Getting through the grief by WyldClaw

Plot: this happens after the end of the last hope. It is a little memory peace told in the POV's of Birchfall and Dustpelt. In each section there is a cat that helps them out. If I owned warriors I would have made her kits kill brokenstar for her death. XXX indicates new narrator, whose name is in bold. Enjoy!

X Fic begins belowX

Dustpelt:

Ferncloud and firestar... gone forever. Ferncloud ... dead. These were the only thoughts running through my head after the battle. I felt like tigerstar had taken out my heart, ripped it apart like a mouse, and replaced it with a gaping hole. I had lost my appetite and I moved around the ruined camp as if in a dream. Everytime I closed my eyes I saw her pale gray body falling in slow motion to the ground. It was heart wrenching.

I looked down at my paws, lost in memories of our times together: Ferncloud- then fernpaw- telling me out Swiftpaw's plan, sharing tongues, seeing our kits grow up, watching our kits play and grow up. Finding out she was going to be a grandmother ...

A grey paw waved in front of my face. "Dustpelt, Dustpelt. Anyone in there?"

"Can't you see I'm" I looked up and blinked, seeing jayfeather's blind blue eyes in front of me. "Oh it's you. What do you want"?

He looked up at me. "No need to claw my pelt off. I was just checking to see if your wounds need tending to."

"I'm fine jayfeather," I grumbled. "Use the herbs on some one who really needs them" I got up and started to pad away.

"It's not your fault she died Dustpelt," he whispered. "She would have wanted to go that way" I turned around and looked at the medicine cat in disbelief. What does he know? He doesn't know what it's like to lose someone you love like that! Ferncloud didn't want to die! I walked right up to him. "You don't know what you're talking about jayfeather," I hissed but he didn't flinch. " She didn't want to die like that! You even can't imagine the pain my kits and I feel right now knowing she's gone forever. I feel lost with out her, Ferncloud was my life and I just saw her DIE!"

He raised his tail. "I do. Hollyleaf was sent to starclan remember. And I lost all my trust in squirelflight and leafpool for ages when my birth was announced". That statement felt like he had knocked all the wind out of me in a practice battle. I felt my jaw drop- it had been hollyleaf who had said that at that long ago gathering.

I sat down on the ground "I'm sorry jayfeather-. I don't know what came over me- it hurts so much"

"You're in shock" He sat down next to me, his sightless eyes fixed on mine. "It's understandable that you want to lash out like a badger at everyone. I'm hurt too but I know how to guard my feelings."

My ears flicked. " Well I don't have to wonderful skill of yours. What am I supposed to do, never speak to another cat again? Hide my grief and Forget about her? For StarClan's sake she was my mate"

He shook his head. "No. I'm not saying you should forget about her. The pain would be insufferable. When I thought Hollyleaf died the first time it felt like some cat had ripped out my heart. But I had to put the clan and my medicine cat duties first so I submerged my self in my duties. Of course my powers and the prophecy from starclan didn't help and there were times I had to force myself to stop looking for her among their ranks"

"Well, as I don't have the happy power to walk with StarClan nor am I a medicine cat what do you expect me to do? Hunt and fight for ThunderClan every single waking moment?" I growled. Stupid mouse-brain! He's not making me feel any better – he's making me feel much worse

My former apprentice's nephew gazed at me and flicked his ears. "Not every waking moment. Spend time with your kits- they need you during this troubled time. What about Birchfall? Don't you think he's broken up about training in the dark forest and causing her death? "

"Well... " I felt a stab of guilt. I hadn't really thought about his feelings

He didn't give me a chance to continue. " good the guilt is setting in. Ferncloud was like a foster mother to all the kits. Look at Lillykit, Dewkit, Amberkit, Snowkit and Seedkit. " He flicked his tail to the nursery. " think of everything Ferncloud has done for the clan and you'll come up with an answer."

My whiskers twitched as I thought about what he said. Birchfall, spiderleg, Foxleap and Icecloud - they had lost their kindhearted mother. Cloudtail his adopted sister. Whitewing/ whom Ferncloud& I saw, as our daughter- must be crushed. Then i remembered something else: she helped out with the nursery kits- Brightheart and Sorreltail saw her as a kindred spirit. . I need to be strong for Lillykit, Snowkit, Dewkit, Seedkit and Amberkit, I thought. But how could I? Panic and worry washed over me

As if he could read my thought Jayfeather meowed " you'll do fine. Just pretend the nursery kits are your own. Besides I can always pass on a message to your mate "

boy was I a mouse brain! I forgot Jayfeather could see in his dreams. He went on; " I think you and your kits should go out hunting as a family and talk through your grief. It will help both you and the clan"

A purr of agreement came out of my throat at his suggestion. I got to my paws as the blind cat got to his. " Thanks Jayfeather. I think that's just what we need"

He let out a purr. i saw a smile appear on his face. "I think you're going to have trouble getting Foxleap detached from Ivypool "

I shrugged my shoulders. "The more the merrier"

XXX. XXX. XXX. XXX

Birchfall:

Ferncloud, hollyleaf, Mousefur and firestar were dead because of the dark forest attack. Even though I had redeemed myself and fought against those evil cats, Spiderleg's mentor and my own mother were dead partially due to me. Even after the dark forest ha been defeated and the battle won one thought kept on running through my mind: I killed my mother.

