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The Heart of a Warrior.

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    The Heart of A Warrior

    So please remember me, finally.

    And all my uphill clawing.

    My dear, but if I make the Pearly Gates.

    I’ll do my best to make a drawing.

         The sun had sunk just behind the sharp outcrop of blackening treetops when the young tomcat set out. It had been an overcast winter day, so in truth there was little distinction physically between dawn and dusk. Yet the nature of his task necessitated discretion. He moved through the deserted camp casually, but for the single-mindedness in his gaze that betrayed what he was about to do. Luckily for him though, he was given his space. It was rare to be sure, cats leaving Hawkpaw the prickly rogue be. But at this particular moment in time was actually to be expected. His Clanmates had been regarding him like a grieving parent or lover the past few days, treading on ice in his presence if they dared to suffer his company at all.


    It was stupid, really. Chanterellepaw was missing. Not dead.

    And with the token he’d found on the border, he had the final clue to her whereabouts.The trademark twoleg razor left purposefully on the border, and on it….the blood of the cat taken. He’d been stupid, really, to think he would ever be safe here. These cats had done nothing but remind him of how unwelcome he was Yet somehow, his attachment to Chanterellepaw had formed a blind spot and Razor hadn’t hesitated in exploiting it. Just thinking of it made Hawkpaw’s blood boil. Resentment at the weakness that tethered him to another, but beneath that was guilt that clawed at him. If she did die he truly would be to blame, he thought bitterly as he wriggled through a fault in the bramble barrier. Its claws pricked his skin, the miniscule marks left behind stung where they were exposed to the open frigid air.


    I can have no more blood on my paws.


    The lone thought repeated on loop in his brain as he stalked through the winter woods. The season of leafbare had cloaked the forest in deathly silence, magnifying the sounds of his footfalls in the snow to a deafening crunch like that of prey-bones between teeth. However as he plunged deeper into the heartland he became aware of a set of steps that were not his own. Heavier, and drawing nearer.

    Head snapping up, his teeth barred in a knee-jerk response born of a tense constitution. But the figure that parted the undergrowth was no foe.


    “Hawkpaw…” Breathed Cedarsmoke, his mossy green eyes kind in an infuriating way. “Stars, you worried me sneaking out like…” He trailed off, seeming to read something in the air about his son. “Where…where are you..” He mouthed like a fish out of water. “Hawkpaw, no. You’re doing just what he wants! Do you really think he’s just going to let her go? We need to wait for Hollystar to put a plan in place. You’re going to need backup in a situation like this!”


    “And her plan is going to be what, banishing me for putting her Clan at risk? I can see myself out. I’m my own cat now, Cedarsmoke. I know I didn’t get my stupid new name, but I’m twelve moons so I get to leave now, like we agreed.” Growled the dark tom. “So I’m making my choice, I’m going to go rescue her. So don’t try and stop me. You can get Hollystar if you want! Get any cat. None of them is going to stop me from going.” There was a touch of sorrow in his undertone. “Still…if you want to come with me..”


    “Hawkpaw, two is going to be any better-”


    “Ugh. Nevermind. I forgot who I was talking to.”




    “Stop it. That’s not my name anymore.”



    By the time he reached the inner city, the snow had turned into a freezing rain. It came in sideways, slanted by the wind cutting through him like his fur was not even there. His teeth were chattering noisily, ruining any chance of a clandestine arrival.

    Still, even as he crossed over into razorblade territory he was not detained. The border was devoid of its usual sentries, and the area itself deserted. It was eerie, like a ghost town. The only activity being the going-abouts of man. It felt so alien to see them- the twolegs, as Clanners called them. Yet man behaved as he always had. Indifferent to anything not himself. And so Hawkpaw went on his way unfettered.

    Once a routine part of his everyday life, yet now all of it seemed like such a distant memory. The tall concrete structures seemed ugly to him, as he found himself longing for more organic shapes such as trees and bushes. Or the soft feel of earth under his feet. Though he had not walked on the pavement for long, his pawpads were already chafed and irritated. The acrid arbor of the city itself provoked his lungs into the occasional cough. And the sky overhead was opague and contained fewer stars. Somehow he knew without a doubt, if they indeed existed at all, StarClan could not see him here. A chill snuck through his plated confidence. He’d ever felt so alone.


    The emptiness was evidence that Razor was confident he held all the cards, a king in his castle waiting for the cat he summoned to appear before him. It made Hawkpaw spitting angry, to kowtow to such an honorless thug. His fury burnt bright against the cold, forming molten armor that drove all chill from within.

    When he arrived at last in their central sanctum he was almost uncomfortably hot under his bandanna. His steps slowed, craven legs shook, betraying their owner as every cell in his body screamed at him to turn tail and flee. It wasn’t too late. Now was his chance. ThunderClan would realize he’d run off, and go rescue Chanterellepaw themselves, and they’d be rid of him forever….


    Yet his heart clenched at the idea of never seeing her again. Her beautiful smile filled his mind and strengthened his resolve.


    Even if he died. He’d die seeing her one last time. It was worth it.

    Running wasn’t an option. Somehow he didn’t think he would know a moment’s peace ever again if he were to forsake everything he had come to hold dear in such a way. It was almost funny, the cat who had left this place all those moons ago would call him a fool.


    It was you who was the fool. You never had something worth dying for. And so you never had anything to live for, either.


