Spikyfur and Ladybug
Series: Short Stories of Love
|Spikyfur is scary-looking and not trusted by his clan. Ladybug dreams of a wonderful life outside, but doesn't know how to survive. These two are bound to collide sometime, and what will happen when they meet?|
A dark brown tom with spiky fur sat in the middle of a clearing filled with cats. Some of the cats were huddled in small groups, whispering to each other. "Who's that spiky brown tom?" one black WindClan she-cat asked.
"He's from RiverClan." gray ThunderClan elder murmured.
"He looks...so..." the WindClan cat mewed, unable to find words.
"Mean?" a ginger ShadowClan tom supplied.
"Angry?" suggested a blue-gray WindClan elder.
"Like he can hear everything you're saying?" the dark brown tom hissed at the group, who, looking surprised and shameful, scurried away to the other side of the clearing. The tom hung his head and sighed. Why did every cat judge him by his appearance? He was muscled, his claws were long and sharp, his fur always looked like it was bristled, and he had sharp fangs. Sure, he was good at battling, but nobody (not even anybody from his own clan) trusted him.
"Wakey wakey wittle cutie pie!" a twoleg said in a baby voice. A reddish she-cat with black spots blinked open her eyes to see her owner, Emily, leaning over her and shaking a bowl of food. "Time to eat Ladybugy-boo!"
The she-cat sighed and gazed out the window. It was dark! She hated when Emily woke her in the middle of the night. She couldn't understand why her human was such a nocturnal creature. As she peeked out the window, she caught a glimpse of the river. She knew wild cats lived by that river, but she wanted to fish in so badly sometimes...
"Ladybug!" Emily called, skipping into the kitchen after setting the food bowl down, "If you come watch TV with me, I'll give you extra treats!"
The she-cat (who is obviously named Ladybug) hopped from her cat-bed and over to the bowl of food on the floor. She licked up the soft, mushy stuff and lapped at the milk int he bowl next to it. She then trotted into what Emily called the 'TV room'. She longed for a better life than this...
Spikyfur awoke after the Gathering in his den. He saw sunlight shining into his face. "Spikyfur, get out!" He looked up to see his sister, Glitterfur, glaring down at him.
"Wha-?" Spikyfur asked.
"Get out!" she hissed in annoyance and smacked him on the nose, "This is the third time you woke me up with your thrashing!"
Spikyfur sighed, shook the moss from his fur, and padded out of the den. The sunlight warmed his fur and he blinked his eyes pleasantly in the in the light. He turned to the side and padded towards the river. As he reached the river he saw the two youngest kits, Fishkit and Goldkit, fishing for minnows in the shallow reedy area.
"Goldkit, hide in the reeds." Fishkit whispered to his sister, stepping backwards away from Spikyfur.
However, Goldkit ran up to Spikyfur. "Are you evil?" she asked, tipping her head to the side.
Spikyfur just sighed, "no." and stepped into the river. He swam across, dunked underneath for a moment, then performed some really cool tricks underwater. When he flopped out onto the sandy bank of the river, he glanced up and saw the Twoleg den just outside RiverClan territory. He must have accidentally swam too far. He sat on the bank for awhile, catching his breath and watching the water rush by.
While he sat there, he took in how beautiful the land around him was.There was a patch of pure white flowers waving in the breeze nearby, dark green grass meeting with soft sand beside the riverbank, sunlight filtering through the branches of a nearby tree, the place seemed magical.
Spikyfur sniffed the air. Twolegs and Kittypets. I didn't seem like this was anyone's territory, so fishing here wasn't bad, was it? He turned back towards the river and gazed into its depths. He waited for a shadow to pass, and reached in with his claws. He found that the fish was heavier than it looked,a nd reached in with his other paws. He dragged it out, and found that it was large, gray, yummy-looking fish. Spikyfur killed it and waited for another fish to come by.
After he gathered a lot of fish, he realized that the sun was setting. He picked the smalled fish from the pile, ate it quickly, and started to carry his kill home.
Ladybug slipped out the cat door into the sunlight. Her fur rustled in the breeze and she felt cheerful as the sun warmed her red fur. She padded through Emily's garden and peeked through the ferns. She spotted something brown, and stopped dead. She looked again and quickly hid herself in a nearby bush.
There was a mean looking brown tom with scars, bristly fur, and long claws sitting beside the river. She watched him, afraid to move for he might kill her. She watched him fish out of the river, eat a fish, then start to swim his fish across the river. Wait, where was this tom taking the fish?
Ladybug raced after the tom, but he had already reached the other side of the river. She jumped into the river and paddled furiously, trying to reach him. this tom, however mean he looked, was nice. She wasn't sure how she could tell, maybe it was the fact that instead of eating all his hard-caught fish he's bringing it to other cats, or anything else, but she knew she had to talk to him.
However, she was about halfway through the river when she lost her energy and couldn't swim anymore. "Help!" she gurgled through the water. "Help!" She felt her head duck under the water, and she collided with something hard. It must be a rock. She pulled her self up onto it, barely balancing on the tiny purchase. She shook out her red fur and continued calling for help.
Spikyfur was carrying his fish back to camp when he thought he heard something. He came to a stop and pricked his ears. He didn't hear it again for a long time, so he ignored it. But after awhile again, he distinctly heard, "Help!"
He buried his fish quickly and raced towards the sound of the cries for help. He raced as quickly as possible, eventually coming back to the river. In the middle he saw a small red and black she-cat balanced precariously on a rock, calling for help.
"I'm coming!" he shouted across the water, then leaped into the rushing water. He swam furiously, reaching the she-cat quickly. He scented kittypet, and new she must live with the twolegs nearby. He grabbed onto the rock with his claws and meowed, "Here, hold onto my tail and I'll swim you back across."
