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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yeah listening to TV by billie eilish was a mistake, i was crying at uni writing this <3 goldcrest
The promotions had been a sad thing for Brat. She didn’t like change. Her whole life had been stagnation and rot and immobilisation, and yet she did — she hated things ending. Things starting. People might have thought otherwise; she was so boisterous, so forward. But the fact was, as miserable as her heart fundamentally was, she was also fundamentally happy. She had so little, and when that was all you’ve ever known, that lent itself well to happiness. A monk’s happiness. And people leaving… Nothing broke her heart quite so much as that. Growing up was one of the worst things she’d ever done. It was part of why she was so happy her father was so young — with youth on top of extra lives, he might be there for as long as she was. She might be one of the few children who didn’t have to bury their parent. He was a monster to others, but he was her dad to her. And she needed him. She needed every single cat in NightClan — every Executioner with their horrible eyes, every Reporter with their slimy voices, every Inferior with their fear, every Royal Guard with their arrogance. She needed every ghoul and every villain. She’d never gotten on with Oleandercurse — but she needed her. She hardly knew Rosecascade, beyond whatever odd family they were now — but she needed her.
And she needed Duskpaw.
And now they were all leaving. She sat there in the apprentice den, the only still one amid a whirlwind of movement, as they packed their things and went. As the den slowly emptied. Nests that had been full for moons, nests that smelled a certain way because someone specific was meant to sleep in them — now they’d just be cleared out by the Inferiors. The warmth of the den, the closeness, the familiar noise; it all leaked out into the main cavern on their heels and left her cold. Brat sat there in her nest in the middle of the den, and she felt empty. Slowly, she turned her head to look at where Duskhaunting was packing her own bedding. Surely she didn’t want to leave, she thought. Though her apprenticeship had been miserable, it was still safe and warm and familiar here, populated by cats who mattered to NightClan — they were bullies, but there was safety in living in a den of them. Now she was moving into adulthood despair, into a den where half the cats wouldn’t be here next week, next month. This had been a place of immense hope and potential — a place of the future. The den she was moving into was a place of the dying past and the suffering present. It was bleak and lonely. And compared to that, even a dorm room you’d been so bitterly unhappy in, shared with mean girls and jocks, became a thing of aching childhood nostalgia. These walls they were unpinning posters and pretty postcards from the Art Gallery from were familiar ones; this bedding was always made by the same person, and it wouldn’t be in the next place; that spot on the ceiling you’d looked at night after night held such an unexpected love when it was the last time you’d see it.
Silently, Brat drifted over to Duskhaunting and fell in close beside her, turning her head to give her a sad little smile. Then, head down and listless, with movements slower and graver than they needed to be, she turned back to the moss and helped the new warrior roll it up. As she worked, she thought of stopping. She thought of reaching out in the warm, close darkness and placing her paw atop Duskhaunting’s and rolling the bedding back out. Asking her to stay for just one more night without a word. The moss would have been made plumper and softer by the attention; she could have stepped into it, sunk into it, stayed there with her for just a few more hours and denied reality and pretending she wouldn’t have to move out once the moon came up. But she didn’t. She stayed silent. She stayed silent, and she helped Duskhaunting finish packing her few things, and she stood at the den entrance and smiled and watched her go. And when she was gone, Brat turned slowly and padded back to her nest which she’d drawn a little closer to Leveretpaw’s, and crouched down with a breath. That part of her childhood was over. The part of her childhood that had had someone else’s childhood in it. Leveretpaw tried to catch her eye to smile at her, tried to cheer her up, but beyond a faint smile back, Brat just settled down, lying there with her nose pushing into the moss and her eyes peeking out over the top of it, and felt her heart throb.
