Bound to Stars

Chapter 23 || Split

“What are you on about?” Batchaser snapped back, eyeing Cypressfall as he scratched his ear with his back leg. His claws flexed subconsciously and the tom scowled. He’d just saved them and now the stupid she-cat seriously wanted to argue? What a pest!

⠀⠀“You’re such a control freak!” the calico snarled, spit flying from her lips. Batchaser grimaced and wiped some from his fur, curling his lip at her continuation of words. “We would’ve been able to proceed just fine had you not been all over the place! Go here! Go there! Stars, you’re impossibly impossible!”

⠀⠀Batchaser snorted, unaffected by the yelling. He looked toward the small gray apprentice. “What do you think, Rushingpaw? Was I really so crazy?”

⠀⠀The little tom shuffled his paws, head dipping toward his paws. Batchaser realized this was a Yes in Rushingpaw language and growled. “WHAT?! I saved your life, you ungrateful furball!”

⠀⠀”He’s ungrateful? You’re the one that’s been making this the worst journey of all time!” Cypressfall squared the black tom up, eyes glittering with fire. “No wonder you were sent to the Forgotten Eternity. How could anyone like you?”

⠀⠀Batchaser’s heart hurt slightly from that statement but he pushed it away, furrowing his brows. “Oh, come on, darling, you think I care what someone else thinks about me?” He scowled and rolled his eyes.

⠀⠀“I think you do on the inside,” Cypressfall said. “You just don’t show it. Maybe if you stopped masking your emotions and interacted with others like a real cat then you wouldn’t be so disliked!”

⠀⠀“Oh, mousedung!” He rose to his full height, glaring down at her. “The only reason I’m here in the first place is because StarClan is full of a bunch of self-entitled brats that think they know everything about everything!” His paws flew up in exasperation. “What am I supposed to do about that? Play along? No, I refuse.”

⠀⠀“Clearly,” she laughed cruelly. “I think your rebellion against authority is the reason you were killed in the first place.”

⠀⠀Batchaser flexed his claws, fury throbbing through his chest. He felt a fireball forming but quenched it; the only hint of his true anger was the agitated twitch of his tail. She’s leading me on. Is this her way of getting close to me? He paused. Of course. If Cypressfall pretends to assume then she thinks I’m going to tell her how I really died. Well, tough luck, kitty! I know all your manipulative tactics!

⠀Well...because I’ve used them all as well..

⠀⠀“Whatever,” he huffed, sitting down. “If you’re so against my way of doing things why don’t you leave? Rushingpaw can come with me, we don’t need you on this trip anyway.”

⠀⠀Cypressfall’s lack of finding hurt in those words really drove Batchaser crazy.

⠀⠀“OH! Do you think Rushingpaw likes you? Of course, he died a second time for you, but that’s only because you showed one last shred of emotions before.” Batchaser opened his mouth to respond but was cut off. “Yeah, he told me everything. You meeting him? The fake prophecy? All your buddies and Shellstar?” The ShadowClanner’s claws tore at the decaying grass under their paws. “Yeah. So I sort of know you, Batchaser. And I know Rushingpaw. No. One. Likes. You!”

⠀⠀Batchaser flinched, turning toward Rushingpaw, his fury brimming. “Is this true?”

⠀⠀Rushingpaw’s ears flicked back, his eyes wide. “N-No, Batchaser, I swear I still—”

⠀⠀“NO! I’ve lost patience with you,” the black tom hissed. “I tried to help you when I met you and I’ve been trying to help you now. And what do you do? Gossip about me behind my back? Even I wouldn’t stoop that low!” Rushingpaw’s eyes pooled with tears.

⠀⠀Batchaser shook with anger, his paws trembling. “Leave, then. If you really don’t like me then go! Does it look like I have a problem? Is anyone holding you back? No! I can make this journey on my own!”

⠀⠀Rushingpaw shrunk back. “Pl-Please Batchaser—”

⠀⠀“I don’t want to hear it.” He chuckled darkly. “Go on ahead. I’ll find you later, maybe not. I valued our friendship but I realize that my feelings haven’t been returned. You’re just like Jackalstar—a backstabber. Now GO!”

⠀⠀Rushingpaw cried. Batchaser glared at the unemotional Cypressfall, turning his back to the two cats he’d considered friends and stalked through the foliage, shadows clouding his heart.

⠀⠀If they don’t want to be around me then that’s fine. I’m fine. I don’t care! I don’t care at all! Nope, not one bit.

⠀⠀I swear I don’t care..

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