i am a fish inside a birdcage (pouting, beetles)


Jun 10, 2022
Peachkit crouched at the river's edge. She had been lingering there all day, watching her friends come and go from the camp while she sat alone, still stuck in the nursery while all her friends got to go out and have cool new adventures. It wasn't fair! She was the same age as they were, and she wasn't really all that much smaller. And she didn't have to spend every day in the medicine den anymore. So she should get to be apprenticed too!

But Dogteeth had asked Cicadastar to wait, and no matter how much Peachkit begged him, the curly furred blonde refused to change his mind, even after she'd put in extra effort to show him that she was not still sick, and not too small, thank you very much. So now, instead of being out in the territory, she was sitting watching a small gathering of water beetles skittering along the riverbank. A few of them floated along the water, oblivious to Peachkit's staring.

The beetles got to go wherever they wanted, so why did she have to stay in camp?


Being trapped within the camp was not fun, in fact, it had been boring when she was grounded by Cicadastar for her actions against Windclan, when all she was trying to do was defend her leader...but then again, it had not been her place. She learned her lesson though and yet still struggled to keep her mouth shut when it was not warranted. She had been returning to camp when an unfamiliar, yet familiar kit was watching some beetles near the riverbank at camp and she let a soft hum slip from her maw slipping to stand next to the other, her gaze drifting down towards the beetles before she too settles down to watch the beetles as well.

Frostpaw let a soft hum out so the other knew she was there, not wanting to startle the kit before she spoke. "Do they have names?" she asked gently, her bi-color eyes glancing over at the kit before returning her attention to the beetles in front of them, her gaze examining them calmly. She wondered if they felt and had the same thoughts as them, did they too live with a leader? Her ear twitched as she awaited to hear Peachkit's response, feeling bad that the other was still stuck inside camp instead of being able to explore the beauty of the riverbank.

The sickly tortoiseshell is very familiar at the riverbank, comfortable on the edge of the water in a way that only a child born and raised alongside the river could be. They are the water’s child just as much as they are their parents’ child. They often wander as far down the riverbank as they are allowed to go, only turning back when a warrior scolds them—annoying fools. When they spot another child at the water’s edge, green eyes brighten with interest.

They traipse over clumsily to crouch beside Peachkit and Frostpaw, gaze locked on the beetles. "Beetle. Beetle, beetle, bug, beetle…" He muses softly, regarding the hard-shelled insects with wide-eyed wonder. He turns to look up at Frostpaw. He no longer thinks she’s ugly; she’s actually normal-looking, even if she has strangely mismatched eyes. Peachkit, too, looks much nicer up close. Neither of them look like the mud-crusted weirdos he’s previously labeled most of his clanmates as. "Pretty bug beetles. We can make pretty nests for them?"

A S H P A W.

Ashpaw bounds forward. She and Peachkit have been friends ever since they discovered AntClan together. She wishes the girl had been apprenticed with her and Darkpaw and Gillpaw and everybody else—being an apprentice is so fun and Peachkit deserves fun things. And she's three moons old just like them, isn't she?

Sometimes grown-ups don't make a lot of sense.

"Hi Frostpaw," Ashpaw says as she approaches, attempting to brush up against the molly's side in a friendly hello. (Frost is twice her age and a good bit bigger, so it'll end up more of a leg-hug than a side-hug.)

Then she scampers up close to Peachkit. The slowly-scarring slash down her flank still tugs when she moves too fast, and her head still gets dizzy when she jumps, but besides that she's gotten way better... she's almost as okay as she was before the attack.

But like Peachkit she's confined to camp, stuck here like a kit till the twolegs leave—if they leave, a part of her always whispers in response. At least she can run and play now.

"Hi Peachkit," she says. "Wanna play? Ooh... are those beetles? Are they BeetleClan?" She'll attempt to bump her head against Peachkit's shoulder, purring happily.

At Crappiepaw's suggestion, Ashpaw nods enthusiastically—which makes her head all dizzy and hurty, so maybe it was not the best choice. "Pretty nests! That's a awesome idea!"

—— " i found gold in the wreckage "

( ) "beetleclan?!" the word is echoed by the bossy little flame as she marches towards the conversation, eyes wide. "there are even more clans?!" having only overheard one side of this little discussion, robinkit approaches with an incredulity that comes from her self assigned duty to count every member of the clans. upon realizing what the group is actually talking about, she pauses, eyes narrowing. "oh. they're bugs. well, i thought you were talking about something else. but beetles are cool too i guess."

inwardly she's relieved - knowing everyone's name within this clan is difficult enough. having to learn the other four plus another would be impossible. her census is safe for now. bounding closer, she ducks under frostpaw's stomach and crawls closer to the little creatures. "pretty nests are a good idea." she decides with a sniff. "we could make them their own camp, maybe?" it's phrased as a question, but she is entirely expecting everyone to go along with her ideas. she is the leader of the nursery after all. neck craning to stare over at peachkit, the younger child hums. "did you name them?"

Peachkit paused as Frostpaw voiced her question. She hadn't named them. But, she supposed, they must have names. At least in beetle. Every animal probably had a name, now that she really thought about it. She shook her head in response to the apprentice's query. And then Crappie appeared, peering over her shoulder and crouching down beside her to observe their tiny visitors.

He suggested making nests for them and Peachkit had opened her mouth to reply with how great of an idea she thought this was, and then Ashpaw was there ready to agree before the words were even out of her mouth. BeetleClan.

Robinkit appeared far less impressed once she realized that they were all chattering over bugs and not yet another clan of cats, and Peachpaw shrugged her shoulders. "I guess there could be more clans, somewhere far away," she mused.

She beamed at the idea of making the beetles their own camp. "That's a great idea!" she chirped enthusiastically. "But...I didn't name them." She paused, considering the insects for a few moments and then asked, "What do you suppose beetles are named, anyway?"
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The other children, both apprentices and kits, seem to be just as excited by the beetles as Crappiepaw is, and the tortoiseshell smiles as he looks around at each of them. Ashpaw, in her infinite wisdom, asks if they are BeetleClan; Crappiepaw’s tail gives a happy flicker in the orange she-cat’s direction. Robinkit seems to misunderstand at first, but before he can correct her, she corrects herself. "Oh, BeetleClan camp," they echo with a tilt of their head. A little clan inside of their own RiverClan. Maybe BeetleClan and AntClan are friends.

Peachkit agrees with the idea of making the beetles not just their own nests, but an entire camp, and a bolt of glee shoots through Crappiepaw. They love making things! "Do you think they can swim? Maybe they can have a floating camp. Boat-camp." A little leaf-boat camp would be so fun, but then it might get washed down the river. Maybe a floating camp on a log would be a better idea? "I bet beetles have fun names. Like… Squishy. Or Squashy."
“They can swim!” Peachkit said, giving an excited little hop. She pointed with a paw to one of the beetles that had begun paddling through the water, seemingly unbothered by the fact that it was no longer on solid ground. “We could make a floating one!” It sounded like a great idea to her. She looked around her the camp, wondering what to build their little camp on. “But what should we use to build it?”

She giggled as Crappiepaw suggested names for the bugs. “Or Squidgy!”

(Wrong account but I’m too lazy to fix it)