Until finally, when everyone else was asleep and the cavern was full of soft snores, she stood and crept out of the den. The stone floor of the main cavern was cold under her pawpads; water trickled into the cenote in the silence; from her father’s den, she heard low, warm voices and his occasional laugh; but everything else was still and dark and frozen in time. Brat took a moment to just stand there and look around. It already felt smaller than it had when she was a kit, but it felt no less like home. And yet that wasn’t quite true, because it felt more like home. Nothing changes a home like growing up, and this one Brat clung to with everything her heart had in it. Every groove in the rock, the way every seventh drop from the ceiling splashed and rippled the exact same way in the pool of water, the familiar smell — she was one of NightClan’s few youth to whom this was completely, utterly home. This wasn’t a frightening place; this wasn’t something she had come to — this was home the same way somewhere you baked biscuits as a child was home. This was warmth to her. Finally, blinking away a sudden surge of grief, she shook her head and padded on silent paws into the warrior’s den.
She’d been in here once or twice, trailing a warrior inside as she chattered, but never when it was full. Soft chests rose and fell; the air was warm and thick with sleep. Even monsters looked sweet like this. It took her a little while to locate Duskhaunting; for a minute Brat just stood there half inside the den, looking around over the sleeping bodies with a strange growing panic — because what if she wasn’t here? Could she not be? Had she not come here? Had she been gotten rid of? But finally, she found her. At the edge of the den where she always was. Nothing had changed; she was just as out of place here as she had been in their old den. Chest deflating around the liquid relief, she picked her way over to her, passing cat after cat — and then, without a word, she crawled into her nest beside her. She didn’t say a word, but she hoped her scent was familiar enough that she didn’t startle her. Sinking down into the moss like she was hiding herself, their sides pressed together, Brat turned her head, fur brushing against the moss and making a faint rustle, to smile at her in the dark — a smile that held some degree of her usual mischievousness, tinged with reassurance. The air was hot with their breaths between them. For the first time since the ceremony, Brat’s heart began to loosen.
They needed one final night of teenage-ness before Duskhaunting became an adult. One more night in their boarding school dorm, in spirit if not in place.
The nest was really too small for them both, but it was thick and warm and safe, and as Brat’s body began to relax and melt into it, it began to feel like home again. Head still turned to face her, cheek resting on the edge of the moss, Brat gave her another small smile. “I’m sorry for how my dad treats you,” she breathed, trying not to wake the sleeping warriors around them. “But it’s nice, the name he gave you. There’s prob’ly something mean about it, but it sounds pretty. Regal, like. A real macabre lady, like from a ghost story.” The warm, soft smile was still on her face. “Duskhaunting,” she whispered, breath fanning. The smile stretched into a little grin, muzzles close together. “I like it.” She already knew what her own name would be because she’d had it since birth. There was never any fun, never any mystery. So if she hated promotions, she at least liked that: finding out the end to the puzzle. Being able to give a little nod and an ‘oh.’ She liked that.
It seemed that, after the ceremony, Duskhaunting had existed in a cloud, the world foggy and unclear and numb. She thumbed over the events of it in her mind as though she were trying to read a book but the words were unclear, and no matter how much she focused they didn't make sense. Everything happened in an illusory sequence, as though she were floating from one event to the next: leave the cavern, pack up her bedding, move it, lay down. With each mocking congratulations, Duskhaunting, shot her way, she only sunk deeper into the feeling. There was something of a union between Rosecascade and Ratsneer, and part of her knew what that meant, part of her feared it, part of her felt angry about it, but in her state of apathy she couldn't bring herself to feel any of it, she couldn't bring herself to care. It was just something that had happened, another indiscernible word on the page. She would feel it later, she knew, and she would feel it intensely, because when the emotion was blocked it simply didn't disappear — it festered, it grew, and she knew all too well what happened when her emotions grew. All she could muster was the thought that it would all happen later, another time, when she wasn't so drawn and tired and floaty.
She rolled up her bedding on autopilot, silent as Brat worked with her, giving only a faint, empty smile in her direction. She would appreciate that later, too. The two sat in solemn silence, and it almost felt like a funeral — and perhaps it was a loss, Duskhaunting leaving. She didn't know what to expect as a warrior, she wasn't sure what, if anything, would be different, and she didn't know if things would get worse. As an apprentice, inferior or not, there was something to hope for, there was a certain, untapped potential, there was something that could change because apprentices in Nightclan were the generation that Kier looked towards the most. The warriors were either those few who got promoted or they were the cats from the older time, lost causes. As a warrior, everything felt cemented. You were what you were, it didn't change, there was no hope for something better. When Duskhaunting unrolled her nest in the warriors' den, in the most solitary corner she could find, as far away from everyone as she could manage, squished up against the wall, the feeling only expanded, feeling encompassing and almost, almost, overwhelming.
