Oaktail's mistake has shaken up his life and his Clan.
When another death occurs in the Clan, Oaktail questions himself. Is he a hero or a villan?
I still hear her voice.
It echoes in my head. Quietly, softly, almost inaudibly, but I know it's there, waiting to whisper my dreams to me, word by word.
She whispers our memories together.
The day I said "I love you."
The time she crashed into a tree when hunting and scared the prey away.
When I killed her.
When she whispers this memory to me, she relates her pain- the coughing, my claws driving themselves into their belly, her trust evaporating into a new feeling- betrayal.
Only for a heartbeat, before she realizes what exactly I have done. I have relieved her pain. I have relieved her suffering. I have done the best thing a mate can do.
My eyes stretch open. It is another day, another world to face.
I hate it.
I swear I can hear Robinsong's voice urging me to get up. I do, hoping that it was her bidding, and emerge from the warrior's den.
I can see Robinsong's mother, Sparrowheart, across the clearing. Her eyes are glazed as she glares at me. "Here comes the valiant murderer," she spits angrily.
The entire camp hears her and stops. I stare at them challengingly, daring one of them to insult me.
"Calm down, Sparrowheart," a quiet voice mews behind me. "Oaktail did the right thing."
I can't believe it. It's Robinsong's father, Brackentail. His golden eyes glare at his mate and I think of how Robinsong looked nothing like her father.
Sparrowheart lets out a long sigh. "That's just so hard to believe."
"Believe it," Shinefoot says darkly, coming from the medicine den. "She's dead. She was suffering and she's in StarClan now."
I sigh. Maybe she is in StarClan, but some part of her is still with me.
"Patrol!" the Clan deputy, Longleg, calls. "Oaktail, I'm sorry, but you have to go." His face is grief-filled, and I suddenly remember that he is Robinsong's brother.
"Alright," I mutter, trotting to my companions, "I might as well."
That night, my dreams are just as repetitive as usual.
Except, this time, Robinsong emphasizes when I drive my claws into her belly. The dream goes dark, and I think it is over until I see a beautiful forest and a beautiful she-cat.
"Hello," Robinsong whispers to me. Her eyes are bright, her voice trills slightly.
Robinsong is well! She is happy! My heart swells with joy and I rush to greet her.
"No," Robinsong whispers, "you cannot touch me."
"Why?" I beg. "I miss you."
Robinsong glances towards the shrubbery behind her, where three kits are play-fighting and squealing.
"Whose are these?" I whisper, feeling a pang of sadness for the young lives taken.
"Oaktail... these are ours," Robinsong whispers, her eyes brightening considerably. "Aren't they beautiful?"
"I killed the kits?" I ask hoarsely. My heart has stopped, my breathing is tense. "We were going to have kits?"
Robinsong seems to realize that I never knew, never thought. "Yes," she replies. "We were going to have kits."
I wake up, gasping.
A voice from across the den calms me despite the scorn in it. "Bad dream?" Sparrowheart asks scornfully. "Serves you right."
I shake my head, still gasping for breath. "Nightmare," I whisper.
Sparrowheart sighs. "Come here," she murmurs. "I may not have a kit, but I was a mother."
I pad over to her, my paws treading carefully around the sleeping masses of cats.
I sit next to Sparrowheart. "What's wrong?" I ask.
She buries her face in my fur. "I'm so sorry," she whispers.
I breathe out. Is this what I think it is? Sympathy from Sparrowheart?
I rub her back with her tail and listen to her whimpering. Before I know it, she has fallen asleep.
My eyes drift shut, but I hear nothing else from Robinsong that night.
I am staring at my claws. They dig themselves into the dirt, trying to say that they won't. They can't.
I am standing near the river, near the border, staring at my unsheathed claws.
I know this is dangerous. I am dangerous.
The familiar voice only whispers, "I love you."
The wind roars in my ears as I race through the forest, calling cat's names, wailing apologies, and hoping to find them.
I leap over fallen logs, scream for help, for revival.
When I skid into camp, I wish I had killed myself.
Sparrowheart's body is in the middle of the clearing. There is an open wound down her side, revealing her heart to me.
Her heart didn't stop beating when she died, I realize.
It stopped beating when I killed her daughter.
"Robinsong," I whisper to myself. "If anything... I need you here."
I am alone again, trying to figure out what I am. Am I a hero, or am I a villan? Every cat has a different answer for me.
I hear Robinsong's beautiful voice drift into my ear. "I am here," she says.
I fall over myself. "Have you seen your mother yet?" I ask. "How are the kits? Can you see how your father is doing?"
"The answers are in your heart," Robinsong whispers.
"That's not enough!" I plead. "I want to see you! Hear your voice!"
"I walk your dreams," Robinsong says simply. I realize that she is sitting right in front of me- a ghostly outline. "Is that not enough?"
"I want to be with you," I plead. "What does it take?"
"An open mind," Robinsong tells me. Her image begins to flicker away in front of me.
"Wait!" I wail, "what do you mean?"
The last thing I hear from her is a quiet, sad statement: "The kits don't know you exist, Oaktail."
I want to rip myself apart, bit by bit.
I killed my mate and my kits.
In doing that, I killed Sparrowheart.
Oh, am I a hero, or am I a villan?
I will never know.
Isn't this insanely dramatic? xD I had fun writing this, too, so it's worth it. Hope this doesn't ruin Grieving Claws for you! That would be bad!