ROMEO, ROMEO [ a misunderstanding ]

( ) it's a quieter day in riverclan. the sky is a pale crystal hue, sun golden on the horizon, sending beams of light flickering across the softly rushing river. midday is generally a busy rush for the felines, but today they've initiated a rest period, a few hours of peace before their clanmates begin to bother them again. dark stone glows hot beneath the mixture of dark fur as the two lead warriors bask in the warmth of the day. willowroot can feel her stress melting away with each moment that passes, comfort pulling at her eyelids and drawing a contented sigh from her chest. beside her, not as relaxed, but quiet nonetheless, the snow speckled smokethroat lays, his eyes shut. willow rolls onto her back, stretching long limbs up towards the sky and accidentally whacking her fellow with a clumsy paw. a small huff of laughter escapes her maw and she'll flip back over, muttering an apology. legs restless but body too relaxed to rise, she gives in to the comfort of the scene.

shifting so that she's laying against smokethroat's side, she offers the man a small lick of affection, curling beside him. they lay like this for a while, neither talking, but both enjoying the day quite thoroughly, that is until pawsteps alert the two to another. cats have been bustling bast them all afternoon, steering clear of the exhausted lead warriors and moving on with their patrols down the river. this npc however has clambered up onto the sunningrocks, and now gives a soft mumble of greeting. willowroot reciprocates, though her eyes are still heavy, and she almost closes them but realizes that the npc is still staring at them. she's about to ask if there's something wrong when the npc smiles, tail twitching. "aww, you two are a cute couple." he comments, and the smoke warrior's eyes snap open.

she has no idea what to say. a cute couple? her and smokethroat? they are perhaps the most platonic any cat can ever get. they are cute friends, a good partnership when working professionally, but a couple? stars, she hasn't heard that before. "um," she begins, glancing back at smoke who has awoken. a mischievous grin flickers across her face and she faces the npc again. "oh stars, you think so? he hasn't asked me out yet. i think he's nervous." whiskers twitching, she tries hard to emphasize her sarcasm, but she doesn't know if the npc understands. it's funny either way.


Rest and relaxation were once foreign concepts to him but he had gradually adopted to the lifestyle RiverClan was leaning towards, a little more lenient and forgiving given their prey was so plentiful and their numbers so large; they could afford to simply lay about sometimes and he was starting to enjoy indulging in the peaceful respite from duties. Sunbathing was a new hobby, but he relished in it-his dark fur made keeping warmed very easy and he had not offered much of a protest when Willowroot nudged and bullied him along to go lounge with her at the Sunningrocks. At first his restless nerves had him shifting about constantly, but unlike her he had settled down quick and was disinclined to move unless absolutely necessary. Such as when he was swatted in the face and had to frown at her for it before resting his head back down on the smooth stones.

A shadow blocks the sun momentarily, he wrinkles his nose but doesn't open his eyes just yet but when he does it is to the most ridiculous claim he has ever heard in his life; orange gaze settled blazing onto the Warrior who had disturbed them. There is a grimace on his expression to the uncessarily cheerful remark, lazily lifting his head his head to stare with narrowed and unamused eyes at the NPC standing there so boldly making assumptions and bothering him during a rare, peaceful nap. He didn't often nap, he didn't like the few times he did being deserved. He has half a mind to tell them off, to bother someone else, when Willowroot begins to speak and his scowl is quickly replaced with a barely constrained smile that breaks the moment he opens his maw, laughing incredulously; fair enough. Perhaps a lesson in sarcasm would best teach the lesson to not go around speaking foolishness without knowing what you were talking about.
"Terribly nervous, can't gather the nerves you know." He stretches his paws out and lays his head back down on them in a dismissive manner, eyes closing once more to resume his nap "Perhaps one day, do keep it a secret. I'd have to kill you if word got out." Imagine thinking he and Willowroot were anything but friends, a word he didn't often use but was slowly getting used to referring to cats as and she was one of the ones he felt most worthy of it; not that he'd admit as much under threat of torture. He did still have his dignity about him, if word got out he had feelings then he was going to be teased relentlessly...
it probably doesn't come to much of a surprise that poppysplash was looking for willowroot. whenever poppy isn't doing her warriorly duties, she finds herself intertwined with the femme, simply enjoying their company. she's so in love with her, it's almost painful. they light up her world in more ways than one. to find them next to smokethroat isn't necessarily a shock, the two had been friends. that's it, right? friends. it isn't until she hears the npc speak of them being a couple that poppysplash's heartbeat picked up in worry. what?! this couldn't be true! there was no way! this wasn't right! her gaze quickly snaps over to the two, and she watches, ears twitching back and forth with every word that falls from willowroot's honeyed tongue.

he'd better not ask her out! i am supposed to be the one to ask them out! or maybe they ask me! stupid smokethroat! you idiot! willowroot didn't call you their love! she called me their love!

she watches, her fur prickling up as she listened to smokethroat with a snarl under her breath.