    But now he did. Even now as his paws carried him to his doom, he’d never felt more alive.


    There was a time when Razor had been a young, handsome tom cat but that moon had long since passed. His body was now gaunt, bloated and slackened around his gut with age but well enough muscled around his shoulders and haunches still. His pelt would be white as snow were it clean, in reality it was nearly grey with the filth of the city and black on his paws themselves. He had some sparse brown color about his face that contrasted well with a pair of eyes as clear and blue as clean water. He was also fairly decorated as would be befitting of any city gang Leader. Around his neck was a dazzling but rusted jeweled collar that had probably belonged to an unfortunate pedigree who had wandered too far from home. His ankles were adorned with a series of bangles that made noise whenever he would move. In spite of what now seemed to Hawkpaw to be the silliest of all getups, there was still an air of undeniable power and control about him. Every treasure he decorated himself with had been bought in blood. The only currency that really mattered out here.


    “So you came after all birdie, we were not sure if you would come for your little fling.” Razor shifted atop his perch, a pile of colorful cushions that descended all the way to the floor from his seat on the dumpster overhead. Lining the path up to him were his surly guards who spared their visitor not so much as a glance. Several of them were stationed just adjacent to their kingpin, where Chanterellepaw could be seen crouched low to the ground, her face impassive. His breath left him when he caught her eye. But for a few shallow wounds, she seemed unharmed. He felt a flare of satisfaction to see she’d not gone down easy. The cats guarding her actually looked worse off if anything, and one could assume they’d had the advantage of numbers on their side.


    “She is the love of my life, and you are going to release her now that you have what you want.” His timbre echoed off of the concrete walls. The demand was met by a ripple of ugly laughter. Yet his amber eyes did not leave her as he spoke, as though Razor was not worthy of his time. The gesture was not well received with the leader who scowled angrily and sat up just a tad straighter.


    “Oh, I am now am I? All in good time. That’s the problem with you Clan Cats, you always wear your heart on your sleeve. It makes it so easy to tear off. You would die for her, I suppose?” He asked, sounding almost disinterested.




    “Then you shall have your wish.” He lifted his tail to give the signal to attack. All around the congregation of haggard cats tensed for battle. Their obedience was almost warrior-like, but for a look in their eyes wherein dwelled a reluctance to carry out the order. There were perhaps some of them who were not so okay with such a point blank execution. Or maybe they just didn’t really want to fight for Razor.




    “Oh, this should be good. What?”


    “Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to kill me yourself? To actually defeat me in a fair fight? Let us go one on one. I’m just a kit. It shouldn’t be hard for you.” His heart pounded as he played the one card up his sleeve. The sole chance he had at pulling this off.


    “Nice try little Warrior. But this isn’t your forest. I’ll not be losing any sleep over killing you without honor. This is the real world. And your death cries will be my lullaby.”


    “Razorblades? Kill him. But make it slow.”


    All around him the shadows descended, more cats than he had ever seen in his life except maybe at a gathering. He just stood there knowing that there was no real good trying to avoid his fate. Everything seemed to slow down as he watched the waves of faces come closer. Normal time resumed when the first claw hooked into his skin and pulled it open. It was followed by another and another until there was no inch of his body that was not in excruciating pain. He focused intently on not crying out, not wanting to give Razor the satisfaction of remembering what it sounded like when he died. Soon his legs folded beneath him as all light went out from the world. He welcomed the darkness like a weary traveler falling into a bed. The pain was growing distant, more distant. A feeling like he was shrinking inside himself..

    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Chris.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Chris.

    Anyone with a heart, with a family, has experienced loss. No one escapes unscathed. Every story of separation is different, but I think we all understand that basic, wrenching emotion that comes from saying goodbye, not knowing if we’ll see that person again—or perhaps knowing that we won’t.

