Warrior Cat Clans 2 (WCC2 aka Classic) is a roleplay site inspired by the Warrior series by Erin Hunter. Whether you are a fan of the books or new to the Warrior cats world, WCC2 offers a diverse environment with over a decade’s worth of lore for you - and your characters - to explore. Join us today and become a part of our ongoing story!
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Oleanderpaw had spent the days after the battle curled up in the medicine-cat's den, fazing in and out of consciousness, bleary and confused and not quite there, and mostly she had been asleep. It was dreamless, it was quiet. The things around were lost on her, those in nests around her being treated for their own wounds, Leveretpaw with his brooding and bitterness so close, Kier coming in to fuss over her — her! In her moments of awareness, when she could string a few thoughts together, she usually came to two conclusions: she hadn't died; she had killed. Later, the second realization would leave a sour aftertaste in her mouth, despite her excitement at the prospect of being useful to the environment of Nightclan that celebrated bloodshed more than anything else, despite the fact she thought it wouldn't bother her. She had been looking forward to use the poison, so sweet and delicate and deadly — but the writhing form of her victim would haunt her. The victory was hollow and she didn't understand why. It was what she had thought she wanted, to have the power in a situation like that, to watch the light fade like what happened at trials, to be revered for her bravery and skill, but she wasn't feeling what she was supposed to be.
The first sign that she was healing was the return of her dreams — some the feverish, weird sort of dreams, but most were nightmares — and the tossing and turning in her sleep. She began spending more time awake, though she still hadn't so much as lifted her head, and her head began to feel less like it had been stuffed with cotton. In the gloom, sometimes she would stare at Leveretpaw near her, eyes wide and peering over the edge of her nest, and something would twist in her gut — guilt, perhaps, or fear. She wasn't sure what had happened, she didn't know he risked his life for her. She hadn't uttered a word — she wasn't sure she could.
The boredom began shortly after, nagging and clawing at her mind, making her tail flick restlessly, making her irritable. Not doing something, being left alone with her thoughts, she couldn't stand it.
It was dark and quiet when she lifted her head for the first time. It seemed Twilightdance and her annoying apprentice, were out. Breathing, both steady and unsteady, filled the den, and the smell of herbs, infection, and blood was strong. She winced at it. Everyone else appeared to be asleep, though Oleanderpaw was sure some of them weren't. Her neck felt constricted, itchy and irritated, but it didn't hurt unless she moved her head too much. Immediately, she stood up and stumbled out of her nest, nearly tripping due to the weakness in her legs, and they shook when she tried to steady herself. Her gaze landed on Leveretpaw, and now she could see the extent of his injury, his leg elevated and wrapped, and where she was about to wake him just for the company, she stopped herself, taking a few clumsy steps away and towards the den exit, though when she reached it she didn't actually leave. She didn't know where she would go, and truthfully (she would deny it, of course), she didn't want to go too far from him, in case he woke up. Instead, she paused at the exit and sat down in a half-crouch, blinking the fuzziness from her eyes and staring out into camp. It was strange for her to be so quiet, because usually when she entered a room she demanded the spotlight, directed all attention towards herself and hardly left space for anyone else. She liked talking, about mundane things or dark things or herself, she liked prodding and poking her nose into others' business, and it was difficult to get her to stop. But here, having been so close to death's door, having killed, in the midst of recovery, she let the quiet settle.
Kier had taken a noticeable interest in Oleanderpaw’s recovery — but that was to be expected. Favourites, nepotism, incitement by exclusion, by jealousy — that was how he ran things. That was how he created obsessive loyalty. Envy was a powerful motivator — and seeing a peer do better than you? Oh, that was unendurable. That was impossible to stomach. Friends turned on friends, and they never seemed to see that the only one truly benefitting was Kier. The one they were so desperate to please, the one who didn’t have to do anything but look down at them as they did precisely what he wanted them to do and thought themselves free. It didn’t matter that Oleanderpaw was only a Reporter, that she was the same Class as the sad little grey thing in the next nest over — she had become a favourite almost overnight, and that changed things. Now it was like being welcomed into some exclusive, old-world club, some Latin society at Yale accessible only by private, anonymous invitation — extra food if she wanted it; upward ascension; and the only price was keeping herself happy. If she was happy, Kier was happy — didn’t matter what that happiness looked like. It was a surprisingly weightless burden to wear; there were very few strings attached. And once you were in favour — truly in favour — it was difficult to fall out of it. That was what made it such a prized feast. The only problem was the steps it took to get there, because they were so utterly invisible — you didn’t know you’d done the right thing until you were in. Until the silence between you and Kier broke and he began to speak to you personally, one-on-one. And whatever Oleanderpaw had done, she had arrived. Kier liked her.
