“You may think that Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight are the parents of me, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze-” I frowned slightly. Of course we’re the parents, who else would it be?
Despite the uneasy feeling in my stomach, I pricked my ears and kept listening to my black-furred daughter, Hollyleaf.
“-but they’re not! Our parents are Leafpool of Thunderclan and Crowfeather of Windclan!” Hollyleaf yowled, green eyes filled with an uncontrollable rage and black fur bristling.
I-what-no of course not?! What is Hollyleaf going on about?? I shook my thoughts away, and stood, shock making my paws stiff.
“What are you talking about?” I yowled, silencing the uproar that had risen in the gathering.
My daughter turned to me, the rage in her eyes lessening and pity replacing it.
“It’s true,” she mewed softly. “Ask your mate.” The scorn in her voice during the word ‘mate’ made me think that what she was saying was actually true, but once again, I pushed my concerns away.
I straightened up with confidence and turned to Squirrelflight, but to my horror, her eyes were downcast on the ground and when she finally looked up to meet my burning amber gaze, her dark green orbs were filled with sadness.
“She’s right Brambleclaw,” Squirrelflight began, and I could feel the world around me spinning.
“I-these aren’t my kits - our kits, but I’m sorry! I had to do it, Leafpool’s my sister, I can’t just betray her..” She pleaded, bowing her head slightly.
Suddenly the previous rage in Hollyleaf’s eyes made much more sense, now that I was experiencing it.
Channeling the rage, I fixed my burning stare on my so-called mate.
“You can’t betray her, but you can betray me?! I was your damn mate for goodness sake, and I could’ve helped you, but you still lied to me about our own children!! Well...they’re not our children anymore..are they?” I had started with yowling my anger out, but then a strange sense of defeat came over me, and my voice slowly quieted near the end of my sentence.
I can’t change what’s happened, but I’m never going to make this mistake again..
“I’m sorry.” Squirrelflight repeated, her dark ginger fur tense with anticipation.
I scoffed sarcastically. “I don’t want your apologies, and I don’t want you either. If you ever have kits, they certainly won’t be mine.” I spat on the ground, and her eyes widened with horror.
“No wai-” I didn’t listen to what she had to say, and brushed past the ferns and out back to Thunderclan territory.
It’s not the fact that Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf are not our children that hurts so bad, because I still would’ve loved them as my own. But the fact that she didn’t trust me enough to tell me, the fact that she betrayed me is what hurts.
We were supposed to be honest with each other, but I guess promises were always made to be broken.
I snapped out of my brooding thoughts, and instead directed it towards my children. Yes I know, they aren’t mine by blood, but I’ll always love them that way.
Lionblaze, so brave and so courageous. He doesn’t care about his own selfish thoughts, and always reaches out to help others. And of course, his fighting skills are one in a clan.
He probably feels so betrayed, and so sad, with a heart as innocent as his.
Jayfeather, blind but always saw better than everyone else. He was grumpy, but when anyone got hurt, you can see the concern coming out as fast as a river.
He probably had figured it out, but for some reason, kept it to himself. He had always been smart, smarter than most.
And then Hollyleaf, such a stickler for rules and so ambitious. She had always wanted to rise to the top, and observed everything. She can work for days on end if it means reaching her goal.
She’s probably the most angry, and the most likely to make some rash decision. She had always followed her head, and logic certainly says that this isn’t so easily forgivable.
I didn’t know what to think, and I blindly stumbled into camp, my head spinning in a daze, and my thoughts racing at the speed of light,
I could hear questions and murmurs coming from the cats that hadn’t come to the gathering, but I didn’t care. The other cats can tell them when they come back.
All I really wanted was to sleep, and run away from this catastrophe that just occured.
At one point, I was grateful to Hollyleaf for exposing the hidden truth, but she didn’t have to do it in front of the gathering.
Now everyone probably thinks I’m a pushover. I think unhappily, but at this point, I had realized that the ones you trust the most are the ones you have to look out for. After all, betrayal never comes from your enemies, does it?
I fell into my nest, and slipped into a deep, restless, slumber.
It had been many, many moons now since the incident at the Gathering. Everyone had been a bit shaken up at first, but slowly, everyone adjusted.
Hollyleaf had left the clans and died in an accident in the tunnels, paws driven by her fury. I always felt that it was a disappointing death, because she had so much potential.
Leafpool retired from a medicine cat, and now tried her hardest to become a warrior.
Jayfeather and Lionblaze hadn’t taken it as bad as their sister, but they still had become rather distant from me, and especially from Squirrelflight and Leafpool.
I could always see the hidden hate between their eyes as they looked over at their mother, and their false mother. The 2 brothers had said they forgave both Squirrelflight and Leafpool, but I knew all too well that things like these aren’t just … forgotten.
