Disclaimer: I do not own the Warrior Cats series; Erin Hunter does. Any ideas or characters she thought up are hers.
Finally, she had a chance to get the cat of her dreams. Ever since she had been a kit, she had heard stories of the brave apprentice who was going to be the best warrior. Since the day she had first really talked to him for a while, she had known that Lionblaze was the mate she wanted. Then, when she had finally been old enough to have a mate, there had been moons of him padding after her as she rejected him time after time. She had been convinced that Cinderheart had finally won him after that horrible battle, but Lionblaze and Cinderheart had never actually become mates. She could only assume it was because Lionblaze had found out Cinderheart wasn’t the cat for him. Rosepetal was.
“Okay, so where do you want to go?” she asked him as they walked forward. His nose twitched for a moment before he suggested, “How about the old Twoleg nest?” She nodded her consent.
It was going well for a few moments, as they talked as they walked towards the nest, but then it all went wrong. Lionblaze was happily talking in front of her, when he suddenly disappeared from view with a yelp. She rushed forward to see what had happened, but the ground disappeared beneath her feet. She free-fell for a moment before she hit a pile of dirt. Lionblaze looked up at her with amusement as he commented, “You mouse-brain- why’d you come running?”
She looked at him with hopeful eyes and said sincerely, “Because I would do anything for you. You’re the bravest cat I know, and I only wanted to help you since you’ve helped the Clan so many times.” Lionblaze looked a little bit shocked by her speech, but he also looked kind of…happy.
“That was so brave of you. I don’t know if I would’ve done that,” Lionblaze responded, his voice filled with admiration.
“You wouldn’t have helped me?” she asked, pretending to be hurt by his words.
Lionblaze glanced at her, and his lit up as he said, “I would’ve helped you no matter what. You’re a pretty awesome cat, Rosepetal.”
She murmured, suddenly shy, “Thanks.” Her voice came back when she asked him the one question that had been on her mind for moons, “Lionblaze, are you in love with Cinderheart?”
He looked shocked for a moment, but nonetheless, he answered, “I don’t know, to be honest. We’re good friends, but she wants to wait a while before being mates. I don’t want to wait; I want to have someone I can call my love without being intense, someone I can pour my heart out into, someone I can love with all my heart.”
Rosepetal answered, “That cat could be me.” She flicked her tail at him, wanting him to just say “Okay, I want that too.” Those words didn’t leave his mouth, but she could see him thinking about it.
Finally, after a long pause, Lionblaze answered, “I think you might be the cat I want, but I’ll need to think about it, okay?” She nodded, happy he was thinking about it.
After a few moments of silence, someone from above yelled, “Lionblaze, Rosepetal!”
Rosepetal recognized Cinderheart’s voice and yelled, “Down here!” Before long, the gray warrior was peering down at them and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll have you out of them in just a moment. Before Cinderheart raised her head, Rosepetal spotted what might’ve been jealously in Cinderheart’s eyes. So Cinderheart liked Lionblaze? Well, Rosepetal was up to the challenge, and she intended to win.
She-cats could be so confusing. He had thought he had something with Cinderheart, but it didn’t feel like she liked him like that anymore. Now with Rosepetal in the picture, his heart was confused. Rosepetal was beautiful and funny, but so was Cinderheart. Why couldn’t I just I have one potential mate like everyone else? Maybe a different cat could help him. A cat that was close to both Rosepetal and Cinderheart.
He mulled over it for a moment before a cat came to mind- Poppyfrost. He began to head over to wear he could see her basking in the sun, but Squirrelflight cut off his path. She looked crossly at him and frowned, “Cinderheart tells me you fell in a fox den earlier. I suppose that you didn’t catch any prey down there?”
Lionblaze shook his head in embarrassment. He should’ve caught some on the way back to the camp. Squirrelflight walked away angrily a moment later, so Lionblaze continued walking towards Poppyfrost. That was when a screech broke out across the hollow. It sounded like one of the ThunderClan cats, and it was coming from right outside the hollow.
Lionblaze, with Toadstep at his side, raced towards the entrance, but they were too late to stop the trouble. Just as they arrived, they saw the tip of a black tail disappearing into a bush several fox-lengths away. In front of the same tree where Lionblaze had been attacked was a prone body- Lionblaze immediately recognized the cat as Cloudtail. Toadstep rushed to the fallen warrior, whose white pelt was flaked with blood and a long scratch along his belly, while
Lionblaze raced back into the hollow, running up into the middle of the camp. “Cloudtail’s been attacked!” Lionblaze screeched. Bramblestar stuck his head out of the leader’s den and raced down the Highledge, followed by Squirrelflight. Almost immediately afterwards, Jayfeather sprinted for the entrance as well. Lionblaze followed them a moment later, his golden fur sticking up all over his body.
Cloudtail was still conscious, although Lionblaze couldn’t imagine how he could stay awake with all that pain. A moan escaped the white warrior’s mouth as blood began to leak from his scratch. Jayfeather made his way to the front with a wad of cobwebs in his paw. Lionblaze glanced at his brother while he worked with admiration. Just a few seasons ago, Jayfeather had been unhappy with being a medicine cat and had been miserable and whiny at every turn. Now, though, Jayfeather worked with what looked like happiness. His brother had found his place in this world.
Lionblaze began to walk towards the forest, because it wasn’t like he could really do anything more to help. Cloudtail had every warrior and medicine cat in ThunderClan surrounding him; one more would make no difference.
All of the sudden, footsteps sounded behind him, and he scented Cinderheart’s familiar smell. He spun around and let out a purr at the sight of her. Even if Cinderheart wasn’t in love with him like he wanted her to be, they were still good friends.
This thought brought up something he had been meaning to talk to her about, ever since he had fallen into the fox den. “Cinderheart, I’ve seen the way you look at me, and I understand. We can stay friends, instead of mates. There’s no need to prolong it by saying we should just wait a while. You can find someone else, someone who deserves you.”
Honestly, Lionblaze had expected Cinderheart to be pleased they could end the charades. Instead, she looked angrier than he had ever seen her before.
Cinderheart began to yell, “You mouse-brain! Of course I still love you! You’re all I ever have wanted. I just wanted to wait so we didn’t end up like Spiderleg and Daisy, who ended up not loving each other after they had kits. Honestly, sometimes you’re less observant than a blind badger that has lost his hearing.”
Cinderheart stalked closer to him and continued, “Is this because of Rosepetal? I saw the way you looked at her, and you can’t deny that you have feelings for her. Just decide Lionblaze, right here and right now: me or Rosepetal?”
Lionblaze opened his mouth, but before any words came out, a cat burst out of the bushes. It was Rosepetal. She meowed, “I’ve been listening, and let me tell you, Cinderheart, Lionblaze is mine. I’ve never given up on him because of some prophecy. I didn’t break his heart into small pieces when I told him I didn’t want to be his mate despite him padding after me every single day. I saw the way he looked at you then, and you ignored it. You lost your chance.” Rosepetal hissed at Cinderheart as she finished her speech.
Cinderheart hissed back, “I’ve been friends with him for ages, and the only reason I didn’t become mates with him then was because he had a destiny. Not even love can mess with StarClan.”
Both of the she-cats turned to Lionblaze in unison and spoke together, “Who do you choose?” Instead of answering, Lionblaze fled into the trees, not wanting to decide between two cats who he so desperately wanted. This decision was not going to be made right now, even if two powerful personalities wanted it to be.