Jul 24, 2022

The kit pulls themself from the river with a sniffling shudder of breath, chest heaving with the effort of pulling air into his lungs. Swimming sure is fun, but they still can barely make it across the river’s width before they’re too tired to keep going! And their chest has begun to hurt again—he’ll need to visit Beesong again later, it seems. He’s getting really tired of having to ask the medicine cat for help, when nothing seems to help.

A flash of movement catches their eye, and they track it to one of their clanmates. Ah, great. Somebody to talk to, at least! The dappled kit stumble-steps their way over to stand before the other, one corner of their maw tugged up into a crooked smile. Watery eyes narrow, and the child lifts their chin to regard the other feline. "You look kinda ugly." He’s got no room to speak, he knows, but this cat needs to know so they can fix it. A quick grooming will fix the largest of their problems, he thinks. "Let me fix your fur."

His movement to return to camp was halted by a dappled obstacle, a little puffball with eyes too big and a mouth even larger. Smokethroat had to actually lean back to avoid from stepping on the youngster in his haste to go about his duties and his sour expression spoke volumes to his unease around RiverClan's youth. Almost tripping him wasn't earning him any favors and neither was his comment. The urge to chuck the child back in the water was there, but he was good enough to not act on it.
'Ugly' Yeah the scars weren't too nice to look at-got that a lot actually.
Kittens said a lot of things. He'd listened to Ashpaw go on about AntClan, Fernpaw prattling stories about Bigfoot to anyone who will listen that he picked up from Clayfur's nonsense, so this was nothing really new. Perhaps a bit bold for someone bite-sized, but the dark tom merely starred down at the splotched child before him in silence before responding.
"" Came the succinct and perhaps coldly delivered reply when he closed his eyes and sighed. He had to stop being so hostile to kittens. Try again. With a slightly more gentle tone he spoke once more, "Why don't we go back to camp and you can offer your services to someone else." Someone who cared about appearances, because Smokethroat certainly didn't.



For once Frostpaw felt a bit more relaxed, she had been out exploring when she came across the young kit, her bi-colored eyes landing on them while her fluffy tail swished, she had been close behind her mentor when she heard the blunt comment from them and a slight huff slip from her maw, it would normally be her or Iciclepaw to point something out like this to Smokethroat but this kit was the one who decided to go for it instead of allowing Frostpaw to have her little fun in her mentor's unawareness. Who's child was this anyways?

"Speak for yourself, kid" she bluntly spoke up as she came to stand bext to her mentor. Only she or Iciclepaw could be this blunt to the lead warrior, and besides, she might drag her co-apprentice into decorating Smokethroats fur later on. She hummed a bit as she began to look the kit up and down. "You need some serious help, you're a mess, perhaps you can get help from camp before continuing your own service" she stated, two can play at this game.

Smokethroat looks far less than amused by the statement, but at least he thanks them for letting him know. Crappie is glad to be of service, of course; he cares about his clanmates, and what better way to help them than to let them know what they look like? "You’re welcome," he chirps in return, their smile growing a bit more genuine. They’re expecting the giant tom to lean down and allow them to get to work, but instead he refuses. How dare he?? Does he not know that Crappiepaw is supposed to get what he wants?? What a mousebrain. "Fiiiiine, but you should at least fix it yourself."

Frostpaw, of course, isn’t far behind her mentor, and Crappie regards her with tired green eyes. She tells him that he needs help, that he’s a mess, and he huffs out a ragged breath. "Uh, yeah, duh. I’m really sick," they quip back, rolling their eyes. And if they play up their sickness with a harsh, hacking cough that’s half-faked, that’s no one’s business but theirs. "You aren’t ugly, though." It’s the truth, but he manages to make it sound a bit like an annoyed insult.

The kitten’s silent pouting was ignored, the way he sighed out his words and rolled his eyes made him wonder if he’d met Iciclepaw yet and the tom resists the strong urge to just roll the child over with his paw and keep walking.
“I will add it to my schedule.”
Even if he had humored the gesture it would have been for naught. Smokethroat did not often groom unless he was doing so out of a sense of anxiety and the desire to do something so his idleness did not send him down a spiral of unease. Not that it would matter, he would be messy again in no time due to his tendency to move nonstop and do his duties until he was forced not to otherwise.
Frostpaw’s sleek gray form appears next to him and he glances down to his other apprentice’s bristling shape and sharp words and the sigh that escaped him was so heavy he wondered if the two children felt it pressing them to the ground.
It was too late and now they are engaging in his worst nightmare. Mindless back and forth banter just barely edging on an insult.
“Enough bickering from you two.” His tail whisks upward, neatly signals for attention and he closes his eyes in momentary annoyance. “What was your name again anyways?”
Perhaps the distraction would diffuse the bomb ticking and he genuinely could not remember the answer either way.