I watched him run into the camp, kicking up dirt, his golden pelt glowing in the sunlight. Graypaw was chasing him, they were laughing. His emerald green eyes showed delight, and he was the picture of perfection.
How that name made me feel… so special. Though many of the other cats didn’t realize it, I saw greatness in that apprentice. Bluestar had to know it, she had chosen him as her apprentice.
But there was something else I saw in him… how the sun made his coat look like fire, how determined he was to prove himself, his optimistic attitude…
“Spottedleaf?” I was brought back to my senses by the young voice. I turned to see Sandpaw walking toward me. Jealousy bubbled up in my body. How beautiful she was. Even so young, I knew that the toms thought she was quite a catch, with her pale ginger fur, leaf green eyes, lithe body.
Maybe if I had decided not to be a medicine cat…
No, being a medicine cat was my calling.
It was just… that restricted me. Toms never thought of me as more than a friend, for they knew they could never have me. Sandpaw would never have that restriction, and not only that, but she had true beauty, despite her sharp tongue.
“What were you looking at?” She asked politely. Shame washed over me, for my jealousy. Even though she could be disrespectful to others, Sandpaw was very kind to me.
“Oh,” I said lightly, “Just watching Firepaw and Greypaw.”
She rolled her eyes. “Not much to watch, I’m afraid.”
“Sandpaw,” I purred, “You are a young cat. Surely there is a tom you are fond of.”
Her eyes darted to me for a moment. Was there… suspicion? No. What was there to be suspicious of?
“No,” She sighed, “There’s no one.”
But her eyes were on the two young toms scuffling before us. One in particular. And those twin orbs had something in them.
I dismissed it as nothing.
How foolish I was.
“Hello, Spottedleaf,” A pur came into my den late that night. Spinning on my paws, I saw…
He was a large apprentice, not fat, but tall and muscular. Taller than me, and I, though young, was fully grown. There was no sign that he had been a kittypet.
“Ah, hello, Firepaw,” I greeted him, trying to keep my voice from being so high. “How are you tonight?”
He grimaced, sitting down in front of me. “Yellowfang is being as sharp-tongued as always. She’s even worse than Sandpaw.”
For a split second, my mind flashed back to that young cat, how she had looked at him…
“How was your day, besides that?” I asked, trying to laugh.
He shrugged his strong shoulders. “All right, I guess.” He rolled his eyes. “Whitestorm was acting strange around Willowpelt, though.”
My pur of amusement was real this time. “He’s in love with her, Firepaw. Isn’t it obvious?”
He looked embarrassed and wiped a paw over his ears, muttering, “Lovesick old tom.”
I decided to use that tactic again. “Isn’t there some lucky she-cat you are in love with, Firepaw?”
He looked into my eyes for a moment. Those deep green orbs…
“Possibly.” Was all he said.
Who! Who! My mind was screaming for answers.
“I won’t tell,” I assured him.
He shook his head. “You may find out soon eough, Spottedleaf,” He purred, standing. “I have to go.”
He then touched his nose to mine, and a shock ran through me. As the apprentice walked out of my den, I realized something:
I loved Firepaw.
I spent hours thinking of what to do. Should I tell him? Should I stay silent? Medicine cats were to never bear kits… and what would this lead to?
Finally, I convinced myself. I’d tell him. Just because I loved him, didn’t me I’d have his kits. We would keep it a secret…
If he loved me back. Maybe it was wild. Maybe the cat he loved wasn’t me. But I had to try.
In the morning.
As I fell asleep, I thought of Firepaw, giddy with my plans.
“Redtail!” I cried, jerking up out of my nest. The russet tom stared at me, wisdom in his eyes.
“You’re dead!” I choked out.
“Yes,” He said, “Starclan is giving you a vision, Spottedleaf. You need to know what to do.”
He stood, and gestured with his head. A silver trail appeared, leading to a light. “Come. I shall show you what is to come.”
Cautiously, I followed him. We arrived in the apprentices’ den. I watched Firepaw curled up in his nest, pretending to be asleep.
“Here are his thoughts,” Redtail announced. Firepaw’s voice sounded in my head.
‘I think I may love her… Spottedleaf…’
I wanted to leap for joy. “He loves me!” I shouted, not caring about Redtail next to me.
I looked into the former deputy’s eyes. There was something there. Sadness. But why?
He nodded toward the trail. We walked forward. Now, we were in the warriors’ den. I saw two ginger cats. My jaw dropped open when I realized who they were.
Firepaw and Sandpaw.
“These two cats are Fireheart and Sandstorm,” Redtail announced, as if reading my mind. “You know them. They are Firepaw and Sandpaw of the future. Warriors. Fireheart, is, in fact, deputy of Thunderclan.”
My heart swelled with pride. But then…
“What happened to Lionheart?” I demanded. Redtail looked down.
“You’ll know soon enough.”
Trying to ignore that problem, I looked at the two. Wait… they were so close. Nearly touching.
My heart jolted as Firepaw-Fireheart- pressed himself against Sandstorm. Both were purrig deeply.
“I love you, Sandstorm.” He murmured.
“I love you too, Fireheart,” She purred.
“No!” I wailed, “He loves me!”
“Spottedleaf,” Redtail soothed, “You’ll have to accept this… that was… kit love… Fireheart was meant to be with her.”
Why hadn’t I paid close attention to Sandpaw’s look today?
“I have to stop that!” I cried.
“No!” Redtail’s tongue was sharp. “You mustn’t…”
Sandstorm was stretched out on her side. Fireheart was beside her (a/n: I know he’s a leader, Spottedlead doesn’t..).
Two tiny she-kits suckled from her. One had a tabby coat, the other was…
Ginger. She had a pelt of flame
“Their kits…” I choked out. Redtail nodded.
Anger and jealousy consumed me. No! I had to have Fireheart!
“He loves me right now!” I declared, “If I tell him, he’ll be with me!”
“Spottedleaf, the kits will never be born!” Redtail shouted.
I was too far gone. “I don’t care!” I wailed.
“Fine!” He yelled, “But you do care about Fireheart. Think. He’ll never fall for his true love. If you truly love hime, you’ll let him go.”
I jolted awake in my nest. Firepaw… Sandpaw…
It was still late at night.
I thought it over. Redtail’s words sounded in my mind.
If you truly love him, you’ll let him go.
If you’ll truly love him, you’ll let him go.
If you truly love him, you’ll let him go.
I was letting Firepaw go.
After being ashamed of my behavior, how I would let the kits never be born, I finally fell asleep.
Redtail stood in front of me.
“Why are you here?” I choked out.
“Because,” He murmured, “You were my friend, Spottedleaf. I wanted to see you one last time.”
It dawned on me.
“I’m going to die, aren’t I?” I asked.
He was silent.
The cats of Starclan were around me. I looked down at Firepaw, mourning me. His nose was in my fur. “Spottedleaf…” He whispered, “Oh… Spottedleaf.”(a/n: making this next part up..)
A lithe, beautiful apprentice padded up to him.
Sandpaw buried her nose in his fur. He looked up, startled.
“It’ll be alright, Firepaw,” She murmured, that glow in her eyes. “Spottedleaf wouldn’t want you to live your life in pain over her. She wants you to remember her, but move on. She wants you to be happy.”
How right she was.
“I’m sorry about your death…” Redtail muttered from next to me.
“Don’t worry,” I purred, “I live on in him.”