"Emberflicker, you know this is wrong..."
"It can't be wrong when I know it's right."
Lavenderkit was curled up in a tight ball, her fluffy tail wrapped around her nose. Her eyes were narrowed to slits and half-closed as she stared through her green depths. In front of her were four cats. First, there was her brother, Cinderkit. He was a handsome grey tom with dark paws and mottles on his back. He had deep blue eyes that were warm, and a smile to match. Then, there were the two sisters, Lilackit and Thrushkit. Both of them were white, but Lilackit had grey tabby markings, and Thrushkit had brown and grey patches. They were both giggling like idiots. Lavenderkit sighed in disgust. Her brother was quite the charmer, but she couldn’t understand how any cat would go googly-eyed over a tom like her geeky brother. And they were blushing!
There was a third cat, watching the scene through her fiery orange eyes. She was black, with striking orange and brown splotches. She was calm, a small smile painted on her face. She wasn’t blushing, even though Cinderkit looked like he was trying to get her attention. His eyes kept flickering over to her, and you could see how distraught he looked when her only reply was a chuckle. This was Emberkit.
Lavenderkit groaned. Maybe a bit too loudly, since she saw Emberkit turn her head. Her gaze rested on Lavenderkit for only a heartbeat before shifting back to Cinderkit, but they grey tabby she-kit squeaked and hid her face in her tail, feeling her face heat up. She didn’t want to be noticed. She didn’t want to engage in a conversation.
She averted her eyes from the cats, and started to slowly stand up, her gaze glued to the ground. She slunk out of the nursery, and felt her mother’s gaze shift to her pelt and watch her leave. Lavenderkit’s ears flattened. She knew Shroudedsoul disapproved of her not interacting with her denmates, but she left the den and the prospect of making friends behind. Of course, as soon as she did, Grasskit strode up to her. The brown tabby was flirty and pretty much always targeted her in his antics.
“Hey beautiful.” He had a voice deeper than he should.
“Go away, Grasskit,” Lavenderkit grunted. Why did she have to grow up with TWO flirty kits? Why couldn’t she grow up like her father, Birchlight, who always noted that the only things on his denmates’ minds were playing and milk. Not deciding who could go on their list of possible future mates.
“Don’t you wanna have some fun?” the kit asked, blocking her path to the medicine cat’s cave. His pale eyes rested on her. They sparkled with mischief and he puffed out his chest like he was trying to impress her. Lavenderkit twisted up her face in a mask of distaste. She stuck out her tongue as she kept walking under her forehead hit his flank. She pushed him out of the way. “Hey!” he exclaimed, surprise lighting his voice. But Lavenderkit had already disappeared into the medicine cave. Cool air hit her face, cold stone built all around her. Her paws treaded on ancient, brittle leaves that crunched and broke apart when they came in contact with anything that put pressure on them, excluding the air, to a certain extent.
Lavenderkit flopped down on a small bed of moss when she reached the lobby of the cave. Cloudfoot glanced over at her, her bright eyes falling on her. “You again?” she asked, not hostile.
“My stomach hurts,” the grey tabby complained. Cloudfoot ignored her, going back to mixing a poultice. “It’s not good for a kit like yourselves only friend to be a medicine cat,” the black tuxedo cat replied, her voice airy and distant. It was silent for a moment, and Lavenderkit could hear the scraping of Cloudfoot’s paws as she prepared the treatment. The kit didn’t reply because she knew what the medicine cat was saying was true.
“Here; make yourself useful and take this to Halfpelt,” Cloudfoot said, turning around, a leaf twisted into the curve in her mouth. In it, it had a paste that had a faint smell to it. It was green and had a tint of purple to it. Lavenderkit looked into Cloudfoot’s blue eyes. “What’s this?” she asked, at the same time the older cat mewed, “he’s supposed to eat it and drink water after. I’ll get some for him.”
The kit twitched her whiskers. “I thought poultices went on wounds.”
“This is less of a poultice and more of a medicine,” she responded as she padded towards the water cave. Before she entered, she hooked her white striped tail towards another cavern. “Halfpelt’s in there,” she said, and then walked into the water cave.