"well i think you'd two make a horrid couple! worse than crowfood and fish eggs!"

she hisses bitterly, tail lashing against the ground. the anger was familiar... but this new feeling... this jealousy? oh, she didn't know how to deal with that. poppysplash was willowroot's. and willowroot was hers. it was that simple... only it hadnt been. nothing was official between them, but stars she wanted it to be.

can't you see i love you, idiot!? tch... i'm sorry. i don't mean to be so mean i just... you meant what you said... didn't you?


Frostpaw had happen to be on patrol with this npc when they came across the two relaxing lead warriors, and had even encouraged the npc to approach the two after asking some...ridiculous questions. Snickering and giggling the girl bounded up towards the two, trying to force down her chuckles of amusement. "Too late for that! If you guys had kits what would you name them?" she jested, feeding into the continued joke while bi-colored eyes gleamed in amusement, the smooth stones warm underneath her paws as she tried to hold back her laughter.

"Smokethroat, I can't believe you dare not tell your favorite apprentice that you were going out with the other lead warrior, how hurtful" she would dramatically put in, continuing her relentless teasing of her uncle while amusement danced on her normally blank face. Of course, he'll probably get her back for it.

And then Poppysplash joined in, jealously covered on her face and...Frostpaw wondered silently to herself if they should drop the act or continue but...what would be the harm? "Well well, Smokethroat you're already making enemies with Poppysplash, this is interesting, who will Willowroot choose?" she said playfully, tail swishing a bit. It was clear she had some of her energy back, and perhaps Smokethroat was going to lecture her later for taking this joke too far, but for now, she'll have her fun teasing her mentor.
( ) she's not necessarily expecting her fellow to play along, but when he lifts his head and grumbles out a response, delight filters through her expression. pressing her face into his fur, she mimes embarrassment, laughter stifled as he settles back to his nap. the npc looks uncertain, caught off guard by the monotone dismissal of smokethroat, and willowroot will shoot hi an apologetic glance. "he's grumpy because he was napping," she explains, eyes sparkling. she's about to continue the narrative when frostpaw bounds in with a giggle, forcing her to resume her game face. "ah good question, frost! they would have dark fur probably, so something dark. hmm," pausing in thought, she nudges smoke. "come on, darling, what would we name our kids? maybe nightkit, or ravenkit..." trailing off, she hums, eyes moving from the mischievous apprentice to the abashed npc and then back down at her friend.

and then there's that voice. the one willowroot knows all too well, the one they welcome, seeking it during any moment. the dappled fur of poppysplash gleams in the late afternoon sun as she clambers up the sunningrocks behind the patrol, and willow can feel their heart skip a beat. perhaps it's only noticeable by smoke, as he's directly beside them, but they begin fidgeting nervously with their claws, suddenly worried they've taken the joke too far. you'd make a horrid couple! the woman spits, and wil is inclined to agree. they're much too happy with their friendship with smokethroat to ever try to advance it. besides...

frostpaw's voice breaks in as bottleglass eyes loose their focus, smokey head tipping softly as the lead warrior looses themself in thought. who will willowroot choose? it's a teasing question, but it sets the silver tipped femme thinking. amusement ripples around the small gathering of felines, the npc having caught on to the ruse, and yet willowroot feels adrenaline still rushing through their veins. "oh stars, frostpaw, what a difficult question," they attempt to jest, rising to their paws and stretching lightly. a glance back at smoke through half concentrated eyes shows the shift in emotion, the conflict between wanting to continue the joke and wanting to comfort their... wanting to comfort poppy.

"smokey, my dear, i'm afraid i'll have to reject your proposal, if you ever do decide to," she finally says, waltzing over to poppysplash and butting her softly with her head. "if poppy is this angry at the suggestion, i wouldn't want to see her if i was taken." long whiskers twitch, dark fur brushing the lighter hues of the other femme in an attempt at comfort. pressing their muzzle to her head, willowroot whispers, "don't you worry, love." breaking apart, she flops back down dramatically on the warm stone. "now, since all of you so kindly interrupted our lovely nap, i request you either get going or settle down here."


Frostpaw's chipper voice and the nudge of a paw at his side earned them all an irritable growl and he didn't lift his head this time, wanting to resume his nap undisturbed, "If we had kits I'd eat them." Kits as a topic, even jokingly, made his fur prickle with unease. It was something he kept hearing cats mention on and off again as the clan grew and they had not had any litters here since Mudpelt and Icesparkle's little hellions were born. There had been several kits who wound up on their shore one way or another, usually through tragedy and often times through misfortune but the growth of a clan required new blood. That was a matter for Cicadastar to handle but it was always at the back of his mind at times. Noleaf approaching would make this even more of an arduous thing.
Frostpaw continues with her cheerful joking and he gives a gruff 'hmph' of a sound at her pretending to be offended by not being informed of this apparent fling that did not actually exist. He was content to just ignore it all and resume sleeping, let them have their fun back and forth nonsense. But suddenly there is loudness. It is Poppysplash's outburst that forces him to look back up, blinking wearily at the unhinged warrior spewing flames and seemingly affronted by the mere suggestion of the two being anything but friends.

Willowroot swiftly defuses the situation and he flicks his tail to her remark, " will I ever move on with my life now." He muses in tired sarcasm, head dropping back down to the stones. It didn't seem like he was having too much of a hard time overcoming the heartache after all.