initiate the heart within me || smokethroat

Aug 1, 2022

A S H P A W.

Ashpaw approaches Smokethroat on unsteady paws, a little unbalanced by the big rock between her teeth. The star-dappled warrior is grooming himself near the edge of camp, and she wonders if he has to go soon or if he's done all his hunting and patrolling for the day. She pads forward and sits as close as he'll let her, cuddled right up to his flank if she can, clinging to the safety that proximity provides.

The girl sets her rock down at his feet. It's smooth and clear with a gentle green tint, scavenged from the shallow bit of stream near the nursery.

"Hi, Smokethroat," she says in a small voice. "Your StarClan spots look nice and shiny." (She notices people might like it extra when she says nice things after they groom, so she is doing it more. Plus his StarClan spots do look nice and shiny.)

She leans down to nudge the clear stone closer with her little pink nose. "Um, I know you've been sad since... since, so I. I got you a present. Maybe it can go in your nest."

She hopes he doesn't make her go away. He's a very super busy lead warrior and everything, she knows that.

—— " i found gold in the wreckage "


He’s irritated over various things, but the most minor of them has set his fur prickling unhappily. While he was aware he was most likely going to develop more of the odd white-spotting, he didn’t expect it to be so soon. Tiny clusters of white hairs had started forming in various spots, he was currently licking at a spot on his left shoulder in the hopes that enough of the rough gesture might remove the pale coloring when he felt a shift in movement to his side and he turned with narrowed orange eyes to find the perpetrator only for his expression to soften at the tiny ginger kitten there. Before he might have scooted away, stood to leave, snapped at her to keep her space, but he had gotten considerably used to his clanmates presence enough now that he didn’t mind the closeness. Might even like it to some degree, though he wondered if that was just out of necessity to loneliness. It was hard to determine.
“...hello Ashpaw. What is-” He can’t finish his question of what had been set down by his paws before she’s continued on, rambling as was common.

StarClan spots. What a childishly whimsical thing to call them. He’d been mentally referring to them as blemishes for as long as he could remember, to hear them referred to so casually without contempt was new.
Still, Smokethroat swallowed down his old snappy mannerisms and accepted the comment with as much grace as a brute like he could muster forth, “...thanks. Glad you’re moving a little better.”
And he was, the ordeal with those two-legs still rattled ominously in his head at times.
He wanted to comment that he was not sad. His emotions were complicated, he didn’t know exactly how to explain them because he had never experienced something like this before. In perpetual solitude the only point of reference for feelings he had was himself and he was a magnificent liar of all things.
He had been considering going hunting, working his stress out with productivity as he was wont to do often, but the kitten’s presence and sincerity made him falter. It would be a rude response to excuse himself, so even if he felt he didn’t know what best to say or do in the situation he remained there and eventually settled himself down to fold his forepaws under him, one extended to tuck the rock closer to examine.
Clayfur had once made a comment about decorating nests with shells, cats here seemed to be fond of the hobby and he often found bits and pieces of things littering the many nests in the warrior’s den as he went in and out of it. Willowroot’s nest especially.
It was a normal rock, warped into something smooth and pristine from the river water continually brushing over it. He had seen similar rocks before, marveled over how little things like droplets and rain could eventually wear down even the hardest of stone with time.
It occurs to him he had never been given a gift before, didn’t know exactly how to respond to it and unsure of what was expected, but Ashpaw seemed pleased with herself and it was something thoughtful. While he might not understand the intrigue with uselessly sparkly things, he was beginning to understand they held more meaning than not.
“...thank you. Maybe it will go in my nest.” The dark tom stiffly rolled his shoulders, settled more comfortably and let his tail form a protective loop, curled into a neat ring around the tiny ginger form. "Maybe you can show me where to get more some time later."