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 More Than the Sum of our (P)arts, Hollowstar
Cedarheart
 Posted: Nov 22 2017, 10:39 PM
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Cedarheart's stomach churned with worry and anxiety in equal parts. What he was doing was both a necessity and a courtesy, but he wasn't sure what reception he'd find in actually doing it. He hesitated with a fish in his jaws and his pale eyes locked on the leader's den ahead of him.

Hollowstar had been weakening. The same greencough that had killed Stonestar was now settling in the lungs of his successor and it frightened Cedarheart more than he was willing to admit. Hollowstar was not an old cat: far from it, the black tom was about the same age as Cedarheart himself. But stress weakened the heart and with it the body could follow. As angry as Hollowstar was with him now, Cedarheart couldn't bring himself to let go.

Daisyfall's advice rang in his ears. Whether Hollowstar would forgive him was something Cedarheart couldn't assume, but he knew by the twist of his heart that he still loved Hollowstar. Though he'd lost the intimacy of that relationship, he knew that his oath of loyalty remained. Cedar was still deputy, and Hollow his leader.

Treasure what you have.

It was late, the sun beginning to slip behind the distant trees and the air beginning to cool. Cedarheart finally seemed to move, as though the ice in his limbs had melted away. Approaching the den, he set the fish on the ground and called hesitantly to his leader. "Hollowstar?" he meowed, surprising even himself with the steadiness of his voice and the composure on his face. "Have you had a chance to eat today?"

@hollowstar

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hollowstar
 Posted: Nov 24 2017, 04:33 PM
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it took a long moment for hollowstar to open his eyes. the walls of the den wavered as his eyes adjusted, still bleary with sleep. lifting his head from his paws, he stared at the light slanting in through the entrance to the den. he remembered it being dark when he curled up in his nest, tired from a day spent hunting and patrolling - doing everything possible to outrun his own thoughts.

had he.... slept all night and well into the next day?

blinking slowly, hollowstar shoved himself to his paws. his chest felt tight, breathing slightly labored as the effort to even stand threatened to knock him off his feet. the moment passed, though, as the lingering aftereffects of sleep drifted away. his drowsy mind cleared, sharpening with alert wakefulness. a shadow fell across the entrance to his den, followed by the call of cedarheart's voice ringing confidently in the quiet.

dread fastened sharp teeth in hollowstar's heart and tugged, quickly followed by the soft words of the she-cat who looked exactly like cedarheart. the one who had given him a life and chastened him to make things right with her brother.

"i haven't. come in." hollowstar called in answer. his voice was rough, but it wasn't clear whether that was because he'd just woken or the illness that had him in its grip.


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Cedarheart
 Posted: Nov 24 2017, 11:28 PM
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Cedarheart's ears pricked, catching the hoarse call of his leader from the entrance to the den. He sounded exhausted. Or ill. Perhaps both, but he couldn't be sure. He knew that however this meeting ended, he'd have to go to Superpaw soon. If Hollowstar wouldn't go himself, it would be Cedarheart's duty to bring Superpaw to him.

Granted permission to enter the privacy of Hollowstar's den, Cedarheart's pupils shrunk swiftly. The scent of illness bit at his nose, a smell that Hollowstar himself wouldn't notice with the shallow breaths that rasped in his throat.

The cinnamon tom approached with the fish he'd brought, setting it before the black tom with a respectful dip of his head. "It's fresh," he told him. Concern shone clear in his eyes. "Superpaw might just have my pelt if I brought anything less." The attempt at humour fell a little flat, in his eyes. It choked in his throat a bit, his confidence audibly faltering.

He took a shuddering breath, pulling together the courage from Daisyfall and the peace from Stonestar as he looked his former brother in the eyes. He wouldn't shy from him now. He could feel awkward and fearful later, but now he was needed to be stronger than himself. "How are you?" he asked. His voice had softened, more vulnerable sounding than he had moments prior. He didn't know if Hollowstar would answer him honestly anymore, but he would ask all the same.

