"Mother?" the mewl of a kit came from underneath the darkness of a holly bush. A small, fluffy head poked out from under it. His calico pelt was bristled in fear and excitement. He pulled himself nimbly out from under the roots, into the greenleaf sunshine on the outside world.
"My son?" came the reply he longed to hear, her voice thick with pain and happiness, as if everyday since they'd been apart, all she'd done was cry, and for the first time in moons, she at last felt a spark of life in her at the hopes of seeing her son once again.
The kits eyes widened and beamed with happiness. "Mother!" he wailed again and sprang into the undergrowth ahead of him, and began to pelt around in circles, trying to spot the cat he hadn't seen in so long. He never laid eyes on his mother, not once in his entire life. She died wen he was born, before his fur even dried, but he remembered her scent so clearly, like fresh blossoms blooming in the bright sunshine. Even though their living days together had been so short, nothing could ever break the bond of a mother and her kit.
He stopped and pricked his ears. He looked up at the sun shining above through the leaves, dappling him in golden light. He began to purr as he picked up her sweet scent on a soft breeze. "Darling?" he heared her voice from somewhere close by. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a flicker of movement. He bunched his muscles and whipped around. "Boo!" he squeaked. His face twisted in confusion when nothing was there. He huffed and scampered around some bracken, trying to find her hiding.
He had this dream nearly every night. And each and every one of those nights, he never saw her. But that didn't shake his hopes. Night after night when he went to his nest, he vowed he'd one day spot her, and they'd be together again. He felt heavy with disappointed every morning he woke, but he pushed it aside. He was just happy knowing she was with him, even if he could never see her. But that didn't mean he should give up.
He halted. In front of him was an old fallen oak, many seasons old. He wiggled his hind, closed his eyes and leaped. For a heartbeat, he felt as if he was flying through the air, the wind gliding through his fur. He had the feeling of freedom. His paws and belly slammed against the tree bark, knocking the breath from his body and making his eyes fly open at the force. He inhaled and looked down.
To his disappointment, he had hardly moved. His white tail tip was hovering right above the ground and his forepaws were just at the top of the log. He heaved himself up, grunting with the effort, and collapsed on top. "Wow, I did it!" he mewed, taking a sudden stand. He squealed in surprise when he lost his balance and toppled over onto the ground on the other side of the log.
He landed on his chin, earth flew into his mouth and face, and his legs grazed on some sharp pebbles. He lay there, whimpering for a heartbeat then burst into a wailing cry when he saw tiny cuts on his legs. He huddled there, breathing fast and whimpering, when a bright blue butterfly fluttered on the path ahead of him.
He instantly stopped crying and let out a squeal of joy and pelted after it. He hopped over roots, and brambles, pushed his way through thick bracken and crossed a tiny stream, the water easing the throbbing of his poor paws.
He started panting, his short legs couldn't carry on with the sprint for much longer. He stopped at the foot of a grassy hill and stood panting for a moment. He controlled himself and stared up the hill. He was in a clearing. The sun shone so bright, the grass looked golden. He blinked his ice-blue eyes and took a deep breath.
This was where he always woke up. His mothers scent was the strongest here. He knew she had to be on the other side. He began to march up the hill, his stubby tail held high. It felt like seasons before he at last reached it, just beyond the top. He stopped.
He closed his eyes, feeling them start to water up. He knew she was just a few more pawsteps away. Could he do this? Could he really see her? Was this it? He opened his eyes and looked longingly at the top of the hill. Just a few more steps...
He closed his eyes tightly and sniffled. I'm not brave enough to see her... "My kit?" came the voice. His head shot up. He had never heard her so close before. He jutted out his chin and pushed his fear aside. I can do this. He declared and marched those last few steps up.
And then, at the top of the hill, he gasped.
Patchkit awoke to be greeted with a strong ray of morning light blinding him. He looked around. He was back in camp, in the Nursery, in his nest, in RiverClan. "Uh... are you okay Patchkit?" came the voice of his denmate, Graykit, who was sitting in another nest made up of moss and soft feathers, Alderfern, her mother, still snoring softly beside her.
Patchkit blinked. He felt angry, happy, and bewildered, but she couldn't read his mind, right? He looked at Graykit with a dumb look, until she rolled her eyes and nodded at his jaws and pelt. Patchkit realized his mouth was hanging open and his pelt was sticking all over the place.
