Brushing past her mother, Duskpaw paused. She hadn't noticed it before, but she finally reached her mother's height. She hadn't noticed before and suddeningly Duskpaw felt overwhelmed with the notion she was soon to be a warrior. When her ceremony happened would still be up to Lionstar and perhaps Skyfall, but still it was strange for her to recognize it. Lionsong, her mother, sensed her daughter was thinking of something and carefuly nuzzled her cheek. "Are you alright? When was the last time you've eaten?" Lionsong's questions were rapid fire which had Duskpaw ducking her head back and away from her mother slightly.
"I ate yesterday and I'll try and share something with Dunenpaw or maybe Stonepaw later," She replied quickly enough, avoiding her mother's first question. Lionsong nodded in her approval before departing to followed after Sandstrike, Duskpaw's father, into the warrior's den. Duskpaw remained outside of the den, looking in. Soon she'd find her own place there and find a sense of completion as well.
Uncertainty continued to cloud Duskpaw's thoughts as she tried to decide what she wanted to do with the rest of her day. The younger apprentices were put in charge of taking care of the elders, much to Duskpaw's amusement. She could remember those days clearly and no, they weren't fond memories. Dunepaw had ventured on without her earlier in the day. Likely to go hunting and with the snow falling in bundles from over-weighted branches, Duskpaw didn't feel like hunting. She thought of finding Stonepaw to spar but realized she much rather spar with her mentor in order for him to test her skill. Skyfall was likely do what ever senior warrior did when not working with their apprentices.
Duskpaw felt idle and that meant being uncomfortable for the naturally active she-cat. Then came her chance once her eyes settled on the medicine cat den. Rising to her paws she was careful to avoid slipping on any lingering ice before arriving at the entrance to the den. Clearing her throat she brought attention to herself in a sort of chirp.
"Falconstorm? Do you need any help today?" She asked trying to peek her head inside. Memories of being at the den rushed back as she caught the overpowering scents. They weren't great memories, but she decided in the moment if she was going to be a good warrior for TreeClan she needed to stop being afraid of a place for healing. She remained standing as she waited for Falconstorm's reply or dismissal.
He'd been preparing to go out, a large leaf left near the entrance of the medicine den for him to use in carrying back what few herbs he hoped to find. Despite the cold there were still some hardier herbs that may possibly be found. With this leafbare in full swing, and the weather only getting worse, he wanted to gather whatever he could. This, at least, he could do without direction. His mentor had more than enough to worry about, as leafbare made for sick cats. Elders and kits were the most vulnerable, followed by nursing and pregnant queens. Which reminded him he should go and check on the elders and kits at some point today as well. Just a check, because he was protective of his clanmates.
When he heard the voice of Duskpaw he turned, trotting over to the she-cat and examining her in a quick once over before answering. "I was just about to leave camp in search of some burnet for the herb pile." He hoped not to have to dip into the medical herb storage right now, but being able to find a few leafbare hearty herbs would help with that problem.
Falconstorm looked at the large piles of snow and then back to the near grown she-cat. "If the snow won't bury you then I would like some company." He wasn't trying to be rude towards her, just practical. He was a large tom with long legs and thick fur. The cold didn't bother him as quickly as a short haired cat of smaller stature. He just didn't want her to get sick. He remembered too well her adversion to the medicine den.
He offered her a smile, blue eyes flashing in the dim leafbare daylight. He was learning to manage his bad nest-side manner. He did not want a reputation similiar to Littletimber, StarClan forbid.
Her ears flickered at his statement and later question. For a brief moment her bronze-colored eyes traveled to the snow that had gathered near the edge of camp. She and many of her den-mates had done some of that work, a clear camp made travelling back and forth easier for everyone. Glancing down at her paws, she unsheathed her claws for a moment and scrapped at the partially frozen ground. He wanted to go looking for herbs? It would be a good task for her and certainly be a challenge to navigate the snow covered forest. She nodded in agreement before adding.
"I'll be fine, I'll just snuggle extra close to my brother tonight. Don't worry about me," She told him with a smile, her mouth opened slightly to show her teeth, an attempt to be playful. Duskpaw did her best to ignore the blue of his eyes, it was like looking up at the sky.
