Here's ch.20

Chapter 20

A few moments later found Mousefur with Morningkit in her jaws, Scourgeclaw with Nightkit in his jaws and Fireheart with Cloudkit in his jaws; all three carrying the kits back to camp quickly and carefully. Mousefur set a quick pace that she didn't let up on until the gorse tunnel was in sight. They were greeted by a worried Runningwind whose gaze soften as he laid eyes on the kits and gently leaned against his sister guiding her carefully to the entrance and into the safety of the camp; Fireheart and Scourgeclaw were close behind them. News had spread though the Clan that Mousefur had had her kits. Yellowfang raced out of her den to see the kits and Mousefur. She quickly looked them over then ushered them into the nursery, where the queens were making sure Mousefur's nest was extra comfortable. Mossflower glared at Mousefur for a moment, but her eyes softened when she caught sight of the kits, as Scourgeclaw and Fireheart laid them next to Mousefur's belly. Mousefur drowsily curled herself around the kits; she was exhausted after delivering them and carrying them back to camp. Mossflower looked at the kits and purred warmly.

"They're beautiful, Scourgeclaw" she murmured as she looked at the squirming bundles. "Have you named them yet?" Scourgeclaw nodded

"The tortoiseshell is Morningkit, the black one is Nightkit and the white one is Cloudkit." Scourgeclaw meowed softly. Bluekit, Birdkit and Ashkit were trying to get a look at the kits from Mossflowerr's nest.

"We wanna see them" Birdkit meowed

"Can we see them, Mossflower?" Bluekit asked. Mossflower sighed as she looked at her kits.

"Yes, but you need to be quiet, Mousefur needs to rest," the kits scrambled out of Mossflower's nest and quietly approached Mousefur and looked at her kits.

"Wow they're so small" Birdkit mewled as she looked at the kits,

"Of course their small, they were just born."Ashkit murmured

"When can we play with them?" Bluekit asked. Birdkit looked at her brother in confusion.

"Why can't we play with them tomorrow?"

"Because they're too small they need at the very least a quarter moon to grow before you can play with them." Mossflower told her kits. "If you're good when the time comes I'll let you show them around camp."

"I'm glad there are two she-kits, there are too many toms in the nursery." Birdkit complained.

"Hey," Bluekit and Ashkit said at the same time, before they started to chase Birdkit around the nursery. Mossflower shook her head in amusement.

"I'm just glad their acting more like themselves again, they've been so somber lately," she sighed as she watched her kits play. Scourgeclaw stood abruptly and was quickly headed for the nursery entrance. "Where are you going so suddenly?" Mossflower asked in suspicion

"Fireheart and I were collecting catmint for Yellowfang, before we heard Mousefur, in the forest. We need to get it before the frost kills the leaves." Scourgeclaw meowed quickly charging out of the nursery to find Fireheart. He spotted the fiery warrior with Tigerclaw. As he approached he could make out that Tigerclaw wanted to know if Fireheart knew where Graystripe was going. He heard Fireheart tell the dark warrior that he didn't know where Graystripe was heading off to everyday.

"Well if you see him tell him he is confined to Yellowfang's own den we need to stop the illness from spreading." Tigerclaw growled as he stared fiercely into Fireheart's eyes. "And don't go near Bluestar, she may still be contagious and I don't need healthy warriors getting sick."

"Yes Tigerclaw, can I go now?" asked Fireheart evenly.

"Very well" Tigerclaw meowed and stalked away from Fireheart, glancing briefly at Scourgeclaw as he passed the black warrior. Scourgeclaw felt the fur on his spine rise as the deputy passed him. He strolled up to Fireheart and quickly got his attention.

"Fireheart, we forgot the catmint." Scourgeclaw meowed quickly. Fireheart's eyes widened as he stared at his brother's icy blue gaze. The two turned toward the gorse tunnel starting to head out when they were stopped by Whitestorm.

"Where are the two of you going in such a hurry?" Whitestorm asked curiously. Scourgeclaw could barely keep himself from rolling his eyes in irritation at being questioned but shook it off quickly letting Fireheart answer for the both of them.

"We left the catmint we were collecting for Yellowfang in the forest, while we were helping Mousefur." Fireheart explained quickly, looking anxious to get out in the forest. Whitestorm blinked in understanding.

"Good thinking, well need all the help we can get to fight off this illness." Whitestorm agreed, letting the two raced off into the forest to gather the catmint.

When they returned to camp, they headed straight for Yellowfang's den with the catmint they had left; some of the catmint they had buried had blackened during the time they were away, so they weren't messing around with the surviving catmint. Fireheart put down his catmint and called inside for Yellowfang, who stuck her head out of the den.