And lastly, me and Squirrelflight weren’t mates anymore. It was never official, but ever since my outburst at the gathering, I had refused to speak to her, and even look at her.
She didn’t understand that I was over her, and kept following me around, trying to get me to speak to her, but I never relented.
One morning, I groomed my dark, tabby fur before someone plopped down next to me.
It was Sandstorm, Squirrelflight and Leafpool’s mother, and my former mother-in-law.
Her light green eyes just scanned me for a couple moments, and I sat frozen in the awkward silence.
“Hi there,” She finally spoke.
“Hello, and good morning.” I answered formally.
“How are you?” She asked softly, and I had a feeling that I knew where this conversation was heading.
“I’m good, you?” I replied, unwilling to abide and break down in front of her soft green eyes.
“Fine.” She returned, and slightly shifted next to me, pale-ginger fur gleaming silver in the sun’s rays.
“Fish can’t live without water, right?” Sandstorm asked suddenly, and I snorted at the question.
Best hunter in the clan and she’s asking me?
“And can trees survive without sunlight?”
“No they cannot.”
“And plants cannot grow without soil, is that true?”
“Yes, that is true.” I had zero clue where she was going with these strange questions, so I decided to pin it on the spot.
“What are you doing?” I asked, formality forgotten.
She gave me an ironic look, like the answer was oh-so obvious. “Sitting and talking to you.”
I huffed at her answer. “No like why were you asking me these mouse-brained questions?”
I started at the offended glance she gave me, and I hastily corrected myself. “No-I-what I meant w-was that you’re not mouse-brained, of course not, but .. the questions you were asking .. were.”
She purred with amusement at my stammered response, and I softly smiled, glad that she was laughing, even if it’s at my expense.
“Ok yes I agree, those questions may sound a little bit weird, but my point is, she -” Sandstorm pointed her paw to where Squirrelflight was sitting, “-can’t live without you. ” She then jabbed her paw towards me. “There are some things that cats don’t question, like trees with sunlight, fish with water, you with her.”
I groaned softly and Sandstorm nudged me good-naturedly.
“I know it’s hard to forgive, but it’s been a while now, and Squirrelflight did have good intentions, despite the fact that she went in the drastically wrong direction when acting upon those intentions.” She mewed matter-of-factly, green eyes gleaming.
“I-ok I understand that she had good intentions, but she didn’t trust me enough to tell me, and if Hollyleaf hadn’t revealed it that night, she never would’ve told me.” I said miserably, and Sandstorm nodded, motioning for me to continue.
“I don’t want to be in a relationship where there’s no trust involved, and I certainly don’t want anyone else to be put in that position.” Sandstorm nodded thoughtfully at my reasoning, before retorting back.
“There are second chances, you know? When the ...uh..incident happened, it took away a part of you, when you left her, I know it did. I know I would feel that way about Firestar.” Her firm tone took on a fond edge at the mention of her mate, before I not-so-subtly coughed, urging her to continue. She took the hint and nodded at me, continuing.
“What I mean is, give her another chance.”
I shot her a wry look. “You could’ve just told me that without taking the long way around, y’know?” She looked slightly embarrassed at my comment, but still directed my gaze towards Squirrelflight.
She was still sitting in the same place, and when she caught my gaze, her eyes lit up as bright as a million suns. I tore my gaze away, but a part of me wanted to look back.
I hated and loved that all at the same time.
“Ok fine..maybe a second chance wouldn’t be that bad of an idea.”
I regretted that entire sentence 5 seconds later, when Sandstorm shot me an incredibly smug look. I shot her a really? type of look, and she purred, body vibrating.
She blinked affectionately at me with a mother’s love, and I felt so grateful for her. My own mother had died, and her absence still pricks at me, and despite the fact that no one will ever replace Goldenflower, I was glad Sandstorm was there to lessen the pain.
I pressed my nose against her cheek, and waving her tail in farewell, she got up and padded away.
I looked back at the spot where Squirrelflight was previously sitting, and remembering those green eyes, I finally understood.
A second chance wouldn’t be that bad huh?
I knew at the moment I couldn’t just give up. Everyone has their ups and downs, and I’ve been experiencing too many downs lately.
Maybe it’s time that I take a shot at going up again, and fill that empty place in my heart.
I had a chance and I wasn’t going to miss it, because there are already too many missed opportunities in life, and this wasn’t going to be one of them, I would make sure of it. I wanted to look back at those eyes filled with a million suns, despite the warnings that my head threw at me.
And so, when I stood up and resumed my normal day, I did it with one more goal in mind.
To offer a certain someone a second chance.