I brushed past the ferns, inhaling the scent of the river. It was comforting, especially when you just wanted to get away from everything. The rushing water, the spray of the cool water drops, the silver sheen that shone on it.
I padded along the riverside, pale blue eyes scanning for fish in the river. I was hungry, and fish were my favorite prey, especially trout.
I licked my lips just at the thought of it, and after some time, I finally spotted one. I leaned over, and was about to strike it before a yowl startled me, allowing the fish to get away.
I sharply looked up, annoyance flaring inside of me. I just lost a good trout because of some fish-brain who couldn’t keep his mouth shut.
My eyes widened as I saw a Thunderclan cat getting caught in the rapids of the river. He was flailing, and as he went under, my instinct took over and I jumped into the river.
Swiftly swimming over, I grabbed his scruff into my jaws and dragged him upward.
I almost sunk down with him because of his large build - Why must Thunderclan cats be so bulky - and his water-logged fur. Help me, idiot!! I yowled inwardly, as he just hung limply in my mouth.
Dumping him unceremoniously on Thunderclan land and then dragging myself out, I finally got a good look at the tom. He was bulky, with gray fur and tabby stripes and amber eyes that were slitted with exhaustion from the experience of almost drowning. That’s what happens when you walk on thin ice during the rapids, genius.
I nudged him harshly and he jerked, spluttering out water, before his brilliant amber eyes focused on me. He opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by a bright orange tom who burst out the undergrowth - Ah, the kittypet turned warrior - and 2 small cats, a golden-brown tom and a gray she-cat. Apprentices.
The orange tom nudged the gray tom, licking him frantically, before purring softly when he came to the conclusion that his friend was okay.
The too-ginger tom looked at me, green eyes glimmering with gratefulness. “Thanks for saving him, I don’t know what I’d have done if this furball had drowned.” he mewed gratefully, shooting a fond glance at the tom behind him, who was beginning to get up, the 2 apprentices crowding him.
I just nodded in return, and was about to swim over to my own territory before someone called out ‘Wait!’
I whipped around, blue eyes searching before resting on the gray tom. His amber eyes were soft and were piercing through my fur. I stared into them, my stomach doing flips before looking away quickly. What are you doing, Silverstream, this is wrong! My brain chided me, but my paws were rooted to the ground, unwilling to move.
“Yes?” I said gruffly, still not looking at him.
“Thank you,” he murmured in a deep voice. “You saved my life.” I glanced at him uncomfortably, before muttering a “You’re welcome.” Curiosity overcame me, and before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “What were you doing?”
He shot me a wry look. “Drowning.”
A purr of amusement escaped me before I could cut it off. “Can’t you drown yourself in your own territory?”
His eyes sparkled, and my stomach shot up again. Stop it Silverstream, stop it!
“Ah, but who would save me there?” he quipped, and I shrugged. “Fair point.”
I turned around, listening to my brain - for once- and swam back to my own territory. “What’s your name? I’m Graystripe!” the gray tom called. Fitting name. I ducked my head, should I really tell him? But deciding it wouldn’t make a difference, I replied with “Silverstream.”
Had I known at the time, that the smallest things always make the biggest differences.
The moon shone high in the sky, making my silver fur glow in it’s light. The river had calmed, and the warriors had gone to their nests.
I creeped past the reeds, and slinked away before a cough startled me.
Jumping 3 feet high, I whipped around to see my best friend, Mistyfoot, staring at me dark blue eyes filled with disappointment.
I sighed with relief, grateful that it was with her and not some other cat, before opening my mouth to reprimand her for scaring me like that. I didn’t get the chance though, because she decided to reprimand me before that.
“You’re going out to meet him, aren’t you?” she asked, scorn evident in her voice.
I knew she meant Graystripe immediately. I had told her because the secret was weighing too heavily on me, and we had been meeting for about a moon now or so, every other moon-high at Sunningrocks.
“I-no,” I mewed defensively, neck fur bristling.
Mistyfoot gave me the driest look I’ve ever seen, and I sighed, giving in. “Yes.”
Mistyfoot suddenly crouched in front of me, her stern demeanor suddenly gone. Blue-gray fur sleek and dark blue eyes pleading. “Please don’t go, it’s not gonna end well,” she spoke so sadly, and I felt blessed that I had found such a great friend. An idea sparked in my mind, and even though it was terrible - better something than nothing. Nudging Mistyfoot up, I bluntly mewed “I won’t go.”
“Really?” Her disbelieving voice was so … well-disbelieving, that I knew she wasn’t gonna fall for it, but eh - worth a try I guess.
“Mhm,” I responded.
“Are you sure?”
“Are you really, really sure?”
“...You’re gonna go meet him.”