    —Luanne Rice


    Chanterellepaw ~Thunderclan Apprentice 

    She couldn’t believe that her parents were actually leaving Thunderclan. Everything felt so surreal as she watches them leave the territory for good. In a way she felt saddened that her hopes of rekindling a relationship with them had left with them. Though she knew it would be for the best, as a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. No longer was she tied down to such toxic felines, it was time to fully embrace herself instead of hiding away. Chanterellepaw smiles bitterly as their forms fade away, remaining seated at the edge of the border. Ears twitching as she listens to crickets chirp their evening songs. The cherry bengal was all alone; as Rowanclaw had warrior duties to attend to and she had told Hawkpaw that it would probably be for the best if he remained back in camp. She had wanted to do this on her own, plus she really didn’t want to see the scowls of her parents as they left. Sighing softly to herself as she glances around, taking in the silence and the fresh air. Yet— a strange odor clings to the air that causes the fur along her shoulders to rise in a apprehensive notion. Something did not seem right.
    Slowly she rises to her paws; furrowing her brows as she glances around her darkened surroundings. Suddenly the atmosphere seemed tense and eerie; as if someone was watching her. The feeling caused a cold shiver to ripple down her spine, her throat became dry as just a shift of branches blowing in the wind set her on edge. ‘I need to head back…’ she couldn’t help but think as she takes a small step backward. Her ears twirling in every direction straining to hear anything. All she was met with was silence, but she knew better than to believe that she was only imagining it. Her body knew before her mind as her slender form quickly spinning around only to feel a sharp pain on her side. Hissing as she backs away, her cyan turquoise blue orbs narrowing at the dark form. A silver glint could be seen in the feline’s mouth before he spits it out onto the ground. She couldn’t help but glance down at the unknown object, the moon’s dim light revealing the blood coating the razor.
    Quickly glancing away, her form tense as she calls out. “What do you want?” She demands, making sure to keep her voice firm and steady. Laughter is all she is met with. Bone-chilling laughter, as if what she had said amused the unknown feline. In a way it did; as it seemed that Razor believed her to be simple and waste of time if it weren’t for her being a perfect form of bait. Baring her fangs and arching her back to seem more intimidating than she actually was. Chant had no clue why he was here, why he had cut her, but she knew that she did not trust him. Blinking in surprise to hear a reply from the stranger: “It’s quite simple really. I want…what does he go by these days? Ah right! Hawkpaw his dark raspy voice filters the silence. Wincing at the off pitched voice and in surprise at his reasoning for being here. She tried her best to keep an emotionless mask in place, to give nothing away, but sadly she failed miserably as a gasp escapes her lips. Now she knew— she was definitely in danger.
    “Well he isn’t here so..” she trails off as she shuffles backward as she tries to maneuver around him in order to escape. Razor obviously saw it coming as he didn’t come alone. Cursing under her breath at three more forms peering out of the darkest parts of the shadows. Chanterellepaw was outnumbered greatly, but she would not lay down and accept defeat just yet. Steeling her gaze as she glares coldly at Razor; “Harming me will get you no closer to Hawkpaw. He only cares for himself” she lies, hoping to distract the lanky and heavily scarred tomcat. She knew that if she was harmed or killed Hawkpaw would do anything within his power to avenge her, that was something she did not want. She cared too much for the troublesome tom to allow him to give up his life so easily. “I’m afraid that you will have to come back another time,” she says sweetly before rising her paw and swinging it downwards in a wide ark. Flinging dust and debris in Razor’s and one of the directions of the unknown figures. Taking their startled cries as a sign to bolt.
    Darting away as she tries to make it deeper into Thunderclan territory. A strangled cry escapes her lips as she is roughly tackled to the forest floor. Scraping against the ground, trying to pull herself free from the heavy form pressing against her. Twisting her form in a desperate attempt, using her hind legs to shove the tom away from her. Feeling satisfaction in the loud thump as he slams against a tree. Wasting no time; she rises to her paws, gracefully turning to slash her claws, feeling the dagger-like claws cut deep into the flesh of the silver rogue. Baring her fangs as she lets out a loud growl, warning the silver and brown felines to back off. Her eyes narrowed into slits, enjoying their hesitance to move closer. It would seem that she was going to be a harder challenge than they first perceived. Chanterellepaw couldn’t hide her disgust nor anger as she spots the dark gang leader settling safely away from the fray. ‘So he is the type to let others fight his battles for him. Typical’ she thought with a tsk.
    “It would seem that we have underestimated you.” His cold voice rings through the clearing. Silencing everything around him as he kept his cold gaze on the clan cat. His patience wearing thin as his lackeys took their sweet time in apprehending their target. Chanterellepaw couldn’t get a good look at him as he made sure to stick with the shadows, cloaking his large form except for the outline of his tall and broad looking frame. “Yet- That does not matter. You are outnumbered. You will not be able to escape, Hawk will be mine to kill” he sneers out Hawk’s name, hatred filling him like that seemed to be the only emotion the feline could feel. His gaze briefly flickering towards one of his soldiers, the tip of his tail flicking in a silent signal for the white and brown tom to attack. Chanterellepaw has been so focused on keeping her gaze on Razor and the two felines in front of her that she almost forgot about the third opponent. Just when she realized that the white and brown feline was no longer within her sights, it was too late. With a large blow to the head, her gaze clouds before darkness greet her. Her petite form slumping forwards before meeting the hard ground.
    A wicked grin spreads along Razor’s lips as well as a manic chuckle. “Let’s go. Grab the girl; I’m sure Hawk will learn soon of his beloved’s disappearance.” Without looking back to watch one of his subordinates drags the cherry Bengal as they disappear into the shadows; heading towards the darkest parts of the wear-down city.
    A sharp throbbing of her skull is what stirred her awake. A low groan escapes her chapped lips as she rolls to her side. Her memory foggy as she felt disoriented, her body felt heavy and hesitant to follow her orders. ‘Where am I? What happened?’ She tiredly thought as she slowly pries her eyes open. Hissing at the brightness invading her senses, shying away instinctively. Her sore form protesting with her sudden movements. Blinking several times before realizing the cold hard stone ground that laid beneath her. Confusion marring her beautiful features before suddenly being hit with new scents, rotten is what she would describe the horrid smell. Withholding a gag as her clouded blue gaze takes in her unknown surroundings. Panic struck her as metal bars enclose around her; she was trapped. Chest heaving rapidly as she soon remembers what had transpired before her time-lapse. ‘Razor…Hawkpaw!’ Her thought mottled from her concussion. Trying to calm her rapid breathing and racing heartbeat as she spots her ‘captures/guards’. Clenching her jaw before searching for a way out of the metal prison known as a catch cage mainly used by human snatchers trying to catch feral cats.
    “Finally she awakens” the snake-like voice catches her attention. Breath hitching as her gaze finally lands on Razor. His pelt so ragged and dirty it was hard to tell that at some point in time his pelt use to be a lovely cream with brown dusting his muzzle and fluffed tail. His maybe once handsome features were now grotesque with scars and lack of proper nutrition. Just looking at him caused her to shrink back, jumping at the cold metal biting into her pelt. Chant did not want to be here; her surroundings so abnormal to her. She could tell that she wasn’t in Thunderclan anymore but in two-leg territory; a city as Hawkpaw had once told and described to her. “How—how long have I been out?” Her voice was raspy from lack of use. A scoff-like laugh escapes Razor as he regards her with little emotion. It was not him that answered but a softer voice; “Two days dear” Chanterellepaw frowns as she looks at the she-cat settled near Razor, giving a stiff nod before staring at her paws.
    Two days…oh Starclan I hope Hawkpaw stays back at camp. Don’t come for me…please’ she inwardly pleads as she settles down. Her form still tense as she eyes the swarm of dirty looking felines around her. Her body numb from the cold as the icy rain pours down from the dull sky. Her ears twitching at the pitter-patter noise echoing off the stone ground. Curling within herself as she tries to keep whatever warmth she had left, the sun was dying out as the day was coming to an ends. The night was quickly approaching and as the time went on the more she wondered and prayed that Hawkpaw never shows up. ‘Maybe Cedarsmoke knocked some sense into him’ she mused with a small grin but that relief was short-lived as Razor’s voice spoke up in regards to a certain visitor. An impassive and grave look adorns her features as Hawkpaw reveals himself proudly before them all. Oh how much she wished to yell out; to tell him to run. To leave her here as she would rather die than to watch someone she loves to die for her.
    Hatred continues to bubble within her as she watches the overly confident pig of a feline slouch on his poorly made thrown. Flinching at the pet name that was given to her as well as his snide comment of referring to her as Hawkpaw’s fling. Yet her emotional blue eyes found their way back to Hawk. Their gaze locking with one another as he speaks. Her heart stopping as he reveals his true feelings for her. Eyes clouding with ushered tears as her heart swarms with warmth and love. A sob escapes her as she wished to run over to him; to kiss him and tell him just how much she loved him. Though no words could escape her shocked and overwhelmed form before Razor mocks the sentimental moment between the two lovers. ‘He loves me?’ Echoes within her mind before it suddenly registers within her what he was here to do. To sacrifice his life for hers. Time seemed to slow as Hawkpaw tries his best to bait Razor in a one-on-one fight. Razor was not as stupid as he looked.
    “No!” Her voice rips through the air in a shrill cry at the gang leader’s final command to his makeshift troop. “Don’t hurt him! P-please!!” Her voice breaks toward the end. Desperate; she rises to her paws and slams into the cage repeatedly, trying to use her weight to knock the trap unbalanced to try to break free. Pained sobs escaping her as she repeatedly slams into the metal, her adrenaline being her only source to continue on as she hears the painful groans from the one feline she loved more than anything.This can’t be how it ends!!’ She screams in her head before roughly flinging her body one more time into the cage. Causing it to knock over and break open upon impact. Chant was lucky that the old worn cage was rusted beyond repair. Splayed out on the ground, weakly rising to her numb paws, ignoring the dull pain in her shoulder as she frantically looks over at Hawkpaw. Her heartbreaking as she watches his form slump into a puddle with an echoing splash. Freezing as she watches the water stain red with his blood. Breath hitching as she finally lets the tears roll freely down her cheeks.
    She was too late.
    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Roach.
    Fate is coming , that I know.
    Time is running, got to go.
    Fate is coming, that I know.
    Let it go.
    Here and now.
    Under the banner of heaven.
    We dream out loud.