"O-okay" the she-cat meowed. She lowered herself into the water carefully and grabbed Spikyfur's tail. Spikyfur winced as the kittypet bit hard into his tail, but ignored the pain. He swam slowly towards the other side of the river, and dragged himself onto the bank.
"Are you okay?" he asked the she-cat as she let go of his tail and shook out her pelt.
"I'm fine." the she-cat didn't look as sad or scared as any other kittypet in her position would, in fact, her gray eyes were staring at Spikyfur in amazement.
"Well, I got to get going, I have to go home to my clan." Spikyfur turned to go back into the river, but the she-cat stopped him. "You're not mean." she meowed in amazement, "You're nice."
"What?" Spikyfur blinked in surprise.
"Most would look at you and think you were mean and evil, but you saved my life and you don't even know me." the she-cat meowed, still gazing at Spikyfur with those gray eyes.
"Well, I heard you calling, and not even the worst murderer deserves death." Spikyfur splashed into the river and started to swim for the far bank when he heard the kittypet call behind.
"My name's Ladybug!" she called.
Spikyfur called over his shoulder, "I'm Spikyfur!"
Ladybug licked her fur clean, making sure not to return to Emily with a dirty pelt. That might result in Emily not letting her out for a long time to avoid getting in trouble, and she just couldn't be trapped inside. After all, she had to figure out more about that tom.. Spikyfur.
Ladybug gazed out over the rippling waters of the river to where Spikyfur had disappeared. There were mysterious wrapped all around that tom, and Ladybug just had to figure out those mysterious!
Spikyfur dragged in the fresh-kill and dropped them on the pile. "Wonderful." a gray she-cat with brown patches padded up to Spikyfur with a stern expression. "You disappeared all day, at least you bring home prey."
"I'm sorry, Lilypad." Spikyfur dipped his head to the deputy.
"You'll have to make up for the patrols you missed today tomorrow." Lilypad mewed, flicking her tail and padding away angrily. Spikyfur sighed and padded towards the warrior's den. On the way he saw Glitterfur, and didn't want to confront his sister after he was gone all day. He swerved towards the reed bed. He flattened the reeds around him and settled down in it. He was hidden from the camp by a barrier of reeds, and he felt comfortable.
He loved being alone, he felt no scared staring eyes or angry glares, Nobody yelling at him for slacking off or running away in fear, just alone with his thoughts. But today he didn't feel happy to be alone. As he stared over the slowly rippling water of the river and the glowing stars in the sky, he thought of that peculiar kittypet. There was something about her, something odd, something... mysterious.
Ladybug awoke in her cat bed. She stood, stretched, and flicked her tail in annoyance. It was the middle of the night again! However, Emily hadn't woken her up, as the twoleg was sound asleep on the couch in the TV room. so what had awoken the red-and-black she-cat?
Ladybug bunched her muscles (small as they were) and leaped from her soft bed onto the windowsill and gazed out. It was all black outside, and the glass was freezing when it touched Ladybug's fur. Then she heard it. Clink. The she-cat pricked her ears, and it came again. Clink clink clink.
Ladybug pressed her face to the cold glass and looked down into the garden. She saw scary, red eyes glaring at her through the darkness, and sharp claws were clinking against the glass. Ladybug hurriedly used her paw to turn the lock on the window and slipped her claws underneath the glass. With the help of the owner of the red eyes on the other side, they heaved the window open.
Once the red eyes slipped inside, Ladybug placed her paws on the top of the glass and pushed down, hard, closing the window. She turned to see a black tom staring at her. "Ladybug." he meowed, "I've been looking for you."
"Oh, Shadows!" Ladybug purred, racing to her brother, "I've wondered where you went!"
Spikyfur opened his eyes and found himself in the middle of a gloomy forest. He carefully padded through the dead trees, wilting ferns, and murky stream water until he emerged into a clearing. Just as soon as he emerged, he quickly slipped back under cover, as he saw a familiar dark brown tom.
"Are the RiverClan apprentices here yet?" the dark brown tom spat at a nearby tabby.
"No, sir." the tabby replied, "Flamescale, Moonstream, Willowpaw, and Blackpaw are still awake. I have no idea where the two new ones are."
"Well, find them!" the brown tom hissed, sending the tabby scurrying away. Spikyfur watched from the shadows as cats in the clearing trained violently. He even saw one tough-looking WindClan senior warrior ripping open a young ShadowClan apprentice's belly. Spikyfur shrank deeper into the shadows, to afraid to run. And If he did run, how would he ever get out of this never-ending, dark, labyrinth of a forest?
Suddenly, he froze with fear and shock. A brown she-cat was padding into the clearing along with Flamescale, a ginger and golden tom, Moonstream, a black she-cat with a silver stripe down her back, and Willowpaw, brown she-cat with silver eyes. What were they doing here? Were they being trained to kill? This was bad.
He was so absorbed in the fact that the brown she-cat was here that he hadn't noticed a black and silver tom sneaking up behind him. "Spikyfur?" the young tom asked, confused, "Why are you hiding here?"
"Blackpaw?" Spikyfur asked, then, "Shush, there's no way I'm going to let one of those murderers find me."
"Murderers?" Blackpaw gazed around the clearing up ahead, as though there was some cat he couldn't see there. "Who's a murderer?"
"The brown tom!" Spikyfur hissed under his breath, "His name is... well, he has no name now."
"You mean Braveheart?" Blackpaw asked, still not caring to whisper. Luckily, the noise in the clearing was too loud for any cat to hear them.
"Is that what he's calling himself?" Spikyfur asked, "Because his name will always be murderer in my mind."
"Well, why do you think he murdered someone?" Blackpaw asked, trying to cut to the chase.
"He killed my mother shortly after I was born." Spikyfur explained, "She was deputy, but was on break while she took care of me and Glitterfur. Braveheart, as you call him (he was named Darkfish back then), was filling in for her, but it was temporary. He was afraid to lose the position, so he killed my mother to preserve his authority in the clan.
