The bright morning sun rose above ThunderClan the day after the final battle with the rogues. Both Onestar and Darktail never returned from their fight in the lake, the WindClan cats sitting vigil on the battlefield immediately after the battle ended. Now the Clans could finally breathe easy. Peace finally was restored to the lake territories.
Noctis sat down in the clearing of ThunderClan's camp, eating a vole alongside Suguha and Nightheart.
"How'd you both sleep last night?" Nightheart asked the two.
"Pretty much as good as usual. It helps that the battle was exhausting, too. Jumping and warping takes up more energy than you think."
"Last night wasn't the best sleep for me. I still can't believe that Onestar risked his life to kill Darktail." Suguha answered. "How about you, Nightheart? I remember seeing you use your Geass to protect Molewhisker last night."
"Oh…I'm okay. Thank StarClan it wasn't as deadly as Kirito's injury." She meowed.
"So that's what I saw. I thought it was from Kirito or Suguha."
"That's understandable. Geass is a power my father has, too, but his works differently. I was born with it, but father says that it's normally not inheritable." Nightheart told the tom. "Speaking of protecting, you did the same thing last night, Noctis."
"Yeah. What was that, anyway? The way you protected Twigpaw was so bright and flashy."
"Oh, that was this." He grabbed the chain for his ring in his mouth and lifted it up to show the two. "It's been passed down from my family. I was the last one to use it. One of the powers I get from it allows me to block attacks, and I think it's the only one I'd ever really use in this world. The other two things would be unnecessary to use here."
"Is your foreleg going to heal?" Nightheart asked, noticing the scarring formed on his left foreleg from using the Ring of the Lucii.
"Yeah, no need to worry about it at all." He assured her. "It'll just take time. It's nothing medicine can fix." As Noctis went to take a bite of his vole, the three noticed Molewhisker approach them.
"Hey you three." He greeted before connecting his gaze with Nightheart. "I just…came to thank you again for taking that attack for me, Nightheart." He meowed, looking at the injury on her shoulder that should have belonged to him. "I was just wondering why you did it."
"Why wouldn't I? I saw that you were in a bit of trouble, so I used my Geass." She replied. "I don't want you to think I did it because you're not a great warrior, Molewhisker. I'd protect my friends whenever I have the chance to do so."
"Right, yeah, I should've known that's why." He looked around, wondering what else he could say. "Well…I really just wanted to thank you again, that's all."
"It's no trouble at all. It'll heal quickly." She assured him, letting out a smile. The tom returned it before making his way back to where Cherryfall was, a smile on his sister's face.
"Nightheart…do you think…Molewhisker likes you?" Suguha thought, causing the she-cat to blush.
"W-What? No, of course not!"
"I don't know. Maybe that's why you protected him last night." Noctis added. "Do you like him?"
"Yes, but as a friend! You're the last one I expected to tease me like this, Noctis." The black tom let out a small laugh. As they continued talking, Alderheart approached them, a mouse in his jaw.
"Hi Alderheart. How's the medicine cat's den?" Suguha asked.
"Great, well, other than the usual Jayfeather, but what can you do?" He said before taking a bite of his mouse. "You all seem well after the battle. No major injuries or anything, except for Noct, but he already explained it to me." He looked over at the tom. "Noct…do you know when you'll be leaving?" The black tom shook his head, joy filling inside of Alderheart.
"Luna hasn't spoken to me yet, so maybe my work here isn't done." He replied. "That could be the same for you, Suguha."
"Right, well, I still can't open a menu interface like Kazuto or Asuna, so I think that's safe to say, too." Noctis looked up and noticed Tigerheart approach them.
"I don't mean to interrupt or anything, but I just wanted to say bye before I left." He said. "It was nice meeting you, Noctis. I'll need to watch out for you in battle if it ever comes to it."
"Don't worry, I'll try to make it a fair fight if it comes to it." Noctis replied with a small laugh.
"You must be so relieved to go back home, Tigerheart." Suguha meowed.
"Yeah. It's gonna take some time for things to get back to normal, though. Hopefully it all goes by swiftly and smoothly."