    Hawkpaw opened his eyes.

    He was laying on a flat, hard surface. Surrounded by a hazy whiteness. Almost like snow, only there was no border where land met sky. Merely an unending void of indeterminable length and width. 


    He sat up slowly, feeling a bit groggy but otherwise fine. How had he gotten here? And where was here? His thoughts were slow to be pieced together and processed. After gathering himself, he decided to start walking to see how far this place went on. He fell into a bit of a daze as he padded across the expanse, his mind drifting…

    At some point he became aware of a change in the landscape. The surface changed to something similar to grass, and when he looked down he saw that was what it in fact was. Warm and soft beneath his paws. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted undergrowth popping up here and there. Which gave way to trees, and soon he was treading through a beautiful forest. The temperature was tepid and calm, with just the barest hint of a breeze whistling through the branches. He glanced back behind himself to see nothing but more woodland. No hint of the void from whence he had came. Suddenly he wasn’t even sure that place had been real.

    This felt real though. Whatever it was. It was such a calm and picturesque place he felt it easy to ignore the building notion in the back of his mind that something bad had happened. How could anything bad have brought him here? Hadn’t…..hadn’t he always been here?

    He was starting to feel more like himself, a little more with it. He clambered up the side of a boulder feeling the warmth of it from the sun beating down through the treetops. His eyes had just locked on a mouse in the grass when he heard a voice behind him.


    “Oh good, you found your way after all…”


    He whirled about to find himself staring at his own reflection. Only he was older, and had green eyes.




    “Oh, right.” Laughed the other black tom. “You wouldn’t have known me. My name is Darkstone. Did Cedarsmoke never tell you he had a brother?” 

    Cedarsmoke. The name struck him, and the creeping unease he’d been ignoring grew.


    “I….” He swallowed. “Where are we?”