He quickly snapped them shut and stood up on legs that ached like he really did trek through a forest all night, shook his pelt out, and sat down to clean moss scraps out of it. "I'm fine," he assured his gray-and-white friend. She nodded slowly, her wide amber gaze still fixed on him. "I hope you are," she meowed, then stood up and arched her back in a long stretch that made her legs tremble.
"I'm going out to get some food, want to come with?" she asked once she groomed herself. Patchkit had finished his own grooming ordeal, and was now staring at the woven wall of reeds of the den. "Oh, no, I want to be alone right now," he meowed, not noticing the disappointed look she gave him.
He thought back to his dream. He wanted to keep the picture in his head forever. He at last saw his mother, it was only a glimpse, but it was enough to make him happy and sad forever; happy to see her for the first time; sad that he couldn't again.
She was beautiful! she was a calico, just like him! she had large, warm amber eyes, a sleek, long pelt, like him... but the one thing that was most amazing to him was the starlight that shone from her, it sparkled brightly, tinged around her paws... He never thought he would see something so... strange.
A loud yawn beside him snapped his attention back to the real world. Since Patchkit's real mother was dead, he had a foster one, Strikefur. She wasn't extremely fond of him, not showering him with the same love she gave to her own two kits; Mistkit and Carpkit. Instead, all she ever really did was groom him and let him feed.
Patchkit looked up at her silver figure, dots of white running through her long fur. She didn't bother looking to see if he was there, but began washing Mistkit's silver tabby pelt, causing him to wake and start complaining until he drifted back to sleep.
Patchkit couldn't help but picture Mistkit as himself, and Strikefur as his own mother. That's what this morning would be like if she hadn't died. I wish Strikefur was dead instead of my mother. he thought bitterly, then quickly took it back. Strikefur was a good parent to her kits, it wouldn't be fair for her to be taken from them. Or for her to die anyway.
He looked to the far corner of his nest to spot his two sisters snuggled close together, their flanks rising and falling together. It wasn't fair, he thought, that they were so close but they never let him join in their little circle.
He sighed. He didn't blame them for not wanting to be seen with him, he looked too much like his mother for the liking of any cat in the Clan. And besides, his sisters were scorned too, it wasn't like he had it any tougher than they did, at least they found friendship together.
He rose stiffly to his paws and hopped over the rim of his mossy nest and ventured out of the Nursery, into the main camp. It wasn't too full today, most of the Warriors were probably out hunting to gorge the Clan with Greenleaf prey, or patrolling, he had heard the report of ThunderClan scent markers in their territory.
He spotted Graykit with her dark gray sister Shimmerkit, eating some perch near the fresh-kill pile, sheltered from the blistering sun by some overhanging reeds. He was about to go over, when he caught a flicker of black at the edge of his vision.
He turned his head towards the Warriors den; a another clump of woven reeds, to see his father sitting with the bulky cream figure of Tigerwhisker, the only cat who would speak to him.
Patchkit made his way over, excitedly tripping on his way and stopped in front of the two Warriors. "Hi, Patchkit!" Tigerwhisker meowed in his laid back tone, his green eyes narrowed as always. "Hello, Tigerwhisker," Patchkit greeted in return. Tigerwhisker was the only cat in RiverClan who would speak to him, his sisters, and his father freely, since his birth that is.
Patchkit turned to Rookheart, tail waving as he waited for his fathers greeting. His father hardly looked at him and gave a slight nod. "Patchkit," he meowed quietly, gazing elsewhere. Tigerwhisker flipped his long fluffy tail, looking a bit annoyed with Rookheart.
"I was wondering if we could play?" Patchkit asked, already feeling his excitement start to drain to nothing. "Not right now, Patchkit, me and Tigerwhisker need to go hunting," he replied, without a trace of regret in his voice.
Before Patchkit could reply, Rookheart got to his paws and began to tort out of camp, Tigerwhisker slowly got up and followed, casting a sorry looking glance over his shoulder to Patchkit. Patchkit watched them disappeared out the entrance of yet more reeds, than flattened his ears and sighed.
Rookheart always came up with some kind of dumb thing to do just to get away from his kits, he never visited them, he never even looked at them.
Patchkit felt the same disappointment he felt every day. Why did his father have to hate him so much? Well, it was Patchkit and his sisters fault Rookheart was currently the lowest ranking Warrior in the Clan. So perhaps that was the reason. But if he already lost his title, then he didn't have that much more to lose, right? spending time with them wouldn't make his rank higher, but it wouldn't make it lower. Unless he could just never get over it...
