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    Maplespots had decided that she would get out and get some fresh air today – at least she had told herself that. Now, she was regretting it.

    It was a fairly warm day; being the afternoon, the sun was up and shining.  There were still remnants of what had happened with the hurricane but she told herself she would continue her work another time. Right now, Maplespots decided to have a little of her time.

    Sunshine and fresh water were heavy in the breeze that ruffled the thick fur around her ears, causing her nose to twitch. In the back of her mind she told herself she could take something back at the end of her little adventure.

    Claws expanding, she used her back legs to propel herself forwards so she could move closer to the stream where it was more shallow. Maplespots leaned down and lapped at the glistening water. It woke her up more, causing her ears to straighten and she sat back, her feathered tail whipping around in excitement as she brought up a muddy-colored paw to wipe away at her whiskers which dripped a few crystal-like droplets. Carefully she began grooming herself, her sapphire-colored eyes becoming small slits as she watched the water, wondering what else she would encounter.

    It’s so quiet, huh? She thought to herself as she brought a paw down the side of her muzzle.


    “Do you ever leave camp just to unwind?” Rippedthroat met the question with tired eyes, his tattered ear flicking in silent response. Another failed attempt at sleeping landed him once again in the medicine den. Yet only the mouth of the den was reached, his forepaws right at the entrance, when one of the patients spoke up. It was an older cat, perhaps seen the tabby time and again visiting the trained seekers. They chatted quietly for a while, careful not to disturb anyone, before they gave him some advice of their own. “You know, I’ve heard the water to be healing.”

    – – –

    Well, this “healing” water could hurry. The large tabby tom had stepped into the stream, spreading his bean-like toes. Walking in, the water reached up his legs, then lapped at his belly, all the way up to just below his chin. He didn’t know why he bothered. All this splashing about made him feel like a lousy, lazy Riverclanner. No amount of bathing would wash those scars away, anyway.

    He sunk down and closed his eyes, only nose-up visible above the surface. After some time, he would have to admit, it felt rather nice to just relax like this. Usually during Greenleaf, this area of the territory would be just a path of stones, the Stream more like the Trickle. With recent storms, a heavy, humid musk hung over the pine marsh.

    Rippedthroat was just readying to step out, already wasting so much time here when he could be busy with anything else – when he heard a sound. His mismatched eyes popped open. A drip-drop sound, but the clouds had left only sun. He waded a little ways upstream, the water gently pulling at his dark brown fur.

    That’s when he saw her.

    A spotted she-cat, cleaning herself just by the shore. He didn’t recognize her but she was familiar, they must have passed each other before. How long had she been there? Rippedthroat suddenly felt self conscious. Her eyes, deep blue the likes he’s never seen before, watching the water. Has she noticed him already?

    He moved closer to the shallow edge. It was a moment before he managed to speak, too nervous to meet her gaze directly “Its… a nice day,” he rumbled, scratchy voice more akin to a croak.


    She had been passing time in her head. Always thinking—but even then, sometimes she couldn’t even remember about what. Maplespots gave a little snort and shook her head; trying to rid herself of the inner voice that constantly spoke.

    And then she caught sight of something else beginning to materialize out of the vegetation around them. Something that hadn’t quite caught her attention before.

    Instantly curious, the spotted she-cat stopped grooming herself and paid attention to the tomcat that appeared. Quite . . . Rugged? Was that the word? Or worn? He was larger than her—which was something, since Maplespots was quite a shapely feline in the sense that she was stocking up for the Winter.  Maybe it was the thickness of the fur around her throat and chest, or that she did enjoy an extra squirrel time to time.

    With a delicate flick of her tail, she put on a slow smile, her pin-point teeth gleaming in the rays that sprinkled through the forest. “It is, isn’t it? I suppose I picked the right day to decide to come out, huh?” Her voice came out tentative, yet there was a rush of curiosity that coursed through her.

    “Have I met you before? You have the scent of the Clan on you, but I know I would’ve paid more attention to someone like you . . . “ she purred out, eyes becoming bright as she suddenly moved forwards in a graceful jump, closer to the other cat so she could inspect him.

    “you’re a sight indeed,” murmuring now to almost herself, she began to circle him, dark ears upright. She carefully made sure not to slip by the edge of the drying stream, all the while edging closer and closer to her clan mate.


    Whatever reaction he was expecting… this was not one of them. A fearful look was common enough. Discomfort typical but better than a pitying stare. One curled lip and he would already be gone, only wet pawprints left behind, carrying a heavy heart with him.

    But her smile, so warm, Rippedthroat didn’t know what to make of it. Sunlight filtered through the pines and glittered across her spotted fur, golden light like a crown on her head. Her voice, a soft tune flowing into his ears, held no contempt. Had they met before, he would have remembered. Though, under another name, he had lived an arrogant life so there’s no telling for sure. “I’m Ripped–“

    In one swift movement, she stood before him. The dark tabby took a step back in surprise, eyes wide, hindpaw slipping back into the water. “…-throat…” spoken so lowly, the sound could have been swept away by the breeze. Such a lovely molly surrounding him, as if looking for a weak point, a way to sneak around the sturdy walls he built around himself. Rippedthroat couldn’t help but shy away the right side of his face, a habit.

