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haunted (Swan & Sleek)

Forums RiverClam RiverClan Camp haunted (Swan & Sleek)

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  • #6295
    Pheebs
    Participant

    TW: implied/referenced abuse

    Sleep had always been an escape for her, a way out when reality got that much darker. In dreams the stars protected her, a small mercy and one she didn’t fully understand. For whatever reason her dreams remained hers, no scowling faces and yellow eyes promising danger. Even after… the Incident, not once did the white molly have a dream involving that tom’s terrible face. Waking up was enough to put weigh the blessing of rest.

    Swanpath choked, feeling water gurgle up her lungs and pain flare up behind her head. ‘Too many mistakes, too flawed, what’s wrong with you?!’ Not a muscle trembled though her heart raced and skittered about within her chest. Swan regained a sense of balance, able to sit up so that she wasn’t in a vulnerable position, and proceeded to carefully tuck in her legs and wrap her tail tight around her. To an outsider Swanpath looked foolish, huddling in her nest surrounded by the warm bodies of familiar clanmates. To the ones that knew her story, Sleekfeather and her father, it was easily recognized that her position was strategically made. She wasn’t hiding, no, she was waiting.

    Swanpath didn’t know how long she crouches, sure that the faintest whistle of air and brush of fur from tails that swung too close would make the beast too solid and real. She wasn’t ready for him to be back. She didn’t want him back. Yes, Swanpath had grown stronger, a thicker layer growing to cover the rawness left behind but assuaged it didn’t. The evidence was in every instance that the Riverclanner flinched around angry toms and in each moment when she would laugh and shoulder off thinly veiled insults with an arrogant smirk.

    “Gone, he’s gone, gone, he’s gone.” Swanpath yearned to say this was the first time she had woken from sleep, completely sure that Starclan was going to make her relive that day over and over again and every day before. She would be lying. Swanpath wanted to crawl into her son’s nest and press against his side, allowing her “little” one to wordlessly comfort her. The idea of contact with him, or any tom, caused bile to climb her throat.

    “I’ll get breakfast. He won’t be there, it’ll be me and the morning stars.” Swanpath had gotten into the habit of reciting what she was going to do when she woke up like this. It didn’t happen often and was becoming less with every Moon that passed, but it still happened frequently enough for Swan to have even made a habit of this. “Tail, paws, nest.” As she said each thing Swanpath stood, first moving her tail away from her paws and secondly pushing upward (please don’t let me fall). Lastly, Swan stepped out of her nest and stumbled her way to the clearing.

    #6299
    Shy
    Participant
    Sleekfeather
    Warrior of Riverclan

    The white water cascaded down a series of rocky outcrops, running fast and graciously over each glistening stone. In the moonlight it glowed a brilliant, milky white; foamy and serene. Mist thickened into a dense fog around the base of the waterfall, rising in smokey swirls. Each cool droplet created a light spray that gently caressed his face. Along the edge sat an extremely tall, glossy furred black tom. His pelt was dark enough to remind those of ravens and their long, dark feathers. Sea green eyes stared off into the distance, set idly on the turbulent water in front of him.

    In the distance he could hear the sound of light footsteps echoing in the cave. The warrior knew exactly who they belonged to without so much as looking. After all, her footsteps were as familiar to him as the beating of his own heart. “Momma,” he called out to her softly before turning his head, his voice was warm and devoid of its usual iciness. While emotions were normally not his thing, he couldn’t help but adore the pure white she-cat that so graciously raised him. How could he not? She was the only love he’d ever known in this cold, unforgiving world.

    It didn’t take long for him to notice the obvious distress embedded in her tired eyes, and he gestured with his tail for her to join him. “Come sit with me,” he offered, wanting to ease whatever was troubling her. “What’s wrong? You look like you’ve had a bad dream.”

    #6301
    Pheebs
    Participant

    “Bad? Yes.” Swanpath swayed on her feet as she made her way over to Sleekfeather. “Regretfully not a dream.” Dreams were escapable, you could open your eyes and the vast expanse inside would grow small again until it vanished altogether. This dread, this ghost that Swan had… it wasn’t something she could easily forget.

    “I know you say you’re a grown cat but I do expect you to sleep,” Swan admonished. When you’re on edge it’s always a good idea to fall back on queen habits, which is exactly what Swanpath did. “You’re too old to think you can get away without sleeping.” The white warrior was only half teasing, still exhausted and too jittery for her teasing to be anything but empty.

    The she-cat hesitated beside the dark furred tom, staring blankly at her son for a moment too long. ‘He isn’t here, Rainstar sent him on his way and Wisteriastar would never let him near our territory.’ It felt like a lie, one she had no intention of examining.

    “Ghosts are keeping me up.” She sat down following a minute of her checking and rechecking the distance between her and her son. Swanpath couldn’t trust herself at that moment not to lash out if someone touched her, but being in close proximity to Sleek certainly helped. “And you? What has you up so early?”

