Categories > Books > Warriors0 Reviews
Amidst the threat of a forest-wide battle over increasingly scarce prey, timid RiverClan apprentice Dawnpaw struggles with her mentor, falls in love, and begins to wonder if there are deeper reason...
Warnings: This story contains strong homosexual themes. There is no explicit content, but this is rated T for a reason. I consider this fair warning. If you are offended by this sort of content, use your own disgression.Other than that, expect your average Erin Hunter-esque gore warnings and such.
Pre-story notes: In one of their chats with fans, one of the Erins stated that two things had no place in the Warriors universe: Drugs and homosexuality. This story sets out to prove that she's wrong (at least on the homosexuality point--I don't feel all that much like delving into drugs, but heck, who knows? That's what fanfic is for, right?)
The voices were all yowling, setting up a clamor that vibrated through her skull--that's where they were, in her skull, some of them or most of them or all of them, she couldn't tell. But she could feel them there too: Pelts brushing against her own, though she couldn't tell how many.
They were tearing at her. Every time she inhaled one of them took a swipe at her and the claws ripped down her right flank, opening the same gashes, again and again and again. She could feel the blood, more with every breath, running out of her body and into her orange fur. It just kept coming.
Pain in her scruff. Cold, wet snow soaking through the fur on her left flank. Blood running down her right, and the cats in her head, screeching their fury. Should have chased them off. Should have chased them all off, even the brown one, the one who had come first like a rabbit across the moor, lithe and fast--streaking past before she had realized the cat was there. Should have chased the brown one ... And all the others, on her territory, should have--should have--
Still there, standing around above her and caterwauling and she couldn't see, but she could hear claws digging into the ground and voices, fewer--maybe some of them had run away, maybe reinforcements had come and chased them all off, like she hadn't managed.
"Get off of our territory! You don't belong here--go!"
The caterwauls rang through her head, rang so loudly they set up a clamor behind them and her head began to throb with them, echo with them, pound with them; the one, panting, desperate--
"They want to kill me. I can't leave!"
The other a cruel, malicious hiss--
"How dare you beg for solace here! From me, after what you've done? I'll tear your fur off an inch at a time, loner scum!"
They were different than before, though. She hadn't known the other ones, the ones that sounded their yowls as they'd chased her and that brown cat across her territory. They'd been there for a while, but now they had changed, were different ...
Still angry, still so angry, but different ...
"She saved my life! I didn't hurt her!"
Claws tearing through her flank, the slow chill of snow through her fur, the tiny twinges of pain lingering at the back of her neck, one of those voices ...
It sounded familiar. She knew she recognized its owner from camp, from her Clan's camp, from training sessions and hunting patrols around the territory.
Her mind surfaced slowly, fighting through burning pain and the haze of unconsciousness, up from the horrible blend of shouts and memories of the chase and the fight. She did know that voice.
"G-Goldenfang," she managed to rasp through lips that didn't want to move.
The voices went mercifully silent for a moment. She let her head sink back into the snow. Its frosty teeth bit into the side of her face, her muzzle, her ear, but she was too exhausted to lift it again. There were spots swirling in front of her eyes, and a further fog alongside that, puffing from her mouth as she panted gently for the breath she'd lost in the fight and the chase and the pain.
Then she heard, "What do you want, Dawnpaw?" and turned her head towards where she thought he stood. She couldn't see him, but her muzzy brain would know his voice anywhere.
Dawnpaw knew she had to tell him what had happened, what she, by unhappy accident, had seen. He was her mentor and she knew, after amoon of training with him, how easily he got angry. This would infuriate him beyond all reason.
Suddenly she wished it was Bluestripe here, or Mossheart, cats whose anger didn't engulf the world when they let it loose. But still, the other cats could be out there now and Goldenfang should know, needed to know, had to know.
"Clan cats," Dawnpaw slurred. "WindClan cats. Chased us ... Couldn't fight them off, lost them ..."
"They were on our territory, Dawnpaw?"
"And you lost them?" Dawnpaw could feel Goldenfang's breath, a long, steady stream across her muzzle as he hissed the words. She couldn't see him, still blind with the pain, but she could imagine his muscled frame crouching before her, hissing right into her face, claw upraised to deliver the death blow. Their training bouts always ended this way, and he'd never hit her before, but now ...
"I'm sorry," she mewed in terror, fighting the debilitating pain to wriggle away. "We tried to fight them off, but ..." She began to cough, sending spasms all down her deeply-gouged side, from right foreleg to right hind. Goldenfang's breaths still blew across her nose, deep, even exhalations that chilled her blood even more thoroughly than the snow.
Another voice took up the story as she fought for consciousness. She recognized this one, too: The brown cat who'd been with her in the chase.
"We were outnumbered," she said calmly, attempting to defuse the situation. "One of them clawed up her side, and she couldn't fight. I got her here, but--" she paused, and when she resumed her voice was firmer, and just a little confrontational--"I didn't hurt her."
"How many?" Goldenfang growled to Dawnpaw, as if he hadn't heard the brown she-cat.
"Three, or four, I--"
"Can't you count? Was it three or four?"
Dawnpaw racked her dazed brain furiously, loathing to anger Goldenfang, to disappoint him, any more than she already had. There had been the brown cat first, the streak of brown-and-silver that had been her flying by, and then Dawnpaw had cried out and followed, and there had been those pawsteps behind her and when she turned her head to see who was there, hoping for a RiverClan patrol to help her ......
There had been the white one. And the brown tabby, and the one who was almost black except for a patch here and there.
"Three," she hazarded.
"Three," Goldenfang snarled under his breath. "Still loose on our territory. Did you at least try to chase them off?"
Dawnpaw was shivering. The tremors sent jolts of white-hot fire down her side, but her own body was out of control and she couldn't hold them in. It was hard to breathe. Harder to speak. But Goldenfang's low, dangerous growl demanded an answer. Fighting through the haze of pain, she forced her mouth open to admit, with shame, "N-no."
She didn't need Goldenfang's words to convey his rage. The sound of his claws furiously gouging through the snow near her nose was more than enough.
"Do you know what you've done, Dawnpaw?" he hissed, his breath still wafting across her muzzle."Now that they've successfully invaded once, they'll try it again. Even the youngest apprentice we have would never have allowed this to happen." And then suddenly the breath was gone, and Dawnpaw, whose eyelids were growing heavier as the seconds passed, wondered fleetingly whether he intended to leave her to crawl back to camp on her own.
But then she heard him snapping out orders to her brown companion: "You walk in front. Sandstar will decide what to do with you." And then there were teeth in the scruff of her neck, hauling her painstakingly upright. When she had all four feet beneath her she took a staggering step forward, then another, stealing herself for the arduous trek back to camp.
A flank pressed against her uninjured left side before she'd taken her third step, supporting her weak, tremulous efforts to walk. The fur pressed against hers was short; it wasn't her brown companion then, for that cat's fur was luxuriously thick and long. It was Goldenfang.
His muscles were rippling with anger beneath his golden pelt; she could feel them tense against her side. But she couldn't see where she was putting her paws anymore, and his warm fur was awonderful relief from the bitingly cold snow, and even the ball of condensed anger that was Goldenfang was a welcome support now.
There were no more words exchanged between the three of them as they trudged back towards camp. Dawnpaw, half-conscious against her mentor's side, wouldn't have comprehended them if there had been any.