    “How lucky,” he murmured, without thinking. His features burned where the stream had once cooled, heat rising up his ears. Safe to suspect steam to be seeping from his thick coat. “That we… both were here,” he tried to explain quickly, distracted by her feathery tail. He could not leave his post without finding out more about this she-cat, worried that she might disappear and they never speak again. His ears pricked forward, he asked carefully, “Who are you?”


    Maplespots could tell that she was causing some pause in the tomcat, but she seemed to enjoy it. She found that she was fascinated with others nervousness– it always caused the real them to slip up.

    “Ripped . . . throat? hmmm?” she seemed to mock his slow introduction and she gave yet another gleaming smile. She could tell he was trying to hide something, so she continued to slowly edge around him until she stopped short so she wouldn’t fall into the water herself. “lucky? We are indeed. Your name seems familiar, Ripped . . . throat.”

    With amusement glittering in her blue orbs, she suddenly veered to the right. She could tell he was hiding something and well, it was sort of out there. It was obvious that there was a large amount of scarring and trauma to the right side of him; fur was missing and it was all too marred. Maplespots didn’t seem to scare away from it though; in fact, she was even more curious now that she saw this side of him.

    She had forgotten he had asked who she was. Carefully, she brought a dark paw up and brushed it over her nose in a bashful manner, her ears flicking backwards, “my name is Maplespots.” Considering there was an array of exotic-like spots falling down her back in a blanket, it fit well. “I feel like I’ve known you forever.” Commented the feline as she sat to his right. Whether it was his voice or his scent, she felt as if she knew him somehow. Although, he was part of her Clan and she should remember her clanmates, right?

    Her plumed tail instantly reached out on instinct and she gently brushed the tip across the side of his muzzle. “You are quite the sight. Very masculine, very rugged, very virile.” Her little dotted eyebrows raised in a suggestive manner, all the while a delicate smile posed itself on her features. “I hope I’m not coming off as too forward, but I can’t help myself sometimes. I’m the reckless type.”


    She mocked him, in a manner so sweet he wanted to laugh. When he thought himself safe at the stream’s edge, she drew closer still. Her vibrant eyes seemed to lock him in place. If this molly wanted to hypnotize him, she wouldn’t have to try very hard, already so effortlessly successful. Even her scent was intoxicating, more so now only a whisker away. The water kissed at his paw, reminding him of a swift exit, but he didn’t care.

    “Maplespots,” he echoed, his attention falling to her spotty flank and dainty brown paws. A smile tugged at his left side. “That can’t be right,” the large tomcat began, moving to face her, “I would have remembered someone, like you.”

    He was so very clearly enamored but with a guarded heart. Her tail swept over his muzzle then under his chin, guiding him to straighten his stance. “If you want something from me,” Rippedthroat took a step into the stream, standing just beside her. The stones felt cool under his rough pawpads. “Maplespots…”

    Without warning, he swept a hefty white paw over the water’s surface and sent a spray over the molly. He grinned widely, droplets falling from his chin scruff. “You will have to try harder than that.”


    Of course, they were part of ShadowClan, not RiverClan, so the she-cat was not really a fan of the water. She didn’t like getting wet if she didn’t have to, and Rippedthroat seemed to enjoy the idea of messing with her. A sudden snarl appeared on her slender muzzle at the water that he splashed on her, and it had her ears falling flat on the back of her head in an act of annoyance. Her tail became larger than it already was, and the fur on her back began to rise, and she quickly shook out her fur in an attempt to calm her fried nerves. The warrior had gone from an enchanting feline to that of one that oozed off irritation.


    Maplespots took a few steps back wearily, making room between them as she licked at the fur that was all messed up on her chest from the tomcat trying to play games. “I remember you now,” how could she forget? Although he had been tantalizing to the eye at first approach, she remembered the sort with an attitude like his. Wanting to play games, being arrogant, and most of all, having the biggest head there was.


    “Rippedpaw–oh yes,” he had thought of himself as the best and much more. Her cobalt gaze darkened as she glared at him, her fur still ruffled from him splashing her. And then the mood changed and she decided to get back at him; at least the most she could. Although Maplespots seemed to not move from her spot, she suddenly leapt onto the bank of the stream again and she pushed her body into his side. He was larger than her, but she was able to use the momentum from her jump to lean into his side so that she could push him further back into the water, basically trying to drown him in her own way.


    “You thought you were the best,” she scoffed, a dark paw raising so that she could let it fall right atop of his head; dripping wet and all. She had gotten over the fright of the water and was now trying to get back at him for being so rude and scaring her. “And I cannot believe you forgot who I am! Maplepaw, do you not remember? Maplespots is my warrior name!”

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