"If you ever need help, I'm sure Bramblestar won't mind lending a paw over there." Nightheart meowed.
"I'm sure we'd appreciate it, although we owe ThunderClan a lot as of late." He replied. "Speaking of which…" He turned his gaze over to the medicine cat's den. "I'll see you all again soon. Thanks for everything." The four cats waved as he headed towards the medicine cat's den. As he made his way through the brambles, he poked his head through and saw the other three medicine cats working, but they didn't seem as busy as he thought.
"Hi Tigerheart." Asuna greeted him with a smile.
"Hey. I was wondering if I could talk with you for a bit."
"If it gets you out of here sooner, go ahead." Jayfeather told him.
"Don't mind him." Asuna said before she followed the tom outside into camp. "So…"
"Oh, well, I just wanted to say bye since ShadowClan's finally rid of the rogues and all." He said. "It's hard to believe we've been in the same camp together for so long, and now we're finally going our separate ways."
"I know what you mean. You've been so kind to me while I was in ShadowClan, Tigerheart. Thank you so much for making me feel at home." A blush formed on the tom's face.
"It's nothing. Like I've said before, you were a huge help to us by being our interim medicine cat. We all can't thank you enough for that." He told her. "I'm gonna miss you, Asuna."
"I'll miss you too, Tigerheart. We've become amazing friends after all the time I spent in ShadowClan." She replied. "Oh, I almost forgot that you're the deputy now! You make sure to keep everything in order for Rowanstar then, alright?" He nodded, letting out a smile. Asuna pressed her chin onto his shoulder, causing him to blush. She looked up and noticed his embarrassment, causing her to jump back. "Sorry! I wasn't sure how cats say goodbye! Twolegs say bye with hugs and that's what I've been doing, but I thought I'd switch to something more cat-like."
"N-No, it's okay. It's just…" Asuna followed his gaze and saw that he was looking over at Dovewing.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Tigerheart! I hope she doesn't get the wrong idea." He shook his head.
"It's fine. I think she knows well enough that you and Kirito are together." Tigerheart looked over at her and saw she had a paw over her mouth as if she was laughing. "Yup, she's definitely laughing at me right now."
"Well, I don't want to hold you back from her. Plus, Jayfeather probably already is wondering what's taking me so long." She said with a giggle. "I guess I'll see you at the next Gathering, Tigerheart. I hope you and Dovewing figure something out."
"Thanks, Asuna." The two went their separate ways, Tigerheart heading over to say goodbye to Dovewing before he finally headed back to ShadowClan. From afar, Ivypool kept her eyes on the two, Lelouch sitting next to her.
"Ivypool…I know the warrior code says it's wrong, but you have to see that they love each other." He meowed.
"She could be just as happy here..." The silver and white tabby responded. "I just don't want her getting in serious trouble if things escalate between them. We just got rid of the rogues. The last thing we need is another problem between ThunderClan and ShadowClan." Lelouch let out a sigh. There's no persuading her. Her heart's in the right place, but it's also in the wrong place as well. "I know you're just trying to help Lelouch, but my mind's made up about this all."
"Yeah, I can tell." He replied. The rogues are finally out of the forest. Now's the time to ask her. "Ivypool…can we stop paying attention to those two and talk for a moment?" She nodded.
"Of course. I'm sorry that this Dovewing and Tigerheart thing is taking over, Lelouch. It seems like that's all we've been talking about lately." She apologized. "So…what did you want to talk about?" Ivypool gave Lelouch her undivided attention.
"Oh…well…you don't need to say yes, but…" Ivypool let out a giggle.
"This must be serious if you seem so flustered."
"Sorry…" The tom cleared his throat. "There's going to be a lot of new kits running around camp soon, and hopefully it's safer now that the rogues are gone."
"Okay…" Ivypool couldn't tell what the tom was getting at. Lelouch let out a sigh and touched his violet gaze with her blue eyes.
"What I'm trying to say is...well…I was wondering if…you'd…like to expand our family." He finally confessed, looking away from her, his face hot with embarrassment.
"R-Really?" Ivypool's eyes seemed to gleam with joy at the suggestion.