"But his plan backfired, because instead of him keeping the position, Fishstar named Lilypad deputy. Darkfish tried to kill her, but Lilypad was always a strong she-cat. She called for me and Glitterfur, who were apprentices then, to go get help, and we got some warriors. When we came back, we drove Darkfish off, and we didn't see him for moons."
"Really?" Blackpaw's eyes were wide.
"We should probably leave, do you know how?" Spikyfur meowed, eyes still locked on the brown she-cat. But, before Blackpaw could answer, his question burst out, "How could Glitterfur be here!?"
"Glitterfur?" Blackpaw's ear pricked at the mention of his mentor. He watched as Spikyfur flicked his tail to the brown she-cat. "This must be her first day here, I've never seen her here before!"
"How could she be here, learning from that fox dung who killed our mother!" Spikyfur suddenly heard rustling nearby, and looked up to see a ShadowClan tom.
"Apprentices, what are you doing back here?" he hissed.
Spikyfur hissed, scratched the tom's nose and ran for it, closely followed by Blackpaw. They raced through the forest, pursued by the tom and a few Dark Forest cats. Spikyfur suddenly felt himself waking up. He slowly began to fade, and soon awoke in his nest.
He shook out his fur, and his first thought was, "Oh my StarClan! I left Blackpaw there!" but the second he turned to race into the apprentice's den and wake him up, Blackpaw met him at the entrance to the Warrior's den.
"It's okay." he panted, "I woke up before they reached me."
"Did you wake up Willowpaw?" Spikyfur asked.
"Of course, did you wake up Glitterfur?" Blackpaw asked.
"No, but I will now." Spikyfur ran over to his sister's nest and placed down paws on her side, rolling her back and forth violently until she woke up.
"What's your problem, mouse-brain?" she hissed.
"What were you doing?!" he hissed back at her, "training with that fox-dung?"
"With who now?" Glitterfur asked, "What are you talking about?"
"You were training with Darkfish!" he hissed.
"I wasn't training with Darkfish!" she hissed, "I haven't even seen him since you have!"
"But I saw you, just now, in the Dark Forest, training!" Spikyfur hissed, not caring to lower his voice anymore.
"I've never seen Darkfish there!" Glitterfur stood and flicked her tail, limping as she padded away in a huff, "I was training with Tabbyclaw. I'm only improving my skills!"
Spikyfur sighed and padded back over to Blackpaw. "She's too stubborn. I'm just afraid of what Darkfish is planning."
Ladybug sat beside the river with Shadows. "So, where did you go?" she asked. It was daytime now, and the siblings were sitting on the sandy shore of the river and talking.
"I just couldn't stand being a Kittypet anymore." Shadows sighed.
"I see." Ladybug mewed. There was several moments of silence, then she spoke again. "What happened, and why did you come back?"
"Well, it's a long story." Shadows meowed, not looking up at his sister.
"I have all the time in the world." Ladybug flicked her tail.
"Fine." Shadows looked at the sky and started to explain. "When I first left, I had no idea how to fend for myself. I was lost, hungry, and near death when I met dark brown tom. He said he would only help me if I choose to join his army. I agreed, and he showed me how to hunt.
"At first, he gave me a place to live along with so many others of his "army", but then he kept giving us missions. We attacked rogues, loners, and even some Kittypets that ventured into our territory. We took over more and more territory, driving out every cat or twoleg that dared venture there.
"I only started to get second thoughts when one of my friends in the army, Slither, had a bad day of hunting. He ordered him to stay out all night, and not get a place to sleep or eat until he brought back two times more fresh-kill than normal. When two days had passed, another one of my friends, Acorn, tried to help Slither. When the brown tom caught them, he ordered them killed. The worst thing was, he ordered me to kill them."
Shadows paused here for a long moment, and Ladybug encouraged him on, "When did you do then?"
"I ran." Shadows mewed simply, curling his tail around his paws. "He followed me, almost killed me, but I still got away. I came upon a vet's home, and he healed me. He tried to keep me as a Kittypet, but I couldn't go back to that life. So, I came here."
"That tom sounds like pure evil." Ladybug meowed.
"Very much so." Shadows sighed, watching fish swim by on the river.
Spikyfur was taking Blackpaw out hunting, because Glitterfur had hurt herself too bad in the Dark Forest. It had come to the point where Blackapw was one of the very few cats who didn't think of him as a scary, mean warrior. He thought of him as a fellow solider in a war against Darkfish.
"Let's go fish upstream." Spikyfur meowed, leading the way as Blackpaw trailed behind him. They found a nice spot for fishing and sat down, watching the shadows of large fish dart aout in the middle of the river. Every once in awhile, one shadow ventured too close to Spikyfur or Blackpaw, and got swung out of the water and tossed on a small pile of prey they had on the bank.
"Are we done?" Blackpaw asked, dropping a fish about half his size on the pile of prey. It was getting bigger, and Spikyfur felt sure they might need to take more than one trip to carry it all back to camp.
"We can carry this back to camp, then come back and fish more." Spikyfur told the apprentice, digging a hole. He buried some of the prey and helped Blackpaw pick up the rest. He carried as many fish as he could, and the two set off for camp again. They followed the river for awhile, then veered off for camp. They returned, dropped the fish on the fresh-kill pile, and turned and left before any cat could greet them.
They were almost back to where they had buried the prey when they scented Kittypet. Spikyfur flicked his tail for Blackpaw to slow, then crept forward. He saw a black tom digging at the ground on the bank. He was stealing the prey! Spikyfur got ready to confront him, but was stopped by the familiar scent of Ladybug. what was she doing here?
He looked up ad saw that Ladybug was standing on the rock where had been stranded before, calling to the black tom. "That's not a good idea, Shadows!" she was saying, "That's Clan prey! They'll kill you!"