Mistyfoot gave an overdramatic groan, and I pressed myself against her. “I’m sorry, but I can’t stop meeting him.” I murmured.
“I know…” Came the reply, and she gave me a helpless look. “Just...be careful, I-these flings don’t end well.”
I frowned at her choice of words. “This isn’t a fling. You should know I don’t do flings. I really do love him.”
Mistyfoot sighed. “I just-yeah..I know - know you don’t do flings, and I’m sorry for even suggesting that. You-you’re my best friend, and I’d hate for you to get the short end of the stick.”
“Well.. good thing this stick I share with Graystripe is endless then, huh.” I speak gently but firmly, trying to convince her that everything would be ok.
She just gave me a slow nod and a doubtful look in return, before licking my cheek once and pushing through the reeds to go back to camp.
I watched her go, before slowly turning around and heavily padding towards Sunningrocks.
I mean, she has a point to be worried about this, but I just can’t stop meeting him. The feeling of being around him...it-it’s something special and I want to experience it. Live in it. Cherish it.
As I arrived, I could see Graystripe standing there. He saw me coming through and a loud purr broke out from him. His amber eyes sparkled so brightly, the stars reflected in them. As I pressed my nose to his and revealed a matching purr, I knew this is what I had to do, no, more like was meant to do.
All my doubt washed away like a plant washed away by the rain. I can’t believe I ever doubted this. What we have is something special, and no one can ever make me believe otherwise.
Even if it might result in something bad, this time, this feeling, this moment. Everything was worth it, every single second.
I waited at the front of the group of chats, my starry fur sparkling and blue eyes alight with glimmers of happiness.
On one side of me was my beautiful daughter, Feathertail. She had given her life saving the tribe, and saving the group of cats. Two became leaders, one being the ever-so cranky Crowstar, and another being the mighty Bramblestar. 2 became deputies, one being the hot-blooded Squirrelflight, and the too-intellectual Tawnypelt. One found his calling, my son, Stormfur. He found the love of his life, Brook, and had 2 daughters and 2 sons with her. All of that would’ve been lost if it wasn’t for Feathertail’s selfless sacrifice.
On the other side, was my father Crookedstar. He had lost so much, his mate, 2 of his newly-born daughters, his brother, and then me. His spark had never burned out though, and I prided him on that.
I waited eagerly for Graystripe. He had lived a long and successful life, and it was bittersweet, waiting for him here. I was happy, for sure, to see him again, but bitter at the fact that he had to join Starclan so soon.
There were other cats waiting for him too. There was Firestar, his life-long best friend, and his mate Sandstorm, who had been denmates with Graystripe from the nursery to the elders’ den.
Dustpelt and Ravenpaw were there, both having been good friends with Graystripe too. Ravenpaw had refused his place in Starclan, instead wanting to spend it with Barley, but was invited in to greet Graystripe and see him again after a long, long time.
After a tense wait, I finally saw him, and had to stifle a purr of amusement almost immediately. He still had that clueless look on him, as he wandered aimlessly through the green-leaf forest.
Unwilling to wait anymore, I ran towards him, yowling out his name happily.
He spotted me, and those amber eyes that used to reflect the stars were filled with stars this time along. Breaking into a run, he dashed towards me, but once we were a couple tail-lengths apart, he tripped.
Leaping forward, I grabbed his scruff in my jaw and hauled him to his paws.
“What were you doing?” I ask teasingly, wanting to be reminiscent in old memories.
Graystripe caught on, and replied. “Falling.”
“Can’t you fall in your own territory?”
“Ah, but who would save me there?” he finished playfully. We broke into purrs, remembering old times, before he leaned forward and pressed his nose to mine.
“It’s been a while, my love.” He murmurs softly, shifting so that gray fur was pressed against silver.
“It has,” I answer back, the same special feeling that we had coursing through me after so many moons. I had missed it.
“Thank you for always waiting.”
I blinked in surprise. “You don’t need to thank me, you know? I would’ve waited forever for you.”
He blinked affectionately. “Guess I can use that as my excuse for making you wait for so long.”
I snorted. “You’ve always been good at making excuses.”
“Well I became a friend of that too-ginger leader, and mates with you, so yeah, you can say that.” He mews pointedly, tone playful.
I let out a shocked bout of laughter. There’s that dry humor. “Oh just you wait. I’m gonna beat you up so bad you won’t even know what hit you. Literally.” I retort teasingly, narrowing my eyes.
He groaned, but it was a happy groan. If that’s even a thing, if it isn’t, well it is one now.
A comfortable silence hung between us, before he shattered it with his deep voice.
“I’m not gonna have anyone to dream about anymore.” My heart warmed up.
“And I have nothing to wish for.” I returned, and he gave a soft, grateful purr.
“Was it worth it the wait?” The question was genuine, I could tell.