"Y-Yeah." He brought his gaze back to hers, her tone granting him confidence. "After Blossomfall and Thornclaw had their kits, and then after Lionblaze and Cinderheart told everyone they were expecting kits, I felt like I was missing that in my life. I'll never stop loving Nightheart, but…I want to be by your side raising our kits from birth up until they're grown."
"Lelouch…of course I'd love to! I just didn't expect you to be the one asking…" A blush formed on the tom's face.
"Trust me, I never thought I'd be the one to ask, either." He replied, but he noticed her gaze escape his.
"I just…don't think now is the best time to have them." She added, the tom's ears falling flat.
"B-But like I said, I'd love to! It's only because we're nearing leaf-bare and the cold would give us more to worry about when it comes for caring about them. They could easily get sick."
"Right…I hadn't thought of that…and you'd probably be prone to sickness as well…" He meowed, embarrassed that he was so excited to ask his mate that he didn't consider the circumstances. Noticing this, Ivypool gave her mate a lick to the cheek, letting out a smile when the violet gaze she loved so much returned to her.
"So…what are you expecting to have?" She wondered. "I think I wouldn't mind having a tom running around trying to be his father."
"I was hoping for a tom and another she-cat, but I'd be fine with anything, honestly." Lelouch looked over towards where Nightheart was sitting. "How do you think she'll react?"
"Well when you arrived you remember how happy she was. I'm sure she'd act the same knowing that she'd be an older sister." Ivypool pressed her head onto her mate's shoulder. "I love you, Lelouch. I'm so excited to raise our first litter of kits together."
"I love you too, Ivypool. I hope you weren't exaggerating when you told me those stories about Nightheart. I'm a bit excited for that." Ivypool let out a giggle and gave him a lick on the cheek.
"Well now that you're staying here, maybe everything will be much easier."
Noctis, Violetpaw, and Twigpaw watched as the last of ShadowClan departed from ThunderClan to finally return and reconstruct their camp. He watched as Hawkwing approached, a smile on his face.
"The fighting is finally over and SkyClan is reunited with the four other Clans again." He began. "Violetpaw, Twigpaw, when SkyClan establishes its new territory, I want you both to live with me there. You were born to SkyClan cats after all. That's where you both belong." Noctis looked at the two, but saw uncertainty in their eyes as they looked at each other. Why was it such a hard choice for them to make? He then saw Violetpaw's gaze turn over to the leaving ShadowClan cats. That's right, ThunderClan and ShadowClan are the Clans that raised them…but if it means that they'll never be separated again, the choice should be easy, right? Hawkwing seemed to notice the same indecisiveness in his daughters and nuzzled them both.
"You both don't need to decide now. I can understand that the choice might be a bit too much at the moment." He said. "But, I just want you both to know that you're both growing up to be fine young warriors. Your mother would be proud." The two sisters smiled. "That's what I like to see. Just know that there will always be a place for you both in SkyClan, I promise." He looked up at Noctis. "You too, Noctis. You've helped Twigpaw so much. I can't thank you enough."
"Wow, I appreciate it, really." Hawkwing turned around and saw that Leafstar was calling him. Hawkwing gave his daughters a quick nuzzle before walking over to where the SkyClan leader was.
"So…if I go to SkyClan…would you go too, Noct?" Twigpaw asked, turning around to face the tom.
"Of course you would want that, Twigpaw." Violetpaw teased, causing her sister to blush.
"Yeah, I don't see why not." Noctis replied. "ThunderClan already has so many cats from other worlds, and SkyClan might appreciate the help I can offer." Especially since SkyClan is getting situated in a territory already holding four Clans. This definitely means change is coming. The Clans banded together because they were against a common enemy, but now that the sky is cleared...could the addition of SkyClan end up being a problem? Noctis looked over at Twigpaw and Violetpaw, the two sharing a quick laugh with each other. For their sake, I hope not.
I hope that you all enjoyed this third installment of this series. We're already halfway through and there's still room for plenty of things to happen, and to introduce some more new cats as well. Thank you all for sticking around this far, and hopefully you'll be here to see this story reach its conclusion. I'll see you all in Turn 4.