Of course; I’ll be sure to bring some then,” he promised, wrapping his tail at his side. It didn’t lay over his paws; it never could bend that way, and he never bothered to question just why. She had mentioned her kits again, and his guilt raged back to the front of his mind. What was he supposed to do now? He was being a rather poor conversation partner, he knew; he was so bloody nervous he could hardly form a coherent sentence. “Is Snappingfox excited?” he decided on finally, opting for surface-level questions to avoid any emotions that might try and steal his breath from him.
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