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Warriors: Cats of the Sun

[PRP] Flesh and bone [Starpaw x Whisperpaw]

Nym

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"Keep up!"
The frustration in Whisperpaw's voice was still a faint and soft sound, but he knew his sister could identify his moods easily. Good, because he was thoroughly done waiting around for her. They had hunting to do, which she had successfully ruined with almost every loud and careless step she took. That wasn't necessarily fair, he knew, but he couldn't fathom how someone could possibly be so bad at something that should come naturally to their kind. She wasn't even a clumsy cat, which was even worse!
How could someone so put together, responsible, and with an excellent sense of forethought be so bad at hunting?
"I'm trying!" She shouted back from behind him, scaring off a small flock of birds in the trees above. Whisperpaw looked upwards and huffed a loud sigh as he whirled towards her.
"Look what you did! Ugh!"
 

Nym

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Starpaw almost regretted agreeing to go hunting with her brother, especially as he had begun to raise from his normal soft and faraway tone and into a crescendo of shouts and aggravated yowls. It was so unlike her brother to show both such emotion and disapproval that she couldn't help but feel a deep and unrelenting shame. It was her fault.
Hunting didn't come easily for her. She could boss her siblings around, patch their wounds, and make sure they were taking care of themselves just fine, but the second a cat tried to point her towards prey she found herself a discombobulated mess of a cat. It just didn't make sense, if she was honest. It was all too slow, with a great need for the patience she didn't have when it came to the outdoors. Any small thing could frighten away prey and it'd flee so fast that she couldn't even dream of matching that speed. It was easy enough for Whisperpaw, who was quiet both verbally and physically, but for Starpaw she couldn't help but trip over herself each time. She wanted results, and quickly.
And now she had frightened away a flock of birds. Birds that they obviously weren't going to catch in the first place, but it was clearly enough to prove the unspoken point she knew her brother was holding onto. She hated how useless she was, especially as she watched her clan wither away around her. Everyone was working so hard, and then there was her...
"I'm really trying," she whispered softly. Her brother frowned and hesitated with a paw lingering in the air.
"I-I know, I do." He crumbled, his face softening into a sad and distressed frown. "It's just- you're so good at everything, and then we go to hunt and it's just... Do you need more practice, maybe?"
More practice? Hadn't she been training this entire time? They were just apprentices, after all, and yet she was the furthest behind in hunting out of all her siblings. She was failing, and likely wouldn't receive her warrior name at this rate.
"Maybe I'm just not good enough."
 

Nym

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"That isn't true!"

And there he was, shouting again. His fur bristled as he stared back at his sister with a look of bewilderment and a subtle dash of anger. How could she say that?! Sure, she was a bumbling idiot whenever they went out to hunt, but she was more than enough. She was his sister -- the one who always helped him back up whenever he fell or knew just the right things to say. The one who always made him feel better when he was down...
So why was he being so hard on her?
He was scared of the future and what the elders spoke of about the past. Everything he did felt worthless whenever he returned to camp, as if nothing he did could help change the tide or sway the path they were careening down. That wasn't Starpaw's fault, and yet there he was; shouting at her like it was.
"I'm sorry," he broke their distance and brushed his pelt against hers, rumbling a soft soothing fur. Starpaw wavered beside him, body shuddering softly. Wait, wait, was she-
"Are you crying?"
 

Nym

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"N-No!" She shouted back unconvincingly and recoiled from Whisperpaw's prying gaze, shoving her brother away with a wavering paw. Her voice hiccuped into a soft sob, the wave of grief and despair washing over her with sharp claws. She really was trying, but it wasn't enough, was it? Where did she fit in the clan? How was she more than just another mouth to feed?

"I-" she cut off, rubbing at her face with softly mumbled curses. And now she couldn't even get her shit together, great. "I don't want to be a burden! I- I can't do anything right! I'm j-just a useless lump of flesh and b-bone, taking and taking and taking with nothing to give!"
"Starpa-"
"I hate myself!" She found herself yowling, the sobs turning desperate and unhithered. "I just want to h-help everyone, but I just get in the way!"
 

