Stepping around a newly formed puddle with her white toes, Firestar headed toward her den with a small rabbit in her jaw. The meal had been personally caught with the intention of giving it to her mate. The fact she almost lost him and already lots Mapleheart had rocked her core. She wanted nothing more then to permit him to the elder's den where she could keep him safe forever. But in her heart Firestar knew she could never make such a cruel resquest.
Instead of dwelling much longer on the stress that weighed heavy on her heart, Firestar head into her den. She paused for a moment before moving to sit beside him, careful not to touch areas she knew to be tender. A note was made to thank Kindleflare for the tender care applied to her mate.
"I caught this for you," She told him before placing the rabbit near his jaw. Close enough that he wouldn't have to move much to eat it. She waited for him to start eating before moving to lay down next to him. She longed to press her face into his fur and take from him the strength he always promised but stopped herself. The last thing she wanted was to hurt him anymore. Letting the silence grow, Firestar forced herself to relax as she listened to him eat. Her eyes check every so often to ensure he was eating the entire thing, he needed all the nourishment he could get.
He couldn't decide how he felt right now. He hurt all over, his heart was still torn between being broken and being happy he was finally being paid attention to again, and at his age this level of energy could put him in the elder's den. A choice he knew would make Firestar happy, but would likely destroy him. He was a hunter and protector, a provider. He hadn't done enough yet to retire, he wasn't ready.
When he'd been allowed to leave the medicine den it had been with his head held up even as he winced with every step he took. Wildcall had been on one side of him, helping keep him going. It was the closest he'd ever been with his son. He and Wildcall had become much closer since Mapleheart's death. Pain and heartache drew families back together. For now, he didn't want to think of revenge. He wanted to think of family and making his whole. StarClan had spoken in the fire, they'd struck down StoneClan and LightningClan with a blaze that had tore through their territory. They'd been punished. Their rivals would likely have suffered in some way as well, but he honestly no longer cared.
Firestar returned then and he lifted his head just slightly, eyes showing the pain he felt every time he moved. It was barable now, which was why he'd been allowed to return to his den, but he wasn't up to providing for himself. "Thank you." He nibbled at the offering, eating slowly so as not to agitate his injuries while his mate settled herself at his side.
It pained him that he couldn't be her strength right now, that she was handling things all alone. There was no helping it, not as he was. So he'd simply do his best to ease her worry by hiding as much of his pain as he could. He finished as much of the rabbit as he was going to and scooted the rest over to his beloved.
"You should eat too, you're too thin."
Hellion Note : Hmm...Birchkit? Since their daughter was 'Maple' Or maybe Flintkit, Blazekit, or something that reflects someone in their lives that was important?
She hated seeing him in pain and prayed each night for StarClan to take his pain away and give it to her. She'd even give away one of her lives to take away all his hurt. Noticing the pain in his eyes, Firestar had to look away for a moment. Her sadness for him was maddening. She wanted him to be better, the hurt to be a distant nightmare.
Hyper-focused on wishing for the pain to go away. Firestar almost missed his request for her to eat. Sitting up slightly she looked at him then the rabbit with a frown. "I can hunt on my own, you can't. Please eat..fine," She stated trying to force away the annoyance in her voice.
Pulling the rabbit closer to eat the rest of it before pushing the remains to be buried later. Once her chops were clean she turned toward Russetfall fully.
"Do you need a better nest? I can get some help from Larkpaw or any of the other apprentices," She asked her voice softer than before.
He watched her in his own quiet way, watched and listened to her. "Firestar, dearest." He purred softly despite how it made him sting for the vibrations in his body. "Even fully on my paws I couldn't finish a rabbit by myself." He'd always been more of a light eater, though he was a large tom.
Russetfall watched her eat, and it pleased him that she'd listened to him. It seemed to him it was becomming more and more difficult for him to keep her eating and taking care of herself. It had to stop. The clan needed her. He needed her too, more than she realized. Without Firestar, his life held no meaning.
"Our nest is fine, no reason to fuss the apprentices." Though his gaze did go outside their den. "I am tired of being stuck like this. I hate feeling weak all the time." He noticed his son on the other side of camp and it made him smile. "I wouldn't mind visiting with our family." What remained of it did not get said, he wanted to dwell on better things.
He called out loud enough that his voice carried, and it was only then that he realized his mistake. Blinking rapidly Russet actually got about halfway onto his paws as he tried to make his brain realize what he was seeing. "That isn't Wildcall...who is that? Why do they look exactly like our son?"
Except...except those were Firestar's eyes looking curiously back at him, and a full fluffy tail swished behind as the cat made their way over. They didn't come into the den, which Wildcall would have done. He was welcome there, they were his parents.
"Do you need anything? Should I go fetch something for you to drink?" It was a she-cat's voice, and he finally realized who this was. Larkpaw. Firestar's apprentice.
Firestar ear's flicked at the softness of his tone and the purr the followed after. She loved it. She loved him, needed him in her life. Considering she had loved him for far too many moons to count and would for many more to come, but it didn't mean everything was easy. She feared for him every day and part of the reason she understood why Redwind stopped down to be a Queen. Perhaps her own ambitions were one of her major flaws.
Pushing away the thought and refocusing back on the nest. Firestar wanted to protect. The earlier ran had meant a lot of apprentices had stayed in their warm nests. They could be given the task but the thought stopped as Russetfall requested to see their only remaining kit.
Turning her head to look for Wildcall, she realized in that moment just how similar Larkpaw and her son were. Looking back and forth between her mate and her apprentices, Firestar tried to piece it all together. Had Wildcall sired a kit! Did he not tell them! Rising fully to her paws, Firestar met Larkpaw and stopped her.
"We are fine, Russetfall just mistook you for someone. You will please check on the elders, make sure their den isn't leaking from the rain," She instructed before turning back to Russetfall with her expression in a state of shock.
"I never really noticed until now. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?!"
The fluffy she-cat tipped her head to one side, considering for a moment who she could have been mistaken for then shook it off as she was given a task. "Of course. The elders get cranky when they get wet. We aren't RainClan cats." She shuddered and darted off, fast on her paws and slowly gaining coordination under Firestar's guidance. She still slid head-long into a tree. "I'm okay!"
Russetfall stared at the place the she-cat had gone for a long time, managing himself before taking a deep breath. "I could have sworn..." He blinked again and gave his mate his attention. "I think we need to have a talk with our son. If he knows he didn't say, but she's loner born, isn't she?" And would Wildcall have just picked a mate and left her out there, away from his family and clan, away from where she'd be safe and protected. Where little Larkpaw would never have had to be cold and hungry?
"Do you think her brother knows?" That would explain why he was so frantic to get her away from the clan. Aside from being kin, of course.
The russet colored tom was on his paws, though his limbs shook and he was beginning to hurt all over. He didn't need to get too mobile yet, his body was telling him so. He wasn't near as young as he used to be, and healing took time. "She favors him greatly. I don't remember noticing that when she first got here." When she'd been little more than fluff and bones, when her eyes had been more muddy brown. Malnourished and scared of everyone, it was no wonder he hadn't realized it before now. "And I'd know your eyes anywhere." It had to be their son the young she-cat belonged to. Mapleheart would have told them if she'd had kits.