But the tom ignored her, dragging the dead fish towards the bank. "I'm tired of Kittypet food!" H called back to her, "I'm not going to eat anymore of that mush!"
"You can't steal prey!" Ladybug called back to him, but he was already carrying the fish through the shallow water.
"Give back that RiverClan prey, Kittypet!" Spikyfur hissed, jumping out from his hiding spot in the shadows.
Shadows ignored him, swimming into the river. Spikyfur leaped at him, dug his claws into the tom's pelt, and dragged him back to shore. There were several minutes of fighting and fur flying before the Kittypet dropped the fish and swam away as quickly as possible.
Ladybug was still sitting in the middle of the river, stranded again. The Kittypet swam past her, and Ladybug shouted at him in anger. Spikyfur jumped into the river and swam over to her. "Need help again?" he asked. Ladybug nodded, then made sure that Blackpaw, who was waiting on the ban, couldn't hear them, before saying, "That was my brother, Shadows. He said he had some interesting adventures that sound important. I think you should hear about them."
Spikyfur frowned. "Judging by that nice cut I just gave him, I don't think he'll be willing to tell me anything."
Ladybug sighed and glanced back at Shadows, on the opposite shore. "you're right. He's stubborn. Maybe come back tomorrow at midnight and he'll be more willing."
"kay." Spikyfur grabbed Ladybug by her collar and helped her across the river to her shore, waved his tail in goodbye, then left for RiverClan territory.
"Blackpaw, come on, you're involved too so you can come along." Spikyfur told the black-and-silver apprentice as he got ready to leave for Ladybug's Twoleg Den. The moon was high in the sky, and a pleasant breeze was playing across the river and into camp. Spikyfur was reaching a paw into the apprentices' den and prodding Blackpaw.
"I don't wanna." came a mumbled response from inside.
"Blackpaw, come on, we're already late." Spikyfur continued prodding him until he gave an annoyed grunt.
"Fine!" Blackpaw stumbled out sleepily and walked over ot eh the fresh-kill pile. "I'll meet you there after I eat. Don't worry, I'll catch a fish while we're there to make up for it." As he passed, he clawed Spikyfur in the side, as if he was annoyed, but it was more playful than angry.
Spikyfur agreed and padded off. He walked through the beautiful night, watching birds flying overhead and the moon turning the river silver. He saw ferns shifting and a vole or two run away in fright. Spikyfur smiled. Not even Darkfish could ruin this night.
Or maybe he could. It depended on what Shadows had to say.
Spikyfur soon came to the border, crossed the river, and shook out his fur on Ladybug's side of the bank. He sat and waited for Ladybug, but didn't have to wait long. The red-and-black she-cat trotted over to him, Shadows barely visible in the darkness by her side.
"So what is so important that I needed to hear?" Spikyfur asked, fur slicked down from the river.
"Shadows wants" Ladybug gave Shadows an annoyed glance, and Shadows rolled his eyes, "to tell you something of his adventures."
Spikyfur sat and curled his tail around his paws. He waited for Shadows to start talking.
"It started when I decided to leave this house." Shadows began, flicking his tail to the Twoleg Den. "I didn't want to be a Kittypet anymore."
Couldn't blame you. Spikyfur thought.
"I ran off on my own, but didn't really know how to survive. I was almost dead after a fight with a rogue when a dark brown tabby tom found me. He said he would teach me how to hunt if I would join his army. I agreed, and he taught me how to hunt and gave me shelter. More joined his army, many, and we had a wonderful.
"After the army grew bigger, he decided to name us DarkClan. He renamed himself Braveheart, leader of DarkClan."
"Braveheart?" Spikyfur burst out. "It was Darkfish!"
"Don't interrupt me." shadows muttered, then went on after he was sure that nobody would interrupt him again. "He gave us missions, he would split the entire army into thirds, one group would drive out cats from their territory and make it part of DarkClan territory, one would hunt for the entire army, and the third one would rest. Then he would rotate them, so no group was resting too long.
"He ordered us to kill cats who wouldn't give up their territory to DarkClan. It was brutal. And It wasn't just non-followers who got punished. One day, Braveheart was ordering the fighting group to attack other clans for revenge when my friend, Slither, returned with a bad catch. He ordered that Slither go out and hunt until he had brought back enough prey, without eating any or sleeping. After awhile, another one of my friends tried to help him, and Braveheart ordered me to kill them.
"I couldn't bring myself to attack my friends, so I ran away. I lived for a loner for awhile, then I came back here to live with my sister." Shadows finished.
"How long were you a loner?" Spikyfur asked.
"A while." Shadows shrugged, "I dunno how long."
"Well, after that, I'm guessing, was when Darkfish returned." Spikyfur said. "He attacked me and Glitterfur again, but we killed him. No he's in the Dark Forest, planning another rebellion."
"Dark Forest?" Ladybug asked. Spikyfur explained about the afterlives and about how Darkfish was training killers from the clans.
"I want to help!" Ladybug proclaimed.
"How?" Spikyfur asked, surprised.
"It sounds as if your clans need a few heroes." Ladybug smiled, "And It doesn't seem as if you have quite enough."
Spikyfur was walking home before it occurred to him that Blackpaw hadn't joined him. Oh well, he would tell him all about it next time he saw him. It was pitch black now, and only the flowing of the river to the left of him told Spikyfur he was going in the right direction.
Suddenly, Spikyfur tripped over something. He grumbled, stood, and poked around with his paw to find what he had tripped over. He froze. It was furry.
He sniffed it. It smelled like Blackpaw... and blood.
Spikyfur looked up quickly and saw a slightly transparent tom. A dark tabby tom... a familiar tom. Darkfish stood in front of Spikyfur and grinned. His claws were out, and dripping with Blackpaw's blood. He lifted one paw and flicked a drop of Blackpaw's blood into the nearby river. He turned to leave and said, "He won't be the last one, you know. Not if you keep trying to fight me."