Nym

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No, no no no- he hadn't meant for any of this. Had she been bottling that the entire time, swallowing it back whenever he had chastised her or let his frustrations get the best of him? It had happened so fast and now there she was, sobbing into the earth with shuddering cries at the words he had so carelessly thrown her way.
They had both been struggling...
"I'm so sorry-" He tried to curl around her and grunted when she refused the gesture with a shove. "Starpaw, no- that isn't true! You've always been there for us, picking me up whenever I fell down or needed a shoulder. Stars above, you even have wrapped up a few of my scrapes and bruises when the medicine cat was busy, I-"

Wait.
Ah!
"You've always been my rock, even if you can't hunt very well... that's something, Starpaw. We need cats like that, cats like Fernfire, for example. He pulls his weight regardless, and without him where would we be?"
 

Nym

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"Fernfire can hunt," Starpaw countered, although her sobs had wilted into softer hiccups. It hurt to hear him continue to say she couldn't hunt, but what did she want? Him to lie? No, that wasn't fair, and she rather face the truth now instead. She couldn't hunt well, to the point she was a burden with each trip they took, so what else was there?
Did she even truly feel like her role was as a warrior?
No...
But she couldn't imagine not aiding her clan, either. In fact, Starpaw had always worked tirelessly in hopes to be a part of the backbone of MountainClan, ranging from attempts at training on her own with hunting (even if it didn't amount to much) to even learning about local plants and medicines, which she had greatly enjoyed. That knowledge had softened a pained wince a few times when Fernfire wasn't able to immediately tend to one of her siblings, and that satisfaction had been nourishing for her soul. It had felt good to relieve the hurt her family felt, and it had been something only she could do for them.
Then was the life of a warrior really for her?
"I just want to be enough," she relented, looking up at her brother with wet eyes. "I want to protect all of you, and pick you back up when you're down. I-"
She wanted to heal them.
"I want to be a medicine cat-" she blurted, surprising herself. Her brother nodded hastily and scooped her paws into his, eyes wide and eager.
 

Nym

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"Then you should talk to Fernfire!" He held her paws in his, head bending down to peek up at her when she tried to look away. "No, I'm serious, Starpaw! If anyone is fit for it then it'd be you, wouldn't it? He needs an apprentice at some point, why shouldn't it be you?"
"What if he doesn't want me?" She mewled back, removing her paws from his.
"How will you know if you don't talk to him?" He countered. "Wasn't it you who said to chase your dreams?"
She frowned. He had caught her in her own words and she detested that she didn't have anything to throw back his way. She tossed a paw his way, ruffling the top of his head and flashing a tired grin as he grumbled softly.
"Promise me you'll speak to him tonight?" Whisperpaw pushed her paw down and rested his paw on hers. "For me?"
"....Fine. For you."
The smile on his face was rare and illuminating, especially for such a normally morose cat. He just wanted her happy, even if that meant her tripping over her own tail while hunting. Speaking of...
"You're not getting out of this, though," he warned her and pushed away, nodding towards a small squirrel that had spotted them and scurried up a tree in fright. "C'mon, we got a squirrel to catch."
 

Nym

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Starpaw let her brother try and scale the tree on his own, laughing as he not only fell twice but also landed into a bundle of leaves the second time and ended up with a pawful in his mouth. The second crash was enough to spook the squirrel into a dangerous and poorly thought-out attempt of fleeing, practiced by throwing itself out of the tree and bolting to the right of Starpaw.
"GET IT!"
Her brother's screech jolted Starpaw into action and she found her paw landing squarely on the squirrel. She almost released it in surprise, her gasp catching in her throat as she watched it squirm under her paw. Whisperpaw caught up to her side and urgently gestured towards the squirrel.
"Go on, before it gets free."
That kill would be her first, and the pride it restored would last a lifetime. She carried the fallen squirrel to camp with a giddy smile, tail flicking gently behind her. She didn't notice her brother proudly watching her.
 
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