Oh yes, forgot to mention something. This is a rewrite of Behind the Mist, of which I used to have a few chapters up. (I actually got a lot farther than what I'd posted, like to chapter 13). Before that it was known as Beneath the Water (I think that one reached 10 chapters), which was also on here lo those many moons ago. I hope this newest incarnation goes much further than either of those. :)
Mistkit stirred in her nest and yawned sleepily. She thought she had felt something in her side. Then it came again, sharper this time. Her eyes flew open and she battered the offender with her paws, before crouching on all fours and glaring groggily. Dark gray fur filled her vision, followed by twinkling blue eyes. "Come on!" he crowed. "Wake up!"
"Nooo," she whined, and buried her nose in her paws.
But the torment didn't end there. His nose rammed into her shoulder - unnecessarily hard, she thought - and pleaded, "Mist-kiiiit! Come onnnn!"
She stared up at him, still keeping her nose between her paws, and scowled. Her young mind scrambled through an excuse and could find only one. "I'm sick," she whimpered plaintively. She rolled onto her side, pawing at her mother's belly. "Mama, I'm sick."
"No you aren't, dear." The mass of bluish-gray fur behind her shifted, and suddenly her mother was blinking down at her in amusement. "Go out and play with your brothers. Go on, I'll watch you." She nudged her smallest kit to her paws. Mistkit knew she truly had no choice now, and she sighed. She followed her brother slowly as he practically pranced out of the nursery. Rainsky followed behind them, seeming as strong and immovable as a mountain.
Cool air washed over Mistkit's fur, and she fluffed out her short pelt against the coolness of an early newleaf morning, glaring in envy at her brothers and mother, who all sported long coats. Her second brother, Whitekit, bounced up to join them. "You got 'ew!" he exclaimed. "Wet's pway!"
Wolfkit grinned, looking as though he were about to wag his tail like a dog. "I'm GowseCwan!" he yowled, and shot forwards immediately, carrying Whitekit off of his paws. The two rolled and scuffled in the dust while Mistkit watched, trying to wake up the rest of the way. By the time they had finished - Wolfkit pinning his brother to the ground triumphantly - she was purring quietly. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.
"Go on," Rainsky whispered behind her. "Play with them." The long-furred she-cat settled down in front of the nursery, watching her kits with fond eyes.
Mistkit didn't reply to her mother's urging, but padded up to her littermates nonetheless. "Can I pway?" she asked.
"Yeah! You can be... SnowCwan. We can all fight!" He seemed proud at this idea, and beamed at Mistkit for approval.
"I don't wanna fight," she disagreed. She was a lot smaller than either of her brothers, and had the feeling that she would be defeated easily. Besides, that was a tom thing, wasn't it? There were much more fun things to do here, she was sure.
Wolfkit looked crestfallen. "But... why?" he asked plaintively.
A slow smile spread across Mistkit's face as she glanced around the camp. She had left the nursery only a few times before, and had really only visited the elders in their den. Besides that, she had no idea what was what in her home. The camp seemed to unfurl before her paws, huge and all-encompassing. To the small she-kit, the Scorchtree looked a day's journey away, the dens that lined the walls like yawning caverns. "Wet's expwowe!" she proclaimed.
"Expwowe?" Wolfkit tipped his head to one side, looking confused.
But Whitekit was already bouncing on his paws. "Yeah! Yeah! Wet's do dat!"
"Hmm?" Rainsky opened one eye. "Wait, kits!" They paused midstep, having been about to throw themselves across the camp in search of new land to claim. "I'll have to come with you. It's not safe for you to go so far by yourselves."
"Awwwww!" Wolfkit groaned, and Whitekit looked disappointed, but Mistkit didn't mind. She would feel safer with her mother behind her, as she always had. Under her mother's watchful gaze, she felt warm and protected, whether or not the wind was biting and cold, and whether or not the warriors across camp were glaring at her.
"Want a tou-ew?" Mistkit practically jumped out of her fur at this loud declaration. She found herself blinking up at a golden-brown tabby. He regarded the young trio with kind green eyes.
Wolfkit blinked up at him. "Naawww, we can do it ouwsewbes," he deferred, but Mistkit already found herself saying, "Yeah!"
"Okay." He purred, and she was struck with how large he was. He was at least double her size and more than twice her age; she didn't know him all that well, but he lived in the nursery with them, and his name started with B, though she couldn't quite remember what it was.
"Lead the way, Brackenkit," her mother laughed behind them. Oh, so that was his name. Yes, Brackenkit - that was it.
He bounded ahead of them, tail straight up in the air, and stopped at the base of the Scorchtree with the others trailing behind them. To Mistkit's surprise, it was a lot closer than she had thought, but it still loomed above her head, like the Great Trees Rainsky told them about in nursery tales.
"This is the Scowchtwee," he told them. His eyes were big and round, obviously taking his role as tour guide very seriously. He flicked his tail towards the pile at its base. Delicious scent wafted from the heap of mice, squirrels, and birds. Mistkit wished she could have one now. She had tasted prey for the first time about a week ago, and it was great. Just as good as her mommy's milk, maybe even better. "This is the fwesh-kill pile," he went on, snapping her out of her reverie. "And under the Scowchtwee is Fewnstaw's den. It was dug out a long, long time ago, by a fox or something."
"We knew dat," Wolfkit said flatly. He was clearly still grumpy that they had to have a guide while exploring the camp.
"We didn't know aww of it," Whitekit pointed out helpfully. He was rewarded with a growl from his brother and a purr from his sister.
