Almost as soon as she had spoken she regretted it, her ears burning a painful red, and she was almost ready to bolt, when a cheerful face poked out of the apprentice’s den, and Dunelight’s eyes widened, her heart pounding with an intensity greater than that of the FireClan sun. Birdpaw. Paws sweating heavily, so much so she wouldn’t be surprised if she left salty pawprints in the dust, she swallowed, terror clasping her stomach. She couldn’t do this. Whatever foolish thought about being a mentor she’d had, if any, was gone. This was worse than battle.
”Ah…” She began awkwardly, mouth dry and feeling as if it was laced with cotton. ”Right…you…too.” The hairless she-cat murmured, feeling her entire body burning and tinted pink. Great going, Dunelight.
”So…” She murmured, staring down at Birdpaw, at a complete loss for words. ”Right.” She cleared her throat, anxiety pricking at her skin, completely at a loss for what to say. It was going to be a long, long six moons.
Piercing amber gaze wary, the scarred she-cat frowned as she glared into the MoonClanner’s eyes, her head raised ever so slightly in defiance, muzzle twitching as she waited for what was surely to come. She was prepared. For staring, scoffing, incredulous remarks. She’d faced it all. Dunelight tightened her lips, stiffened her posture, as if preparing herself for an attack, partially unsheathed tawny claws.
But the perpetual onslaught didn’t come. She blinked as the dark tabby apologized, and she pinned her oversized ears against her skull, flicking her gaze over his form, a half-formed growl in her throat. Confusion crossed her gaze, and she swallowed, eyes narrowed. “Right. You’d better be.” The FireClanner scoffed, though her unprepared words came out oddly. She glanced aside, feeling her chest tighten up. The last cat who’d reacted similarly…Adderpaw…he was gone. So long gone. He’d promised. And now he was nothing more than a memory, a flicker of what once was, what could have been. She felt her stomach writhe.
”Go away.” The words were sudden, tight. She forced herself to stare aside, her claws tightening their grip on the ground, legs stiffening. Memories, dreams she’d locked up in the deepest, safest place in her mind were fighting to be set free. How long had it been since she'd lost him? How many moons had passed since their promise? How long had it been since she had truly allowed herself to feel, to allow the ice around her heart to waver. She felt numb, and without warning she saw his face in her mind's eye, his ghostly scent. The feeling of his fur against hers. Her heart was pounding, her paws were trembling. She was coming apart, and this stupid MoonClanner would be her undoing. A salty tear stung her eye, and she felt another hiss rumble up in her throat.