there's a light that you give me when I'm in shadow
He had meant to do this earlier. But now he was training two apprentices, and time seemed to slip through his claws like smoke. Badgerpaw was making leaps and bounds, and he could see her entering the final stretch of her training, whereas Nightpaw needed a return to the basics, though she was formidable in her own right. He was proud of them both. Getting to know Nightpaw all over again had proven interesting; it had been hard for him at first to get over his initial... remorse. To stop feeling sorry for everything she had gone through.
Hunting so much on top of his dual mentorship duties, Sprucefur tried to see Feathercloud as often as he could, even if it ended up being a brief conversation at the entrance to camp, or to even have a moment with her while Sparrowpaw and Badgerpaw practiced their battle moves. Now that he had a chance to breathe, with most of the leafbare preparations concluded or wrapping up, Sprucefur awoke shortly after dawn. He had asked Gorsetail for a favor that morning; to let them have the morning to themselves - Dawn Patrol for himself or for Feathercloud.
I have to ask her something, Gorsetail. It's... it's important. Gorsetail had understood, and the deputy had been kind enough to grant them respite. Feathercloud was nonethewiser, and so far everything was going well.
Well, up until the fog rolled in.
Frustrated, Sprucefur had nearly gone back to his nest, dismayed that his plans to climb the Great Maple with Feathercloud, where they would have a wonderful view of the valley, were disrupted by the unusual weather. All this fog and mist... It wasn't wise for them to do any climbing today, not when they could see no more than a foxlength ahead of them.
"Be careful of the borders," Lionstar mewed to the early risers. "All this fog will make it easy to end up on the wrong side."
Sprucefur glanced at their leader and nodded once curtly to show he had understood. With an irritated flick of his tail, the pale tom went back into the warriors' den, gently nudging Feathercloud awake. "Let's go for a walk, Feathercloud. I need to talk to you." Sprucefur wouldn't call himself a manipulative cat, but he couldn't help himself from applying an unusually heavy note of seriousness to his words, hoping it would get her out of her nest faster.
Rain or shine, fog or snow, today is the day. He didn't care if it started hailing mice, he was going to ask this she-cat a question that had been burning in the back of his mind for the past three moons. Maybe even longer, if he let himself admit it.
A silvery flank rose and fell peacefully, the she-cat resting rather contently in her nest. She'd been in and out of sleep for a little while now, dimly aware of the bolder morning birds that remained chattering to one another in the trees high above. Truthfully, she'd been ignoring the sounds of morning for as long as she could. Feathercloud was not exactly a morning cat; she wouldn't necessarily object to being told to do something early in the morning, but... If it were up to her? She'd sleep away, long into the early afternoon hours before rising from her nest to go about her day.
Could you really blame her, especially as the nights grew cooler? Her nest was so warm in the morning, she felt as though it were tempting her into a comfortable oblivion to the world around her. She could live in a world consisting of solely her and her nest. ...Okay that sounded dreadfully boring, if she was being totally honest. Maybe having some sort of company wasn't a terrible idea. She could live in a world consisting of herself, her nest, and Sprucefur, as a companion. Yup, that sounded pretty phenomenal to her.
Her new dreamland kingdom was interrupted by the current world's Sprucefur, prodding her gently in the shoulder to rouse her from her sleep. With a murmur that sounded suspiciously like "A few more heartbeats", Feathercloud had just finished burying her nose further beneath her feather-soft tail when she caught Sprucefur's grave-sounding voice, and the words he spoke registered in her mind. They had a similar effect to... Being struck upside the head by a fish that had been left out too long on a Leafbare night. Her head snapped up rapidly, blue eyes wild and blinking desperately to dispel any remaining sleep from her brain.
