Back in Life

By Night of StarClan

Adventure

Too Slow

Warriors doesn't belong to me.

R&R please.

"Behind you!"

Fireheart hissed and ducked down, just in time, dragging his opponent with him. The second attacker sailed over both of them, followed by a white flash. Rolling to the side, he rid himself off his own opponent for a few heartbeats and looked around.

Whitestorm was nearby, struggling to keep the tabby he fought with pinned. A growl caught his attention and Fireheart leaped to the side, narrowly dodging the white and brown furred tom he was fighting with. He spun to face him, emerald green meeting a dark moss green. The other hissed once more, before both leaped at each other. Claws raked over his shoulders and he barely avoided the fangs that went for his ears. In answer Fireheart targeted the others back and scruff with his own claws and fangs.

The two rolled around on the ground in a whirl of claws and teeth, before they broke apart, only for Fireheart to find himself leaped upon by the tabby. With a chocked yelp he hit the ground, the bigger tom pressing him to the ground. Huffing Fireheart started to struggle, hoping to find some kind of leverage. A short cry caught his attention and he spotted Whitestorm battling the tom Fireheart had fought just before. With another huff, the ginger tom finally found some hold and gathered strength. With great effort he jerked up from the ground, throwing the tabby of his back.

Without pause he spun to his attacker and leaped at him. He hit the other's flank and managed to bowl him over. The two grappled for a while, but then Fireheart got lucky. The sun that shone through the empty branches of the tree blinded his opponent. Rushing forward, Fireheart knocked against the tabby, pinning him down with his throat exposed. The two gasped hard, amber locking with emerald in surprise, only for both of them to hear a short cry and a thud.

They looked to the side, to see Whitestorm pinning the white and brown tom. That was when a purr resonated around the forest and a group of cats, led by a slender light-grey tom with dark grey paws and blue eyes appeared from a few still leaf-covered bushes nearby. Fireheart smirked and jumped off of the tabby. Said tabby sat up, his tongue coming out to try and straighten his whiskers and the white fur on his muzzle. The grey tom chuckled and said: "They got you good, didn't they?"

Fireheart concentrated on pushing his chest out proudly and holding his head high, inwardly wincing at the acting he still had to do. Now that they all were warriors again, they could pull out most of the stops, but they still had to act the age everyone believed them to be. Next to him Whitestorm also looked quite self-satisfied. "I admit, I didn't expect to lose", stated the white and brown tom they had fought.

"I warned you not to underestimate them Weaselflight", shot Reedheart back teasingly.

Fireheart scanned their group and a warm feeling burst through his chest. They were in the middle of leaf bare already, and yet, even after all that had happened, all the pain that BloodClan had caused, the prey they lost to the cold, everyone had managed to return to brighter spirits. In the last moons Morningcloud's kits had become apprentices. Mountainfang had become Petalpaw's mentor, Rosepaw was mentored by Fangtail and Lilypaw's mentor was Fierceclaw. Furthermore had Lynxfur's and Rivertail's kits arrived. It were two toms, and their arrival had filled everyone with hope.

It was a sign that time moved on, that live continued and ThunderClan wasn't beaten yet. Fireheart really did enjoy spending time around Hazelkit and Acornkit. And it wouldn't be long anymore till Hopewing's kits would come. Things were definitely looking up. "Don't you think you showed off a little too much?" Turning his head, he saw Dustpelt stepping next to him.

Smiling softly Fireheart shrugged and answered: "I needed to let go once with someone who wasn't one of you all."

Dustpelt tilted his head in thought, before he nodded and answered: "I suppose that's true. Now that we've all recovered, things have gone a little slow."

"I for one don't mind that at all", cut Whitestorm in. "Whatever Tigerclaw is planning, I pray to StarClan that he waits till leaf bare is over before he acts." Fireheart nodded in agreement, then rose up to follow Rivertail, Reedheart, Weaselflight, Whitestorm, Dustpelt, Eagleflight and Dawnfire towards the lake.

Things had been going rather slow lately, Fireheart had to agree to that. Which was why the group of toms was out and about despite the cold wind that blew through the forest. Many warriors had gotten stir crazy, being cooped up in camp because of the cold and snow. Now that most of the snow had either frozen over or disappeared, Nightstar had gathered a few groups of warriors aside of the patrols and had sent them out to get the overload of energy out of their system.

Since sunhigh Rivertail had led them through the forest, occasionally appointing some of them to fight. It was refreshing. The stalked through the territory a little longer, watching a three-way mock-battle between Dawnfire, Dustpelt and Rivertail, before they turned around and started to make their way back to the camp. They were nearing the mossy hollow already, when a cat suddenly barrelled into Reedheart. The big tom staggered a bit, but remained standing and they all stared at Darkpetal, who just staggered to her paws again.