    #6307
    Shy
    Participant
    Sleekfeather
    Warrior of Windclan

    The laugh that came from him seemed to skip across the glossy surface, creating ripples of mirth where there had been none; his turquoise eyes glittering with warmth.  “Oh? You say that as if you might drag me back to my nest yourself,” he chuckled, clearly amused with her. Even in times like this, she was still trying to mother him. “I’ll get some sleep soon,” he reassured her, “but I’m glad I was up. You wouldn’t have had anyone to keep you company otherwise.” Though he was still smiling, it was difficult not to frown when he finally made eye contact with her. It was too easy to see the darkness that swirled behind her tired, green eyes. The old memories festering like a septic wound. How it pained him to see her like this. He wanted to chase all of her fears away; push them back into their murky depths and seal the tomb shut forever.

    There was nothing he wanted more than to be there for her the way she had been there for him all of these moons— but he knew that some things simply couldn’t be chased off. These were emotional scars, and he knew they were far too traumatic to just forget. Sleekfeather’s worried gaze lingered on her a moment longer before sighing. “The good thing about ghosts is that they can’t hurt you, and anything that’s alive will have to face my claws,” though his words were meant to be comforting, there was a hint of danger in his voice. Admittedly, the warrior had hoped to one day find and repay her ex in full for what he did to Swanpath. While he might not be able to keep the nightmares away, he could certainly keep him away. No harm would dare fall on his mother now that he was around, and that was something she could count on.

    He rolled his shoulders to ease the tension triggered by the disgusting memory of his beloved mother’s former mate, his ears flicking thoughtfully at her question. Truth be told, he was out here because the last gathering still bothered him. Seeing his sister as the new deputy of Windclan was unsettling to say the least. The idea of his father being happy about his ‘perfect little family’ made him furious.  That was something she had no idea about, though, and he wasn’t about to trouble her with it, especially not now of all times. “When I can’t sleep I come here to listen to the water until I feel tired,” he told her, looking out at water that sparkled under the moonlight. It wasn’t a total lie, and he hated lying to her, but it truth wasn’t something he could tell her right now.

    #6308
    Pheebs
    Participant

    “Maybe I will,” Swanpath smirked. She could see herself dragging him to his nest, but in doing so she would be leaving herself without company and that… The molly shook herself as though to clear her head before a smile unfurled over her face again, a bit shaky but there. “I’m a big kitty, I can handle being lonely.” Swanpath spoke confidently but subtly shifted closer, not enough to brush pelts but enough to be near. Swan ducked away from her son’s eyes knowing all too well that Sleekfeather was one of the few who could see past her veneer of levelheadedness to the demons below. She didn’t acknowledge the familiar sting from the scars on the back of her head which always acted up on days she woke up like this.

    “I’ve told you I don’t need you to fight my battles.” The words were sharp and unforgiving, but Swanpath’s smile was warm, a silent show of gratitude. “How odd to think you used to be this tiny scrap,” Swanpath raised her paw above the ground to demonstrate just how small Sleekfeather was as a kit. “Now you’re taller than me. You used to play and tumble around with the other kits, never did make any kithood friends, though.” Swan trailed off regretfully. She wondered if she’d been the cause of that. After all, Sleekfeather had been given to Swanpath only a few sunrises after Flinthawk’s exile and her own miscarriage so it made sense that she had become almost obsessively attached to the kit. It was only as Swanpath began to recover and focus more on her son that she began to ease up on her controlling queen personality and became more relaxed and less stressed. Maybe her constant hovering when Sleekfeather was younger kept him from making friends, though? Swanpath scowled at that thought, the question on the tip of her tongue.

    Swanpath’s ears perked up when Sleek began to talk again, and she turned to give him her full attention. “Well, I can certainly understand why. There’s nothing like the sound of rushing water to wash away anxiety.” Swanpath hummed softly, drowning out the throbbing at the back of her head with the sound of falling water passing in front of her.

    “I never loved him.” The warrior blurted out, eyes shut and shoulders slumped. “I was desperate to not fall behind. All the warriors i grew up and trained beside had been falling in love, some had mates and kits. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong…” Swanpath snorted, “I was a good warrior but I wanted what everyone else had, a mate who loved them and kits to call my own. I didn’t suspect a thing when Flinthawk courted me, didn’t question his… temper. I should have.” The she-cat blinked her eyes open, a new fire lighting behind them. “He fooled me over and over again. By the time I realized it I had a litter of kits on the way and couldn’t afford to lose them, so I let it be. Then I was betrayed again and had my young stolen from me.” ‘Maybe Starclan hates me.’ “The thing about Flinthawk was that he dealt with problems in a very… Controversial way.” Swanpath stood up to walk around so that she was positioned in front of Sleekfeather. There she stood and looked up at him, speaking with as much steadiness as her voice allowed. “It’s been moons and being given you so soon after that tragedy was a blessing. But you can’t solve my problems, I know you know this but it needs to be said again. I love being your mother, I wouldn’t change anything in my life for fear that I may not have you. This doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be haunted by the ghosts of the past for a long time, perhaps until I die. As your mother, though, I want you to learn from this. You can suffer a blow, any blow, and recover with time, love, and patience. I’m blessed to have all three.” Swanpath smiled gently, reassuring and sweet. Honestly she’d made that speech with the selfish want to get all that off her chest, though the warrior hoped that Sleekfeather might also benefit from the words. Swanpath knew that something was bothering her child but for the life of her couldn’t figure it out. ‘He’ll tell you if it’s important.’

