Chapter 7: Lakefrost
Lakefrost's eyes snapped up, centering on the gray tom in front of him.
"You're not thinking about that pretty she-cat are you?" Ashpaw teased, a delighted grin on his face.
"No," Lakefrost meowed uncomfortably, shifted from where he sat on the ground. It felt strange lying to the apprentice. Ashpaw seemed to know, though, and his grin widened.
"Lakefrost and Fawnfur, sitting on a cloud," he started singing at the top of his lungs, "l-i-c-k-i-"
Lakefrost struck out with his paw, slamming Ashpaw to the ground. The apprentice's breath squeaked out of him and he looked at Lakefrost in shock. Lakefrost quickly took his paw off, realizing that he'd almost hurt the young tom.
"I'm sorry," he meowed, his voice tense.
Ashpaw got off of the ground, still shocked. Looking at Lakefrost in suspicion, he started backing away.
"Ashpaw," Lakefrost meowed, moving closer. He had to explain. He hadn't meant to hurt Ashpaw and he certainly didn't want the apprentice thinking anything about him and the ThunderClan medicine cat.
"What's going on?"
Lakefrost and Ashpaw quickly looked over. Brownfeather walked over to them from around a large tree trunk. He left two sparrows on the ground behind him.
"Nothing," Ashpaw instantly meowed, his eyes down.
Brownfeather looked between them, obviously sensing the tension. Lakefrost couldn't meet his father's eyes either. Brownfeather continued to look between them in the silence and finally shook his head.
"I guess I shouldn't have taken us into ThunderClan," he meowed. "It was against the code and now it's starting problems."
"That's not it!" Lakefrost protested.
Brownfeather looked at his son.
"I mean, going into ThunderClan didn't cause problems. We only helped the medicine cat apprentice. She needed it and if we ever need help, she'd give it to us," Lakefrost meowed. Slowly he realized he was just rambling on. "And maybe if we're hurt, she'll, um, help us or give us herbs or something."
"It's the something else I'm afraid of," Brownfeather meowed, his eyes glancing at Ashpaw. The apprentice ducked his head. "I could see the look both of you gave her. Let me remind you, not only is she ThunderClan, but most of all, she's a medicine cat. You cannot let your emotions get a hold of you. I'm afraid Fallingstar and I aren't really good examples for either of you."
"Brownfeather!" Lakefrost protested, his ear's straight up. "That's not it at all!"
"See that it isn't," Brownfeather meowed. "Now, get back to hunting. Come on, Ashpaw."
The apprentice quickly nodded his head and ran after his mentor, picking up both sparrows on the way as they disappearing into the forest. Lakefrost was alone. He stared after them, feeling sick inside. Why did everything have to happen so quickly? First the StarClan cats come to him and give him some obscure prophecy expecting him to figure it out and then Brownfeather decides to help Fawnfur. Now Ashpaw and Brownfeather were getting the wrong idea about Fawnfur and Lakefrost. Why did her name have to bother him?
Lakefrost shook his head and decided to take his mind off of it by hunting. He quickly stood up and wandered off. He hoped the prey was starting to forget about Ashpaw and his horrible singing. If not, Lakefrost would have to go to the other side of the territory. He wondered how he'd make it up to the apprentice. He'd lost his temper and that hadn't been right for him to do.
"Maybe I'll help him clean out the elders den," Lakefrost murmured. He shook out his fur and hurried along.
Later, around sunset, the tom was back in camp. He'd yet to see Ashpaw again and tell him he was sorry. To wait, he sat beside Knotfur and a few other Clanmates.
"You wouldn't believe the size of that toad Orangestripe caught!" she meowed, her eyes shining. "It was like, this big!"
She spread out her paws on the ground. It was almost wider than she could reach.
"You're pulling my tail," Dappleflower meowed, rolling her eyes.
Bluepaw copied her mentor.
"No, I'm not," Knotfur protested. "He really did."
"Then where is it?" Lakefrost asked. He hadn't seen it on the fresh-kill pile all day.
"I just said he caught it," Knotfur muttered. "I didn't say he killed it."
"What?" Dappleflower meowed. "Are you saying he just let it go? Something like that could have fed three cats!"
"He didn't let it go," Knotfur meowed, indignant. "It jumped up and knocked his chin. He was dazed and it got away."
"What were you doing while it hopped away?" Lakefrost meowed. He wasn't sure he believed her story either. It was still a good one, but unbelievable.
"I was laughing too hard to stop it," Knotfur meowed, looking at the ground. Lakefrost could see an amused glint in her eye. Her mouth twitched like she was trying not to laugh.
"Where is Orangestripe?" Bluepaw asked, looking around. "I want to ask him about it!"