The tabby waddled into the sick cat’s den, her head held high, feeling important. Halfpelt was lying in a moss nest, his eyes closed. They flickered open when he heard Lavenderkit’s soft pawsteps echoing on the stone ground. Lavenderkit always admired the tom; he was strong, he always visited Lilackit and Thrushkit, and he fought through the odd hate he got for his strange pelt. But the tabby always liked it. It was white on one side, with brown paws. The other side was brown, with white paws. He had various tabby markings scattered across it. His eyes were a pretty shade of amber.
“Hello, Lavenderkit,” he meowed, his voice rusty.
“Cloudfoot wants you to eat this,” the kit said automatically. She lowered it to the ground and nudged it closer to his muzzle. The tom nodded and started to lap up the mixture, his face adapting a sour look as he chewed, and Lavenderkit purred in amusement. “She’s bringing you in some water to drink after that.”
Halfpelt gagged as he swallowed the last of it. The leaf had some of the poultice stuck to it, and it shone in the half light, coated with saliva. Lavenderkit kicked it to the side. Halfpelt rested his chin on the ground, a fraction of his pupil peeked out from under his eyelid. He moaned in pain, and the kit put her paw on his forehead. He was burning up.
“You’re a good little assistant, you know,” Halfpelt murmured with a smile as Cloudfoot walked in. She had a mass of moss swinging from her jaw, dripping with water. She dropped it at his muzzle. “Drink it,” she instructed. “It’ll help wash down the mixture as well as bring down your fever."
Lavenderkit watched. Cloudfoot seemed so professional. Halfpelt pulled himself forward and licked the water off the moss, looking grateful. “Thank you, Cloudfoot and Lavenderkit,” the chimera tom said, dipping his head. Water dripped from his mouth.
The two cats exited the den together. As they burst into the main hub, Lavenderkit turned to Cloudfoot. “What was in that poultice?” she asked.
Cloudfoot looked at her. Her blue eyes were so pretty that Lavenderkit dropped her gaze. “Feverfew and lavender, to bring down the fever, and watermint and juniper for his sore belly. I put in more watermint than juniper, and I didn’t put any borage in, because that would overdo it,” she responded.
Feverfew. Lavender. Borage. Watermint. Juniper. Lavenderkit repeated the herbs in her head, knowing they’d be important someday. “Is juniper why it looked purple?” she asked shyly.
“That’s correct,” the black she-cat replied. Lavenderkit puffed out her chest with pride, a warm feeling spreading throughout it. “You were a good help, Lavenderkit. You should think of becoming my apprentice.”
The tabby felt herself blushing with pleasure as Cloudfoot added, “you should go back to the nursery. Your momma’s probably wondering where you are.”
“Alright, thank you!” She squeaked as she scurried up the tunnel and out of the medicine cave. The Sunlight hit her and she looked down, lighting up her fur like fire but also stinging her eyes after being down in the dark for so long. When she adjusted, she glanced around and padded back to the nursery, relief flooding her mind when she noticed that Grasskit had gone back inside.
“Why can’t you play with other kits?”
Lavenderkit had learned how to block out her mother when she was giving out lectures about issues that didn’t concern her. She was curled up in her nest again, the group of four in front of her, Lilackit and Thrushkit blushing madly. But Lavenderkit’s gaze fell on a different cat- Emberkit. She found herself sneaking glances at the mottled she-cat.
“It’s not healthy for you to only hang out with the medicine cat and your brother. You should be making friendships, getting experience with social interaction,” Shroudedstep continued. To Lavenderkit, it was like a quiet, nagging voice in the back of her head. She grunted an unintelligible response, not even bothering glancing up at her mother. She sighed in annoyance while Shroudedstep narrowed her dark eyes.
She sighed heavily. “Lavenderkit, you’re disobedient and more stoic than a rock,” she meowed, leaning down. “At least try, okay?” she asked. She had a motherly warmness in her voice as she licked her daughter’s forehead. She turned away and started to walk out the entrance. “I’m going hunting with Birchlight, I’ll be back soon,” she called. That statement alone put Lavenderkit at unease. She had heard so many tales of a couple going out, only to be brutally murdered.
As her mother left, Lavenderkit shifted into a sitting position. As she did so, she spotted Lilackit staring at her out of the corner of her eye. The kit met her gaze, and held it as she and her sister brushed against Cinderkit (UGHHH) and started to walk towards her. She felt herself shrink down as the pretty she-cats walked towards her. Smirks were painted on their faces.