Her flanks heaved and her fear scent cut through the crisp air. Leaping forward, Rivertail moved next to the black she-cat and asked: "Darkpetal what's wrong, why are you rushing like this?"

Darkpetal took a deep breath, then burst out: "Acornkit disappeared!" The toms froze and Fireheart's gaze shot to Rivertail, who's blue eyes had widened fearfully. Then the light grey tom shook his head wildly and looked at the other toms with him.

"Find him", was all the deputy managed to choke out, but it was enough.

Fireheart and the others leaped into action immediately, scattering around the camp. A kit had disappeared and no warrior was going to stand for that. Slipping around bushes and trees and nearing the cliff into camp, he opened his jaws wide and breathed in deeply. There was something, but it was very weak and could've just wafted up from camp.

He moved forward slowly, inhaling deeply every other step, trying to find something more. A while later the ginger tom had to announce defeat and with a soft sigh he turned around, ready to head back to near the secret tunnel at the dirt place, when the wind shifted. A foul stench and a stronger flash of Acornkit's fear sent was carried in the breeze. It was weak, barely enough to pinpoint it, but Fireheart could tell where it came from.

And if he identified it correctly, he had to hurry. There was no time to get help.

Bursting forward he slipped through bushes and snowbanks, the white powder bursting up into the air behind him. StarClan let me not be too late, prayed the ginger tom while he raced through the forest. Slowly but steadily both scents, the stench and fear scent, intensified, filling Fireheart with horror. I was right, it is a fox. StarClan above how did a fox get close enough to grab Acornkit? How did no one smell the fox when he got that close?!

Shaking his head wildly, before he made himself panic. If he wanted to save Acornkit he needed to keep a clear head. Once more the scent intensified and Fireheart unsheated his claws, his fang bared in a growl. They were close. Very close. Soon enough, he heard the raspy panting of the fox mixed with the whimpers of a terrified kit. Growling loudly Fireheart burst through the bushes to see them.

Acornkit had apparently managed to struggle free from the fox' jaws and hid underneath the roots of a tree, just barely outside the fox' reach. As for the fox, it was a mangy thing. Thin to the extreme and definitely crazed with hunger. Dark spots covered its fur and then the spicy edge in the fox' scent made sense. Fireheart had seen Splashwhisker use those kind of berries a few times. If they'd been freshly rubbed into that thing's fur when he went for Acornkit, it wasn't surprising that no one had smelled him.

Letting out a yowl Fireheart rushed forward and landed on the fox' back in one great leap. The fox let out a cry and reared back. Despite its obvious weakness, the creature still had quite some fight left. And now that it had carried Acornkit so far, its hunger drove it to extremes.

Fireheart took a few steps back while the fox tried to circle him. Hissing and spitting the ginger warrior turned with the similar coloured animal, not giving the fox any chance to reach a blind spot. After a while its patience ran out and it leaped forward. Fireheart had seen that coming though and dodged cleanly around the lung, running his claws along the fox' side.

What he hadn't expected was for the fox to suddenly turn and slam his bushy tail right into his head. Fireheart staggered slightly from the attack, which was enough for the fox to ram him. He was sent flying and hit the ground with a hard thud. Scrambling to his paws, Fireheart raced away in the next-best direction.

And good thing he did, because the fox had just landed a swipe where the warrior had been mere heartbeats ago. Hissing loud, Fireheart now went on the offensive and leaped at the fox. He drew his claws over the beast's face multiple times, before he had to jump back to dodge a powerful swipe from the fox' claw. Leaping here and there, Fireheart didn't remain in one place for long, not ready to give the fox any chance to jump and pin him. Growing even more irritated, the fox let out a loud yowl and swiped his tail widely.

Intentionally or not, it had an effect.

Fireheart had just been almost behind it when it happened and the young warrior was showered in leaves and dirt. The dirt got into his eyes and hissing and spitting the ginger tom staggered backwards, shaking his head and drawing his paws over his eyes. "Fireheart look out!", came Acornkit's cry. Forcing his eyes to open, Fireheart saw the blurry form of the fox leap at him, just a second before the beast rammed into him, fangs digging deep into his back. With an agonised cry, Fireheart started to struggle, flailing and hoping against hope that this wasn't the end for him.

He should've gone for help, he knew that, but he'd also seen the state the roots and ground had been in when he'd arrived. Had he gone for help, the fox would've managed to reach Acornkit before they could've rescued him.