"I'll kill you again, Darkfish!" Spikyfur hissed at him, suddenly remembering how to speak. "I did it once,a nd I'll do it again before you do anything to this clan!"
"What are you talking about?" Darkfish grinned and laughed, "I'm already dead." Then he disappeared into the river.
Spikyfur grabbed Blackpaw's scruff in his teeth and dragged him back to camp as quickly as he could.
Spikyfur emerged into camp just as the sun started to rise. He dragged Blackpaw to the center of the clearing and called for the rest of the clan to come. They gasped in surprise at the sight of Blackpaw laying bloody on the grassy and wet ground of the camp.
"What happened, Spikyfur?" Glitterfur asked, running over to her apprentice with eyes wide.
Spikyfur leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Your 'hero' happened."
"Who?" his sister asked, whispering as well so the rest of the clan who gathered around Blackpaw's body couldn't hear them. Even if they weren't whispering, they would be drown out by shouts of, "He's dead!" and "what happened?"
"Darkfish!" Spikyfur hissed, "I saw him! He killed him!"
Glitterfur looked surprised, "I-I thought... he chan-" then she cut herself off and hissed, "I don't believe it! you're making it up!"
"Why would I make it up?" Spikyfur growled, "Who would have killed him?"
Glitterfur glanced at Spikyfur's claws, which were soaked in Blackpaw's blood.
"You think I killed him?" Spikyfur growled, hardly caring to keep his voice low anymore. "He was one of my very few friends, in fact, the only one in the clan who doesn't think I'm a murdering lunatic!"
"You have his blood on your paws." Glitterfur pointed out.
"It's from me dragging him home!" Spikyfur defended himself, "Ya know, because I wanted to bring my dead friend home to his clan!"
"Enough." Lilypad said calmly, but the littermates ignored the deputy.
"You have to be making it up!" Glitterfur hissed, pushing her face closer to Spikyfur's in a threating manner. "Braveheart is different!"
"Really?" Spikyfur hissed back, "He killed our mother but you don't think he can kill an apprentice?"
"He's different!" Glitterfur repeated.
"Enough!" Lilypad repeated, but the arguing cats still ignored her.
"Tabbies don't change their stripes, Glitterfur!"
"Maybe this tabby can! Cats can change, Spikyfur!"
"Really? Because you're still the same unhelpful sister who never believed me and let me be lonely while the whole clan was afraid of me!"
"He's terrible at guilt-tripping, isn't he?" on of the clan members listening commented to his friend.
"ENOUGH!" Lilypad screeched, this time jumping in between them and pushing Glitterfur away with her front paws. "It's obvious that Spikyfur and Blackpaw were good friends, and unlikely to fight or kill each other."
"Umm... Lilypad?" Redwillow, the medicine cat, called. "I think that theory that Spikyfur is our murderer has been confirmed."
"What is it?" Lilypad pushed her way through the crowd to Blackpaw's body to find Redwillow holding a dark brown piece of fur soaked in blood.
"I was between his claws." Redwillow said. Lilypad looked at it. It looked like Spikyfur's, but it was so soaked with blood that it could be the fur from a cat with much darker fur. She sniffed it, and beneath all the scents of Blackpaw's blood, she could just barely scent Spikyfur.
"Spikyfur's fur." the deputy announced. There were gasps, and they all turned to Spikyfur.
"But.." Spikyfur was lost for words. He turned to Glitterfur for help, but, blinded by her anger, she didn't help her brother. She had been driven to actually thinking her brother could murder his friend. Then Spikyfur stood straight and declared, "It wasn't me! It was Darkfish!"
There was a few murmurs of surprise, but on the faces of most were doubt. After a few moments of silence, Moonstream called, "Um... Spikyfur, Darkfish is dead. I saw you kill him myself."
"If the good cats can come and visit leaders and medicine cats why couldn't the bad ones kill living?" Spikyfur pointed out, then continued before anyone could interrupt. "I found out what Darkfish was planning a few sunrises ago. I teamed up with Blackpaw to find out what he was trying to do. I think he's training living cats to try and help him take over RiverClan. In fact, some of the traitors who train with him are in this very clan!" Spikyfur felt tempted to point at Glitterfur and scream "Get her!", but suppressed the urge and continued a little quieter, "I was looking anywhere for information, and met a Kittypet who had some information. He told me all about what he was doing before I killed him, and he and his sister offered to help me and Blackpaw. I was just talking to them tonight, and had asked Blackpaw to follow me. He said he would come, but stayed back a few minutes because I had woken him up. I'm guessing that Darkfish came back to the living world tonight and ambushed him on the way to meet me and the Kittypets."
Lilypad shook her head once Spikyfur had finished. "Even if we take out how much treason this is, talking with Kittypets and such, this is still just the ravings of the guilty."
"We should exile him!" several shouted, "Exile the murderer!"
Spikyfur suddenly felt anger pulse through him. He hissed, "If this clan is so mouse-brained, dumb enough to think that I would murder my best friend and then lie to my entire clan about it, then maybe Darkfish should have it! If you're mouse-brained enough to toss out your last hope of surviving, be my guest, because if you don't trust me, you'll get taken over by Darkfish and killed."
Spikyfur pushed his way through the crowd, which when they realized he was heading for the exit parted to let him through. Before leaving, Spikyfur said, "If this is how the clan treats its warriors, I'm leaving. I hope you enjoy death and enslavement." And then he was gone.
And of course, where could he go but to the pretty Kittypet's house?
Spikyfur pulled himself out of the river, took a deep breath, gathered his courage, and padded up to Ladybug's house. He yowled loudly, and after a few minutes, a Twoleg poked her head out the window. "Aww, such a cute kitty!" the twoleg said, then pulled her head back in and ran over to the door.
Well, Spikyfur thought as the twoleg opened the door and brought him inside, at least someone isn't frightened by me. Besides Ladybug and Shadows, of course.