Or maybe it's because he blames his kits for his mates death? maybe it's both?
Patchkit's pelt prickled at the thoughts. He glanced back over to the fresh-kill pile where Shimmerkit and Graykit were still chattering. He decided, and began to make his way over to them. They were the only cats in the Clan, besides Tigerwhisker, who was friendly to him and his sisters, at least Graykit was, Shimmerkit was kind, but a little bit... snotty about them.
"Hi, Patchkit!" Graykit meowed a little harshly. "I thought you wanted to be alone."
"I changed my mind," Patchkit said, while lying down and tucking his paws under his feathery chest. "Oh," Shimmerkit began. "I saw the whole thing with Rookheart, I'm sorry he's your father, since he's like, the lowest ranked warrior in the Clan."
Graykit glared at Shimmerkit and shouldered her. "Shimmerkit!" she whispered, barely loud enough for Patchkit to hear. "don't be rude!" Shimmerkit's response was an eye roll.
"It's okay, I already know he is." Patchkit said, having an inward sigh. Shimmerkit waved her tail to change the subject. "So, me and Graykit are becoming apprentices today. When are you going to?"
Patchkit twitched his ears. It seemed a little weird that they didn't know how old he was, but whatever. "I'm five moons old," he said, his eyes widening. He hadn't even realized how close he was to being apprenticed. He felt much younger in his dream. Maybe in his dreams he was younger then he was in the waking world.
"So one moon."
Graykit curled her fluffy tail over her back. "Great! we won't have to wait long for you, it'll be so weird in the den without you, Sunkit, and Cloudkit. Along with mother, and Strikefur..." her voice trailed off. "I'm not sure I'm ready to be an apprentice."
"What?" Shimmerkit exclaimed with an outraged look. "Why not? I'm going to. If I can do it, so can you."
Graykit twitched her whiskers. "I don't think I'm ready to leave Alderfern. I don't think I can be in my nest alone," she replied, eyes lowering to look at her paws like they were the most interesting thing in the world.
Shimmerkit looked slightly offended. "Ugh, haven't you thought that I'd share your nest until your ready?" Graykit looked up. "No. But that might work..."
"Well, it's not your choice, your being made a apprentice whether you like it or not," Shimmerkit dismissed with a flick of her tail. Patchkit stared blankly at the two sisters when a long silence followed.
"I guess I'll go..." he meowed and turned away. Graykit looked like she was about to argue but he ignored her and kept walking. He was thankful that Graykit and Shimmerkit were his friends, but they always seemed to rub their close relationship in his face.
He entered the Nursery to see that Sunkit and Cloudkit were now awake, tumbling around and squealing. Alderfern, Strikefur, and their kits had left the den, leaving it to Patchkit and his sisters. He ignored them and settled into his bedding. He closed his eyes tight. Maybe his mother would visit him again...
Patchkit jerked awake when he heard the cheering outside. Oh no! I've missed Graykit and Shimmerkit's ceremony! He leaped to his paws and ran out of the reed cave and into the main camp.
Cats were already starting to depart and head into their dens for the night, or go on the dusk patrol. Graypaw and Shimmerpaw were no where to be seen. His tail flopped to the ground behind him. How could he have missed it? It was so important... what if they were angry at him and refused to speak to him ever again? what if he had lost his friends because of this?
"Patchkit?" he spun around to come face to face with Graypaw. Before giving her the chance to speak, he blurted. "I'm so sorry I missed your ceremony! I over slept, and I-"
"Patchkit, kits aren't aloud to attend Clan meetings anyway," she chuckled softly. "And it's fine you over slept. It's sweet of you to have cared," she added in a purr.
Patchkit let out a sigh of relief. "Really?"
Patchkit opened his mouth to say more, but Graypaw raised her tail to silence him. "I have to go make my nest in the Apprentices den." Patchkit blinked. "Oh." he had fotgotten that Graypaw wouldn't have time for chit chat anymore, and he felt a pang of sadness at the thought of not being as close to her as they used to.
As if reading his mind, Graypaw nuzzled his head. "Don't worry," she began, and pulled away to make her way to the Apprentices den, tossing her head over her shoulder to look back at him.
"only one more moon!"