    “I think you already know. Close your eyes, can you remember what happened?”


    He shivered. “I’m not sure I want to. I know it wasn’t good.” Deep down he knew. He remembered the pain. The blood. How could he ever forget hurting that much?


    “I know.” He smiled sadly. “You’ve been through a lot, and I hate to ask you for more but you aren’t done yet.”


    “Wait! You mean I’m not….?”


    “Not exactly.” Smile Darkstone. “Come here, Hawkpaw.”


    He leapt down and landed before the other tom. It really was like looking in a mirror. They had to be kin. Darkstone lowered his head until they were only whiskers apart.


    “Tell Cedarsmoke I am proud of him.”


    And with that he gently pressed his nose to Hawkpaw’s. He felt a surge of energy run through him, so unbridled that it almost hurt. Just when he thought his ribs would burst from the pain he gasped and sat up to take in the chaos around him.


    He was in the alley. Yes of course is it where they had been…..


    All around him cats were locked in combat.ThunderClan cats, grappling with the razorblades though they were clearly outnumbered. He could see Kass, Rowanclaw, Lightpaw and many others whom he could only name. And someone somewhere was calling his name.


    “Hawkpaw! Oh Hawkpaw, thank StarClan I thought you were gone…” Cedarsmoke buried his face in his bloodstained fur. Though he was drenched in red, there were no open wounds on him. Apart from the rattle of his heart in his chest, the tom felt fit as a fiddle. 


    “I did too for a minute there…” Already his vision was fading. The face of his ethereal visitor growing hazy around the edges, his voice muffled and low in quality…


    “Darkstone says he’s proud of you.” He blurted out, suddenly afraid if he did not evacuate the message from his mind it would slip away along with any memory of his time in that place. His father only gaped at him, once the words reached him.


    “Darkstone- how do you-? Oh, nevermind that just now. We’ve got to get you out of here while the others have them busy.”


    “Cedarsm-dad. I can’t.” He shook his head. “I’m fine- see? These cats are putting their lives on the line for me. Let me do the same.”




    “You’ll fight beside me, won’t you?” He peered at him with widely opened eyes. That of a child asking their parent for a guiding hand.



    And with that they leapt into the fray. There was no shortage of opponents, as the rogues outnumbered the smaller band of ThunderClan Warriors. (Hawkpaw did not bame those who remained behind, he’d given them little reason to care about his fate.) They had training on their side, however. While it was clear some of the city cats had experience in battle, it was a much different game to confront a group of diligently trained cats, communal in their education. Though talented many of them may be, the city-dwellers had neither uniformity nor their conviction. Fighting for mere survival was not comparable to doing so for a creede, something lofty they placed above their own lives. Death meant nothing to a true Warrior.


    Hawkpaw slashed through countless foes, attempting to do no more than incapacitate as he did not know these cats, and could therefore not hold any ill will beyond low-grade anger at their complicity in Chanterellepaw’s kidnapping. Nonetheless there were those who pushed the matter, and as he sent them away from wounds of varying severity he tried his best not to recall his promise to have no more blood on his claws. 


    It was his life or theirs. And he didn’t imagine any real or imagined ghosts would grant him a third chance.


    “Nice one da-” He began to call out as Cedarsmoke executed a graceful flip-kick, his words interrupted by a heavy whump that stole the air from his chest cavity. The clink of metal bangles and the stench of decay overwhelmed his senses as a voice hissed in his ear.


    “You’ll die now, slow, not unlike my brother eh?” 


    “It…..accident…” Hawkpaw wheeze, a filthy paw compressing his windpipe.


    He could still remember it, the day. A hot summer afternoon, wavy rays hovering above the pavement. A prank. That was all it was meant to be. The can full of paint was supposed to open, not fall wholly on him, on his head….


    He’d never forget the wet crunch his head made, the splintered bone and gore spattering up the street and across his front paws. 


    “Well maybe I’ll accidentally-”


    He never finished his threat. Which is good because the writer couldn’t think of one.


    “STAY. AWAY.” A flash. Razor was being dragged away, Hawkpaw could see the moon overhead again. “FROM. MY. SON.” With a word to punctuate every blow, Cedarsmoke drove the bicolored rogue back with a flurry. 



    The fight was spilling over and onto the neighboring highway, populated by few travelers at this hour. He lost track of them for a moment amid the now-pouring rain and sea of writhing bodies. He thought he saw Chanterellepaw’ blue eyes in there somewhere, but it was difficult to tell. He could no longer distinguish friend from foe, and the water washed away any olfactory cues as well. The coassional car pushed the combattants back to the roadside, reminding them that man-made threats did not acknowledge their struggle.


    Finally, he found them. Razor and Cedarsmoke’s shadows must have been ten-feet high, thrown up against the colorful billboard by the floodlights illuminating the human message it displayed. How had they gotten up there? He wondered frantically, unable to aid his father way up on high. He couldn’t reach them fast enough. Feeling utterly helpless, he cast a glance around to see that many other rain-soaked faces were craning to observe the one-on-one fray, though some were still fighting a majority of the haggard horde were completely captivated.


    Cedarsmoke was holding his own, more or less. At least as near as Hawkpaw could tell. If he had to guess, between Razor’s rusted prowess and his father’s Warrior training they just about met in the middle skill-wise. A flip of a coin could decide the victor. 