Fireheart chocked when the fox started to shake him around. He'd accidently bitten his tongue and now blood flooded his mouth. Spitting out a snarl the tom reared to the side and dug his claws into the first piece of flesh he found. His vision was still blurry, but from what he could tell, he'd managed to hit the fox' eye. With a yip and cry the fox let go of him and staggered back. Not that it did much good. Fireheart twisted around and threw his hind-legs up, digging the claws there into the fox' chest while still keeping hold of his opponent's face. Rearing up some more, he leaned around the fox' fangs and dug his own into the beast's snout.

A shudder raced through him. This thing tasted even worse than Yellowfang had when he had to wash her fur.

The fox shook itself wildly and started to run around heedlessly. Fireheart had expected much, but being slammed back first into a tree was a new one. He choked on the breath that was pressed out of him and instinctively let go of the fox. The beast struggled back with another yip, then turned tail and ran off. Fireheart knew he should follow it and make sure it left the territory, but he still couldn't see much and blood still poured into his mouth. And so, with an exhausted grunt, he allowed himself to slump to the ground.

"Fireheart!" The scared scream had the tom sit up again. Okay, maybe collapsing like that wasn't the best idea with a terrified kit around. The next second he already felt soft fur that only kits possessed press against his right leg. Then a familiar milky sent reached him and finally he recognized the blurry grey shape next to him as Acornkit. "Fireheart? Are you…are you okay?", asked the kit softly.

Fireheart closed his mouth to spare the kit the sight of any more blood, before he nodded and muttered: "I'll be fine…don't worry."

Raising the paw Acornkit wasn't clinging to, he drew it carefully over his face, but it didn't help all that much. His paws were covered in blood and he couldn't exactly lick them clean. "You still have dirt in your eyes, don't you?", asked Acornkit. The exhausted warrior refrained from answering in favour of lying down carefully, mindful of the teeth-marks on his back. Suddenly a small, rough and warm tongue licked over his cheek.

"Acornkit?",whispered Fireheart.

The kitten nuzzled his cheek, before he answered: "I'm gonna clean your eyes for you, don't worry." Fireheart wanted to protest, tell the kit that he didn't need to do that, but he couldn't deny that Acornkit's actions did help. The burning in his right eyes slowly receded and after a while Fireheart dared to carefully open his eye properly again. Things were still blurry, but he could at least see his surroundings properly again.

Hunting was still an impossibility, but he would definitely find his way again, maybe even fight. "Well done", breathed the warrior softly. He blurrily saw Acornkit beam at him, before the kitten jumped across his vision and he once more felt a small tongue on his face, this time taking care of his left eye. After a little while Acornkit drew back and Fireheart carefully blinked that eye open too, to smile.

His right eye had mostly cleared up again by now and his left one wasn't too far behind. He looked at Acornkit and gave a thankful nod, before he slowly rose to his paws. His shoulders shook slightly under the strain that move put on the deep wounds on his back, but he was up. That was something. Turning to Acornkit, he limped over and gently grabbed the grey kit by his scruff. "Fireheart?", asked Acornkit. Fireheart bit back the wince at the bloody marks he left on the kits otherwise blood-free pelt, but at least the blood came from him and not the kit.

"Time to get you home", murmured the ginger tom through the kit's fur. Acornkit nodded and remained silent during their way back to camp.

When they weren't too far from it, the wind carried a familiar scent to him and he stopped. Not a heartbeat later Rivertail leaped through the bushes. The deputy's blue eyes widened at the sight he got, then exclaimed: "Acornkit! You're alive!" He rushed forward and nuzzled his son with a deep purr. "You're alive."

Acornkit mewled happily and answered: "Fireheart saved me! He beat the fox all on his own!"

Fireheart twitched his ears nervously when the deputy's wide eyes locked on him. He watched how Rivertail scanned him, eyes moving over the dirt and blood that covered him, before they first zeroed in on his back and then on the blood on Acornkit's scruff. Fireheart saw that it didn't take the grey tom long to realise that the red liquid came from his warrior, not his son.

"You can explain later", stated the deputy finally. "For now, let's go get you both to Splashwhisker and Spottedpaw…What happened to your eyes? They're red."

Fireheart glanced at the deputy, before he answered through Acornkit's fur: "Dirt. Fox stirred it up and got into my eyes."

"I cleaned it out", cut Acornkit in proudly.

Both warriors purred in amusement at the pride the kit displayed at his actions. Soon they reached the entrance to the camp, but before Rivertail could slip in, Fireheart mewed to get his attention. The deputy looked at the ginger tom, who glanced down Acornkit questioningly. At this Rivertail smiled nervously and moved to murmur into his ear: "I'd love to carry him…but I fear his reaction if he sees now just how much blood you lost on him."