“And how is our brave soldier?” he greeted Oleanderpaw with a beaming, welcoming smile as he padded over from the vague direction of the nursery; even Pantherpaw hadn’t managed to put him in a bad mood. He paused briefly in front of her, sniffing at her neck wrappings like he were a sommelier tasting the notes of a wine, and then padded past, waving her in after him with his tail. “You’re up — good. It doesn’t do to sit around and mope; that’s why you’re the one I like. Back on your paws as soon as you’re able.” He turned back to face her and sat, giving her a smile. “Let’s have a look at that neck, mm?” His eyes had drifted down to the cobwebs across her throat; now they flicked back up to hers, smiling.
He wasn’t creepy with Oleanderpaw, never made a move on her — he liked her, he truly did, respected her even; and as much as he would cuckold the warriors and the Superiors, there was a line in the sand, and that line was his apprentices: if Bumblebeepaw liked Oleanderpaw, he truly didn’t interfere, just bowed and backed away and respected the next generations’ courtships. It was in his best interests, and often Kier seemed like a little matronly grandmother, encouraging dates and flirtations — and, down the line, kits. Relations between loyalists was always a good thing — a wonderful thing. And for that precise reason, Kier was never flirtatious himself; he presided over it, proud and as hands-off as they wanted, as they needed, always smiling like they were doing such good things independent of him. He always took a special interest in them, even if he was still aloof, purposefully untouchable — all things that ought to be revered were a little elusive. That was, until now. Now, as they grew older, he’d start to be a little more involved — and Oleanderpaw’s injuries had to be tended to by him. It was the finest way to begin a relationship, to properly introduce himself beyond the ominous leader. There were never any ‘my dear’s with her. Never any little’s.
Holding out a hesitant, slightly jerky paw, smiling eyes darting between her eyes and her throat, like he was asking for permission, he tenderly pawed away the gauze-like wrappings, peeling them away; they wadded themselves round his paw. As the half-healed wound was revealed, still wet and sticky in the centre, Kier let out a wincing hissing sound, like he was sympathising with how much pain she must be in. He was a wonderful healer, an inventive one with methods that would sent traditional medicine cats into fits of self-righteousness, and Oleanderpaw would heal — but the scar would linger. He was barely managing to stave off death, let alone infection; it must have stung unconscionably. “It’s a miracle you haven’t cried,” Kier joked, looking up at her with a crooked little grin; she was already a little larger than him. “I’d’ve cried. It’s certainly nasty. But you’ll be fine — there’s no doubt about that.” He sat back and smiled, wiping the bloodied cobwebs off his paws. “And what a story you’ll be able to tell your kits — a wound from a Nemesis before you even had your full name. Continue like this, Oleanderpaw, and you’ll have a place in my Royal Guard.” He smiled, gaze twinkling.
And then, standing suddenly, he turned and padded over to Twilightdance’s stores; nothing in NightClan was private property, nothing was off limits, nothing was owned. The medicine cat had no grounds to protest her former mentor helping himself to her herbs. Silence settled as he rooted about in the stores, hopping up on his hindlegs and feeling around with his forepaws when he couldn’t reach something, cheek pressed to the cold stone and eyes unseeing on the ceiling as he felt for what he needed. He never called them by their Clan names; they had Scottish names, or bland, scientific ones, or ones that sounded frightening. After a little while, he began to hum. Then, finally, with a few strong-smelling leaf wads in his jaws, he returned to Oleanderpaw, cheery and relaxed in the genuine way he only was with his favourite apprentices. Even his theatrical way of speaking eased. “You know, this is the first time you’ve been awake enough to actually help me out,” he laughed, soft and friendly as he took a seat in front of her. Every other time, he’d done his caretaking in silence and then left, ignoring the medicine cat beyond the odd barbed comment. Looking up from her throat, he smiled at Oleanderpaw. “Hold this, will you?” He held a wad of cobweb against one side of her throat until he was sure Oleanderpaw had it; then he removed his paw. “That part always has a tendency to bleed,” he told her as he held the end of a leaf under his paw and scraped his teeth up it to strip it; “must’ve been where he ended the bite.” He didn’t look up as he worked, his head turning slightly this way and that as he looked down at the herbs, focused and efficient; but the precise fact of how calmly he said he showed the tension. Those he didn’t like became nameless, and Bermondsey had been utterly stripped.