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hollowstar
 Posted: Nov 27 2017, 06:48 PM
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he arranged himself into a comfortable position, sitting slightly slouched with his long tail draped neatly over his feet, facing the mouth of the den. his eyes zeroed in on the fish clamped firmly between cedarheart's teeth, and the resounding growl of hungry that rumbled in his belly was surely loud enough for the deputy to hear. hollowstar gave no indication he'd even noticed his stomach's protests, however, and hardly seemed to regard the freshkill with no more than a casual blink.

make things right with my brother.

guilt twisted sharply inside hollowstar. he lifted his gaze back to cedarheart's, nodding gratefully. it took effort not to look away as he drank in the concern swimming in his friend's eyes. "superpaw might, ah... take offense to the fact that its eyes are still in its head more than anything." hollowstar's own attempt fell just as flat, but less because of the half-hearted effort and more because he was simply not a cat who frequently made jokes.

hollowstar's stomach gave another angry growl, and with the scent of fish wafting up toward his face he couldn't put off eating any longer. he crouched down and began tearing small mouthfuls from the fish, too hungry - and slightly still bitter - to be polite and offer cedarheart a share. silence stretched between them, brief but tangible, and for a moment hollowstar wondered if cedarheart would leave without another word. but when his gaze flicked back up to cedarheart's face the cinnamon-furred tom was staring right back, looking more steady in hollowstar's presence than he'd been for a long while.

several heartbeats passed as hollowstar chewed, mostly to give himself time to consider his next words. "i'm fine." he lied, and knew cedarheart would know the truth of it. anyone could see hollowstar was not well - emotionally or physically. leadership had sapped some of the vitality out of him in the short time since stonestar's death. his fur was duller and slightly patchy, like he hadn't taken the time to groom it as thoroughly. his green eyes were dull in a careful way, but bright and sometimes watery with fever. the breath in his lungs rattled in a strained, gasping way every time he inhaled, getting worse by the day.


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Cedarheart
 Posted: Nov 27 2017, 07:48 PM
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Cedarheart winced at the sound of the loud growl Hollowtar's belly offered in response to the fish he'd offered. He was obviously hungry, and probably to a greater degree than Cedarheart had actually expected. He knew he hadn't eaten today, but when had he last eaten before that? When had he even left camp for more than a few minutes at a time? At least a day before that, from what he could remember.

The cinnamon-furred deputy managed a twitch of his whiskers for Hollowfrost's attempted joke, but found himself oddly regretful that he hadn't thought to follow Superpaw's... unusual rules for fresh kill. Superpaw would be upset about it, certainly, but would Hollowstar feel the same way.

He found himself hesitantly sitting down as the black tom dug into the fish he'd been offered, finally sating his hunger. While Hollowstar ate, Cedarheart instead got a good look at the cat they now relied on. He'd been worse since their falling out, but Stonestar's death had certainly compounded the issue. Cedarheart could see the dust and sand that had tangled into his thin pelt and the way his eyes seemed dull and watery. He'd been taking care of the Clan, but how many of his Clanmates had taken care of him back? Even now, he was crouched over his meal as though Cedarheart might take it back from under his paws.

Guilt stabbed at the deputy. 'I'm fine.' He wasn't. A dark expression crossed Cedarheart's eyes, frustrated and ashamed to have had any part in worsening Hollowstar's condition. But Hollowstar wasn't doing for himself, either. He wasn't allowing Superpaw to treat him as she'd done for a number of their Clanmates and he certainly hadn't gone to the medicine den on his own. If he was going to make sure that Hollowstar survived to leafbare, they had to work a little harder to keep him going.

Wordlessly, Cedarheart stood and stepped closer. He pressed a paw against Hollowstar's shoulder, holding him still as best he could so that he could settle beside him without the black tom flinching back. He didn't bother with Hollowstar's objections. The black tom could claw his ears off if he wanted to. Cedarheart rasped his tongue over Hollowstar's pelt: firmly and methodically, he was grooming the unkempt fur and bathing away the scent of illness that cloaked him. Superpaw would kill him if he caught whatever this was, but something had to be done.