I watched Jayfeather and briarlight spread rosemary over the cold grey body that had once been my comfort zone during my kithood. I'm sorry Ferncloud. I didn't realize the dark forest was evil. I'm such a stupid stupid son .I believed I was learning skills to help ThunderClan, I thought. " I'm worthless. First I help Ashfur and now..."

" You're not worthless young Birchfall" A shadow came behind me as brambleclaw came up to me. His fur was matted with cobwebs and dried blood. He called to squirelflight who was helping Thornclaw and Cherrypaw to clear the debris from the center of the camp. " Squirelflight I need you to take a hunting patrol out and get some fresh kill. We also need a border patrol sent out when you get the chance. Birchfall and I need to have a little chat in the training hollow" I ducked

" As you command oh great leader to be " she replied and then glancing caught his eye and understood. Brambleclaw beckoned me with his tail and we left the camp. We went in to the training hollow my stomach in knots.

Is he going to punish me? I thought. We got there and he motioned for me for me to sit down as he did the same. He took a deep breath and began " look Birchfall. Since I'm getting my nine lives tonight I think it's best if we get this over with now."

" You're not going to banish me are you? Cause I know I probably deserve it for the ashfur thing and training in the dark forest and -"

He shook his head and chuckled. " If I were to banish every cat who's trained in the Dark Forest I'd have to boot myself out too. No Birchfall I'm not going to kick you out. You are a great asset to thunderclan ". I felt a bit better. He smiled " you've come so far from the tiny starving kit back in the old forest. But I'm wonder how you are handling it"

"How am I handling the fact that I got so involved with training and being in the dark forest that I betrayed thunderclan and the warrior code? Nearly got killed by Brokentail in the dark forest? " My voice was starting to crack and I felt my whiskers tremble " f-fought for my life and -and watched Mousefur and-a-and Ferncloud get killed? " I paused to take a breath. " Horrible and lousy. Luke I want to hide in a rabbit whole or a fox den for thirty seasons "

"Let me be there first to tell you that there is no shame in having tigerstar and hawkfrost deceive you. From what I've heard many cats were tricked. Even in death tigerstar proved to be treacherous. My father was as sly as an old fox "

"your father?". I remembered something Longtail told me long ago when I was still a kit. " You're his son aren't you?"

He nodded. "Tawnypelt of ShadowClan and I are his kits. She and I had to live under the assumptions we'd turn out like him. " I shuddered remembering some of the stories I heard in my youth " she left for ShadowClan and there were times I felt I should too. Even when I was older I was unable to escape tigerstar. Ashfur never trusted me because tigerstar killed his mother." he looked up at me his amber eyes full of warmth " you would have liked her Birchfall. I can just imagine Brindleface fussing over you and your siblings. "

I remembered another story I heard about. " You had to watch Feathertail sacrifice herself."

"Yes. It was something I'll never forget. She and Tanwypelt became good friends- in fact all of us questers became close. It hurt us all when she died. I know that she watches over me along with Goldenflower from StarClan. " He touched his tail to my shoulder " you have to realize that their deaths were not your fault at all"

" I know Brambleclaw but it still feels like it is"

"Would you rather be an eternal beaten slave of the dark forest while they roam the territories? Destroying life and the warrior code. Mousefur, Hollyleaf-" he looked distant at the mention of his foster daughter who sacrificed her life to save us all-" firestar, and Ferncloud knew what the consequences were and they fought like lion clan "

My tail twitched in amusement " true. I don't think I ever saw Mousefur fight more furiously in my life. I mean all I've known her for is her sharp tongue. Spiderleg did tell me when i was little that she used to be a great fighter but i never believed it until now. "

He let out a mrrow of consent. " She did have a fierceness about her. I'm just curious, Birchfall what made you join the Dark Forest. You must have had a reason, Ivypool and Blossomfall did it out of jealously "

I sighed. " I think I wanted to be special and to be an amazing warrior. I saw how the clan treated dovewing after the beaver incident. I know it's wrong to be jealous of my own daughter's abilities when she didn't even ask for them in the first place but-"

" It's not your fault. Older and wiser cats than you have been tricked by tigerstar. I forgive you Birchfall. You showed your true loyalty to ThunderClan during the battle"

I lowered my voice to a whisper "Brambleclaw do you think the other clan cats will forgive those of us who helped the dark forest"

He got to his feet and I followed his example. " Off course they will. Speaking of the Clan want to do some hunting? I'll send out some cats to help you out "

" That would be great"

The end.