Letting the quiet settle again, just a leader caring for an apprentice, he worked in silence, the only sounds those of leaves shorn off stems and quiet efficiency. The cave had a way of muffling sound, of bringing you utterly to the present in front of you. Looking up, eyes focused only on her throat, he learned forward and wiped a damp, broad leaf, black with moisture or just from its life in the depths of the undergrowth, through the wound from left to right, cleaning away any lingering infection. Then, scooting closer as he eased the wad of cobweb from under Oleanderpaw’s paw and began to wind it around her neck, he looked up at her for the first time in what might have been fifteen minutes; it was so peaceful that it felt unnatural to break the quiet. Kier smiled up at her secretively, eyes unwavering, dropping his voice like they were just two girls gossiping. “So, forgive me for being curious,” he began, “but what’s this business with Bumblebeepaw?“ He gave her a crooked little grin; it felt truly warm, truly companionable, compared to his usual ones. “Do you like them? They’re a fine cat — you’d be a handsome pair. If you don’t snatch them up quick, someone else will.” There was nothing nasty about it, nothing crude — clearly he was rooting for them to be together, but he’d accept a no. There were other good options. He’d never force a partnership on one of his favourites like he would Duskpaw or another Inferior; they had the privilege to choose, and he was patient and generous. They had more to offer than just kits — they were important for themselves. But if they were to fancy each other, he couldn’t deny how happy that would make him.
At the sight of Kier making his way over, the direction from which he was coming from completely lost on her, Oleanderpaw perked up, but the movement sent a jolt of pain through her. And how is our brave soldier? She gave a bashful smile, so genuine yet so unlike her, and it only grew as his praise continued. She remembered a time where she hardly liked the leader, mostly for the uncanny look he seemed to have, but in the moons that he had been leader, she found herself drawn to the authority he carried, the properness, and she often found herself hanging on his words. His cruelty to Moonblight was entirely overlooked, she hardly questioned it anymore, even if she still considered the tom in an unhealthily good light, as a saviour. She used to hang on his every word, too.
When his paw reached out, hesistating for a moment before her wound dressings, she gave a quick, seamless nod, hardly noticeable, and let him unwrap it. The air that touched the wound was cold, and her skin felt clammy and itchy. In the moment of the fight, she hadn't registered that it was the Nemesis (she wasn't quite sure what he had looked like before, hardly heard his name at all, but now that he was nothing but a memory she couldn't help but feel he looked familiar), and in the moments after she hadn't been conscious enough to care, but now, as Kier spoke of her bravery, she felt a heat settle in her face. Usually, she took compliments in stride, expected them, but when it was this, when it was her leader, she found herself shying away. Humble was not something Oleanderpaw had known before. Continue like this, Oleanderpaw, and you’ll have a place in my Royal Guard. Her eyes widened with a sparkle.
"Y —" the words lodged in her throat, "You think?" They were raspy, too quiet, and painful to force out, but she couldn't be content to sit in silence, to not respond. "Do you think I've earned my name?" It was softly hopeful, because if she had her name, if she was promoted to Royal Guard, people would have no choice but to take her seriously.