"Huh-wha?!?" It really was amazing how quickly she was on her paws just then. With her silver pelt fluffed up in alarm and her paws placed in a wide-spread straddle of her nest as though the bedding were on fire, her blue-eyed gaze took the long way around before eventually snapping onto their intended target. Uncertainty danced behind her eyes though she made an effort to let her fur lie flat, tongue rasping over a few stray strands sticking up nearest her chest. Her ears tipped back just so atop her head, and the silver tabby warrioress cleared her throat, nodding softly.
"Uh, yeah sure. Lead the way, Sprucefur." She mewed quietly, making a conscious effort not to wake up those who'd not been roused by her sudden flurry of movement. She slipped out of the den after Sprucefur, blue eyes blinking in momentary confusion at the low hanging fog. It took her a moment to realize her eyes were working just fine, it was just the world that had gone foggy. Glancing about in wonder, she fell into step beside Sprucefur, drifting a little to the side so their fur brushed. "... Holy fog, StarClan..." She murmured to herself.
Post by Fawntastic on Nov 14, 2016 22:28:01 GMT -5
46 Moons || Senior Warrior || Tom
there's a light that you give me when I'm in shadow
"Stay close to me." Sprucefur spoke, taking the lead; he swept his tail out behind him until he felt it lightly brush her whiskers and shoulder. Good, she was right behind him. This little outing would be, well, pointless if the cat he wanted to pour his heart out to was nowhere to be seen. Getting lost in the fog would spoil everything.
Sprucefur walked carefully, though he did not feel on edge. If anything was going to make him nervous, it was the beautiful she-cat behind him - not anything out in the fog. Foxes weren't fool enough to hunt like this, and even though there was a chance they would get an unexpected visit from their neighbors on both sides, Sprucefur had assurance in his claws that they could handle whatever happened.
It was in his nature to... overworry. To spend his time in his head more often than was probably healthy. It would be a problem if the fears and conflicting thoughts flitting around his mind like bees actually impacted his work, but that was the thing about Sprucefur. He had dedicated himself to the life of a warrior; even if he found his fears to be justified, they couldn't stop him from rolling out of his nest to keep on keeping on.
The only thing that had truly frightened him was... Feathercloud's rejection. That had been the only time he had allowed his fears to consume him; he was determined not to let that happen today. Leading Feathercloud to great maple, the enormous tree acted as a beacon for the two TreeClan warriors trying to make their way through such dense, concealing weather.
Once they'd arrived, Sprucefur turned to Feathercloud, and said, with all seriousness, "There's something I need to say." There was no point in hesitating. Now was the time. Right now.
With a deep breath, and a small, private smile, the kind he had in reserve for the few cats in his life he cherished above all others, Sprucefur jumped in. "Feathercloud. I'm a mousebrain for not speaking with you sooner. For not trying harder to... show you how I feel. I'm done being cowardly. Knowing that you might say yes makes any risk I take seem worth it. Will you be my mate? I promise I'll do everything in my power to make you happy."
As if the fog had thickened up to give them this moment of privacy, Sprucefur was painfully aware of his heart tapping against his ribs like an overzealous woodpecker. You can say no if you want to. I'd understand. You can even ask me to wait, that's fine too. A thousand unspoken things flashed before Sprucefur's eyes, but he steeled himself, waiting stiffly for her answer, as if he were slowly turning to stone in the meager light of dawn.
With a soft sound of acknowledgment, Feathercloud fell into step behind Sprucefur as the tom set course for his private destination. His tail was her anchor, it's tip brushing her shoulder and the whiskers of the right side of her face. There was a strange bounciness to her step, the she-cat unable to kill the uncertainty bubbling within her chest. It was a StarClan given miracle she didn't explode with all the questions tumbling in her mind. Is he mad at me? What did I do? Did I forget about something? OH STARCLAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT I DID.
Wincing at the internal shriek that tore through her mind, Feathercloud tried to instead shift her focus to peering through the thick fog. It was surprisingly hard to figure out where they were headed; the fog not only blocked her vision, but dulled both her sense of smell and hearing. It was as though she had moss shoved in her ears, muffling any sound that wasn't right in front of her. Despite all this, Sprucefur seemed to know when they arrived to.. Wherever it was they were, for he stopped and turned to face her. Instinctively dropping into an awkward sit, Feathercloud met his gaze with her own inquisitive blue one.