"I'll follow you and carry whatever you need," She added, flicking her tail slightly in a mock salute.
"As you wish." He gave a flick of his own tail and motioned to the leaf. "That is what I usually carry herbs in. It shouldn't get full, these herbs may be sturdy but they are also on borderland territory. I wouldn't be suprised if LightningClan has made use of them as well." A pause before he continued. "If you get too cold on the trip I will be sitting on you." He gave her a mischevious grin at that, though he was dead serious on the matter. He had plenty of fluff to go around, and he didn't have least problem sitting on little she-cats. Let her wonder if he was kidding or not.
Falconstorm led the way out, keeping his pawsteps measured and steady and minding where the snow and ice was thickest. When things were like this there was every chance of someone falling into the brooke or other water source. StarClan preserve them all if Honeysong took another unexpected dip. In this cold she'd be sick for sure. He shook his head, pushing those sorts of thoughts at bay as he made his way through the thick fall of snow. Beyond the camp itself the snow was deep and he had to mind his step so as not to sink up to his eyes in the powdery mess. Long fur kept him warmer, but wet fur smelled terrible. He had no wish for Bluejay to expel him from the medicine den for stinking.
She glanced toward the leaf he mentioned before nodding in his explanation. Duskpaw was approaching warrior-hood and confident in her skill. While a single cat was no match for an entire patrol, Duskpaw knew she could buy time for Falconstorm to get back to safety and send for help. Even if she was sure of herself the golden-tabby she-cat was also heavily leaning on the fact she was with Falconstorm. Only the most mouse-brained of cats would dare attack a medicine cat but then again Falconstorm was a warrior first. A rival cat could easily confuse the two of them for warriors that just happened to be near some herbs.
Duskpaw was drawn out of her spiral thinking as Falconstorm threatened to sit on her. Her ears flicked back quickly as her tail curled a bit. Considering he was a tom-cat and naturally larger than her, Duskpaw was sure she'd be lost in all of his fur. Yet the idea of being warm because of it was tempting, not that she'd ever dare ask him. His grin didn't help as she realized her cheeks had flushed slightly.
Turning her attention to the leaf, Duskpaw picked it up carefully in her teeth, focusing on not tearing the soft fibers of it. She didn't want the leaf to rip once there was actual weight in it. She realized it would be a pain to try and bring herbs back in smaller bundles and likely a waste of time for them both.
Glad for a moment not to have Falconstorm teasing her, Duskpaw focused on following after him. His strides were a bit longer than her own, but she was grateful for him to taking the lead. His bulk allowed for her to step on the slightly more compact snow, making it overall easier for her.
Falconstorm's thoughts were already on the herbs, and on rather or not there were others that could possibly still be growing in TreeClan territory where he could get them without upsetting anyone. He shook his head and chuckled at himself. So easy was it to fall into the motions of being a medicine cat apprentice. He'd gone from thinking of patrols and making sure he brought home as much prey as he could to do his part for the clan to herbs and wondering rather or not Duskpaw was staying warm enough.
How far he'd come, and how much better he felt. No longer was he up against a sheer cliff he was unable to climb, not advancing and frustrated. No, StarClan had intervened on his behalf and here he was. It kept a smile on his features as he traveled along towards the Open Woods. He was content, and that was something he hadn't really been in some time before going onto this path.
He shook his head to clear his thoughts when he realized they had reached their destination. "Alright, Burnet won't make you sick picking it up so if you see it just bring it back." He found a stone and nudged it over. "We'll weight the leaf down with this until we've filled it." It took him a moment to realize she probably had no idea what burnet even looked like. Luckily he found a small patch and gathered it, plopping it in the leaf. "That is burnet."
His ears flicked out, listening to his surroundings like he'd been taught, before addressing the apprentice again. "Don't go far." Another flash of a smile. "I don't want to have to dig you out of the snow. Nor do I want to explain to your parents why you're half frozen." Yes he was teasing her, but he didn't mean anything by it.