Her amber eyes trailed him as he searched the stores, turning her whole body instead of just her head. She shuffled back when he returned, still matching his smile with one of her own. She lifted a paw to hold the cobweb, gave a hum of interest at his words and simply watched, wide-eyed, as he worked. "I want to get him back one day, give him a matching one." She said it lightly, like a joke, but there was an underlying determinedness to it, a confidence, as if she was sure she would get the chance. Not just for her, but for what he did to Leveretpaw. Her thoughts paused at that — when had she grown so protective of him? It wouldn't change how she talked to him, like he was a little stupid, with light insults that disguised a hidden affection that only she could manage, and she still thought of him as the lame, too-nice kit she had met him as, the idiot who had gotten them lost in the woods, but she never was as vile to him as she would be to anyone else like him. In anyone else, weakness was something to be preyed on, but with Leveretpaw she almost enjoyed his softness.
What’s this business with Bumblebeepaw? She stilled, smile falling briefly before she picked it back up again, gathering her words. What was her business with Bumblebeepaw? She wasn't quite sure herself. "Well. . ." she started, trailing off to think again, "I think I do. They're funny — cool, too — and I love the look of their rosettes." She giggled, but it was cut off halfway through. "Nothing official, yet." That, too, almost sounded hopeful.
Y—you think? “Mhm,” Kier confirmed with a warm, thin smile, eyes flicking up to her from where he was bent down towards her throat. “More than earned it, I would say — most of the sorry excuses for warriors here could only dream of accomplishing in a whole lifetime the things you’ve done before you’ve even reached adulthood.” Praise — he weeded out all his favourite apprentices' needs like a one-sided diagnosis, and she was starving for it. So was he. Really, they were similar in a whirlwind of ways; it was half of why he liked her so fervidly, so determinedly. He didn't like to nurture the ones who needed it, the ones who were like the kit he had been — small, afraid, unloved. He liked to nurture the ones who were already teetering on the brink of being beyond saving. They didn't scare him the way unbroken things did, didn't fill him with that desperate, itching, too-tight grief, like he couldn't get enough air. These ones were safe. It was a mercy to take these ones under his wing. There wasn't that hope that filled him with such fear.
I want to get him back one day, give him a matching one. His opinion of her only grew. “You’re not afraid?” he asked without looking up from his paws, damp from herb tinctures and slightly bloodied; by the way he said it, there was clearly a right answer — but there wasn’t any of the usual threat of displeasure in his voice; no, he already sounded pleased, because he was certain she’d answer the way he — the way they both — wanted to hear. “Truly, all my incompetent warriors ought to watch out — they have competition.” He looked up at her with a smile, just between them. His eyes drifted back down. “If your actions can match half your words, you have a bright future in NightClan — perhaps the brightest out of anyone. But I’d expect nothing less from one born outside the Clans.” He smiled up at her again, this time more conspiratorial, eyes pushed up slightly like they knew something the others didn’t. “We just do it better.” Still radiating warmth, his attention returned to covering her wound; he could have purposefully kept it a little drier than it ought to have been — without the moisture of a poultice, he could have ensured her wound healed scarred and jagged, could have ensured she had it there, an unflattering part through her fur, to keep her angry, to keep her determined. They could have been matching — two throat scars from two different sets of teeth, both League, both hateful, both haunting. But he didn’t. He knew she valued her looks, valued her fur — and so either out of a kindness he only held for his apprentices, or because he was hoping for her gratefulness, he kept it damp and helped it heal as best he could. “I know how this must have felt," was all he said, not looking up this time, his voice so casually personal despite the trauma of the memory. “Not being able to swallow round all the blood — it’s an awful feeling. The most awful one there is.” It had killed him where it hadn’t her; that was the unspoken ending. He had never told the story to anyone in the Clan but Laertes, and he wouldn’t now — it was a dangerous thing, to admit he was already one life down since the very morning he’d gotten them; even more dangerous to admit he’d never received the full number of lives they all expected he had — but there had been a tremendous amount of blood, and whispers had spread. Whispers that had somehow found their way to the edges of the truth.