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hollowstar
 Posted: Dec 2 2017, 02:10 PM
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the weight of cedarheart's gaze was heavy. hollowstar could feel it lingering on his body, even when his own gaze dropped back to the half-eaten meal at his feet. the tick of cedarheart's mind was almost audible, echoing off the walls of his den as it turned. hollowstar knew he looked as bad as he felt. his fur felt itchy, face drawn in a tired way reserved for the ill. each day that passed took just a little bit more life out of riverclan's leader.

rest wasn't working, herbs weren't working. hollowstar's health was declining at a rampant rate, nearly as quickly as stonestar's had those few weeks ago. starclan, he didn't want to die. there was so much more he had left to do, so much he needed to repair. his relationship with superpaw was much better, but nowhere near what hollowstar longed for it to be. and then there was the fact that, in a short moon's time, he would be a grandfather.

fear clamped heavy jaws onto hollowstar and determinedly refused to let go. he took another bite and chewed slowly, ignoring cedarheart's unwavering stare, the heat of his concern burning a hole in hollowstar's pelt, and the twist of discomfort in the pit of his stomach.

the roiling sensation in his gut wasn't imagined. hollowstar's empty stomach protested loudly at the food in his belly, nearly pulling hollowstar underneath a sudden wave of nausea. the fish was discarded with a foot, his head lowering down between his shoulders in an attempt to subdue the dizziness that swept over him.

it only took a few heartbeats for the moment to pass, and then a paw pressing against his shoulder.
flustered, hollowstar protested by way of a shoulder shrug, trying to dislodge cedarheart as the other tom stepped closer and began rasping a tongue over his dull, unkempt fur. the black tom's objections only lasted the span of a few breaths before his body relaxed on its own, wilting beneath the gentle ministrations of cedarheart's tongue. hollowstar's eyes even closed at the soothing relief being in such close contact with another cat brought - hollowstar had never been much for touchy-feely stuff with his clanmates, but that didn't mean he didn't crave it like everyone else. he just didn't know how to ask for it without letting his frustration and embarrassment win out.

"you're going to get sick." hollowstar rasped, one last attempt to shake off cedarheart failing.
he couldn't stop himself from leaning closer, a soft sigh on his lips.

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Cedarheart
 Posted: Dec 4 2017, 07:08 PM
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Cedarheart felt the tension begin to soften in Hollowstar's shoulders, but didn't move his paw. He could feel the fine tremble in the tom's ribs from where he crouched against his leader's side and the strain in his breathing. From this close, he almost imagined that he could hear the coarse rasp from within his lungs. Worry gnawed at the deputy for how frail Hollowstar had become.

He almost laughed at Hollowstar's weak plead. Even as he said it, he was leaning harder into Cedarheart's warmth and gentle touch. "I'm going to the medicine den next," he assured Hollowstar between licks. He finally allowed his paw to slip back to the ground where it belonged. The black tom wasn't struggling against him; Cedarheart wasn't even sure if he had the strength or will to do it. He recognized his need for help and comfort as much as Cedarheart had.

"But I'm strong enough to take the risk, and you need someone to be here." The cinnamon tom's voice was firm, not allowing for any argument on the matter. Hollowstar was taking well to the responsibility of leadership, despite his illness, but he seemed lost on the most important part of actually being leader. A leader was the heart of their Clan. They were friend, sibling, and parent to all the cats around them. As strong as they had to be to handle that burden, that didn't mean they had to be distant. They were still a Clanmate, worthy of care and affection like the rest of them.

As Cedarheart eventually deemed Hollowstar's flank and shoulders to be clean, he moved to the delicate work of grooming his ears and face. He had to be careful not to clear around the sick tom's eyes or muzzle, for fear of catching whatever illness he fought, but he could at least help to groom what was out of reach for him.

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hollowstar
 Posted: Dec 7 2017, 05:19 PM
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guilt was a sharp knife that twisted in his belly at the imagined horror of cedarheart getting sick, too. it was almost enough to give hollowstar the strength to push the other tom away, but the newfound strength faded just as quickly as it appeared. every stroke of cedarheart's tongue across his shoulder, his back, his flank, seemed to pull out more of what little fight could be found inside hollowstar. until he was boneless, drooping down into the ground like leaves at the end of the season.

hollowstar's eyes were half-lidded in drowsy pleasure, the start of a purr edging forward in his throat.
it started to creep past the worry clouding his thoughts but was caught, snared by reaching tendrils of dread and held tight. cedarheart spoke in an honest, caring way - but firmly, to leave no room for argument on hollowstar's part. the unexpected tenderness of his actions, the fact that he was there at all, caught up to hollowstar all at once.he shifted uncomfortably, but didn't say anything until the focus of cedarheart's attentions shifted and the other tom began to wash the space between his ears.