“So, Lavenderkit,” Thrushkit began, and Lilackit interrupted. “We want to know who Cinderkit likes. Do you have this information?”
“Of course not,” Lavenderkit lied. Of course she knew, Cinderkit talked about her all the time. He was always all like ‘do you think she likes me?’ or ‘she looked so pretty today.’ But it wasn’t Lilackit, Thrushkit, or even Emberkit. It was Gorsekit, Grasskit’s sister. She was a dark brown tabby with bright green eyes. She never flirted, she barely talked, but all of the kits knew how competitive and stubborn she was. Cinderkit admired that.
“Could you get that information for us?” Lilackit asked.
“No,” Lavenderkit spat, starting to feel anger uncoil inside her. “That’s my brother’s business, not mine. Ask him if you want to know, I ain’t giving out personal info,” she hissed.
Lilackit tilted her head, pulling back. “Geez, no need to be a negative nancy,” she said baring her teeth. Thrushkit shrugged and the two headed back over to Cinderkit, and for a moment, she saw Emberkit’s gaze drift over to her. She felt her face getting hot and looked away, embarrassment filling her chest. She spotted Gorsekit in the corner, her pelt draped with shadows, her eyes glowing. The gaze she held didn’t waver, and her stare made it seem like she knew that Lavenderkit was lying.
Lavenderkit had turned her face to the wall, but felt the hot breath on someone as she heard them speak. She whipped around and there she was- staring at her with bright amber eyes, her grey had splattered with orange and brown cocked to the side. The she-kit caught her breath.
“Hi Emberkit,” she said, her voice kinda squeaky.
“Hey,” she repeated. She glanced back at the posse she left, who were calling her back. Lavenderkit shrunk down. Emberkit was three moons older than her, and would become an apprentice any day now. She was like a tower as she stood over her. “Want to hang out?” her breath was sweet and smelled like fruit.
“Sure,” Lavenderkit responded. Emberkit smiled, and flicked her tail. She started to walk out of the den. The grey tabby followed behind her, her gaze locked to the ground. A small smile tried to break through to her face, but she held it back. “So, you’re becoming an apprentice soon?” she asked quietly, trying to make small talk.
“Yep,” Emberkit said, sounding prideful. “It’ll be nice to get away from your flirty brother and the love-struck sisters,” she added, grinning. Lavenderkit chuckled a bit. She still had three moons to go before she would join Emberkit, and Icepaw in the apprentice den. By then, Splatterpaw would’ve become a warrior already.
“Hehe, yeah,” she replied in a small voice. “What do you want to do?”
Emberkit shrugged. “Maybe just talk?”
The other kit nodded in response. Suddenly, a glow of mischief sparked in the tortoiseshell’s eyes. “I have an idea!” she exclaimed, her eyes squinting, looking left and right. “Let’s hang in the apprentice’s den!”
Lavenderkit caught her breath. She nodded quickly, and Emberkit smiled, flicking her tail. “Come this way,” she purred, and Lavenderkit followed her, her heart pounding. She wasn’t sure why she was so nervous. Emberkit was her Clanmate and her denmate, she had no reason to feel like she was about to jump off a high cliff.
She tried to calm herself, taking deep breaths as the two entered the den. Lavenderkit sighed with relief when she realized that they were the only cats in the den. Emberkit’s eyes flickered like bright fire, narrowed in mischief. She padded to the back of the den and curled up, flicking her tail. “Come ‘ere!”
The grey tabby wandered over to Emberkit, her chest feeling funny and light. She plopped down beside the tortoiseshell and was immediately interrogated.
“So,” Emberkit started as soon as Lavenderkit hit the ground. She had her fluffy tail wrapped tightly around her, her green eyes large and scared. Her heart thumped. “Why do you never spend time with others? You look awfully sad, curled up in that tiny ball all by yourself.”
Lavenderkit shook her head. “I’m fine...” she murmured quietly. “I’m not really a social butterfly,” she admitted, not having the courage to meet her amber gaze. She shuffled her paws back and forth, Emberkit looking at her quizzically. “I don’t have many friends,” she told her.
“Well, that won’t do, will it?” Emberkit asked. Lavenderkit shrugged, and the other she-kit scooted closer to her. The tabby felt her heart speed up. “From now on you and I are friends! Comprend-ey?”
Lavenderkit gave her a small smile, and turned her head. “Al-alright.”