As Oleanderpaw caved to speaking about Bumblebeepaw, sounding so bashful, Kier’s smile grew and stayed put, like he was validating the honesty of her confession with safe warmth; his eyes flicked up and down between her and his work every now and then, quiet and encouraging. “Yes, their rosettes are rather nice,” he agreed with a bubbling laugh, just tying the sticky ends of the cobweb into some semblance of a knot. It was almost endearing, if a little childish, the things that drew her to Bumblebeepaw — funny, cool. Kier again felt that glow of condescending affection for the pair. His only experience with genuine lovers’ love, with a deep bond, was Eris — and it was precisely because he couldn’t pinpoint one specific thing he liked about her, couldn’t pick out ’oh, she’s funny’ from the swirling things she made him feel, that he knew it was different. This was an apprentice crush, though they were no older than he had been when he fell for Eris, and the fact of it made even Kier’s heart warm with an almost protective fondness, like the world were so harsh a thing and they needed to be able to live out their shallow courtship, their necessary first experience with imperfect things. He had just gotten lucky with Eris.
It was clear Kier was pleased — his smile only grew as she continued, turning to a little grin at her giggle like he was encouraging it or just swept up in it himself, eyes focusing on hers as he finished his work and sat back; the wrapping sat damp against her fur with a sort of primal, jungle-and-wilderness beauty, so different to the bland efficiency of Clan-trained medicine cats. But either he was putting conscious effort into not being disarming, or this was his more natural way of being, because he blinked regularly instead of staring. “And would you like it to be?” he asked round that warm little grin, so heartening, eyes twinkling; there was no unsupportive nay-saying, not even any clear pressure — it was like he was just invested in young love, like he was grinning along so understandingly, so faintly teasingly, with what was written between the lines, with the things everyone else could see even if they couldn't. Or, that was what he wanted her to feel — that it was inevitable. “Official?”
Mhm. She gave a low squeal, painful but not pained, and her smile, all teeth, only brightened as he continued. Kier was praising her — her — and it was everything she'd ever wanted, the admiration of someone so powerful, telling her everything she'd ever wanted to hear, about how great she was, how brave, how much better she was. Bravery came easily. At least, she paraded it as bravery — she was rash, impulsive, she disregarded consequence and always dove into things head first, said whatever was on her mind because she believed herself untouchable, and it all came off as an unwavering bravery. When faced with the dark, or rejection, or spiders, or getting lost, was when it all faded.
You’re not afraid? She giggled quietly, "no — never." Her bright eyes fixated on him, watched his every move, sparkling as stars. It was easy to build her up, to make her confidence skyrocket and her ego inflate, and it was just as easy to knock her down. Her self-worth weighed so heavily on the opinions of others, it was the one thing she sought more than anything and the one thing she would do almost anything to get — respect — and to hear such words of affirmation pour out of the leader's mouth, the one who had brought all of Nightclan to their knees and changed it so much in such a short amount of time, who had waged war against the League, it made Oleanderpaw feel invincible. She was giggly, drunk on it, the tinges of pain from her neck hardly noticeable anymore. She would, of course, be telling everyone what Kier had told her the moment she stepped out of the medicine-cat's den for good. We just do it better. She nodded. Nobody ever brought up the fact she was an outsider, not when so many others were, and yet it still had always found a way to drag her down, make her feel othered. She thought about the life she could have lived often, with her mother, whoever she was, and she couldn't tell whether she grieved it or hated the very idea. Outsider had never been something good or bad, but now it was good, only good.
"Really it's. . . it's fuzzy," she gave another laugh, half-hearted. Her gaze found the faded, jagged scar at his neck, but she didn't mention it, not yet. Her eyes still lingered.
When Bumblebeepaw had been brought up, she looked almost thoughtful, slightly warm but not entirely smitten, but love had never been something she truly knew, not from a parent, not from a lover — from a friend, perhaps something more, but she'd only just started considering her and Leveretpaw friends. She didn't quite know the extent she cared for him. She could say she would drop him at the snap of a finger, at the prospect of cooler, stronger friends, and yet she wasn't entirely confident she would, she wasn't sure she could. Bumblebeepaw was the cooler, stronger friend, and she was supposed to like cooler, stronger cats. They would make a cute couple, wouldn't they? According to Kier, she was one of the bravest, best apprentices, and she knew he liked Bumblebeepaw for similar reasons. Power couple, they would be.
"It would be nice," she hummed, small and still broken, but pleasant nonetheless. "I'm just not sure how to ask them."
