Disclaimer: I do not own Warriors.
Cold rain pattered on smooth granite, dripping off the edges and onto the grass. A tortoiseshell cat looked around, blood dripping from his sliced nose-bridge. Another cat, a long-haired gray tom, shouted, "Snifflenose, this is hopeless. Xai and Kruel are foxes!"
Impatiently Snifflenose shook his head, scattering scarlet drops on the rocks. "Xai and Kruel may have muscle, but they lack brains, Silverstripe," he meowed confidently. He pricked his ears and shook himself, water splashing the already muddy ground.
A huge red vixen burst from the bracken, white tail-tip waving madly. She howled and grabbed a white she-cat by the scruff. "Whitecloud!" Snifflenose yowled as the sweet cat was hurled against a tree.
The medicine cat burst from the bushes, shaking rain from his pelt as he ran. He picked Whitecloud up by the scruff of her neck and dragged her back into the camp, nodding for the others to follow. Reluctantly Snifflenose bounded after the medicine cat, blood still dripping from his nose. He could hear the patter of Silverstripe's paws beside him.
Snifflenose's thin pelt was in soaked clumps now as he shook water from his eyes. Silverstripe looked sympathetically at him; he knew how much Snifflenose loved the beautiful white she-cat. The mottled brown medicine tomcat padded out of an overhang of rock. "Well, Brownpelt?" asked Snifflenose. "Will she be okay?"
Brownpelt shrugged his shoulders. "She's in shock, I can see that. But her pelt is so wet and ragged that I can't find anything else." Without answering, Snifflenose brushed past the medicine cat and hurried under the overhang, liking the feel of warmth that touched his fur.
There was no time to enjoy the dry. Feverishly he licked at the she-cat's thick snowy pelt, pushing it the wrong way to find the water trapped under her hair. Whitecloud didn't move. Brownpelt moved into the den and meowed, "Look at yourself, Snifflenose. You are trying to help a cat that will never love you, and yet you still hope. Is that fair?"
With a hiss, Snifflenose rounded on him and aimed a swipe at Brownpelt's ear. The tom ducked, dodging it, and the young warrior boxed him on the nose with a strong front paw.
Brownpelt head-butted Snifflenose in the stomach as he reared up, and pinned him down. "Snifflenose, I will not tolerate temper tantrums. Now leave. Sharkstar shall hear about this."
With a sigh, the tortoiseshell tom plodded off toward the warriors' den, an abandoned fox burrow that was cozily large. He couldn't hear anything but thunder as the drizzle turned into a flat-out downpour. The tom shook his fur under a bent clump of bracken and squeezed into the hole. Snifflenose kneaded his nest of moss in discomfort and lay down to sleep, his chin rested on his extra-furry paws.
A white-silver she-cat pushed herself into the nearly empty den. Her deep blue gaze bored into Snifflenose's skin until he had to look away. "Attacking a medicine cat?" Sharkstar meowed, breaking the silence. "Snifflenose, I'm disappointed in you. Although you have been a warrior only one moon, you should have more respect."
"Sorry," Snifflenose mumbled. He shuffled his white forepaws, and wished he could say Brownpelt had no right to say Whitecloud would never love me!
"Snifflenose, are you listening?" Sharkstar snapped. Snifflenose's head jerked. "You're on hunting duty till sunrise. I expect fresh-kill, not a dead cat."
He bit back an angry protest, and rose to his paws. As he walked out of the den, Silverstripe bounded toward him and their noses collided painfully. Nose throbbing, Snifflenose headed into the woods, thinking it would be impossible to find fresh-kill in this weather.
Then he spotted a squirrel, feverishly trying to collect nuts and seeds before it was fully drenched. He dropped into a hunter's crouch and moved forward, knowing the aching of his weary limbs would be a disadvantage. Thankfully, the squirrel was too busy nibbling on a seed that it didn't hear Snifflenose. He killed the squirrel and kicked earth over it.
When sunrise came, a small shaft of sunlight poured through the clouds, and Snifflenose headed back to camp, his thin catches held firmly in his jaws. Silverstripe raced over when he saw his friend shivering uncontrollably. "Great StarClan, Snifflenose, I think you've caught a really bad chill. Or cold," he mewed.
Snifflenose collapsed, his limbs weary and stiff. Brownpelt bounded toward him. "Can you walk?" he asked. Snifflenose nodded and tried to stand, but fell into a silent black hole.
His eyes flew open. The white-pawed tortoiseshell moved his paws frantically, then sat up. His stomach flipped over and he retched. Snifflenose rolled onto his back, feeling like he would retch again at any moment.
Brownpelt opened his eyes and yawned. "Here, eat this. It should help with your cold." Snifflenose ate a weird-looking bulb, disgusted by the taste. "How do you f-f-f-feel?" the medicine cat asked, stifling another yawn.
"Fine, I suppose," he grunted, heaving himself onto his paws. Dizzily, he fell back onto his side. Brownpelt shook his head. "Don't be a fool, Snifflenose. You won't be able to resume your duties for half a moon."
"What?" Snifflenose shrieked.