Without realizing it, the she-cat held her breath, waiting for whatever Sprucefur had to say. Nothing good ever comes from late night conversations that start with 'There's something I need to say.' Came the sharp, nagging voice in the back of her mind. Doing her best to ignore it, she blinked expectantly, her chest still refusing to make any move to pull in air. And then he said some things. A part of her just knew that they were sweet things, because that was the type of tom Sprucefur was.
But she forgot almost all of it the moment he said a string of five words. "Will you be my mate?" All at once, it felt as though she'd been struck by a badger's paw, and that she were bouncing on clouds, light as can be. For several heartbeats, Feathercloud didn't know what to say or do; so she sat there, staring at him with blue eyes as wide as the moon. Her heart, which had already felt as though it were trying to burst from her chest, seemed to jump into her throat in a further attempt to escape.
And then she remembered she needed to breathe. Accentuated by a sharp inhale that sounded strangely like she were choking on a mouse, Feathercloud's jaws unhinged in a torrent of words desperate to be heard. "For crying out loud Sprucefur! 'I need to talk to you.'?? I thought you were going to tell me you'd had enough, that you were leaving, something! The whole way here, it was like I was preparing to go to battle! Like I couldn't breathe! I kept asking myself what I did, what I said! I was preparing for goodbye! And then you..! And I..!"
Her jaws snapped shut with an audible click as it became clear she was rambling. Loudly. "Yes." She breathed. "A thousand times, yes." She couldn't think, but she couldn't have cared less in that moment.
there's a light that you give me when I'm in shadow
In the moments that she'd simply stared at him as if he'd grown a third ear, Sprucefur had felt like a mouse caught in the talons of a hawk, not yet dead but getting there. Terrified for a few heartbeats that she would refuse, the barrage of words that came next was both relieving and concerning. His fluffy pale-golden tail swished uncertainly behind him, and his serious expression diminished into a rueful smile, hoping that his, er, attempt to get her out of her nest quicker hadn't been the catalyst for her outburst. For her refusal.
But Feathercloud didn't refuse.
"Like I couldn't breathe! I kept asking myself what I did, what I said! I was preparing for goodbye!"
Sprucefur's gaze gentled. He could never leave. He wasn't Ironstorm. "I'm not going anywhere, Feathercloud. You are as much my home as TreeClan is."
And then she said yes. His heart soared above the fog, and for one delirious moment, he thought they had climbed the Great Maple after all - he felt so high up, as if the ground were just so far beneath his paws. He paid no mind to the short, cool grass and leafy detritus of the season. He paid no mind to the dawn trying to peek out from a thick hazy gray horizon; he saw only Feathercloud, and his own happiness reflected in eyes as deep and blue as a lake.
Purring softly, Sprucefur stepped closer, brushing his muzzle against hers, as much testing out their new status as he was solidifying how seriously he'd meant those words. He'd never done this before - been this upfront about his feelings, or this forward. Even though they'd been padding alongside each for a while now, their fur brushing, their tails entwined from time to time, he hadn't been this close to her in this way, and his heart beat all the more quickly because of the novelty.
There were many cats who had experienced young love in their apprenticeship, and even early warriorhood before they found the one they settled down with. Sprucefur was grateful to have these new experiences with her and her alone; but he didn't care that she had loved Ironstorm before him. That tom was gone, both from her life and from the valley; Ironstorm's folly was Sprucefur's fortune, though whether a thousand toms had fallen for her or even just himself, he would count himself truly lucky now that she... was his mate.
He almost couldn't believe it. With the fog surrounding them, it was as if they were trapped in a dream world, and nothing could touch them. With whispered affection, Sprucefur smiled. "I love you, Feathercloud."