"In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself."
Emberlight panted ever-so-slightly as he made his way to the place where he and Honeynose had been meeting. It was hotter than the Dark Forest on fire today. Mouth parted and tongue sticking out, the deputy reached their favorite spot: a rock that stood a bit of a distance above the water, yet it was close enough to feel the radiating waves of cool from the stream.
Perfect for a Greenleaf day such as this one. Even more perfect if he got to see her again.
Ever since Emberlight had lost Sparrowfoot, the closest thing to a daughter he ever had, the senior tom realized that he truly did want a family, and there was no point in stopping himself from experiencing happiness and love. Besides, protection and power were overrated anyways.
Wait a second. Did the word "love" come up when he was thinking about Honeynose? The beautiful she-cat with the warm nose made him feel warm. Made him feel content. When he was with her, he felt as if his life was complete. Honeynose was often the subject of the deputy's wandering thoughts, and he found himself thinking of her more and more with each passing day. Wanting to see her laugh. Wanting to make her laugh.
Was this the beginning of love?
The tom shook away the thought as a familiar scent approached him. "Honeynose," he purred from his perch, the bottom of his tail soaking wet from being in the stream. "I trust that you're staying cool?" With a wink, Emberlight flicked his tail towards Honeynose, sending a cascade of cool droplets at the she-cat.
There was nothing she looked forward to more than meeting Emberlight. He had become a beacon of warmth and hope, particularly in tough times. In fact, it was hard not seeing him in StoneClan's camp whenever she wanted to. He had become such a fixture in her head that the variety of colors and patterns of her Clanmates seemed... duller, by comparison.
Earth tones were all the more muted when Honeynose had Emberlight's sunrise pelt in mind. And like the sunrise, she could see him on the horizon line, and her heart was in her paws she spotted him exactly where he said he'd be: on their rock in the stream.
"Honeynose," he purred from his perch, the bottom of his tail soaking wet from being in the stream. "I trust that you're staying cool?"
"Not when you're smiling at me like that!" She giggled, her namesake crinkling at the spray of water droplets arcing towards her from the end of Emberlight's plume. A few gathered on her whiskers, but most decorated the fur above her eyes and across her cheeks, causing her to give her head one quick shake. "It's so good to see you," Honeynose purred, kneading the smooth water stone for a moment, before finding a place near him so that their pelts were just... ever so gently brushing.
"I think... I think things in StoneClan are finally starting to calm down. Birdstar is a kind leader."Wait, Honeynose, back up. He wouldn't know about Smokestar. Or... Sedgefoot... Memory of her brother's mudcaked body, Orioleflight wailing her grief to the unforgiving skies above, made Honeynose's smile drop into the water. "Newleaf was painful. I lost one of my littermates in the mudslide that killed Smokestar."
Every time I talk to him, it's about tragedy and loss. I bring down the mood so much. Guilt pushed more words off her tongue, tumbling like rocks over a cliff's edge. "Sorry. I'm so sorry. I always come to you with the saddest things. Please forget I said that. I still have Cloverspring, and all of my friends."