    After trading a series of half-hearted jabs meant to test the others resolve, he watched as Razor went high and Cedarsmke went low at the edge of the outcropping that overlooked the highway. Razor wasn’t stopping….whether he was lost in his desperation, or slipping on the rain-slick metal, the rogue went careening and over the edge. Hawkpaw found himself cheering, amid others who cheered and some who cried out in concern. Those showing concern were fewer in number, and he could have sworn he spotted rogues who were happy to see the turn of events. Razor wasn’t finished just yet, however. He’d managed to cling to the lip, his back end dangling over a fourteen-foot drop to the pavement below. Cedarsmoke was cautiously edging nearer to the other tom.


    He’s going to try to save him. Hawkpaw realized with bewildered anger mingled with respect. His father had always been so preachy about his concepts of honor and bravery. But right before him they were being tested to the highest degree, and his soft-hearted sire was holding truer to them than he’d have ever anticipated. It annoyed him however, there was a time and place for such things but a small part of him really wished it need not be now.


    StarClan don’t take him. I was just getting to know him..


    Cedarsmoke stretched out an arm for which his opponent could grasp, and grasp it he did. But instead of hauling himself upward, the rogue leader jerked the samaritan downward, sacrificing one of his paw-holds on the edge of the grate in the process. For a minute, everything stopped. The very raindrops seemed to freeze in the sky, shimmering in the distant headlights of the cars moving up and down the road. All sound emptied from the venue. Razor began to fall, and Cedarsmoke with him. The gray dappled Warrior’s haunches spasmed, clearly trying to regain balance on one end. Claws jaggedly cut a deep scar down his arm as flesh proved a poor substitute for leverage. Just when it seemed like he was doomed to fall, the ThunderClan Warrior did an almost complete 180 twist-flip, his body collapsed heavily on the mental rungs as Razor’s continued to plummet downward at an almost agonizingly slow speed. If it made a sound when it came in contact with the asphalt, it was drowned out by a number of other noises. His dark mass did not move afterward. It wasn’t a fall a cat was like to survive, especially given the hard surface he’d landed upon. But Hawkpaw could almost swear he saw it shift just before it was bathed in the golden rays from an oncoming vehicle. 


    Now that, there was no surviving. 


    Hawkpaw was thankful for the darkness which obscured what was most certainly a grizzly scene left in the wake of indifferent man.

    A moment of silence hung in the air after it had passed. And then it was as if all hell had broken loose, caterwauls filled the air as all fighting seemed to cease.


    “What’s going on?“ Hawkpaw cried over the din.


    Somehow Chanterellepaw was at his side, accompanied by a tall pale she-cat.


    “Now that Razor is dead, a new leader must be chosen.“ Explained the she-cat. “We’ve been working on getting the young out of here in case that happened…. it’s going to be a bloodbath, you two should get going with your friends.” She urged. “Thank you for your help.” She added, looking at Chanterellepaw.


    “Oh Chant…” Hawkpaw whispered, pressing his muzzle and her familiar coat. It smelled somewhat of the city, but even that could not smother her sweetness. Though he longed to lose himself in this moment of reunion, he knew they had to get moving. Any cat with their eye on ambition would be looking to complete the lost mission of avenging Razor’s brother. And any ThunderClan cat found afterward would not be looked on fondly given the turn of events.


    He rasped his tongue over her wounds, hating that his own had somehow miraculously mended while hers remained. He wished he could lift them onto his own skin. It was his fault she’d ended up tangled up in this mess to begin with. He wondered if he would ever be able to make it up to her.


    “Let’s go home.”



    Hawkbite shouldered his way through the curtain of ferns that shaded the Medicine Cat den. The evening sun flared up briefly setting fire to the little cave before the opening closed. In his mouth was a squirrel. He knew that fresh Warriors must observe a vigil, but his words could not wait. And he’d always been a bit of a rebel, hadn’t he?

    He dropped it at her paws and fell into the nest beside her, taking care not to brush her tender bandaged wounds. His face buried into her neck, he whispered.


    “I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.” Each time he said it, he felt a wave like the very earth beneath him moved. His gravity was shifting. She was now his center, his sun. “I’m sorry. That wasn’t the way I wished to tell you it.” He pulled back, scowling at the now-distant memory of their near-death experience.


    “And…and oh StarClan Chant.” Moisture welled up in his eyes. “I..I never thought they’d come for you. You must hate me. Look at what almost happened because of me.” His voice was thick, laden with unshed tears. “I know there’s no way….I can ever make it up to you, but if you’ll let me try..”


    “I swear I’ll spend every day.” He looked at her determinedly, molten fres dancing in his amber gaze. “I know you may want to respect your vigil. So just…just nod. If you’ll have me. If it’s not possible, well, I’d understand.”


    “And if you need time to think uh, just shrug I guess. You don’t need to give an answer right now.”


    Stars know I’ve asked enough.


    He inhaled deeply, afraid of what she would choose.