"More catmint, good will need it now that Patchpelt has greencough."She meowed and pointed her tail in a nest of bracken a little further back in her den, nearby was Swiftpaw looking just as bad as the elder tom.

"How is Cinderpaw doing?" Fireheart asked worriedly. Scourgeclaw could see a flicker of pain in Fireheart's eyes as he thought of his injured apprentice. Scourgeclaw inwardly hissed as he thought of how the usually lively apprentice ended up in such a state. His mind wondered back to the conversation he, Fireheart and Princess had discussed earlier regarding whether or not Cinderpaw's accident had really been an accident or a trap set by Tigerclaw for Bluestar. Both she-cats had similar pelt colors, while Bluestar's pelt had more of a blue tint; they were both gray she-cats. He figured that if Tigerclaw wasn't paying close enough attention to who was running toward the Thunderpath then he wouldn't notice the difference in pelt color or size difference, but what made Scourgeclaw really curious is whether Tigerclaw would have stopped Cinderpaw if he had known it was her? Scourgeclaw highly doubted it. He could tell that Tigerclaw wasn't keen on him and Fireheart training apprentices and figured the tom would have let her get hurt anyway if he thought it might make Fireheart look bad. Scourgeclaw shook these thoughts from his mind as his eye caught a nest nearby. He turned his attention toward it and saw Fernkit, lying in the nest. The poor she-kit looked ill but not as bad as he was expecting.

"Fernkit's been doing much better since I gave her a little catmint, it seems to have done her good. I only hope I can say the same for her brother." Yellowfang pointed her tail at another nest a little further down from Fernkit, in side lay a small smoky gray tom that looked very ill. Scourgeclaw fixed his icy gaze on the tom a moment before turning to look at Yellowfang.

"Will he die?" Scourgeclaw asked emotionlessly. Yellowfang closed her eyes and sighed touching her tail to his shoulder. Scourgeclaw tore his gaze from the sickly kit to look at Fireheart who was apologizing softly to Frostfur, who had just entered Yellowfang's den. Frostfur murmured something to Fireheart as she passed him heading for Cinderpaw's nest. Scourgeclaw watched her pass as he followed Fireheart out of the medicine den. They trotted side by side into the center of the camp, only separating as Scourgeclaw padded off to guard the nursery, and Fireheart headed toward the warriors' den where Graystripe was eating.

Runningwind greeted Scourgeclaw as he approached the nursery. The swift tabby tom had been guarding the nursery for Scourgeclaw after Scourgeclaw went to gather the catmint. Scourgeclaw meowed a greeting back, as he relieved Runningwind of the duty. Runningwind told him that a few cats had come to see the kits and Whitestorm was currently visiting Mousefur and her kits. Scourgeclaw dipped his head to Runningwind as he walked off. Scourgeclaw sat regally, with his head high and eyes sharp as he watched the movement in the camp. A few minutes later Whitestorm emerged from the nursery with a warm expression.

"Their beautiful kits Scourgeclaw, I'm sure they'll be strong warriors." The white tom purred. Scourgeclaw thanked him and watched the white warrior headed off to the warriors' den in silence.

In the days that followed much had happened in ThunderClan, The Clan had been finding traces of ShadowClan scent in their territory, which made the Clan anxious about an attack from them, and Bluestar had recovered from Greencough, but the strangest occurrence had happened in the medicine cat's den. Brindleface's son Smokekit had gone missing. The queen had gone into Yellowfang's den to check on him, as Fernkit had already recovered from her bout with greencough and had returned to the nursery with Ashkit, and when she looked into his nest he was gone. The Clan had searched everywhere but none had seen the young tom and the Clan ruled him dead since the last time they had seen the small kit he had been battling greencough. The queens did their best to comfort Brindleface during the loss of Smokekit.

Scourgeclaw entered the camp returning from a successful hunt with his apprentice Falconpaw. He carried a fat squirrel in his jaws, and Falconpaw had caught a mouse, a shrew and a vole. Scourgeclaw was pleased with his apprentice, he was certain that his apprentice would be made a warrior soon. Falconpaw was already ahead of his brother Swiftpaw and since Swiftpaw had greencough and wasn't training he was falling even further behind his brother.

When they returned to camp, were surprised to see the Clan gathered around the clearing in a meeting. He deposited the squirrel in the small fresh-kill pile and padded up to Fireheart to see what was going on. He was surprised to see him sitting next to Sandpaw talking quietly with the pale ginger she-cat.

"What's going on?" he asked evenly. Fireheart opened his mouth to speak, but Sandpaw beat him to it.

"Bluestar's planning a raid on RiverClan," Sandpaw purred excitedly. Scourgeclaw looked at Fireheart in surprise.

