By Avidflame and Erin Hunter
Rosefeather stared in delight as Wolfkit and Gingerkit purred together.
She shook her head but still, she couldn't help but feel excited that her kit had already found a cat who would most likely love and protect her when they became warriors.
Wolfkit curled his tail around her, and Gingerkit gave his forehead a lick.
Their apprentice ceremony would be today, and Rosefeather felt no need to groom her daughter, for it seemed Wolfkit had taken that job.
Her tail curled up in amusement, and Ivystar leapt up to the High Rock. She yowled the familiar words.
"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather below for a clan meeting!" Rosefeather bounded over to the rock and the two kits bounced up to their leader. "Wolfkit.
" Ivystar stared down at the kit. "From this day until you earn your warrior name, you will be known as Wolfpaw." She paused as the clan cheered his name.
"Wolfpaw! Wolfpaw!" She nodded and went on. "Wolfpaw, your mentor will be Timbersong." She turned to the pale she-cat. "Timbersong, you trained Honeysplash, and you are both credits to the clan.
You are brave and kindhearted, and I trust you will pass on all you know to this apprentice." The pale tabby she-cat and her new apprentice touched noses. "Gingerkit.
From this day until you earn your warrior name you will be known as Gingerpaw. You will be mentored by Mallowtail. Mallowtail, you are strong and honest.
This is your first apprentice and I hope you will do your best." Mallowtail touched noses delicately with the small she-cat.
FOUR MOONS LATER
Mallowtail and his apprentice had grown awfully close in the past moons, and Ivystar had started regretting her decision. One night, Mallowtail and Gingerpaw had finished training.
"Meet me in the clearing by the river." The large tom had said. Gingerpaw looked around nervously.
"W-why? What will we be doing?" He brushed his tail over her mouth and whispered, "It's a surprise." She stared at him mischievously and grinned. "Fine.
" She meowed and stalked off into the bushes, carrying her prey with her. That night, Gingerpaw crept cautiously through the undergrowth to the requested clearing. "Mallowtail?" She whispered.
The powerful silver tom whipped around, and relaxed when he noticed his apprentice. He took long strides over to her, and swept his tail along her back. She took a step beck.
The orange tabby eyed him. "A-are you okay, Mallowtail?" He smirked at her and started grooming her. "Perfect, now that you're here." He whispered.
She tried to back away, but his grip was tight. He pulled her closer and meowed affectionately, "Don't worry, love. I won't hurt you...
" she tried not to tense, and eventually she got lost in his beautiful green eyes. She had seemed so confident earlier in the day, yet now that it was dark, she was scared.
She jumped as she spotted two amber eyes in the bushes. Mallowtail leaped to his paws and looked around. "Who's there?" He demanded.
A small gray and white tom crept out of the bushes and stared at the two cats with wide eyes. "Wolfpaw?!" The She-cat shrieked. He nodded and turned tail. "Wait." Mallowtail commanded.
The small apprentice skidded to a halt. He turned slowly and lifted his chin. His blue eyes stared defiantly at his clan mates.
Gingerpaw whimpered and backed away, clearly worried that there would be a fight. Mallowtail stepped on front of her protectively and snarled. "Wolfpaw." He began.
"What are you doing here, spying on us like that?!" The gray and white tom winced but kept his tone even. "Nothing. What were YOU doing, seducing your apprentice like that?!" He replied calmly.
Gingerpaws eyes widened and she crawled toward Wolfpaw. "I-is that true? Mallowtail? Y-you said you wouldn't hurt me!" The silver tom stepped forward. "Oh, my dear Gingerpaw.
I was most certainly NOT trying to mate with you. I simply was trying to show my affection for you. Was sharing tongues with you so bad?" He murmured.
Wolfpaw tensed beside her and stepped closer to her, so that their pelts brushed. "N-no, I suppose not...
But why did we have to be so secretive about it? And why at night?" She narrowed her eyes. Her mentor sighed. "Follow me." She glanced at Wolfpaw and followed her mentor.
He led the way through the bushes. In a small clearing, where the moon reflected on the river, a small pile of raspberries awaited them.
Mallowtail plucked a purple flower from the ground and lied it at Gingerpaws feet. She gasped. "Oh Mallowtail!" She purred. "You stupid furball." Wolfpaw muttered under his breath.
The large gray tom blushed and glanced at the sky. His apprentice nuzzled next to him, and together, they watched the sun set. Wolfpaw growled and stalked off in the direction of camp.
"G-Gingerpaw, I-I li-" The she-cat purred and said, "I know. I love you, too."