my aerolite above. || ribbit


❝ holding it together with one loose string. ❝

ever since the great battle, gecko had been left to traverse these marshes with a hole in her heart that bleeds endlessly in grief and guilt over the unfortunate death of her child. often she spends time closed off from her clanmates, hues reminiscent of an ocean now brewed with clouds that promised an oncoming storm. some tried to offer their condolences and empathy but they were quickly met with bared teeth and bristled fur, she didn't want anyone's useless comforting. no amount of words spoken to the grieving queen was going to bring back leaping toad. did he really have to die so young just for the sake of starclan's brilliant plan to finally split the groups off into clans?

bitterness creeped like thorned vines in the back of her throat, starclan , what a joke. if they had the powers to grant multiple lives to the respective leaders why couldn't they have given her son a second chance? he deserves to live just as much as anyone else, deserves to live his life to the fullest as a proud fighter besides frog's ribbit but they ripped it away from him with unforgiving claws. the warrior had promised herself that she would protect her last remaining offspring with her heart and soul even if it meant overbearingly so.

gecko sucked in a sharp breath before she laid her gaze upon the small brown tabby amongst the crowd of cats and approached with a low sweeping tail. " hello my darling frog's ribbit. how are you feeling? did you eat already? " she would ask, brushing her muzzle affectionately against his cheek before sweeping a bristled tongue between the young tom's ears. starclan will not take this one from her

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The grief he feels over the loss of his brother ebbs and flows.

Ribbit has his good days and his bad days. Good days, in which he feels like he can be an active member of ShadowClan, to help around the camp. Bad days, in which he wanted to do nothing more but stay in his nest and pretend Leaping Toad was still beside him.

He isn't sure what today is - hasn't been sure since the gathering, since he last saw his aunt - but he thinks its somewhere in between. He's able to get out of his nest today, but doesn't think he's got much of the energy - the motivation - to do much outside of that.

But then again, does anyone truly have the motivation for collecting moss?

He's glad for the voice that interrupts the task at hand, swamp-green eyes looking up to see ivory fur that belongs to his mother.

"I'm okay," he says, despite his uncertainty towards how he was truly feeling. He doesn't want his mother to worry too much about him, after all. "Are you doing okay?" He isn't sure if she is either, knowing how hard she's been taking his brother's death. Brown ears twitch at the feeling of a bristly tongue between them, his stomach growling at the mention of eating.

"I've been busy. I... I must've forgotten."
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❝ holding it together with one loose string. ❝

a subtle frown would pull at her features as she listened to her son speak in return, every word that touched upon her ears sounded like a flame struggling to stay alight.

the ivory molly knew that he and leaping toad were an inseparable pair, practically attached to the hip and doing everything together with the biggest grins on their faces. it feels unreal to think that just a few weeks ago those two were rough-housing in the middle of camp, dragging in another poor kit into their shenanigans and suddenly its all gone in just a few short breaths.

" i would say i'm okay but i'd just be lying through my teeth, i've been struggling trying to cope with your brother's death." she replies, words laced with an unspoken tiredness from days and nights of constant mourning. gecko had no reason to hide how she was truly feeling from her son, they were both struggling to come to terms with everything that's happened so far.

there was a brief moment of silence that washed over the duo before the she-cat eventually gave frog's ribbit a gentle nudge, a comforting smile curling at the corners of her maw. " come, let's go get you something to eat and maybe afterwards we can take a walk through the territory. " it'd be nice to have some one on one time with her son as it would give them an opportunity to truly talk about it without any prying ears to listen in.
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Gecko says what Ribbit already knew all too well - that she was struggling to cope with Leaping Toad's death.

He can't imagine what it's like to lose a child, only experiencing the loss of Toad from a sibling's point of view, rather than Gecko's point of view as their mother.

But he wonders if she's noticed how he's grown since the Great Battle - how what once took double the steps with kit-sized legs took less with apprentice-sized ones. He wonders if she sees it, only to realize that Leaping Toad will forever stay the same size. To realize that Leaping Toad will forever be seven moons old, while Frog's Ribbit is already nine moons old - that it's already been that long without Toad by his side.

Ribbit's older littermate could very much be considered his little brother, the next time Ribbit sees him. Does Gecko think about that? Or does the thought of losing another son stop her from thinking such things?

His own grief is interrupted by his mother's suggestion to eat, to take a walk together afterwards.

"I'd like that," he tells her with a flick of a torn ear. Maybe it's for the best for both of them. His mother needed someone to keep her company, and Ribbit's task for the day wasn't distracting enough to keep his mind from wandering back to his star-pelted brother. Green eyes look towards the kill-pile, hoping to scope out a decent sized meal.
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❝ holding it together with one loose string. ❝

gecko watched her son with a solemn gaze as he fell silent when learning about the truth of how she was handling the death of his brother, it was easy to let your mind engulf you with thoughts that effectively shut out the rest of the world around you. she should know, the she-cat spent days refusing to acknowledge anyone as she scorned the stars and weeped until there was no more tears to spend.

when ribbit came back to his senses once again she would brush her tail against his flank in a silent understanding before they headed to the freshkill pile to pick out something to comfortably fill their bellies. "here, this snipe looks good. " she's mummer, lowering her head to pick up the bird within her jaws and nodding her head towards an empty space in the clearing where he can eat.

the molly was the first to settle in the spot, setting down the snipe in the middle to allow her son to eat his fill first. " it's hard to believe that only a few moons ago you were taking your first steps outside the nursery and now look at you. . .shaping up to be a fine, young warrior. gecko would reminisce with a soft purr accompanying her words.

if they never had went to that war, never split off into these clans, would leaping toad still be here? she knew without a doubt if he were here now he would've basked in the praise given to him by his mother, a silly grin spreading onto his maw while he sat proudly besides ribbit. the ivory feline could feel her smile falter thinking of such an impossible future, waves of sorrow lapping steadily at her paws.

He's shaping up to be a fine, young warrior, his mother tells him, as he takes a bite of the snipe she's picked out for the two of them.

But, she also says it's not that long ago that he'd taken his first steps outside of the nursery, steps that were taken along side his brother. His first steps as a warrior, though still moons away, would be taken alone. Without Leaping Toad.

It's a hard thing to think about, the idea of him growing up - becoming older - without his twin. Frog's Ribbit has a feeling it always will be, that the day he finally becomes a warrior will be one of his proudest days, and yet one filled with sorrow for the empty space beside him.

Toad should be here too. He should've always been here with Ribbit. With Gecko. With ShadowClan, instead of StarClan.

"I'll be the best warrior I can be," he promises Gecko, promises Leaping Toad, wherever he may be, "Better than that, even."

He had to be, for the sake of his family.
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❝ holding it together with one loose string. ❝
"i'll be the best warrior i can be."

a pause.

"better than that, even."

geckoscreech looked upon her son with a fondness that was muddled with other emotions. god, she hoped he didn't try to burden himself with trying to carry so much on his shoulders it'll only come back to bite him but the she-cat trusted her son to know his limits.

she'd take a moment to press her nose against the tip of his ear, in the back of her mind she knew he was old enough to fend for himself and that he could do things on his own without needing gecko to hover over him like he was this frail thing but fear had her in a vice.

gecko was afraid, afraid that the second she takes her eyes off ribbit that he would slip between her paws just as leaping toad did.

"i know you will. just know even when you're my age that you'll always be my precious little baby. " the words came out soft with a small attempt for teasing, probably to soothe her own mind. to pretend that everything was going to be okay.