I Just Wanna Fly
Sep 21, 2022

//please wait for @tinyleafs (ashpaw) to post

A restless itch prickled at Crawlingroach's paws as he found himself sitting in the centre of the camp. Things had been... tense? It was as if a looming shadow lurked over RiverClan, one that desperately needed shooing away one way or another. The young warrior blinked slowly as he scanned the faces around him, some being more familiar than others. Though his attention soon zoned in on a young apprentice. Ashpaw. A gentle smile appeared and he made a steady approach, waving his tail in greeting. "Hello there! You seem to be free at the moment, would you like to join me for a little walk? Nothing serious, just a stroll around the territory whilst the weather's looking nice."

It seemed like a simple enough request, and he didn't see any harm in borrowing someone else's apprentice for a little while. Besides, he wanted to develop a better bond with his fellow clanmates. Far too much of his life had been spent spacing out or going solo, so naturally his path in life needed to change.​

// tw for fear of violence


A S H P A W.
The flighty little apprentice tenses at the approach, ginger hackles raising. She forces herself to relax upon seeing who it is. A less familiar scent than that of many of her clanmates—he doesn't instantly trigger that safe feeling, like Clayfur or Cicadastar does—

But Crawlingroach is friendly, kind, a bounce in his step and a gentleness to him.

He isn't Spiderfall.

No more Spiderfall, she reminds herself, swallowing hard. Not ever again.

Yet her stomach drops as the young warrior keeps speaking, an amiable offer that her mind easily warps—a little walk. The familiar words trigger familiar fear, breath catching and heart stumbling in her chest. No—no, this isn't real, she thinks, but the fear in her chest convinces her otherwise—it's going to happen all over again, isn't it?

A little walk. An easy excuse. A borrowed apprentice and no one the wiser. Her body knows how this goes, already bracing.

She tries so hard not to let it show, quelling her trembling the best she can. Still her green eyes dart from side to side, looking for Willowroot. Please please please, she thinks, hoping, aiming to spot her mentor and somehow beg with her eyes for rescue—

And at the very same time she finds herself nodding, unsteady voice surrendering, "Okay. I'll... I'll come."

She'll follow Crawlingroach on numb legs.

"The weather does look nice," she weakly agrees, because she knows to feign normalcy.

—— " i found gold in the wreckage "

"I'll come, too."

Was she invited? No. But it isn't phrased as a question, and the tortoiseshell with the white blaze on her face wears a mask of complete neutrality as she pads up behind Ashpaw. She doesn't particularly love the idea of leaving camp if she doesn't have to - especially if they aren't doing anything productive - but, well, she doesn't see Smokethroat anywhere, and besides, she can tell Ashpaw is uncomfortable.

No, Iciclepaw tells herself, shrewd blue eyes flitting over the ginger she-cat. Ashpaw is scared.

She had been ushered to the apprentice's den during Spiderfall's exile, but she knew all too well what had happened. The whole Clan did, since the black tom hadn't been able to keep himself from spilling everything from a bleeding and broken face before being driven from the riverlands.

Iciclepaw would attempt to flick her tail tip -- lightly, almost imperceptibly -- against Ashpaw's shoulder. She doesn't change her expression. "Are we going anywhere in particular, or is this really just a mindless stroll?" Her voice holds just the faintest hint of criticism. She fixes her eyes on Crawlingroach, the question stark in them.



Frostpaw was next to approach, dragging @Smokethroat Close behind her before coming to a stop near Iciclepaw. She too had noticed the flighty look that Ashpaw gave, and although she knew Crawlingroach meant well, as the tom was practically harmless, she still felt it would be good for the young molly to have a few cats she knew join in as well. "I'll come along as well, just incase Iciclepaw and Ashpaw caused trouble" she said teasingly, giving her mentor a quick glance before fixating her attention back to the others.

Frostpaw had felt bad for not knowing what had happened and now...all she wanted was to stay close to her friend and make sure she was safe, she felt bad she could not of done anything to help and now...she rather keep those she cared about close, just in case. She feared what would happen if they went alone by themselves, feared they would get injured and no one could make it on time, yet the girl push those thoughts away. Ashpaw was safe...and so was everyone else.

A S H P A W.

Her silent plea is answered in the form of two fellow apprentices—Ashpaw could almost cry as Iciclepaw comes up beside her, firm in her assertion. I'll come, too. Just like that the tension falls from her shoulders, green eyes brimming with relief. The little tortoiseshell's tone is cool and disinterested as ever, though the barely-there touch, tail brushed over ginger shoulders, gives something else away.

And Frostpaw's there next, with a comment about troublemaking that Ashpaw can't bring herself to care about. The white-and-silver molly is eager, teasing, egging Smokethroat along behind her, and Ashpaw purrs a greeting, too relieved to speak.

Safe now, she tells herself, feeling more than ever the truth in the words.

She isn't alone.

Her demeanor shifts easily, and Ashpaw lifts a bright green gaze back up to Crawlingroach, now genuinely excited—she likes to spend time with her clanmates, and now she doesn't have to be scared.

"Where did you want to go?" she asks Crawlingroach, once more the curious kitten she should be—her voice still wavers a little, but it's stronger now. "Oooh... to the river?" she guesses.

—— " i found gold in the wreckage "


The initial vibe he got from Ashpaw made him momentarily uncertain if he was doing the right thing. However, before the tom could backtrack on his offer others began to appear and the feel of the situation drastically changed for the better. Crawlingroach's ears perked up and his smile widened as he looked back over his shoulder at the gaggle of apprentices he now had in tow.

"My plan was to take a walk to the sunningrocks, that way we can have a chill in the sun and find a few mice to snack on. But I like the idea of talking a stroll by the river. Maybe if we're lucky we'll find something interesting on the shore. Hey! Lets make it a contest, cat who finds the most intriguing thing wins! What do you guys say?" Crawlingroach always did love a spot of friendly competition. Curling his tail upwards he then added a spring to his step as he hurried in the direction of the river.​

( ) to say willowroot is protective of ashpaw is perhaps an understatement. every minute she does not know where the femme is, worry chews at her stomach, sending anxious nausea in waves. today, she returns from a patrol and expects to find the little apprentice still resting in her den. viewing the interaction between crawlingroach and ashpaw is a surprise, but not an unpleasant one. the girl is learning to put herself back out there, something the lead warrior is glad for. it's a pleasant enough day, and she watches with a fond smile as iciclepaw and then frostpaw both pad up and offer eager accompaniment.

ash's body shifts, confidence returning. there is pride in the smoke's gaze as she watches crawlingroach take the situation in his stride. as they're about to head out, willow strolls up beside ashpaw and whisks a feathery tail across her back. nodding nods to the pitch hued warrior, she'll offer a smile. "you've got quite a pawful of kiddos here. need some help?"


Smokethroat followed along behind Frostpaw and Iciclepaw, content to let them go about their business for the day now that training was done and if that required a chaperone than he was willing to do so. He felt he was far more lenient with them both these days, but perhaps it was a small fear that kept him from wanting to push too hard for fear of causing any breaks. It wouldn't hurt for the clan to relax somewhat, to ease back into a sense of peace and comfort now that most of their troubles were far behind them. Sunningrocks sounded like a good idea to him and he nodded quietly along, allowing Crawlingroach to take the reigns for this expedition, he was mostly there to help keep watch and thankfully so was Willowroot who was far more capable at handling the younger generation than he was.