but i will carry it along - intro



The air was heavy with last night's rain as the sun rose. Each ray of light shimmered in the dewdrops beading every blade of grass and the reeds along the riverbank. The sun shined brightly down on a pair of rocks at the rivers edge, and just barely touched the small body sheltered between them. The tiny, fuzzy grey kit was warmed by the light, but could not find the strength to pull herself toward it.

Every inch of her body was freezing cold, and her breaths came soft and shallow. Her whole body shuddered with each breath, the flecks of white on her pelt rippling, and a low wheeze bubbling up from deep within her chest. It was all she could think to do to keep breathing. In and out. In and out. That was the entirety of her thoughts. Her pelt was so soaked with water that she was afraid that it had begun to soak into her body itself, that now she would be cold forever.

She shivered.

Even opening her eyes seemed a overwhelming task. She tried, for a moment, to take a peek, but the sharp light of the sun forced her eye back shut. She had no idea where she was. All she knew was that she was so, so cold.


riverclan warrior. 32 moons. tags

Clearsight does not notice the baby at first.

She's so very little, a scrap of soaked grey fluff among glittering dewdrops, curled in on herself like she's afraid for her life—and stars above, the poor thing probably is, alone out here so young. She's spotted like a little fawn and shivering like one too.

The strong blue tabby breaks off from the hunting patrol, signaling @GILLPAW to follow with a flick of his tail. "Hold on—" he calls to the rest of the patrol. "Hold on. There's a kit."

He stumbles to a halt just over her. StarClan, she is so tiny. His heart jerks at the thought of what might've happened if RiverClanners weren't the first to find her—he thinks of little Ashpaw brutalized, little Iciclepaw shot at and nearly speared through; they know too well now that the twolegs roaming the territory will do monstrous things to a child. He can only thank the stars that they haven't gotten their horrible paws on this one.

She's shivering hard, soaking wet, and the touch of a dusty pink nose to spotted grey fur reveals that she is far, far too cold. Clearsight's never been a father but he does know how to warm her up, so he'll immediately attempt to start grooming the kitten, rough tongue licking at her fur to dry her and get her warm.

"Fetch one of the queens," he orders one of the apprentices between licks. "Beesong if you can, but any of the queens should know what to do." He knows kittens aren't quite Beesong's forte, especially this young, but the healer almost certainly know more than Clearsight does.


Following along in Clearsight’s paw steps, she freezes along with the rest of the patrol. A kitten? Out here? While she may be close to a kitten herself, even she knew the dangers of a kit that young being out here alone. “I’ll go Clearsight!” She calls out, quickly turning on her heels to race back towards camp. Unsure of exactly who to call for aside from Beesong, she slows as she reaches the camp entrance, panting as she attempts to catch her breath. “@BEESONG ! We need you! There’s a kit by themselves outside camp and Clearsight sent me to fetch you and one of the queens! They don’t look too good!” Once sure that the medicinecat was following, she would race back towards where the patrol was waiting.

( ) padding along with clearsight and the rest of their patrol, willowroot feels an uncommon comfort in their chest. it's a chilly but bright day, clouds washed away by the previous night's storm, and the hunting patrol has been fairly successful. it's nice to be out, alive and free in the territory, pressing thoughts of twolegs to the edge of their mind. so, when clearsight halts and peals off from the rest of the patrol, a spark of worry surges through the smoke femme. as he beckons gillpaw, willowroot will follow the apprentice, ears flicking in surprise as the tomcat speaks of a kitten. as he bends down to nose her, wil spots the child for the first time and their heart melts.

the little creature is half frozen, her fur spiky and damp from the morning dew and rain. she shivers unconsciously, breath coming in wheezing gasps. wavepaw turns back to fetch beesong, and willowroot nods. "good idea, clearsight. try licking her fur up instead of back- that's what i did with boar when i found her. it dried her fairly quickly. i'm going to curl around her to try and keep her warm while she dries." knowing the storm hued man will do anything he can to help the kid, the smoke moves forward to lower her body beside the child. fluffy midnight fur dampens slightly at the touch of the little one as she she attempts to curl her tail around the tiny mist hued kitten, and allows room for clearsight to work.

when wavepaw returns with beesong, willowroot will give the apprentice a thankful nod and smile.


He doesn't notice the kit until his mentor points the scrap of fur out.

At his mentor's signal, white paws follow behind Clearsight as he breaks off from the hunting patrol, sunny eyes filled with curiosity as to why they were straying from the patrol. That is, until he hears Clearsight's words and sees what he's looking at.

A kit, small and grey-ish, nestled within the grass.

"W-Where's it's m-mother..?" he asks, but only after Wavepaw rushes off at Clearsight's call to get help. Perhaps the kit's mother was still around? Was just getting food, just like his mother did?

But, then again, there came a time when his mother never returned. Maybe the kit's mother wasn't going to return, either. Gillpaw looks up at Clearsight, concern filling his eyes. "W-What do you need me to d-do...?" he asks, unsure of what needed to be done. He wasn't this small, when his mother left. He wasn't left with soaking fur, wasn't left to freeze.
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riverclan warrior. 32 moons. tags

Clearsight smiles faintly at Wavepaw's prompt response—she's a fine warrior in the making—before returning his attention to the kitten. He nods at Willowroot's instruction and adjusts accordingly, licking her fur backwards, and it does seem to help.

