don't go || apprentice in the warriors' den

Aug 1, 2022

A S H P A W.

The ground ripped away and shaken—squeezed and squeezed till she couldn't breathe—Spiderfall hissing, massive black paw slamming her face against the ground.

Ashpaw blinks awake, tears falling, shivering and trying not to sob.

She turns for Pumpkinpaw, for Beesong, and a wail almost escapes her when she realizes she won't find them here. This is her first night out of the medicine den, and she's tucked in with all the other apprentices, one mossy nest in a collection of others in a den all their own.

No grown-ups to cling to.

But she doesn't cry out. The ki- apprentice stays quiet as she clambers from her nest, injuries still protesting a little at the movement. She's only mostly better—not ready for training yet, but she doesn't need the solitude and supervision of the medicine den anymore. She knows it makes her bad and horrible to wish she did; she knows good kits don't wish they were more hurt.

She just misses them.

The little ginger girl creeps out of the apprentices' den and into the moonlight. Crouching low to the ground, she crawls through the shadows toward the warriors' den and slips inside.

She climbs blindly into the first familiar nest she can scent, curling up tight next to a warm safe pelt. No one can get her here.

—— " i found gold in the wreckage "

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( ) since that day, the one she remembers both fondly and with a slight horror, willowroot has made an attempt to sleep in her own nest. poppysplash had seemed slightly irritated (although willow guesses it's more about the fact they were caught), and she doesn't want to bother her fellow warriors with any more... friendly teasing. so, she's in her own nest, though as close to poppy as she can get without touching. she sleeps soundly tonight, soft murmurs and breaths of her fellows helping to lull her into a sweet dream (one she will not be sharing with the class.)

it's almost dawn when she awakes, aware of something different - something warm curled by her stomach. for a moment her heart lurches, instinctively scenting for poppy, but finding the woman's nest still full, she knows it's not that. as misty light begins to dapple the ground with gold and grey, willowroot gazes down at the interloper. ashpaw, tail curled tightly around her nose, sleeps soundly tucked into the silver lined fur of the lead warrior. wil can feel their heart almost break right there and then- the child is so young, so very peaceful when she's sleeping, and even as the day beckons, the smoke can't make herself move. instead she reaches with her head to rasp a soft tongue over the ears of the girl, softly cleaning and soothing the little head. in this perfect, peaceful moment, it's as if nothing is wrong with the world.


"I see we have a guest." He had been awake for a moment already, surprisingly still in his nest for once because he has noticed the extra addition to the warrior's den curled up next to Willowroot. Smokethroat takes the time to blink the sleep from his eyes, glance around at the others still dozing away before rising to stand with a stiffness apparent in his shoulders and an unhappy flick of his tail. Pulled something or another he supposed, only explaination for why he felt a weight settling on his back recently. Maybe he needed to stretch more often before going out, but that was a concern for later. The shadow of a tom steps neatly around one sleeping body, paws placed carefully to avoid treading on limbs and loose tails before he finally reaches the other lead warrior's nest and pauses to glance down at the sleeping kitten before giving an airy sigh that was clearly forced, "Suppose I'll bring you and our resident fireball something from the freshkill pile." Given the smoke was now unable to get up on her own accord with the child curled so close and still resting. The younger cats didn't often rise as early as the others, so he SUPPOSED he'd give Willowroot a pass for being indisposed this once. With a quick hop over another sleeping cat he slipped out of the den and into the camp to go peruse the pile for anything a little on the fresher side.
( ) sunlight now filters strongly through the gaps in the den, and willowroot feels a deep sense of comfort. the apprentice's warmth, her soft breathing, has almost lulled the smoke back to sleep, but she's managed to stay awake. at smokethroat's voice, she chuckles softly. "yes, well," a loving look is shot at the little one. "it's as shocking to me as it is to you, smokey." drawing her tongue across the flaming pelt, she smiles. as her fellow lead warrior arrives closer, she'll gently bonk her head against his leg, verdant eyes sparkling. he grumbles something about fresh-kill, and she calls after him softly - "aw thanks! love you, smoke man." whiskers twitching, she'll focus back on the little apprentice, wondering when she'll awake.


A S H P A W.

Willowroot's familiar scent soothes her through the night, and she sleeps, warm ,
and relaxed, till morning. The kitten breathes soft and slow, still deep in dreamland; sunlight starts to wake the den's inhabitants, but Ashpaw stays sound asleep as Willowroot rubs a rough tongue over her head, shifting in her sleep to snuggle closer.

At last the exchange of voices above her stirs her awake, Willowroot's silver-black pelt rumbling with fond laughter. A happy purr starts to hum in Ashpaw's chest, and sleepily she rolls, exposing a soft white belly. Green eyes don't blink open just yet, basking in the warmth and affection as she gradually returns to the waking world.

Willowroot keeps grooming her, ginger kitten-fluff gently brushed sleek, and Ashpaw makes out the other voice... Smokethroat. She thinks of his StarClan spots and purrs a little louder.

She feels cloaked in safety, surrounded by two big strong lead warriors.

River-green eyes blink awake at last, glittering in morning's light. The little apprentice rolls back over and lifts her head, a big yawn stretching her maw wide.

"M'rning Willowroot," she slurs sleepily.

A moment's pause, taking in her surroundings, and her orange brow furrows.

Wait a second.

"I'm not supposed to be here," Ashpaw says, blinking with surprise. She tilts her head. "How did I get here?"

She finds she can't remember leaving the apprentices' den—but she does remember falling asleep there. That is weird. She remembers nightmares, too, and feeling very cold and very alone.

...well, she's glad she's here now. Still purring, Ashpaw nuzzles back into Willowroot's flank, question already half-forgotten. "This is a good morning," she says softly, nuzzling some more. Nuzzle, nuzzle, nuzzle.

—— " i found gold in the wreckage "

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