    #6322
    Shy
    Participant
    Sleekfeather
    Warrior of Riverclan

    The warrior smirked as she went on, head tilted towards the moon. The pale light shone onto his dark visage as he listened. It was strange to think he’d ever been so small and helpless once. Memories of his kithood came flooding back to him. As hard as it was to believe, Sleekfeather had been a sweet and gentle kit; painting the world with the vibrancy of his laughter, soft words and kindness. It wasn’t until the truth of his roots had been unearthed that his heart began to grow cold. The hurt lodged itself into his sweet heart like a slow acting poison, turning him into who he was now. He had no interest in making friends or reaching out to others for connection. That would require a bond to be made, and caring about anyone would make him vulnerable. Swanpath was the only thing that anchored him to this world after knowing his own mother disowned him, and over something that wasn’t even his fault.

    Lately it was getting more and more difficult to ignore that anger. Sleekfeather’s jaw clenched tight and turquoise blazed in his eyes as he thought of all that had pained him; muscles coiling beneath his dappled pelt as if he were trying to hold back something wild. Thankfully his mother wasn’t looking at him, and what he felt was quickly extinguished when Swanpath started talking about her past. He turned his gaze away from the waterfall to where she sat, listening intently to her every word until she moved to stand in front of him. While her confessions surprised him, he couldn’t help but smile at her once she’d finished.

    The strength she carried was admirable. Even after everything she had been through, all of the abuse and heartache, her soul remained a brilliant, white light; warming everyone around her. His eyes filled with warmth. “You don’t need me to protect you or solve your problems. That much is true,” he began with a lighthearted chuckle, knowing very well that his mother was not some delicate flower in need of saving. Her teeth and claws were undoubtedly sharp, and she’d proven herself to be a fighter. “I choose to because you mean the most to me, and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have someone fighting for you in your corner.. even if you don’t need it.”

    They say that you come out of these things stronger, and he was beyond happy that his beloved mother did, but Sleekfeather was a different case. Time did not heal his wounds, it only made them that much more filthy and rotten. Swanpath had always seen the best in him, though. Not once had she given up on him or seen him for who he truly was. All she could see was the sweet and innocent kit she’d raised. He wouldn’t dare take that from her, even if that meant withholding the truth. She didn’t need to know. It would only hurt her in the end.

    The warrior smiled tenderly, all of his former pain wiped from his expression as if they had never been there to begin with. “You’ve given me the best life I could have asked for, and I will take every life lesson you give me into consideration. You don’t need to worry about me,” he assured her, his voice as light as light as a feather though he knew what he said wasn’t entirely true.

    #6326
    Pheebs
    Participant

    Swanpath felt a deep rumble erupt from her, the purr becoming loud as she beamed at Sleekfeather. “I’m grateful to have your support.” The prickle along her spine hadn’t eased and the flicker of shadows still left her uneasy, but Swanpath pushed past it to nuzzle against her son briefly. The touch wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t going to lead into any cuddling, like it usually would with her (she was surprisingly affectionate). Swan simply wanted to display how much she cared in a physical act before pulling back and putting distance between them once more. 

    “I will worry,” the white feline admonished. “I will worry, and nag, and criticize until you’re at your wits end. Because it’s my job. Because I love you.” Swan grinned, a sparkle of mischief further clearing out the swirl of smoke in her eyes. “I’ll refrain from doing so for now, so as to not ruin this moment.” With their heartfelt conversation easing into a close the molly allowed herself some freedom to bare her soul, and the relief that came with the act was… indescribable. The feeling her body currently felt leaned more towards hunger.

    “Nothing like reliving old memories to get you starving for a meal.” Swanpath nodded to the freshkill pile. “We should have breakfast. I can’t remember the last time the two of us really sat down and just enjoyed life.” Life currently was stressful, what with the tensions between the clans and most importantly the leaders. Swanpath knew this tension was bound to come to a climax, only then could it dissolve back into peace, no matter how short and wavering. With the stresses of political problems and the news of foxes being found Swanpath had felt more on edge, and that’s not even factoring in Sharkpaw, Swanpath’s nervous apprentice. ‘He really needs friends.’ Swan wasn’t above making that an assignment for the tom, but she felt it might be better to let the tom figure it out himself.

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