Speaking of Ladybug and Shadows, the two Kittypets were sitting on the couch and wondering what was taking their Twoleg so long. Ladybug perked up and raced across the room to Emily's feet when she saw that Spikyfur was in the twoleg's arms.
"Spikyfur!" Ladybug purred, happy to see her clan friend, "What brings you to my Twoleg home?"
"Bad news, I'm afraid." Spikyfur sighed as Emily dropped him on the couch next to Shadows. Ladybug climbed back up to sit next to him. She smiled as Spikyfur jumped at the sound of a loud grinding.
"It's the can-opener." Ladybug explained, placing her tail on Spikyfur's shoulder to calm him down. "She's getting you some food."
"I haven't eaten in a day." Spikyfur said, "But I still don't think I could stomach Kittypet food."
"Oh, that's real meat." Ladybug said, sniffing the air. "It's mush, but it has some kind of meat mixed in with it."
"That's good." Spikyfur said. Shadows hadn't spoken, just stared at the television like nothing interesting was going on.
"So, what bad news brought you here?" Ladybug asked, sitting and curling her tail over her paws.
Spikyfur told her what had just happened in camp, and she looked horrified. "Why would they think you'd killed him?" Ladybug asked.
"Sounds like Braveheart set you up." Shadows commented. "Wanted you and Blackpaw out of the way."
"Well, I guess he succeded." Spikyfur hung his head. He sighed one more time then lay down on the couch.
"Are you just going to give up?" Ladybug was surprised, and poked Spikyfur to make him stand up, as if making him move would restore his hope.
"What else can I do, Ladybug?" Spikyfur asked, looking defeated, "I'm not a clan cat anymore." He lay back down and refused to get up. When Ladybug realised she couldn't convince him, she lay down next to hima nd pressed her fur into his. Spikyfur found this comforting, and fell asleep before emily could return with the Kittypet food.
Spikyfur opened his eyes. It was bright daytime, and he was standing on a rock next to RiverClan camp. Beside him sat Blackpaw, stars in his pelt, along with Spikyfur's mother and a few other victims of Darkfish. They shook their heads, and seemed to not notice Spikyfur sitting there with them.
"Why did they he leave?" Blackpaw sighed, sound disappointed. "He could have prevented this."
"Prevented what?" Spikyfur asked, but Blackpaw didn't hear him. The spiky brown tom looked down at the camp, and saw peaceful cats, dozing in the sulight or eating a fish or sharing tounges. Spikyfur didn't see what was wrong.
Then he saw it. A dark brown tabby tom was hiding in the shadows, unseen. Suddenly, he yowled, "Attack!" He jumped at Fishstar, who, not expecting it, folded under his wiegth.
Glitterfur and Willowpaw attacked their own clanmates, along with a few other Dark Forest cats. spikyfur tried to jump in and help, or at least snap his sister into a good sense of mind, he realised that he was stuck to the rock. He could walk around on the rock, but could get off it. He watched helplessly as his clan was attacked.
"He could have prevented this." Blackpaw repeated.
After a few more minutes of fighting, the clan was almost defeated. No one was killed, just horribly injured. Then Glitterfur turned and padded towards the Nursery. While she was inside, the Dark Forest Cats cleared a spot in the middle of camp and held down all the RiverClan warriors. They were helpless.
Glitterfur returned, holding Fishkit and Goldkit. They cried for their mother, Nettlefur, to help them, but she was held down by a Dark Forest tortiseshell and couldn't move an inch. She cried for mercy on her kits, but was ignored.
Darkfish grinned as Glitterfur set the frightened kits down in front of him. "We are almost finished." He said, then looked up at Fishstar, whom was pinned down by three Dark forest warriors. "The deal is simple. If you join us, you live and the kits live. If you do not, then the kits join us. In the afterlife."
"No!" Spikyfur screeched, attempting to leave the rock but failing. He tried as hard as he could, but he couldn't set his paw down on the grass below. when he was absolutley sure he could not help, he lay down on the rock and cried, "Let me wake up! this must be a dream! Let me wake up!"
Spikyfur woke up to find Ladybug, a few scratches on her haunch, looking at him worridley. He must have scratched her, along with the couch, as his claws had tufts of the fuzzy stuff int he couch, and just a bit of Ladybug's blood. "I'm sorry." he said to Ladybug, then stood and and jumped off the couch.
"Where are you going?" Ladybug asked, jumping down after him.
"To save my clan." He said simply, then started running off for the cat-door. When Ladybug followed him, he stopped dead and blocked her path. "Where do you think you're going?"
"I'm going with you." Ladybug had a brave look on her face. "You don't think I'm going to let you fight Darkfish on your own, do you?"
"But you don't know how to fight." Spikyfur pointed out.
Ladybug grinned. "I like to learn on the job." She raced out the cat-door ahead of Spikyfur, who followed.
Spikyfur and Ladybug made their way across the border and into RiverClan territory, Spikyfur helping his Kittypet compainion across the river.
"This way!" Spikyfur ran ahead, leading the way to camp. They quickened their pace. Suddenly, out of nowhere it seemed, a huge tabby tom raced in front of them, covered in blood. Instead of attacking the two cats, he ran away, leaving a trail of blood on the clean grass.
"Uh-oh." Spikyfur meowed, "It looks like he's fleeing. We have to get there quick!"
The two raced through the grass and bushes until they heard screeching in the distance. They jumped into the river and swam through some reeds- It was just shallow enough for Ladybug to wade through- and emerged into the chaos that was RiverClan's camp.
There was blood and fur flying everywhere, cats screeching, and Fishstar was laying motionless outside his den. Spikyfur raced over to him. "Fishstar!" he gasped, stopping by the ginger tom's side. he pressed his ear into Fishstar's chest fur, and coudl hear a faint heartbeat. He sighed with relief then turned to Ladybug.