"you don't need to be here, though. not after the way i treated you." there was obvious regret in his voice. this close it would have been easy to meet cedarheart's gaze, but hollowstar pointed cut his eyes to the side and focused on the far wall of his den. he studied the latticework of interlaced twigs and reeds, woven so tightly no breeze or drop or rain could get in. "we still haven't talked about it."

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Cedarheart
 Posted: Dec 8 2017, 01:36 AM
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Cedarheart paused, for a moment choked by the shared regret of what had transpired between them. Hollowstar regretted yelling at him, but that didn't mean that he was blameless. Or that he didn't, at least in part, deserve to be furious with him.

He forced himself to continue grooming his leader's fur, quiet but for the sound of his tongue rasping against his brother's forehead. He winced inwardly. Former brother. Hollowstar had not said he was forgiven to that extent.

"The fault was mine," Cedarheart said finally. "If I'd known how badly that..." He stopped himself before his rather venomous opinion of Foxscar could interrupt their conversation. That wasn't helpful; this was about Hollowstar. Not his father. "I had wanted to be helpful, and I made the mistake of assuming what you needed. I hurt you because I lacked the wisdom to ask you what you wanted. I can't ask you to forgive me for that."

He sighed, licking Hollowstar's ear in a gesture that was more affectionate than the grooming before it. Selfish, he scolded himself.

"But I wanted to apologize. You were right: I wasn't acting like a brother should." His voice cracked as he spoke the word brother aloud. He still loved him, even still. But he needed to take his own advice. He'd told Spottedlegs that her apology to Hollowstar should be for him, rather than herself. There was no room for hypocrisy here.

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hollowstar
 Posted: Dec 13 2017, 05:10 PM
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thinking of their fight brought back an unwanted surge of anger, but this time the emotion wasn't directed at cedarheart entirely. he was still angry that his friend - his brother - had spoken to one of the cats who had made hollowstar's young life a living hell, but given time to contemplate cedarheart's reasons he could admit that he had overreacted. cedarheart had a kind heart - it was why he was named thus. how could hollowstar fault his friend for that, or for extending that kindness to even his enemy?

except spottedlegs wasn't the enemy - not to cedarheart. perhaps she was not even hollowstar's enemy anymore, if her feelings of regret and sorrow could be believed.

and when he really dug deep into the root of his childhood trauma, spottedlegs was not even the reason for the knife-like pain that twisted sharply in his belly. foxscar was the cause of that, just as he was the cause of all the terrible things that had happened in hollowstar's youth. blaming his sister for the things she'd said and done a lifetime ago was wrong; he realized that now. she'd been young and impressionable, just as desperate as hollowstar to prove something to their father.

"but you could not have." hollowstar said sharply, twisting away from cedarheart's touch. he still didn't look the other tom directly in the eye. instead he looked sideways, peering at cedarheart from the corner of his eye. "how could you have asked, when i never gave you the chance? or even indicated that things were so wrong?" disgruntled, hollowstar bit back a growl. but he settled back down, leaning into cedarheart again. "i've never told anyone how badly he treated me. i couldn't stand the thought of anyone pitying me if they did."

cedarheart's apology eased some of the anger that blazed inside hollowstar, but by then it had very little to do with the fight that had started it all. hollowstar's thoughts travelled back in time, to the dark days of his apprenticehood. when each day felt impossibly long, and each night impossibly short.

