so fill to me the parting glass || clayfur

Aug 1, 2022


riverclan warrior. 32 moons. tags

He knows what tonight could bring.

He'd known it when he volunteered. There's no more camouflage in the way they speak of the twolegs, they way they think of them. Nothing's hazy about the risks here. They'd seen Cicadastar meet a brutal end and those who hadn't had seen its aftermath, had seen blood-spattered pelts and haunted faces come home.

Into the belly of the beast, he thinks, heavy paws finding a spot to rest on the sand. He hopes to the fucking stars it isn't literal. He eats half of a decent lunch, because he may have no appetite but he's also no idiot; he won't go into this starving. He lies for awhile, quiet, pensive, with the remains of his meal; eyes fixed pointedly away from fresh-kill scraps that look too much like a nightmare.

He thinks of Clayfur.

Afternoon sun dapples classic tabby stripes, RiverClan blue gleaming sleek and glossy. He thinks of soft earth and hazel eyes, a butterfly perched atop a pretty brown nose. Clayfur does not look riverborn and Clearsight does not care. The man is absolutely beautiful.

His heart thumps in his chest at the thought that he might not have a lifetime left to say that. If he never sees another sunrise, what's he willing to leave unspoken?

(Maybe it's bad luck to think like this.)

The muscled tom pushes himself to his feet and glances around, searching, before his eyes land on the person he wants and he makes his way over. Clayfur's near the edge of camp, resting by the water.

"Hey there," Clearsight murmurs, lowering himself to Clay's side. Lips twitching up at memory of the first time he'd dared to flirt, he adds, "You look nice today."

But when he speaks again, his tone... drops. "We're leaving soon," he says, quiet and heavy. "I thought I'd..."

He's never seen Clay cry, but he thinks if that sentence ended with "say goodbye" then he just might.

"Talk," he finishes awkwardly. "To you."



Clayfur won't lie and say he's reacted particularly well to Clearsight volunteering himself to go on the patrol to the twoleg camp. He hasn't been able to think clearly since that statement, hasn't been able to get his head straight. It's all gruesome images in his mind—of a cat skewered to a tree like prey, blood leaking out from parted jaws and from a deadly wound to the throat. Except, it's not Cicada anymore. It's Clearsight, pinned to that tree and bleeding out and hardly able to form words and... Clearsight only has one life. He shouldn't be throwing himself into danger, throwing his one life away like this.

He'd like to be angry with the blue-furred tom. He'd like to corner him, shout at him until he agrees not to go. But he also—he also wants to cry. He wants to collapse at Clear's ankles and plead with him not to go. Anything to keep him from going. But he's made his choice, and Clayfur won't try to persuade him otherwise.

He's settled at the river's edge, one hind leg stretched out behind him, trying to think of anything but what might await the RiverClanners who go to the twoleg camp later tonight. He's dragged from his thoughts, however, by the voice of the very tom he's most worried for, telling him that he looks nice; it's a reflection of an earlier conversation, one that left him flustered and grasping for words. Now, it still makes him smile, but doesn't make his breath catch like it had before. "Thank you," he says, the barest hum leaving his mouth. He doesn't believe it, knows he must look awful. Sleepless nights surely don't look good on him. But he accepts the compliment for what it is, if only because it may be the last one he receives from the warrior.

"I..." he trails off, shifting to softly bump the top of his head against Clearsight's cheek. The reminder that they're leaving soon hurts, stings like a thorn in his paw, but he presses on. "You have to come back. You have to, okay?"


riverclan warrior. 32 moons. tags

He is already so soft, always so soft for Clayfur. He somehow softens further at the gentle bump of the earthen tom's head against his cheek.

It's tender, loving, Clayfur's scent familiar and comforting and close. Clearsight leans into it, a purr rumbling from his chest, nuzzling against the top of Clayfur's head.

"Hey, hey," he murmurs, "I know, love, I know..."

He licks the tom's head, grooming soft brown fur back, and shifts closer so their flanks and shoulders brush too. The endearment, like so many before, slips out thoughtless, unnoticed, natural. Easy as breathing.

"Willowroot's got us. We'll be careful—we won't rush into anything." Like last time goes unsaid but Clearsight doesn't doubt it's understood. "I won't forget that I have someone to come home to."

It's the closest thing to reassurance he can offer.

He doesn't promise; he knows he can't. He just presses closer, cheek resting gently against Clayfur's head for as long as the man will allow.

When Willowroot finally calls for the patrol, and cats begin to gather one by one, assembling near the entrance, he'll linger a few moments longer—soaking up the touch like it's the very last. It won't be, he tells himself as he pulls away.

He swallows back tears that won't do him any good, lets his tail rest along Clayfur's back as he finally pulls away.

In case anything happens, he doesn't say. If this is it, he doesn't say.

"I love you," Clearsight says. "So much."

Loves Clay's laugh, his crooked grin, his dumb jokes—loves the way he looks when he thinks no one's watching, the rare moments he doesn't perform—loves the depth he tries so hard to hide.

Clearsight summons every drop of strength left in him to turn away and join the patrol.


The other tom returns the offered contact without hesitation, and Clay relaxes into his touch. There it is—the almost-reassurance that he’ll do his best to come back alive. Clay presses just the smallest bit closer, closing his eyes and just. Breathing. Just for a moment, he pretends that this affection isn’t only happening because one of them is leaving and might not return.

He doesn’t want to think of a world without Clearsight. Without soft golden eyes that look at him like he’s something precious, without a gentle voice offering encouragement and comfort, without all the patience and care and bravery that Clearsight has to offer. Without thoughtless flirtation, without love that’s extended to every clanmate, without the warmth that Clay feels every time he lays eyes on the other. He can’t imagine a world like that.

No, Clearsight has to come back.

The blue tabby draws back at Willowroot’s call, and it takes all he’s got not to reach out with a white-capped paw, to drag him back onto the ground. He blinks away the tears that blur his vision, not afraid to be seen crying but hesitant to let the other warrior see them. He can’t do anything that will distract Clearsight later on, when he’s in the thick of it.

Then Clear drops a careful I love you, so much and Clay freezes. He’s certain that his heart skips more than a few beats. Green-flecked eyes widen and his breath catches in his throat.

Being loved isn’t a new feeling to Clay; his family has never shied away from saying it to one another. But he knows that the things he feels for Clearsight run much deeper than a familial bond. No, these emotions are far from platonic. He thinks that he loves Clear, too. "Oh…" He chokes on his next words, but the whirlpool pelted tom is already walking away, going to join the patrol and leave camp. Clayfur is helpless to do anything but stare after him.

He wants to believe that Clearsight will return to him—especially after such a confession—but such a belief will wreck him if that patrol comes back and there’s no striking blue tabby with them. He can’t afford to be optimistic. He just has to make peace with the fact that the first man he’s loved has just said he loves him, then walked away. Headed for certain danger. He will say it back if Clearsight returns safe and sound and in one piece, he decides. I love you more. Please… stay alive. Come back home to us. Come back home to me.