"The River is frozen right now, we told Bluestar and she might be getting ready for an attack." Fireheart answered his brother's questioning stare. "Graystripe told the Clan that the ice might thaw before we can strike so the senior warriors are discussing it with Bluestar. Scourgeclaw was about to speak when he was cut off by Bluestar.

"Cats of ThunderClan, Willowpelt agrees with Graystripe that there is a thaw on the way." She called from her place upon the Highrock. Scourgeclaw glanced over at Graystripe who had a smug look on his face as the tom looked at Fireheart. "So we shall attack at once." Scourgeclaw felt a weird sense of satisfaction at seeing Graystripe's proud triumphant look turn into a look of sheer horror at the news. 'This is exactly why relationships between different clan cats is forbidden.'

"Five cats will make this raid. Tigerclaw will lead. I won't be going on this raid there is still the risk of ShadowClan attacking the camp. Darkstripe, Willowpelt and Longtail are going" Bluestar meowed. "Who else wants to join this raid?"

"I'd like to go." Fireheart spoke up, Scourgeclaw looked into Fireheart's eyes but Fireheart gave nothing away about what he was feeling. Bluestar's eyes glowed as she looked at Fireheart.

"Yes thank you Fireheart, you may join the patrol" Bluestar answered. "There is no time to lose, I can smell the warm winds now, Go quickly!" Tigerclaw, Willowpelt, Darkstripe, Longtail and Fireheart charged out of the camp, heading for RiverClan territory. Scourgeclaw glanced at Graystripe and saw him staring angrily after the raiding party. Scourgeclaw was tempted to strike the tom on the head with his claws unsheathed to see if he could knock sense into his head, but decided not to. Instead he padded over to the fresh-kill pile and pulled out vole and headed toward the nursery.

Mossflower looked up from her nest as she saw Scourgeclaw enter the nursery. He gave a gentle glance to Brindleface, who gave him one in return, that had a little sadness mixed in. She watched him greet the other queens, before he headed for her own nest and Mousefur's nest. She glanced over at her kits who were currently playing with Ashkit and Fernkit, they were careful not to play too rough with Fernkit since she was still weak from her exposure to greencough. Mousefur was glad the kits were dealing with Smokekit's disappearance/death so well, Brindleface was still numb with grief over the loss of her son. Mossflower couldn't imagine what it must feel like to lose a kit and she shuddered at the thought of losing either of her kits. Her mind once again wondered back to Bluestar and how her mother felt when she had given her up. 'She must have felt horrible.' She thought briefly, and she gained a new sense of respect for Bluestar. She glanced over at Mousefur's nest and saw the dusky brown queen speaking softly with Scourgeclaw as he looked over their kits. She wondered how Scourgeclaw felt about being a father, and how the tom was handling it. As she looked closely at Scourgeclaw's face she noticed that his face was trained into a emotionless mask, but she was sure she saw a flicker of affection in his eyes as he looked at his kits. Mossflower purred softly as she spied a look at the kits, they were growing quickly and it wouldn't be long until they were big enough to play with the other kits. Mossflower padded over to join Mousefur and Scourgeclaw's conversation.

The three talked quietly for a while commenting on each other's kits and the raid that was happening in RiverClan. Suddenly they heard a loud noise from just outside the nursery that sounded like cats fighting. Scourgeclaw took off out the nursery and immediately he his eyes went to a tumbling ball of fiery ginger and gray fur. Bluestar yowled for them to stop, and then called Fireheart into her den. Scourgeclaw glared venomously at Graystripe and was tempted to go tell Bluestar Graystripe's secret. He tore his gaze away from Graystripe to give Tigerclaw an ice cold baleful glare as the deputy wore a look of pure amusement on his face.

Scourgeclaw waited with his back rigid for Fireheart to emerge from Bluestar's den, planning on giving his brother a little verbal lashing. When Fireheart did appear he had a fierce look in his gaze as though he wanted to tear something apart, Scourgeclaw then decided to skip the verbal lashing and instead ask his brother about the fight.

"Was that about, what I think it was about?" Scourgeclaw asked fixing his icy blue gaze into Fireheart's fierce unflinching emerald gaze. Fireheart gave only a sharp nod. "I told you to let him make his own mistakes"

"I don't care anymore, if Graystripe wants to act like, rogue I'll let him." Fireheart hissed under his breath as he headed for the warriors' den. Scourgeclaw followed after him and made sure to put himself in the nest between Graystripe and Fireheart to keep them separated. Even though he was disgusted by Graystripe's behavior, he couldn't be more pleased by Fireheart's attitude. It will make it easier to convince Fireheart to join him in his plans. Scourgeclaw went to sleep feeling more confident about the future.