"and nor was i." hollowstar echoed. "acting as a brother should. a brother listens, and tries to understand. i did neither of those. i should have given you the benefit of the doubt; trusted that you had only my best interests in mind when you spoke to my sister." speaking of spottedlegs so intimately with cedarheart left no room for omitted truths, and hollowstar wasn't keen on keeping secrets from cedarheart any longer. if they were to fixx their fractured relationship, it needed to begin with honesty.

hollowstar spoke slowly, a little reluctantly, when he admitted, "i saw her shortly after our fight.
i was on a night hunt and found her on the border half dead."
he swallowed, remembering the panic that had overtaken him at seeing his sister in such a state. how he hadn't thought twice about crossing the border to reach her, and how easy it had been to help silverstar take her to shadowclan.
"i helped silverstar take her to shadowclan for help. and i might have, ah. pissed off firestar. in my haste." hollowstar did look at cedarheart then, twisting sideways to look up at his brother with a slightly sheepish expression. "so i'm not blameless either. i'm a bit of a hypocrite."

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Cedarheart
 Posted: Dec 15 2017, 04:17 PM
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Cedarheart's ears flattened as Hollowstar pulled away from him, his heart twisting. But Hollowstar's gaze from the corner of his watering eyes was enough to pin him in place. The RiverClan leader had always held a commanding presence, as far as Cedarheart was concerned. He twitched, missing the warmth of the black tom beside him. And then cringing internally as he realized that warmth was far warmer than it should be.

Hollowstar's words were bitter as they'd been the day of their fight, but this time the bitterness wasn't meant for Cedarheart. The cinnamon tom bit back a growl of his own, not wanting to give Hollowstar the wrong impression. It still didn't sit right with him, to apologise for his own pain. But as Hollowstar leaned back into him, the source of his frustration shifted. Pity him? Some cats might, but it wouldn't be him. Cedarheart felt a lot of things about Hollowstar's past with his family, but pity wasn't one of them. Foxscar infuriated the cinnamon tom.

And still, he held his tongue. Hollowstar had more to say, from the way he'd yet to close his jaw and the way his breathing turned to a wet sigh between words. It felt like his heart stilled for a moment, hearing the word 'brother' fall from his leader's mouth. A fragile, throaty purr couldn't be contained, creeping into his chest where it didn't belong for such a serious conversation. He bumped his nose gently to Hollowstar's shoulder, giving his pelt another lick to remind him that he wouldn't be leaving him any time soon. The idea that Hollowstar still thought of him as a brother, after everything else between them, was more than enough for Cedarheart.

-even if the very next words about Spottedlegs did rather piss him off. There was an audible intake of breath as Cedarheart struggled to have a response other than frustration. It half-worked. "Seriously?" he meowed incredulously, though his tone was certainly more dry than it usually was. He dropped his chin to rest against Hollow's shoulder, sighing heavily. "I suppose I'll be playing mediator at the next Gathering, then. Firestar's too argumentative to bother, but his deputy might listen."

He caught Hollowstar's sheepish expression and snorted, as amused as he was frustrated. "It's a good thing I love you; you know that?" he told his leader matter-of-factly. "...I suppose it's about the same I would have done for my sister, if I stood in your place. I can't blame you for caring, even if I do rather hope your father chokes on mouse bile." He tried to turn his own admission into something softer, something to draw a laugh out of his found-again brother. He didn't know how easily that laugh would come, given the pain he must feel, but he hoped it would help. Hollowstar deserved happiness.

"I'm glad you could help her, Hollow."

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hollowstar
 Posted: Dec 22 2017, 12:41 PM
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silence from cedarheart was a startling thing. he wasn't often a cat who held his tongue, especially when the opportunity to defend - himself, or hollowstar, neither was clear as he was allowed to continue on without interruption - was presented before him. hollowstar could see the effort it took to keep the words at bay, written plainly in the way he fought to keep his answering growl contained, the set to his jaw in between hollowstar's pauses.

the argument between them seemed to be in the past, at least. there was a comforting, settled air in the den now - indentifiable just beneath the sour tang of illness that clung to every inch of the den. hollowstar still nearly flinched away when cedarheart crowded closer to give his shoulder a comforting lick, pausing in between words to ward cedarheart away. but they died on his tongue at the rattling purr rumbling in his brother's throat, and hollowstar continued to say his piece without diversion.

he knew cedarheart wouldn't be pleased with the idea of him helping spottedlegs, especially after everything that had happened between them because of her. yet hollowstar knew, deep down, that cedarheart would understand. because you helped family, even when you hated them. still, there was little irritability in cedarheart's voice when he spoke next. enough to be faintly apparently, tinging his words just enough to make hollowstar wince. but he seemed resigned to give it up, dropping his head against hollowstar's shoulder in a way that made him squirm in a vain attempt to dislodge cedarheart again from getting too close.

