camp DRAG IT OUT OF ME — open

He’s been practicing his swimming and his fishing lately, two tasks that require him to make use of his front legs and shoulders. He’s never been particularly strong before, especially in his legs. Coast’s nickname is accurate—he has the legs of a baby deer, long and twig-thin and uncoordinated and ugly. But when he takes a closer look at his own legs, his shoulders, there’s significantly more there than he’s noticed before.

Upon returning to camp from his short fishing trip, the brown-furred tabby drops his catch—a totally average perch—onto the prey pile. It flops awkwardly against the fish that’s already there, and he has to slap a paw atop it to keep it from toppling to the dirt. A grin splits his maw when he turns just enough to spot someone else approaching the pile, probably to get something of their own to eat. He whirls around to face them and forgets entirely about his fish, which flops to the ground once he lets go of it. "Do you notice anything… different about me?" He’s practically bouncing on his paws, tilting his head toward the other feline.
Beesong doesn't eat much, these days.

It's not purposeful, the ribs which peek beneath cinnamon fur. Only accidental; too focused on gathering herbs in preparation for the cold days ahead, too preoccupied with plastering cobwebs onto wounds and desperately scrubbing the blood from his paws after. Sometimes, he glances at the fresh-kill pile with a pang of hunger coiling in his abdomen. Later, he tells himself, a promise as hollow as the stars'. His clanmates need the food more than he.

Today, they approach the fresh-kill pile. The pang in their abdomen has swelled to nauseating cramps. It is with frustration that they've realized that they could not focus on their work like this.

A cold gaze sweeps across the pile, the small feline humming to themselves as they calculate which food item is the smallest. They almost do not acknowledge Clayfur's presence; it is only until the tom speaks up that Beesong glances towards him with a blink. Do they notice anything different about him? In a heartbeat, their eyes narrow, examining Clayfur akin to how they were examining the fresh-kill pile. There are no lacerations, no open wounds, no signs of illness or injury.

It takes him a moment, but it finally clicks in his head. Clayfur has always been a tall guy, but today, he appears... bigger. His physique has shifted, no longer reminiscent of a twig but possessing muscle mass. Beesong's lips curl into a smile, letting a joke roll off of his tongue. "Gained some weight, I see; have you been eating more mud than usual?" A sharp jab at Clayfur's unusual habit of eating inedible objects; not out of malice, but rather a lack of awareness of how hurtful his words could be.


Frostpaw had been approaching the fresh-kill pile herself, seeking something that both she and Raccoonpaw could share when she came across Clayfur and Beesong, the warrior happily exlaiming something while Beesong made a sharp jab towards the warrior's habit of eating things he should not, and truth be told, she questioned how Clayfur had yet to keel over from his habit of eating things at random, it is like he was testing Starclan himself and Starclan had given up in trying to stop the warrior.

Curled ear twitching she approach, noting how much skinnier the medicine cat looked and she frowned a bit "Maybe you should try it sometime Beesong, you might like it, and Clayfur what is it?" she would remark setting down the prey she had found and gently began to shove it towards Beesong, figuring she could find something else for her and Racconpaw to share since their medicine cat needed it more. Her bi-colored gaze examining the other, she too having noticed that the other was looking a bit bigger but her own thought was he was growing a thicker coat.

"You do look a bit more fluffier, are you preparing for leaf-bare?" not a jab towards his habit of eating things that are not met to be eaten, but more so of amusement at the thought that their fur has already prepped itself for the cold bitterness of leaf-bare, but she supposed with how cold it has been, it would make sense that their furs were getting thicker and making them look and appear much more fluffy.

"I don't notice anything to be honest. You look like the good ol' Clayfur I've always liked to see." Crawlingroach added with a friendly smile as he came to join the growing group of cats by the freshkill pile. The aroma of fresh fish danced around his nose and made his mouth water with a deepening hunger. He didn't mind diving into some idle chatter but he honestly wanted to tuck into a juicy meal all the more. "Don't mind me, just gonna squeeze on by." He didn't want to seem rude by barging past so he tried to be delicate as he eased his way forward with the intentions of nabbing the fish that had fallen to the ground near Clayfur.


The medicine cat’s answer isn’t what Clayfur expects.. Instead of an impressed exclamation of how much stronger he looks, Beesong responds with the observation that he’s gained weight, which is admittedly not a baseless conclusion. Self-consciously he glances to his side. Has he gained weight? Maybe they’re just joking, though, because they’re still grinning at him. Frostpaw’s approach raises his hopes again—surely she’ll notice, right?—but she only comments on how he might be fluffier.

A frown settles upon his muzzle, unsure how to respond to the duo. Surely they don’t mean anything by their observations, but neither of them have noticed the muscle he’s gained. He tries not to be hurt by their guesses, either. "You’re both wrong. I haven’t, uh, gained any weight. Or fluff." Crawlingroach reassures him that he looks just the same as usual—and that might actually be more hurtful than Beesong and Frost’s conclusions.

Brown ears pin themselves against his head, and Clay tries to stop frowning, but his mouth still twists at the corners. "Do I really not look that much different?" The question is accompanied by a childlike pout, expression landing somewhere between offended and downright petulant. And he truly does feel like a child, wishing that his clanmates could read his mind, could just tell what he wants to hear. "I have, like, some muscles now," he finally says, taking a step away from the prey pile to allow Crawlingroach to grab whatever he wants.

The baiting for a specific compliment was a little amusing to watch and he almost choked on his prey as he approached at Frostpaw's remark that was decidedly the opposite of what was being asked of her. Subtly was hard for younger cats to catch onto.
"Some things are harder to see at a glance." The words were partially mumbled, obscured by a trout and the dark tom slid forward to the gathered cats on light, silent steps quite alarming to his size, he scooted around Crawlingroach to deposit his catch on the pile before running a tongue around his maw in a quick swipe to remove any scales that might have been caught in his teeth during the fish's final frantic moments. Smokethroat glanced at Clayfur, eyes narrowing not in anger but interest before he offered a toothy grin that might have had ulterior motives to the brown tabby.
"Some things are easier to see in action, what do you say? Want a little row?" He waved a dark paw for emphasis, head tilting to gesture to the center of the camp, "Bit of a tussle, show it off a little better?" There was no doubt in his mind the other was probably more toned if anything; the clan as a whole had been putting in the work so he would be surprised to find otherwise. "We already have Beesong here just in case."
Not that he intended to pummel Clayfur over a friendly spar, but if that was a concern at all then look-the medicine cat was present. Surely that benefited his sense of security.