Brackenkit continued on, almost as if he hadn't heard them. The group of five soon stopped beside a patch of shady ferns in the corner of camp. Mistkit was about to ask why he'd brought them to a patch of ferns when she noticed the narrow green path leading off into them. Cat-scent and strange, sharp aromas drifted from beyond the tunnel. "This is Mintleaf's den," Brackenkit explained sagely. "Well, and Dawnpaw's. They'we ouw Clan's medicine cats. This is whewe all the sick and huwt cats go."
"I'm nebew gonna hafta go in dewe," Wolfkit exclaimed, puffing out his chest. "I'm gonna be de best wawwiow ebew."
"We'll see about that, tiger," Rainsky purred. She gave him a swift lick between the ears, from which he shied away with a glare.
The next stop was the apprentices' den, a rather prickly-looking bush that Mistkit wasn't sure she'd want to sleep in. However, her eyes lit up at the sight of the pair of cats chatting in front of the den. In fact, she was the first one to reach them.
"Ashpaw! Smokepaw!" she yowled happily.
"Hi, Mistkit!" Ashpaw purred. "Hi, Brackenkit."
"Hi!" Brackenkit's tail was straight up in the air as he nearly plowed into the gray she-cat. Mistkit noticed with surprise that they were hardly bigger than the older kit. Well, she supposed it made sense. They had only become apprentices a few days ago, and she missed them already. Well, she missed Ashpaw, anyways; Smokepaw was kind of mean to her, but Ashpaw always had good games and stories for Mistkit and her siblings.
"How's the apprentice life?" Rainsky asked warmly.
"Fine," Smokepaw mumbled, but Ashpaw was much more sociable. "It's great!" she gushed. "Birchpelt is showing me everything, and Smokepaw is having a lot of fun, too, she's just too grumpy right now to admit it!"
Smokepaw stuck her tongue out at her sister, who stuck her tongue right out back. Rainsky rolled her eyes. "Come on," she meowed. "Where to next, tour guide?"
Brackenkit's eyes glowed and he dashed off, seemingly as fast as his little legs could carry him, yowling, "This is the wawwiows' den!" He was nearly halfway across camp, and Mistkit scurried after him, just behind her brothers, Rainsky just behind her. They all scrambled to a stop, nearly plowing into one another, as they reached the den he had spoken of.
It was a bush - the largest bush Mistkit had ever seen, not that she'd seen very many bushes in her short life. It was spreading and low, and smelled powerfully of MapleClan.
"Wow! Coow!" Wolfkit cried, and charged right in.
"Wolfkit!" his mother scolded sharply. Mistkit crept to the edge with Whitekit and peered inside, despite Rainsky's warning. It was warm and dim inside. Countless nests were clumped around the center of the bush, and several were occupied. Her eyes widened as she noticed Wolfkit prancing right up to a seemingly endless mass of gray fur. The lump shifted and stood, slowly, glaring straight down at the little kit in front of it. Mistkit's jaw practically dropped. The cat was huge - bigger than her brothers, bigger than Brackenkit, bigger than Rainsky, for StarClan's sake! He loomed over them, and fear suddenly swam in Mistkit's chest.
"What do you think you're doing?" he growled at Wolfkit. His voice was the meanest she had ever heard.
"Eep!" She turned tail and ran, and by the thundering of pawsteps behind her she could tell her brothers had done the same. They tumbled head-over-paws into the light and skittered halfway across camp before they came to a rolling, shaking, panting stop and peered back the way they had come. Mistkit's heart pounded wildly in her chest. Whitekit's eyes were stretched wider than she'd ever seen them, and Wolfkit looked more scared than she knew he'd ever admit.
The tom had poked his head out of the den now, and Mistkit could barely hear him converse with her mother.
"...so sorry, Grayclaw," Rainsky was saying. "It'll never happen again."
"Oh, it's not that big of a deal," he chuckled. "Kits will be kits. Though I would appreciate you keeping them out of here while I'm napping."
Mistkit glared suspiciously at him. He had been mean before, but now he was being all nice to her mama? That just didn't make sense. After a moment he ducked back into the den and Wolfkit brightened, seeming to have already recovered from his scare. "Wet's keep going!" he declared. "We stiww habe wayyy mowe to expwowe!" He seemed to be about to dash off when a stern voice sounded behind them: "Oh no you don't."
It was Rainsky, fixing them with an iron gaze. "I think it's back to the nursery for you three. That was very rude, to disturb Grayclaw's sleep like that."
"Awww!" This time all three of them joined in, even Mistkit. But it seemed they'd barely been out of the nursery at all!
"He's a warrior," she continued to scold them. "He works very hard to give you food and protection. You should respect him, and all the other warriors."
No, he doesn't, Mistkit thought irately. Mama's the one who gives me food and stuff. Nevertheless, the image of getting milk from Grayclaw produced a chuckle, one that soon erupted into a full-fledged laugh. Her brothers looked at her strangely, and she explained in a whisper punctuated by giggles, so that by the time the three of them were back in their nest they had collapsed into hysterics. Rainsky pressed them for answers, but there was no way she was going to get an answer out of them.
Finally, Mistkit's wild laughter died down to nothing, leaving her stomach aching. But she didn't mind. It was a good ache. She yawned and snuggled closer into her family, until they all seemed one creature, a cloud of black and white and gray, of long fur and closed eyes and low, rumbling purrs. She wasn't aware of ever having felt so happy.
A/N: D'AWWW! I just love these guys. They make for the cutest kits xD
Next up will be Wolfkit's POV, I believe. Should be fun. Also, there will be a few chapters like this - mostly setting stuff up - before the real fun begins.