"He's in the medicine cat den," Knotfur meowed after a few short breaths to calm herself. "It really knocked him. His lip was bleeding where he bit it."
As if to prove her words, the ginger tom came out of the medicine cat den. Lakefrost looked at him and saw that his jaw was swollen. Some cobweb was holding on the herbs given to him. Lakefrost couldn't stop himself as he burst into laughter. A toad had done all that?
He wasn't surprised to hear the rest of the group join in. Dappleflower was trying to be polite and had a paw over her mouth and kept trying to breath calmly, but her eyes were watering with the strain of keeping the laughter in. Bluepaw wasn't so reserved. She was rolling on the ground gasping for air. Knotfur seemed to be more amused by everyone else than her brother's appearance. Her bright laughter twinned around the camp, drawing a few cats out of the den.
"Thanks a lot, Knotfur," Orangestripe glowered. His voice came out stiff and it was almost hard to understand. The swelling had gotten to him. Maybe he'd bitten his tongue too.
Knotfur just snickered, unable to speak. Her brother stalked off. It looked like he was going to the warrior's den, but the cats peering out at him started laughing as well, amused and wondering why he had that wrap on his head. The ginger tom's tail whipped around and he stalked out of the camp. On the way he passed Honeybee who ran into camp, her eyes wide. Orangestripe looked at her as if expecting sympathy but she ran passed without seeing him. That made Orangestripe even more angry and with a growl he was completely gone. Of course this display just encouraged the rest of the camp even more.
Lakefrost could hardly see Honeybee when she stopped right in front of him. His mirth was just too overwhelming. Right now he didn't feel bad about doing this to Orangestripe, but later he would. He certainly wouldn't have wanted to be laughed at if he was in pain.
"What is everyone so happy about?" Honeybee asked, staring at everyone. That sent Bluepaw into even more laughter and finally even Dappleflower couldn't stop.
"No, really, what's going on?" Honeybee asked, utterly confused. Her earlier fright seemed forgotten.
"Orangestripe," Lakefrost got out.
"Where is he?" Honeybee asked.
"Sulking," Knotfur gasped. "I should go get him."
She slowly stood up, her sides heaving as she tried to stop laughing, but half way to the entrance she just had to stop and sit down again. Lakefrost had to turn away from her to stop himself from giggling again. Many of the older warriors had stopped, not as amused by the scene as the younger ones. They also didn't know the whole story behind the wound.
"So what's going on with you?" Lakefrost got out, swallowing hard. "You came in so fast, you missed Orangestripe leaving."
"Oh," she sounded surprised, glancing at the entrance, and then her eyes narrowed. "Something happened to me," she whispered, looking around suspiciously.
By now the laughter was ceasing. Dappleflower was encouraging Bluepaw to get to her own den, but the silver-blue she-cat was still twitching all over, hardly containing herself.
"I'm going to tell Wrenpaw and Ashpaw all about it!" the she-cat exclaimed. "Maybe Stoneheart will think it's funny too!"
"Maybe," Dappleflower meowed. She briefly shared a glance with Lakefrost. They both knew the apprentice's father wasn't very interested in his kits' training.
"What happened?" Lakefrost asked, his attention snapping to Honeybee.
"Something," she whispered, her eyes still narrowed. "I'll tell you tomorrow."
Then she quickly walked over to the warriors den. Lakefrost stared after her. What was that all about? he wondered. First she looked scared, then she interests him in what happened, and then she decided to save it for tomorrow? His sister was very odd. He stared at her light brown tabby tail as it disappeared into the den. He would really have to get it out of her tomorrow and if it wasn't anything important, he was going to throw her into the lake.
Just then more cats came through the camp entrance. Knotfur had long ago left after her brother and so Ashpaw, Brownfeather, Olivespot, and Tigerheart didn't run into her. Lakefrost looked over at Ashpaw but the apprentice was surrounded by everyone else. He didn't want to spark anyone else's interest in what had happened that morning, so he quickly stood up and followed his sister into the warriors den. That was one more thing to be put off until tomorrow. He hoped he could get everything finished before the next Gathering.
As he laid down next to Badgerface and Honeybee, the words of the StarClan cats came back to him. "You have one moon."
He wondered what would happen if he didn't figure out what they wanted. He knew StarClan didn't play games, but would anything bad really happen? If they'd wanted him to succeed they should have given him more information. He shook his head and started drifting off.
Late in the night, Lakefrost woke to a cold pelt laying beside his own. He tiredly raised his head and looked over at Mallowstalk. She looked shaken.
"What's wrong?" Lakefrost murmured.
"Nothing," Mallowstalk meowed, her eyes looking into his own. "Go to sleep."
It was only too easy to obey.
See you some time. I don't really have a planned time. School work is getting in the way as I feared it would. I should be studying.