His ears twitch toward Gillpaw's anxious voice, and Clearsight pauses in his licking, nodding at Willowroot to take over so he can talk to his apprentice.

The tabby tilts his head, gesturing for Gillpaw to come a little closer. "Try talking to her," he says. "She might be old enough to understand, and she's probably very scared. You can tell her she's safe, and that we're here to help. When cats get hurt or sick, reassuring them can be just as important as their physical needs."

He doesn't answer the question about the kit's mother just yet—later he'll talk it out with Gill, debrief the situation, as it were. For the moment his focus is on the dewy little kit in front of them.

He despised how terribly common it was to find cats washed upon their shore, even moreso when it was kittens who were often too young to even begin learning how to swim let alone with the river at its worse.
Willowroot had taken control in her usual way, Clearsight and his apprentice joining to assist; it was the sort of care and nuturing mindset he did not know and could not even begin to understand and with Wavepaw rushing back to camp to fetch their medicine cat that left only one task unaccounted for.
"I'm going to check up the river...see if there's a parent or any other kits..."
She was small, could not have been here for very long if she was breathing still, so perhaps a harried mother was nearby searching or another kitten was missing and needed to be brought back as well. Regardless of what he might find the dark tom paused only briefly to glance down at the pale little bundle before racing off along the pebbled shoreline.
Smokethroat hoped he found something that wasn't a motionless cat, whether an adult or not.

✿ — the kitten is as small as her sister. she is paler. her eyes would be blue, should they open, but they never would again.

her soft white pelt lies still. she does not mewl for help, complain of the cold, or breathe.

her life was short. its end, at least, may have been soft. she'd fallen asleep, never to wake, and now a few fox-lengths away from her star-dappled sister, the child has gone cold all the way through. ​
A single voice broke the silence.

One moment she was alone, the next there were innumerable shows falling over her. Her ears flattened back against her head as a chorus of voices joined the first, overwhelming her senses. Their words mingle and mix in her mind, becoming too confused for her to understand. A few words cut through the din to reach her understanding, such as "queens" and "boar". The rest was lost on her.

A small whimper worked its way out of her as she tried to nestle herself deeper within the rocks, but there wasn't anywhere she could go. Then, a touch tongue touched her side. She gave a start at the sensation, but - as it continued - she settled down. It was warm. Silently, she leaned toward it.

A tail curled around her, and that too was warm. She nestled deeper into the fur, anything to escape the cold.

Slowly, she peeled her eyes open. Blinked once, twice. Regarded the cats around her slowly. There were so many of them, more than she had ever seen. She opened her mouth to say something, she wasn't sure what, but only a gasping, croaky sound came out.

She coughed.

How does one talk to a kit - one shivering and scared, one so close to harm's way?

Gillpaw isn't sure, but he does as Clearsight tells him. He steps forward, settling in front of the kit, in front of Clearsight and Willowroot.

"Uhm," he starts, white paws shifting under him, "H-hello, kit, I'm... I'm Gillpaw. D-Do you have a name?" He pauses, waiting for a response. He hears a cough, and looks up at Clearsight for assurance. That was good right? A noise? The kit was responding, which meant she'd be okay, right?

"W-Well, that's okay, I-I'm sure you can tell me it later," he continues. "W-We're here to help, and, and Wavepaw's gone to get Beesong! He's our - RiverClan's - medicine cat, and... And he'll make you all better! And then, if... If you stay in RiverClan, we can be friends!" He was certain that Beesong would be able to help the kit. He was helping Ashpaw, after all. As well as Pumpkinpaw, and many others, too!

The kit would be okay - Gillpaw was sure of it.
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Wavepaw crashes into the camp, her lips parting to yowl his name. Beesong's head shoots up, the fish he'd been sharing with another forgotten as he pushes himself onto his paws and hurries after the apprentice.

They find the patrol quickly. Clearsight is grooming a shivering kitten, while Willowroot curls themselves around the small bundle of fur. Beesong hums approvingly, relieved to see that they're warming the kit up. "Keep doing that, please," the medicine cat says as he inches closer to inspect the kitten. She's cold, no doubt, but there isn't much more for Beesong to do for that. Clearsight and Willowroot have already handled it. But when the kitten heaves a cough, he frowns. Sickness... It isn't a topic he's well-versed in, yet. He thinks back to Bonejaw and the sickly kitten she'd brought. Beesong had been unable to help, then... But Dawnglare has taught him some remedies since then. There is hope for this little one, a weak, flickering flame that resides in the healer's chest. He should learn to snuff it out before it burns him, but instead, he shields it and prays for it to grow.

Coltsfoot, they think to themselves, recalling the description of the yellow flower that grows near the falls. They've gathered some preemptively, thank the stars. "Once she's dry, we can take her back to camp... I have herbs that can help her cough."

Beesong's gaze does not leave the kitten, as if afraid that if they look away, she will wither and fade. So they do not take notice of the eerily still, tiny body a few fox-lengths away...