"i can't imagine the deputy has much sway." hollowstar snorted. "you should have seen the way firestar spoke to his own clanmates. i know i can be an ass sometimes, but i don't treat my clanmates like dirt. i know how to apologize if i step out of line." hollowstar winced, shooting cedarheart another guilty look. "most of the time."

cedarheart mentioned his sister then. hollowstar's thoughts immediately flashed back to the night of his lives ceremony, and the pale-furred version of cedarheart that had stood before him and pleaded to make things right with her brother. he was lost so deep in his thoughts that he very nearly missed the sly jab cedarheart made toward foxscar, cluing in just in time to give a faint, but obviously strained, laugh.

there were rules against revealing what went on during a leader's lives ceremony, but... couldn't there be an exception to this? how could starclan fault him for speaking out when cedarheart was still in obvious pain over his sister's death? it clearly still ached, enough that cedarheart, usually an open cat, never breathed a word about her.

"i... met your sister, actually." the words were slow and reluctant at first, but the longer hollowstar talked the faster they poured out. "she gave me one of my lives. i thought it was you at first, she looks just like you. she told me to fix things with you, because you're my brother."

a pause. "what... happened to her, cedarheart? you've never mentioned having siblings before."


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Cedarheart
 Posted: Dec 22 2017, 11:01 PM
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Cedarheart's whiskers twitched. "Most of the time," he agreed quietly. Hollowstar could be demanding of his Clan, but he loved them fiercely. He was oddly similar to Pyrestar that way; not that Cedarheart was dumb enough to ever make that comparison with Hollow. "You have your moments, but you don't have Firestar's arrogance. Winterstar's reign was better for us than anything Firestar's bound to do."

There was a sigh of frustration at that. "I'm a little annoyed that it's true for his own Clan, but at least we're not the only cats to take issue with him."

Cedarheart was expecting the conversation to continue about politics between their Clan and ShadowClan's. It was a safe ground for them. Even if Hollowstar had somewhat antagonized Firestar, it wasn't as though Cedarheart liked him either. They were Clanmates and their loyalty bound them together as much as their bond as brothers.

He hadn't expected the topic to shift to his sister.

The cinnamon tom winced, lifting his head away from Hollowstar's shoulders to draw in on himself. The grief was beginning to ease, thanks to Wildeye at his side, but it was still difficult to talk about at times. He didn't think he'd ever quite get over the shame and horror of dragging his own sister ashore, praying desperately that she'd breathe again and finding that she no longer could. "She drowned," he answered quietly. Sadness burned in his pale eyes. "She got caught under the ice last leafbare and she drowned. I broke the ice to save her, but I didn't find her in time."

He looked back to Hollowstar, pensive and uncertain. "Willowflight was my only littermate. We lost our parents when we were young, but I never thought I'd lose her. Outside of explaining what happened to her, I guess I've never really talked about her. It's just hard." Hollowstar would probably get that. He knew that he'd lost a mate. He could imagine that the grief was similar.

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hollowstar
 Posted: Dec 23 2017, 11:33 AM
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do you know the line i'd walk for you?

RiverClan


hollowstar hadn't brought up firestar's arrogant behavior to fish for compliments, but something inside him settled when cedarheart reassured him he was nothing like the shadowclan tom. hollowstar knew he could be difficult to deal with. he was emotionally withdrawn much of the time, and stubborn to a fault. but no one could deny the love he had for his clan ran deep and true. a fact that, even after six months, still startled hollowstar to realize. he had joined riverclan with the intention of remaining only for his daughter, some part of him convinced it would be just the same as thunderclan. instead he found a home and family; cats he could trust with his life. hollowstar had never trusted anyone like he did his clanmates. it was something he still struggled with after a lifetime of keeping secrets, but he was trying - and, hopefully, succeeding.