Fireheart twitched his ears in understanding and slowly followed Rivertail into the camp. Once he stepped out of the tunnel, he saw how the confused and worried gazes everyone had directed at the tunnel when they smelled blood turned to fear and shock. Lynxfur and Hazelkit were the first to burst forward while Rivertail, Fireheart and Acornkit were crossing the clearing. Fireheart stopped walking when the queen was near and held Acornkit a little higher.

He watched with warm eyes how Lynxfur fussed over her sun while he listened to Rivertail's orders to Hawkpath, Songheart and Bluefur. "Tell everyone else that we found Acornkit and that he's safe, but to still stay out there, and better remain in groups, since there's still a fox lurking around somewhere." He heard the three warriors meow in acceptance, than they already ran off. Once Rivertail was done with that he stepped up to his mate and soothed: "I worried about him too Lynxfur, but both Acornkit and Fireheart need to see Splashwhisker."

Lynxfur blinked at that and, for the first time, looked properly at Fireheart. Her eyes widened when she saw the dirt and blood that covered the young warrior and she stepped aside immediately. Twitching his tail in thanks Fireheart slowly set off once more, slipping into the medicine cat's den followed by Rivertail, Lynxfur and Hazelkit.

ThunderClan

Leader:

Nightstar – small black tom with green eyes and a torn ear

Deputy:

Rivertail – slender light-grey tom with dark grey paws and blue eyes

Healer:

Splashwhisker – thick-furred, dark grey tom with orange eyes – Mentor of Spottedpaw

Warriors:

Reedheart – red-black spotted tom with green eyes

Leopardclaw – dark and light-brown spotted she-cat with yellow eyes

Iceclaw – small black tom with ice-blue eyes and one white paw

Mountainfang – long furred spotted tom with dark-green eyes and huge fangs – Mentor of Petalpaw

Eagleflight – brown tabby tom with white ears and fur around the nose

Dawnfire – dark-grey tom with orange eyes

Weaselflight – white tom with brown stripes

Hawkpath – white tom with greyish-silver stripes and blue eyes

Wolfheart – light grey she-cat with white, belly, throat and leg

Fangtail – brown tom with long fangs, scarred tail and green eyes – Mentor of Rosepaw

Lionclaw – golden she-cat with yellow eyes – Mentor of Cloudpaw

Rockheart – dark grey she-cat with dark-blue eyes

Darkpetal – black she-cat with yellowish-green eyes – Mentor of Stripepaw

Morningcloud – golden she-cat with pale-blue eyes

Fierceclaw – tortoiseshell spotted she-cat – Mentor of Lilypaw

Songheart - ginger she-cat with blue eyes and an injured paw

Nettlebite – silver-white tabby tom with blue eyes

Frostfur – white she-cat with blue eyes

Fireheart – ginger tom with green eyes

Greystripe – long furred grey tom wit darker stripe over his back and yellow eyes

Ravenflight – black tom with white spot on his chest and tail, amber eyes

Sandstorm – small pale ginger she-cat with green eyes

Dustpelt – dark-brown tabby-tom with amber eyes

Bluefur – blue-grey she cat with silver fur around her nose and icy-blue eyes

Silverstream - pale silver-grey tabby she-cat with a finely shaped head and bright blue eyes

Whitestorm - thick-furred, broad-shouldered, long-bodied, white tom with yellow eyes

Hollyleaf – black she-cat with green eyes

Apprentices

Spottedpaw – tortoiseshell and white she-cat with a dappled coat, small white paws, chest and muzzle

Stripepaw – grey and tortoiseshell tabby tom

Cloudpaw – grey spotted tom with orange eyes

Petalpaw – golden she-cat with pale-blue eyes

Rosepaw – black, red and golden spotted she-cat

Lilypaw – red-golden tabby she-cat

Queens

Mudheart – dark-brown she-cat with light-brown ears (no kits)

Lynxfur – dark-yellow and brown spotted she-cat with only half of her tail (mother of Hazelkit and Acornkit, Rivertail's kits)

Hopewing – golden she-cat with icy-blue eyes (expecting Weaselflight's kits)

Kits

Hazelkit – pale grey tom with dark yellow ears and green eyes

Acornkit – grey furred tom with yellow eyes

Elders

Greeneye – oldest tom in ThunderClan, light-brown tabby-tom with green eyes

Kestrelstrike – dark-golden she-cat with scars over her flank

Scarpath – dark-grey tom with white stripe over his shoulder

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