He grinned blithely at her squeal; he really did like her — she was so free with her reactions, so earnest and delightfully shallow. For all his talk, there were few things he liked more than a mean girl. "Never?" Kier echoed around an indulgent little grin, standing and wandering over to a salty pool of water to wash his paws. He looked at her over his shoulder all the while. Blood melted away from his black fur in delicate lattices. "I wish I had an ounce of the courage you have — really, I put on a good show but I'm quite terrified half the time." He smiled. Really it's. . . it's fuzzy. He turned back to his paws, scrubbing the backs of them a little more harshly before stepping back and flicking water droplets from them. "A mercy, then," he replied kindly. "No one needs to remember such a terrible thing. You can learn from the aftermath without dwelling on the horror." He smiled back at her. The sleekness of the water shone on the fur of his legs, glistening in the pale light and making the blacker-on-black look like he was wearing little socks. He padded back to Oleanderpaw, his damp pads collecting a fine layer of dust and grit, and sat down to groom his paws, drawing his left one over his ears and half closing his eyes. He never liked to do such undignified things in public — he was of the rather odd opinion that distinctly animal things, things like using one's tongue on one's own fur, were beneath him, too vulgar, too unsophisticated and undignified; he was all about the base things, the deeply instinctual things, the things that were all body and flesh and mouth, but he was also deeply invested in stoking a sort of legend around himself, in all the things he did when he went to the stone circle in the middle of the night, and it was only growing stronger and stronger the longer he was in power — but for Oleanderpaw, he'd let the little wall down. She wouldn't tell, and it was good for her to see him on a personal level. His favourites didn't need to see him as a god the way the others did.
I’m just not sure how to ask them. He stopped his cleaning as soon as she spoke, looking up and setting his paw down with an attentive smile. It only grew, understanding and indulgent and sympathetic, as she went on. “Well, you know, many cats in NightClan have picked up this silly belief that the she-cat oughtn’t to be the one to ask the tom — I really don’t prescribe to that at all. Only a weak tom likes a she-cat with no fight in her — insignificant ones, you know, it’s well and good for them to be demure, but the ones that really matter, everyone wants a bit of spice. Consequently, Oleanderpaw, if you asked anyone else, I’m sure they’d say you ought to wait for Bumblebeepaw to ask — they’ve internalised something I said in passing, I don’t know, or they think it’ll please me. Maybe Bumblebeepaw thinks it, too. Silly, really. No.” He tapped her paw lightly with his own like he was scolding the very notion, far too brief to be anything but companionable; he held it up for a moment as he continued, like he was saying now here’s the part to really pay attention to. “A bit of boldness, a bit of disdain to show the tom you really don’t need him at all — that’s the ticket. And I think you’ll be rather good at that.” He gave her an approving little grin. Then, as he continued, he became more efficient, standing and sorting the herbs back into little piles; as he spoke, he padded back to the stone shelves and eased them back into their proper places, resting on his back paws. “Bumblebeepaw could have the pick of any she-cat — or tom —,” he glanced over his shoulder at her with a knowing little grin, then went back to his work, “in the Clan; but all that fawning, all that eagerness, it wears thin remarkably quickly. They all blur together.” The dismissiveness in this voice, the distaste that sounded like a shaking head — it was clear he was talking from experience.
But as he continued, still sorting herbs into the stone nooks, the confident, nonchalant, encouraging cheer returned. “What you need is to show them how above it all you are, how little interest you have in them — that’s how you stand out. A she-cat to be a bit afraid of,” he gave an exaggerated shiver, “ooh, it drives a tom craaazy. No one’s immune to it, to the appeal of the untouchable. It never does well to throw yourself at someone — and with your talents, your natural wit and charm, you shouldn’t have to.” He smiled back at her again, twisting round from where he still faced the shadowy herb stores. Water trickled somewhere. “Cats should be begging for a scrap of Oleanderpaw’s attention.” Not the other way around, was the kindly, smiling, unspoken addition. Through it all, he was nothing but friendly, like he really did just want to get her off to a winning start — no ulterior motives, no creepiness; he was just a leader giving a bit of benign dating advice to a favourite apprentice with no expectation of anything in return. Her happiness — that was all he wanted!
boy talk with the tyrant!!! are you telling me a QUEER CODED THIS VILLAIN