"i worry for what firestar's reign might mean for the clan." hollowstar admitted. "to be fair, i didn't see very much while i was there - i was only there for an evening. perhaps he was only having a bad night, and i caught him at the worst time. still..." hollowstar trailed off, pensive. "i snapped at one of his warriors because i was so afraid for spottedlegs. and firestar didn't take kindly to it - wouldn't even accept my apologies, when i offered them." thinking about it reignited the disbelieving anger that churned violently in his gut. it didn't occur to hollowstar that he was being, perhaps, the most open he'd ever been with anyone. but having cedarheart crowded into the nest with him, leaning so close they were more one body than two, helped ease some of the discomfort that twisted in his chest every time he thought about opening up.

cedarheart really was his brother, and he was a fool for ever insinuating that they weren't.

the fierce burn of hot anger simmered inside him before dying out completely when the conversation shifted back to cedarheart's sister - willowflight. a hollowness yawned wide inside hollowstar's chest as he listened to cedarheart tell the story. he leaned forward when cedarheart pulled away, despite his better judgement, touching his nose to the cinnamon tom's shoulder to mirror cedarheart's earlier display of affection. the deep, profound sadness in cedarheart's eyes seemed wholly wrong. there was no trace of the easygoing tom hollowstar had come to love as he spoke quietly of the river, how it had broken and trapped willowflight beneath its deadly, icy grip; and the shame that cedarheart still felt, a year later, that he could not save his only sister.

cedarheart was wrong in his assumptions. hollowstar knew what it felt like to lose a cat you loved, but losing his mate was nothing compared to the devastation of cedarheart losing willowflight. it pained him, yes, but in the end there had been little love lost between hollowstar and his mate. he couldn't, even now, get past the feelings of resentment and betrayal for her stealing their only child from him. it dragged him back into shadowy despair every time a clanmate, ignorant to the situation, used the word abandoned to describe his relationship with superpaw. as if they knew the whole story, and not a broken fragment of it that only showed part of the story.

hollowstar had known his mate was dead for quite a while, something only recently confirmed when he received his lives and she stood proudly amongst the nine. he was trying to let go of those negative feelings now, if only for the sake of himself. he had to release the pain coiled tightly around his heart if he ever hoped to heal.

"it's not your fault." hollowstar murmured, rasping his tongue over cedarheart's shoulder before he could think better of it. he pulled back to grimace at the spot, opened his mouth to warn cedarheart off before he truly came down with the same illness that had taken root in hollowstar. instead what came out was, "you did your best to save her. i won't spew all that crap about how starclan decided it was her time, and that she's happy and okay in starclan." he snorted. "hardly does anything for us down here, knowing that, does it?" it seemed such a strange platitude to tell a grieving cat that it had been the dead's time to go, especially when they'd been so young. willowflight had so much life left, stretching on and on with brimming potential. "she is okay, though. and proud of you. and always watching."


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Cedarheart
 Posted: Dec 23 2017, 01:51 PM
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Cedarheart

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RiverClan


Cedarheart shared much of Hollowstar's feelings on the matter of Firestar. Back when they'd all been deputies, he couldn't remember having a conversation with Firestar- then Firemountain -that went wholly well. He was as protective as Hollowstar but without the grace of sympathy or comradery. A curious leader, for certain.

He didn't comment on Hollowstar's experience, but for a muttered and weary "Of course he didn't." Firestar was a strong leader and extraordinarily loyal to ShadowClan, but he was hardly forgiving to others.

Cedarheart didn't flinch from Hollow's gentle touches. The bump of his muzzle and the gentle rasp of his tongue were soothing in ways he couldn't describe. Their bond was very different from what he'd shared with his sister, but this was familiar and healing. He resolved to visit Hollowstar's den more often, at least for the sake of maintaining their bond as brothers.

The knotting eased in his chest. "Thank you," he whispered. The sorrow in his eyes had softened, shifting to take comfort in the closeness of his brother. "...That sounds like something she'd say. She was always too forgiving."

"But she had a strong heart. ...I'm glad she was with you for that. She would have wanted to meet you if she could." The cinnamon tom returned the lick of reassurance and affection. He would treasure this, for as long as he could. That Hollowfrost had shared it at all meant a lot to him.

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Deputy of Civil Affairs of RiverClan.

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