Jul 8, 2022
the reflection of a molly stares back at her, but buck struggles to recognize her. fish dart through the mirror, disrupting her image. she is alone on most occasions, but she's never felt lonelier. the willow that had once housed her and her kin now only holds the steady figure of the river cat. she fears that her outburst on raccoon may have further driven them away. the days of watching them around the camp, watching them as they travel where she cannot, is far more punishing than anything her parents had given her. they live so easily amongst them that buck fears she may not be of need.

there's no need to fish like she used to. there's no one home to give it to. her paw is heavy as it hits the water, watching the brown disappear through the small waves. the fish scattering as she does so, and all buck does is watch the silver-scaled life move. they travel up and down stream with only one purpose and that's simply their survival. how different is buck from that? all she's ever done was for survival. she wasn't like caraway, who saved some kit from drowning and continued to take care of her. or carefree and simple and loving like raccoon. no, buck is buck. she fishes, she lives, and that's it. the darken fur that lines her back furrows as claws strike at the water.

a pike struggles to free itself from the demise buck has forced upon it. it's out of anger, this kill. something buck is careful to never do. at the very least she's starving enough to devour it whole. but the point stands. cicada has decreed she is to be gone, and her time is slipping. she'll either die by the river, or die trying to leave it. perhaps a break from a constant fight with no, now she's simply thinking silly. the pike is transferred from claw to fangs, the bottom of her maw dripping as she looks upon the river again.

life was never simple, but it's never been this complicated before.

Cicada had givien Buck a timeframe to either join or leave the river territory. Buck had gone off on them about their choice to joining Riverclan, and now Caraway was also part of the clan too with Boar. Raccoon paced in camp in nervousness as they worried over the brown pelted she-cat. They didn't want her to be kicked out of the territory. Buck had lived here their whole life! Raised Raccoon here, cared for Caraway here and now added Boar into their little willow family. Orange eyes started to water as they looked to the camp entrance, part of them wanted to go after the prickly she-cat. Beg her to join them and remain in the clan so they can still be a family.

Black paw moved across the dirt-covered ground, seeking out the one place that offered them comfort; the river. They approached the bank of the river and slowly froze in their place as they spot Buck not too far down the bank. Staring into the water, fish in her mouth, and Raccoon wanted to rush up to her. Burrow their face into her shoulder and sob, demand that she come with them. Yet the verbal lashing they had gotten from their adoptive mother echoed through their brain like an annoying fly buzzing around.

"B-Buck" They stammered out as they approached the earthen pelted cat, orange eyes round with worry and unshed tears. Raccoon then couldn't supress themselves any longer and closed the distance between them. Pushing their head into the she-cats' chest with a sniffle, "Momma, I am so sorry,"
He does not know the intricacies between Buck and Cicadastar, but with the announcement made a few days ago... Beesong could only guess that the loner would be forced off of RiverClan's newly claimed land soon enough.

His brows furrow, watching as Raccoon presses their head into Buck's chest. But what startles him most is when Raccoon mumbles out momma. Oh, stars. This was mother and child, then? Family who would be forced apart because of Cicadastar's paranoia? And he could do nothing but watch...

No. They wouldn't let Raccoon suffer the same fate they had. They know the pain of being separated from family by something out of their control, and they do not wish that pain upon anyone else... Especially not one as young as Raccoon.

Padding over to the pair, they do not think about whether or not they're intruding... Beesong's mind is too focused on fixing this problem, as if doing so would heal them from the hurt of their own turmoil. "If you want to stay, I can talk with Cicadastar," they say. Maybe they're jumping to conclusions too soon, but... The announcement, the sorrow that permeates the air around these two... It's a safe assumption to make, isn't it? "Convince him to let you... I'm his medicine cat, so there must be... a way." If no one else, Cicadastar would have to listen to them, right?
her eyes are quick to trail over raccoon, watching to see if they will continue on or come up to her. there's heavy guilt in her as she looks upon the youth she has raised. buck is not perfect, far from it, but she tried her best them. the fear of being like her own mother, and if raccoon will look upon buck the same way she had looked upon her matron. fearful, desperate for a soft paw and kind words. every child wants to be loved and protected, and she has always tried to offer safety and comfort to raccoon. and as the younger throws their face into her chest, buck grows still.

the fish is quickly forgotten as she reclaims her kin, drawing her head over their quivering frame. she can tell raccoon is close to tears, and with the burning in her eyes, buck knows she isn't far off from sobbing. she quietens them down, trying to show that she's sorry for how she's acted. "it's okay raccoon. y'gonna be good." they have caraway and boar now, and raccoon is not the small kit she had once taken care of.

with the entrance of another, the self-proclaimed medicine cat, buck throws a heavy glare in the direction of beesong. he's kind, but she's unsure. "I've caused enough trouble to cicada that he may throw you out, stars damned and all." they stare at the family with something heavy and emotional. buck wouldn't let some poor cat face the brunt of cicada's paranoid anger, especially not some stranger who happened to witness a weepy buck. "i..i can't ask you to do that. raccoon is old enough...and i, i just ain't a clan cat." it just isn't in her blood. she can help others survive, but she can't live with them.

In that moment, Raccoon felt like a smal kit again. Scared with only the scent of dew and river rock as their comfort, and the rough voice of Buck. The she-cat said it was okay, they could feel they where sorry as they drew their head over their body, and that Raccoon was going to do good. How could they do good without Buck? The brown pelted cat had found them all those moons ago, a little meek thing with barely a voice to utter. Taken them in with Caraway, been the mother they never got to know and offered a familial placement in this world. The white and black legged cat didn't know what had gotten into Cicadastar, why he was so paranoid and angry now, why he was closing the borders and forcing cats apart.

Another voice made Raccoon lift their head from the comfort of Bucks' fur and sunset colored eyes laid upon the 'medicine cat'; Beesong. They stated they could talk to Cicadastar, convince him to allow Buck to stay- and Raccoon felt their heart sink as Buck declined the offer. "It doesn't matter how old I am, I'll always need you," A black paw reached out for the brown cat and rested against her chest, "I want you around. Caraway wants you around! Boar could use a grandmother, and what about if Caraway or I have kits? I-I want them to meet their kick-ass grandma," Raccons' words help such pain, desperation thick as they held back the shake to their voice.

"Please let Beesong talk to Cicadastar- maybe they can convince him to let you stay in the territory? So-So you don't have to join the clan," A black masked face pressed into Bucks' shoulder and a warm wetness dripped from their face as they finally allowed tears to fall, "Please stay, I still need you, momma,"