Many days had passed since Graystripe and Fireheart's fight that Scourgeclaw knew was because of a certain RiverClan she-cat. It was the night of the full moon, which meant the gathering would be happening and Scourgeclaw knew this one would be interesting, since ShadowClan had been scented hunting in their territory and the fact that WindClan would be present for this gathering. He was shaken from his thoughts by something messing with his tail. He turned around sharply to see Nightkit pawing at his swishing tail trying to pin it beneath her paws.

"Nightkit, what are you doing out of the nursery?" he asked calmly, as he looked down at his daughter, he couldn't help but see a resemblance of himself in her. Nightkit looked up at Scourgeclaw with wide forest green eyes.

"I just wanted to explore a little, Mousefur said we could as soon as she was finished grooming us." Nightkit spoke with a soft gentle voice. Scourgeclaw was quick to catch the 'we' in her statement and wasn't surprised to see Morningkit padding out of the nursery with Cloudkit close behind her. They both quickly made their way over to Scourgeclaw. Morningkit rubbed her cheeks against Scourgeclaw's foreleg in greeting, while Cloudkit amused himself the same way Nightkit was earlier. Scourgeclaw immediately had a feeling of uneasiness take over as he was surrounded by his kits and for the first time in a long while, he felt a quiver of fear. Scourgeclaw had never played with his siblings as a kit, or spent much time with them, he wasn't sure about how to interact with them. It had been easier with Fireheart when he was still a kit because he was very close to becoming an apprentice. His kits were very young and would reach their first moon in a few days, he was nervous about being around them while they were still so young. He was shaken from his grim thoughts by Birdkit and Bluekit as they bounded out of the nursery.

"Come you guys, we're going to the elder's den, follow me." Bluekit meowed heading for the elder's den. Cloudkit meowed a quick goodbye to Scourgeclaw before falling into place behind Bluekit. Morningkit purred a gentle goodbye to Scourgeclaw and padded up to Birdkit, the two were talking quietly. Nightkit hesitated a moment, then stood up to follow the others. She had only taken a few steps forward before she turned around to look at Scourgeclaw.

"Bye Scourgeclaw, see you later." She mewled softly, then turned back to follow her kin to the elders' den. Scourgeclaw watched them go and was a little surprised by how much Bluekit resembled his namesake as he led the other kits through the camp ground toward the elder's den. He turned and looked around the clearing and once more saw Fireheart talking to Sandpaw. He knew that the two usually didn't get along, but recently Sandpaw had been rather nice to Fireheart and he wondered why they were getting close to eachother. He could only hope that the pale ginger she-cat wouldn't ruin his plans for Fireheart. Scourgeclaw turned to see Mossflower emerge from the nursery heading in his direction.

"So are you attending the gathering tonight?" she asked curiously. Scourgeclaw nodded slowly and Mossflower purred in response. "Good because I'm coming to."

"You're leaving your kits?" Mossflower nodded slowly.

"Yeah they'll be fine; Mousefur will be watching them so it should be fine." As she spoke Mousefur, emerged from the nursery heading for the elders' den, it was clear she was going to keep a close eye on the kits with the elders. Fireheart came up to the two looking anxious to go to the gathering.

"Are the two of you going to the gathering tonight?" Fireheart asked quietly.

"Yes we both are, it'll be nice to attend the gathering again," purred Mossflower as she walked toward the fresh-kill pile, with Fireheart trailing behind her. Scourgeclaw was about to follow when he saw Brindleface emerge from the nursery, he stopped and padded up to the tabby queen.

"How are you doing?" Scourgeclaw asked gently pressing his pelt against her soft pelt. She leaned into his warmth a little before answering.

"I'm better now, but it still hurts to think about him." Brindleface answered as she walked alongside Scourgeclaw. Mossflower looked over at the two cats with a little confusion.

"Since when has Scourgeclaw been so close to Brindleface?" she asked Fireheart, who looked over at the two in surprise.

"I don't know, I mean he's always been nice to her, but I never really known them to be close to one another." Fireheart remarked as he watched the two approach the fresh-kill pile. They each picked out their own piece of prey and settled a little away to eat the prey. "Maybe he's just being nice to her since she is still dealing with Smokekit's death."

"I suppose," Mossflower murmured but she was unsure, she shook these thoughts from her head deciding it would be better to focus on the gathering that they were about to have. "What do you think will happen during this gathering? ShadowClan has to explain their actions."

"Yes we don't need them stealing our prey, and it doesn't make sense why they want our prey when they have fewer mouths to feed since Brokenstar is gone." Fireheart pointed out. Mossflower shrugged in return it would be an interesting gathering. They were shaken from their thoughts by Bluestar as she called the cats chosen for the gathering to gather at the entrance to the gorse tunnel. Within moments they were bounding off toward fourtrees with Bluestar and Tigerclaw in the lead.

(Okay I'm stopping the chapter here; the gathering will be in the next chapter

Review and tell me about the chapter)