    “My love for him was like the ocean. It was steady and calm, yet deep and fierce. The more that I let it, the more it consumed me, became part of me”
    She couldn’t breathe, her lungs constricting as she stares blankly at the still form of Hawkpaw. Feeling her blood run cold, her mind going numb with shock as she couldn’t properly take in that the love of her life was dead. Taken from her before she could properly reveal her feelings, before she could understand herself how much she truly loved him. Why did this happen? Why did it seem like Starclan was truly against her? It was always when one lost something dear to them that they fully realize just how much that meant to them. Chanterelle knew that she cared deeply for him, but now as she watches his lifeless body did she come to realize that she was too late. She wasn’t quick enough, it was all her fault why he risked his life. 
    He should have been alive right now, being the smart ass that she loved, giving her one of his leg-weakening smiles that always made her heart flutter with outmost affection. The cherry bengal just couldn’t fathom why he was dead, why would he give his life away so easily for her? Was she truly worth it? Did he already regret his decision? Though she supposed it no longer mattered if he did or not; he was already gone. 
    A harsh gasp escapes her, her body quivering from the cold rain as well with the lack of oxygen. Her lungs painfully expanding as she gulps for air, having momentarily forgotten how to breathe. The scene around her fades from her vision as tears slowly fall from her blue eyes. Her features contorted in agony, though there was no physical pain, she was hurting emotionally. All of her emotions were tugging and ripping at her soul as they fight against one another; trying to win an inner battle. 
    If this was love; she did not want it. 
    Everything hurts. Her heart aches as she silently mourns for the loss of her best friend, the love of her life. Chant could already tell that she would never love another feline the way she loves Hawkpaw. He is—was her soulmate. She no longer could focus on his body, her head turning downwards to stare at her rippling reflection in the forming puddles in the cracked concrete. Just looking at herself sent a pang of resentment through her. Her ghostly blank gaze staring back at her before a single tear disrupts the image. 
    Tensing at the sudden and loud manic laughter coming from above. Clenching her jaw as she knew who that horrid sound was coming from. He did not deserve to see how truly broken she was, shoving her agony deep within as anger and determination flares in her icy blue gaze. Glaring defiantly up at the putrid smelling, grotesque looking feline. She had never felt so much hatred for another cat as she did in that moment. Though Razor was too enthralled in the moment of victory to pay any mind to the silently fuming she-cat. Chant wondered if he didn’t need to keep up appearance would he be hopping and whooping in glee. 
    Looking at him made her sick. It infuriated her to no end, she wanted to inflict emotional as well as physical pain to him. To show him just how she felt, she wanted to see him wither in pain. Her rage-filled thoughts caused her to still, her eyes widening as she couldn’t believe what she was thinking. Did she truly wish such evil upon another? Yes; she did. And that scared her to no end. The molly knew that she needed to leave, that this was her moment to slip away unnoticed, but she couldn’t leave him. She did not want to leave his body, to lay discarded like trash on the city floor. He deserved more than that! 
    The ringing in her ears starts to fade away as her shock-filled mind slowly starts to clear. Her body moving slightly closer to him, she had to get to him! She had to bring him home! Choking back sobs as it finally dawns on her that she would never see him alive again. Time. She had no more time with him, it was ripped senselessly away from her for Razor’s sick pleasure and revenge. For a moment—just a moment. She contemplated in throwing her life away to seek her own revenge against the rogue. The image of Hawkpaw is what stopped her.
    He wouldn’t want her to give up her life so easily. Not when he sacrificed his in order for her to live. Live—that’s what he wanted her to do, and live she would. 
    She never reached him. As soon as she was able to move on her own accord, a group of Thunderclanners emerge from the shadows. Fiercely attacking the shocked Rogues around her. Feeling a short-lived relief before she was roughly pulled backwards. A muffled gasp escapes her as her scared gaze locks on the unknown she-cat that had spoken to her before. Glaring at violet, silently demanding a reasoning for being kept from retrieving the form of her beloved. A cautious look is what she was met with, the rogue molly looked concerned as she spoke softly to Chanterellepaw. “We need to get the young out! We need to protect them before the battle gets worse.”
    Frowning as for a split second she was tempted to ignore Violet. To dismiss her plea, to help her comrades or to run to Hawk’s limp cold form to say a final goodbye. Though for some odd reason she felt a calming pull towards the older she-cat. She could see the sincerity in her gaze; she truly wanted and needed her help in evacuating those who could not properly defend themselves. Her features hardening with determination as she gives a nod for Violet to lead away. Only pausing for a moment to give a fleeting glance back to her clan-mates fighting before following after Violet. 
    Utter Chaos. That’s how she would describe the situation around her. No matter where she turned—she was always met with claws aiming at her or nearly running into a clan mate fighting. Adrenaline coursing through her as she helps move the younglings to safety, instinctively lashing at any who dared to get in her way. She was in complete flight or fight mode. Nothing else mattered except protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves. She had shoved her emotions so far down that all she felt was a numbing ache in her bones.
    At one point in time, she thought she had caught a glimpse of Hawkpaw fighting amongst a horde of endless Rogues. That moment of hesitance cost her a deep gash to the shoulder. ‘You need to focus! He’s…he’s gone. Nows not the time to go mental’ she cursed herself as she defends herself. Usually she would feel revolted at killing another feline, but at this moment she knew that it was either them or her. She was like a robotic machine as she moved with little hesitation, her movements swift and fluid. Her facial expression cold and blank. She had no time to fully grieve, to come to terms with everything that had happened. 
    Chant was like a rose, except she was wilting. One by one her petals were falling away; taking her emotions with it. 
    Suddenly the battle came to an abrupt stop. Silence filling the once loud alleyway. The stiff silence was suffocating; she felt like she was drowning with no one there to help pull her free. Confusion flickering over her features as she follows everyone’s gaze to above. Her form tensing and freezing once she makes out the form of Cedarsmoke and Razor going head to head. Holding her breath for what seemed like hours but only minutes before the final outcome was revealed. Her form slacking in utter relief as the battle was over. Razor was dead.
    With a heavy heart; Chanterellepaw makes her way through the crowd. Though she comes to an abrupt stop, not even caring when Violet bumps into her in the process. Her gaze was drawn to a live and breathing Hawkpaw. Her heart beating rapidly as she stares at him in disbelief. Was she hallucinating? Had she finally lost her mind to grief? But hearing Violet coaxing her to go to him proved to her that he was indeed alive. How? How was he standing there before her? ‘None of that matters’ a voice echos within her mind.
    As if a spell had been broken; she finds herself running to him. Everything around her fading into the background as he was the only thing that mattered to her in that moment. She wouldn’t let herself fully believe that he was indeed alive until she could feel and see it for herself. Cautiously pausing inches away from him. Her gaze clouding with emotion, she remains quiet as she couldn’t bring herself to say anything. She barely heard him speak; wondering why the fighting had resumed except now the Rogues were fighting each other. Violet’s voice muffled as all she could focus on was him. 
    It wasn’t until he pressed his form against her in relief did she fully accept that he was truly there before her. A broken sob escapes her, cursing herself as she tries to control herself. Yet; with feeling him against her, feeling his breath on her neck as he nuzzles her. She broke down against him. Her body shaking as she cries into his shoulder. Her voice quietly muttering his name over and over again in pure relief and love that he was here before her. 
    She didn’t even flinch at his tongue rasping against her wounds, all she did was press herself closer to him. Numbly nodding her head as he mentions home. ‘Home…lets go home’
    Chanterellefrost was emotionally drained as she laid in the medicine den. A soft sigh escaping the otherwise silent bengal molly. Everything felt so surreal; after the whole ordeal Hollystar had awarded the two apprentices their warrior name. Of course; not before scolding Hawkbite for recklessly going on his own to rescue Chanterellefrost. After the short and straight to the point ceremony; she was whisked away by Peachblossom to have her wounds tended to. She didn’t even get to say anything to Hawkbite to congratulate him on his name. To tell him she loved him before being fussed over by the medicine cat.
    Frowning as she was informed that though she could not properly guard the camp in a ceremonial vigil, she was permitted to complete her vigil within the confinements of the medicine den. She could care less about the vigil; which was hardly like her as during her apprenticeship she had always looked forward to this moment. Yet now all she wanted was Hawkbite to be by her side. As if Starclan was answering her silent prayer; the ruggedly handsome black tom slips in undetected. Arching a brow as he places a limp squirrel by her paws before settling down beside her. 
    Keeping quiet as she regards him, tensing slightly as he presses his head in the crook of her neck. Goosebumps appearing along her flesh as his warm breath caresses her fur and skin. Feeling her cheeks heat up at his quiet mantra of ‘I love yous’. Just hearing him say that caused her heart to swell with never ending love for him. Though of course she couldn’t make it easy on him, now could she? Biting her lower lip as she lets him spill his thoughts and emotions out to her. It surprised her just how upset he really was that she was taken and injured; that he blamed himself completely for it all. Glancing around for a moment, listening to her surroundings and inwardly grinning to find out they were truly alone. 
    Deciding to hell with remaining silent, Chant swiftly shoves Hawk backwards as she pins him down. Her piercing blue gaze locking with his Amber ones. “Do you know how much it hurt to see you dead? To believe that I would never see you again! That I would never be able to tell you that I…” she trails off. Trying her best to keep her tears at bay. Her throat tightening with emotion before she whispers out: “That I love you? What you did was selfish and reckless” she scolds but her gaze turns gentle as she takes in every little detail on his features. “But I wouldn’t love you any other way” she smiles through her tears. Leaning downwards as she rasps her tongue along his muzzle. 
    “I love you so much Hawkbite” she whispers into his ear. 
    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Roach.
    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Roach.