"Ladybug, You job is to get the kits and the queen out of camp." Spikyfur instructed her. "Take them to the part of the river where you cross to your twolegplace, tell them to swim to the other side, then come right back."
Ladybug nodded, then raced off to the nursery. Spikyfur suddenly turned to see Glitterfur facing him. "You were exiled, you rat!" she spat in his face, then tackled him to the ground.
"You're a traitor!" Spikyfur spat back, "You're attacking your own clan for the cat who killed our mother!"
To this, Glitterfur didn't respond. She just held Spikyfur down, his muzzle in the dirt, and raked her claws down his back. The brown tom gathered all his strength and wriggled until he got his paws underneath him. Then he pushed as hard as he could, standing up suddenly and flinging Glitterfur off. He turned to face her, but found she was already leaping for him again.
"No you don't!" came a sudden screech. Ladybug appeared out off nowhere and knocked Glitterfur out of the air, making her land at Spikyfur's feet. Behind them, Nettlefur -the queen- crouched over her kits and waited for Ladybug. The red-and-black she-cat turned to them and meowed, "Go to the west border of your territory and I'll meet you there."
The dark brown she-cat grabbed her two kits by the scruff and swam out into the river, towards the border where Ladybug lived. Just as they left, a Dark Forest tortiseshell she-cat knocked Spikyfur to the ground and held him on his back. She sliced at his belly, but Spikyfur pushed her off using his hind legs. He launched himself onto her back while she was still winded and scratched at her back. He let her up as she stopped wriggling, and she fled.
He heard a screech of pain. He turned to see Glitterfur pinning Ladybug down. She looked up at Spikyfur. "You made some Kittypet friends while you were gone, I see." She reached down to deliver a killing bite to Ladybug.
"Stop!" screeched a sudden voice. A ghostly tom appeared and knocked glitterfur off Ladybug. The Kittypet got up, nodded in thanks to the mysterious tom, and raced away.
"Who-?" Spikyfur gasped as the tom turned around to reveal shockingly blue eyes. It was Blackpaw!
More StarClan cats were appearing, cornering the Dark Forest cats. "But, Blackpaw..." Spikyfur meowed, "I thought that without me, this battle would be lost. If StarClan could come and save the clan, then why did I need to come?"
Blackpaw blinked slowly at Spikyfur. For some reason, he seemed wiser than he did when he was alive, or did Spikyfur simply not realize how smart he really was until now? "Your clan needed you. If you had not come as a reinforcement, you clan would lose faith. And without Ladybug, they would have gotten the kits. Speaking of which, we have the battle here, you'd better go check on her. She's on the bank of the river just outside RiverClan territory."
Spikyfur's heart sank. If Blackpaw was telling him to check on her, surely something was wrong! He plunged into the river and swam away from camp. He waded onto shore, shook the water form his pelt, and raced off as fast as his legs would carry him to Ladybug's home.
Ladybug sat by the shore, waiting with Fishkit while Nettlefur and Goldkit swam across the river. After coming to the oppisite shore, Nettlefur came back for Fishkit. When Nettlefur and the kits were both on the other side, she turned and called, "Kittypet, aren't you coming?"
"I-" Ladybug looked down at her paws in embarassment, "I can't swim."
Nettlefur rolled her eyes, grabbed Goldkit by the scruff, and padded into the shelter of Emily's Garden. But before they could get there, a silver tabby appeared. He leaped at the queen, and Ladybug shrieked. Nettlefur turned around, pushed the kits under the bush with her tail, and faced the cat.
She can't defend herself and the kits by herself! Ladybug thought, But I can't get to her! She paced back and fort on the shore, watching with horror as Nettlefur battled with the silver cat, barely able to keep up. I need to get over there! The red-and-black she-cat gathered her courage, bunched her muscles, and leaped into the water.
She pumped her paws, flailing around for a bit, but slowly made her way towards the center of the river. Suddenly, the water got deeper and her head plunged below the surface. She gasped for air, but only took in water. She reached out for something to grap onto, but she was too far in. She paddled furiously, trying to pull her head above the splashing waters.
Then something grased her claws. she reached out and clawed at it. It was ahrd and slippery. The rock in the middle of the river! Ladybug reached her way over to the rock and climbed up on it. She shook off, choughed up water, and breathed in deeply. then the attacking Dark Forest cat caught her eyes. He had Nettlefur pinned down, and the dark brown she-cat was abrely able to fight back.
She had to keep going! Ladybug bunched her small muscles and jumped as far as she could. She splashed into the river and her head went under again. This time she had a lungful of air, so she could last longer. She swam as fast as she could, pumping her hind legs to push herself forward. Just as she was running out of breath again, she felt pebbles underneath her paws. Land!
She pushed her head above water in just enough time to see the Dark Forest warrior fling Nettlefur aside and head for the kits. Ladybug dashed out of the water. I can't fight him! she thought, He's three times my size! Then she spotted something on the shore. It was a big, slippery, muddy stick. She got an idea.
Ladybug picked up the stick and dragged it over to the attacking silver tabby. "Hey!" she hissed through the stick in her teeth, "Ready to be beat by a Kittypet?" the silver tabby tom turned around in just enough time to get smacked in the face by the muddy stick. Ladybug had hit him so hard, the stick splintered and lay ont he ground in soggy, muddy peices.
While he was still stunned, Ladybug raced over to him and sunk her teeth into his belly. he yowled in pain, struggled free, and raced away.
Spikyfur had watched the whole thing from the bushes. He gazed at Ladybug in amazement. Before he knew it, his paws were carrying him to the river shore and he plunged in. He swam across and raced to Ladybug's side. "Ladybug, that-that was amazing!" he exclaimed.
Ladybug didn't hear him, she was concentrating on hushing the crying kits, still hiding under the bush. Instead of trying to make her listen, Spikyfur padded over to Nettlefur. "You okay?" he asked the injured queen.
