Frustrated—was that it? No, that couldn't be right. She wasn't frustrated. Nor was she angry. Distressed wasn't the right word, either. Scared. That was it. She was scared. Why had she done it? She shouldn't have. There must have been some other way, some other solution. That couldn't have been her doing, it just couldn't. But it was. Why, though? Why had she done it? Her mind wasn't clear then, and she was being blinded by some unseen force. It left her to see that there was only one option, and she had to go through with it. So she did. But things only went terribly wrong after that. And then she went off and made the horrible situation even worse. That wasn't her doing either. Terror had seized her mind, making her talk, unbidden.
It was all her fault, and she was frightened, terribly frightened. Guilt and fear made her mind race, grabbing at the first name that entered her head, and thrusting the blame onto him. It is not my fault, she thought shakily. It is his. It wasn't right, but it was the only thought that kept her from breaking. It's his fault, but none of the others know that. None of the others will think that now. I am the only one they will blame.
The thought alone was more than she could bear. I can't live with this. I can't live with them any longer. Not when they'll just blame me... Suddenly she felt as if she were drowning in all of the blame, choking on it until she couldn't breathe. The hollow, this forest, it's no longer my home. I have to escape. I have to escape.
Hollyleaf's head spun and she bounded away, eyes wild with terror. It didn't matter where she went; she just had to escape—escape the Clans, escape the warrior code. The warrior code. The one thing she had built her very life on. I broke it. I broke it to protect myself. She was not fit to be a warrior. But neither were any of her Clanmates. They had been ignoring the warrior code for seasons upon seasons. And without the warrior code, what were you? Hollyleaf gulped as she realized she was about to find out.
Involuntarily, her paws carried her across the territory towards the WindClan border, towards...The tunnels, she thought, quickening her pace now that she knew where she was going. I can escape through the tunnels. She slowed to a walk as she approached, pausing at the entrance. She closed her eyes, drew in a breath, and lifted a paw. It had barely touched the dirt of the entrance when a voice spoke from behind her.
The black-furred she-cat spun around, heart pounding, and found gazing at her an all-too familiar face. She recognized the cat immediately, from the large, wide-spaced ears to the long tabby coat to the mesmerizing amber eyes. "Sol," she breathed. Instantly she shook herself, her voice sharpening as she spat, "It's all your fault!"
Sol's eyes were curious as he sat down, wrapping his tail neatly around his paws. There was a tense moment of silence, but when he spoke, it was only to say calmly, "You're troubled."
"Of course I am!" Hollyleaf spat, arching her back. "But it doesn't matter anymore. The Clans don't matter. The warrior code doesn't matter. It's been disregarded for so long it's like it never mattered, anyways." Hollyleaf started to turn around again, ready to plunge into the tunnels, but froze when Sol spoke again.
"Even though you've striven all your life to protect it? After all this time, after all you've done, you're just going to turn your back on it?"
Hollyleaf didn't even know what she wanted to do anymore. She just wanted to wail like a kit. She just wanted to be comforted like Daisy or Ferncloud had always done whenever she was upset, back when she was still in the nursery. She wished someone would just tell her what to do. Distressed, she looked up and gazed into Sol's eyes, seeking solace in their amber depths.
There was another moment of silence. "You don't know what to do," Sol guessed.
His voice was so gentle. Hollyleaf had felt like this before. She knew she couldn't—shouldn't—trust Sol, but whenever he spoke, she felt as if she could trust him, with her life even. She felt that everything would be okay, so long as she listened to him. Hollyleaf shifted her paws, uncertain.
"It's not too late," Sol continued. "You can still do something. You can save the warrior code. You are one of the Three, Hollyleaf. Remember the prophecy."
"No." Hollyleaf had to struggle to keep her voice from cracking. "Sol, you know, don't you? I'm not one of the Three. I was never one of the Three. I never had a power." She looked at her paws, her heart aching. There was a time when she truly believed she was part of the prophecy, that she could preserve the warrior code forever. But that feeling was gone now. She wished it hadn't left her.
Sol leaned forward and brushed his muzzle against hers; Hollyleaf's fur tingled when they touched. "Every cat has power," the tom meowed calmly. "Even those born without any."
Hollyleaf looked up hopefully, then frowned. "No," she whispered. "It's too late for me." She glanced at the tunnels. "My destiny lies apart from the Clan." She pricked her ears, hearing cats approach.
Her brothers. She let out a sigh, turning pleadingly to Sol. "I did it for us," she mewed, the words tumbling out. "I did it to protect us. I broke the warrior code. I knew I shouldn't have, but Ashfur had to die. I had to..." She trailed off and shook her head. "But they won't understand. No one will." She trembled fearfully. She didn't want to live alone, but she couldn't remain in ThunderClan. She wasn't postive why she was confiding in Sol. She just needed to unburden herself to someone.
Sol's eyes were kind. "I understand, Hollyleaf," he murmured. "I understand completely."
She grew lost in his gaze, so that she didn't even notice her siblings arrive until Lionblaze shoved her backwards. She jumped, her mind clearing enough to take in the scene before her. Lionblaze was crouched protectively in front of her, snarling at Sol, while Jayfeather stood aside, his blind eyes gazing at her as clearly as if she could see.
"What are you doing here?" Lionblaze spat at Sol.
Sol blinked calmly. "I was just speaking to Hollyleaf."
"Well, don't," Lionblaze retorted.
The long-haired tom merely shrugged. "Very, well." He looked over Lionblaze's shoulder to Hollyleaf. "Farewell, Hollyleaf." He dipped his head and turned to leave.
Something in Hollyleaf took over and she suddenly panicked. The word flew out of her mouth before she could stop it. "Wait!"
Sol paused, glancing back at Hollyleaf. "I'm sorry," he meowed. "I must go."
"But—but..." Hollyleaf dug her claws into the ground. There were no words to describe the confused mixture of feelings that were churning in her belly. She swallowed. "Good-bye, Sol," she whispered, her voice choked. She backed away into the tunnel and saw that Sol's eyes, usually calm and emotionless, filled with mingled pity and...something else.
"Hollyleaf, what are you doing?" Lionblaze's voice was sharp as he glared at his sister.
Hollyleaf could only shake her head helplessly, still staring at Sol. "I'm sorry, Lionblaze," she murmured. "My place is not here."
She couldn't say anymore, because a rumbling sound suddenly surrounded her. Rocks and earth fell, and with a pounding heart, Hollyleaf realized that the tunnel was caving in. She started backing up, but stumbled against a pile of dirt already forming. In desperation, she lunged for the entrance where she entered, but it was too late. Chunks of earth fell on her, pushing her down and crushing her.
And the last thing she saw was Sol's eyes. Those mesmerizing amber eyes. She could identify the emotion in them now. She wished she couldn't.
- - -
A/N: Nn...I dunno. I felt like writing a SolxHolly for some reason... -shrug- I hope you liked it. ^^;