    Hawkbite was not anticipating such a spirited response from his still-healing comrade, her lunge flipped him on his back as her scent overwhelmed him when she leaned in close. His heart hammered dangerously fast at his ribs, he was certain she could feel it through his fur. 

    He was also shocked to hear her dismiss his worries about her potential anger, instead bemoaning his supposed ‘death’, which he could not imagine would have been easy to witness either. Of course, it had been no walk in the park to actually experience it, but he held his tongue on that count. He’d made his own choices, and it was important to keep in mind how they affected those that cared about him. It was a new feeling a bit like a growth spurt in a way. He knew he would adjust in time.

    Her kisses came like rain. Refreshing, washing away the pain.


    “Oh Chanterellep-frost.” He corrected himself smiling meekly. “That’ll take some getting used to…’s so beautiful, though. You’re beautiful. You’ve made me the happiest tom in the forest.” He said this with confidence, daring any cat anywhere to tell him they’d ever loved anyone more.

    He wrapped her gingerly in his arms and rolled sideways, so she was no longer atop his tender wounds but directly beside him in the shared nest. A wave of sleepiness was overcoming him, which he fought not even wanting dreams to separate them just now. Even holding her like this, it was if he had died and ascended to a higher plane of perfection. But of course, a sinner such as himself knew this could not be. It had to be real, there was no way he’d qualify for eternal happiness. 


    But this…..this was pretty damn close.

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