"My paw feels as though it's going to fall off." she complained, then glared at Ladybug, "I can't believe that kittypet saved me."
Spikyfur examined her. "Well, I'm not a medicine cat, but it looks like you'll be fine." he told her. The only thing hurt is her pride.
"The kits are fine." Ladybug called over, "The silver cat didn't get to them."
"Thanks to you." Spikyfur purred. He looked at the shattered stick on the ground. "How hard did you hit him? This thing's in at least twenty pieces!"
"He'll have a headache in the morning." Ladybug purred with laughter, "Not bad for a Kittypet, eh?" Then she glanced towards the Twoleg Den. "I'm surprised Emily didn't hear that fight."
"I'll go back to the battle." Spikyfur meowed, "You should take Nettlefur and the kits into your Twoleg's den. She'll take care of them." then he saw Nettlefur about to protest, "dont even try, Nettlefur. you need rest after that battle and Ladybug's Twoleg will heal you up and take care of Fishkit and Goldkit."
"The red kitty saved us!" Goldkit squealed, "She smacked that mean tom on the head with a big, muddy stick!"
"I'll be right back, guys!" Spikyfur meowed, then he padded along the shore and waded into the river, heading back to the battle. For some reason, it seemed as though Darkfish didn't have a chance anymore.
Spikyfur padded into camp to see that there were no more Dark Forest cats left. In fact, the only danger was Glitterfur, sitting in the center of camp. But she was surrounded by RiverClan warriors, spitting in her face and hissing "traitor" at her.
"Spikyfur's back!" Moonstream meowed.
Lilypad padded over to him. "We've taken Glitterfur prisoner." she explained, flicking her tail to the brown she-cat, who was hissing at Flamescale.
"What about Fishstar?" Spikyfur asked, ignoring Glitterfur.
"He-" Lilypad hung her head, "He didn't make it. He was on his last life."
Spikyfur sighed, "I guess I didn't come fast enough." he sighed.
"You came fast enough to save the clan." Lilypad meowed, placing her tail on his shoulder.
"What are we going to do with Glitterfur?" he asked.
"We are going to keep her prisoner for a bit, but if she doesn't seem to carry any regret, we will exile her." Lilypad meowed. spikyfur glanced at his sister, who was snarling at him. When they were kits, they couldn't be apart from each other for more than a minute. But now, they were mortal enemies.
"If the clan is safe, maybe I should go get Nettlefur and the kits. Ladybug took them to her Twoleg's home for protection during the battle." Spikyfur meowed. He was about to leave when suddenly, there was a blue-gray tail in his path.
"Spikyfur," Lilypad meowed, "what is up with that Kittypet?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, why did a Kittypet risk her life to save cats she didn't even know?"
Spikyfur smiled. "Because that's just the kind of cat she is, Lilypad."
Spikyfur and Ladybug sat in camp, not eating, not hunting, but watching the few remaining cats of RiverClan going about their daily business.
"Ladybug, do you want to join RiverClan?" Spikyfur asked.
Ladybug blinked at him in surprise. "RiverClan? But I don't know how to hunt or battle properly."
"I could teach you." Spikyfur turned his blue eyes on the red she-cat and smiled.
"Then I will, if it's okay with Lilystar." Ladybug stood and stretched out her legs, as if ready to go on a patrol.
"Lilystar is the one who asked me to offer." Spikyfur purred and wrapped his tail around the Kittypet. "It'll be great having you in the clan, Ladybug. And..." Spikyfur went silent for a moment, suddenly looked embarassed. "it wouldn't be against the Warrior Code for us to be mates."
Ladybug went silent for a moment, then purred. "Of course she should be mates." She meowed, rubbing her pelt into the brown tom's.
Spikyfur raced into the Nursery, where the new Medicine Cat Apprentice, Fishpaw, anxiously rubbed Ladybug's belly. When he saw Spikyfur enter, he meowed, "Is Redwillow coming? I can't do this by myself!"
"She's coming." spiykfur gasped. Redwillow had been out gathering herbs, and he had had to race as fast as he could to reach her.
"How is she, Fishpaw?" Redwillow asked as she slipped into the Nursery, not caring that some of her reddish fur got stuck on the brambles they had placed over the entrance for protection.
"There's going to be two kits, as far as I can tell." Fishpaw meowed. "We've never done this before, Redwillow!"
"Well, then, pay attention!" the Medicine Cat snapped. She padded over to Ladybug's side and placed some herbs in front of her. then she turned to Spikyfur. "You'd best wait outside."
Spikyfur obeyed and slipped out of the Nursery. He saw Lilystar sitting outside as well, and sat beside her. they sat in silence for a long time, hours and hours, staring anxiously at the Nursery. After a long time, Redwillow slipped out with Fishpaw behind her.
"She's fine, Spikyfur, don't kill me." Redwillow joked, jumping back when Spikyfur almost crashed into him. "Two kits, a tom and a she-cat. She resting, but you can go meet your new kits."
Spikyfur pushed his way into the Nursery and saw the red-and-black fur of Ladybug through the shadows. there was less light in the Nursery now, because, with Leafbare on its way, they need to rienforce protection. All the clan would be crossing the river while it was frozen and attacking RiverClan.
"Ladybug, you're okay?" Spikyfur asked, padding over.
"Of course I'm okay." Ladybug smacked her mate with a playful paw. "You know how tough I am, you think something as small as kitting can hurt me?"
Spikyfur purred with amuzement, then licked one of the two bundles in the nest next to his mate. "Do you have any names for the young ones yet?"
"For the little brown tom, I was thinking Burnkit. You see that stripe on his back, how it's red? It looks like fire." Ladybug muzzled the little kits.
"And I think, for the little red mottled she-kit, Redkit."
"Wonderful." Ladybug purred and the couple sat and admired their new kits