Curled up, her nose tucked into the moss, her eyes trailed along the sleeping bodies around her, awake but burning. She was exhausted, she wanted to sleep, but she didn't think she could. The numbness hadn't quite passed, but her thoughts were beginning to flow again, like someone had kicked the engine of her brain to get it working. When Brat entered the den, she was shrouded in shadows, and for a moment, just a brief moment, she looked like Kier. A deep, inky black, wide, tall ears, glinting eyes, and Duskhaunting froze. But it was silly, unreasonable, because Kier wouldn't just waltz into the warriors den, not this early. As the figure approached, she realized quickly who it actually was, though she didn't say a word as Brat stopped beside her nest and crawled in alongside her, only shifted and lifted her arm to give her what meager space remained. Her breath was warm, chasing away the coldness Duskhaunting had felt since leaving the ceremony. She found herself focusing again, on the comfort. I’m sorry for how my dad treats you. She blinked, eyes wide and sad, and then shifted her head so it rested once more on the rim. She let Brat's words wash over her, and they were clear, a break in the fog. Perhaps, it she tried hard enough, she could find the name nice like Brat did. But all it served as of now was a reminder, a badge of dishonour, a mark of shame. It was a reminder of everything she was, a traitor and a punching bag, and everything she wasn't.
"I'm sorry for how he treats you, too," she whispered, and then she gave a light smile, small and pleasant. "But, you think? I suppose it does sound nice." She still didn't see it, but she would let herself be strung along for the off-chance that she might. "What are you doing here?" It wasn't accusatory, it was soft and kind and concerned, and she shifted closer.
Brat shrugged, one shoulder lifting slightly against Duskhaunting’s side. “It’s fine,” she whispered back, that little forced-carefree wall rising back up an inch, “— parents are s’posed to be mean to their kids, I think. It’s only when they’re mean to someone else’s that it’s bad. Anyway, he’s not bad all the time. Sometimes he’s really nice. It’s just now with…” Her eyes wandered to the side in the dark, casting her a slow, guilty look. “With your sister’s new kits, he doesn’t have much time for me anymore.” To lighten the sentiment, she gave the new warrior a soft little shove, the teasing smile returning — she was here to cheer her up, not to air her own problems. She never aired those — she couldn’t, not with her siblings who needed her, not with the expectations upon her that even being the self-proclaimed family disappointment couldn’t shake, not with who her father was. “Hey, what does that make us? If your sister is the mum of my half-siblings… And she’s, like, a tiny bit my step mum… Does that make you, like, my aunt-in-law? That’s so weird.” She laughed, trying to stay quiet in the dark, but it was hard — everything about her was loud. It dissolved into a smile a few moments later; the warmth of their two bodies felt like liquid sunlight between them, starting to melt into the nest. But, you think? “My name is LITERALLY Brat,” she laughed again. “Yours is so beautiful compared to mine.” She grinned; she wasn’t comparing their suffering, she was just making light of both. “It gets to the point where, like, everyone gets so used to my name that they forget it has a meaning but it’s LITERALLY BRAT!!” After a second, she added, with another wiggling grin and a roll of her shoulder against Duskhaunting, “suits me though, I guess.”
In a way, Brat was always called by her last name; even Duskhaunting seemed to have let Royalpaw fade away and gotten used to the same habit everyone else had. She was always just Brat, to everyone, all the time. She wished her dad would call her ‘my girl’ or ‘angel’ like he did his new daughters, but he didn’t; when he addressed her, it was almost always in a shout. She didn’t know Kier felt more deep, genuine, lasting love for her than he did for his new little trophies, his new prizes. Didn’t know that he valued the time they spent together just as much as she did; didn’t take the fact he’d given up the opportunity to finally be free of his mother to save her to mean anything more than family responsibility; didn’t know that their strange, unexpected bond was just as dear to Kier as it was to her. To her, she had been replaced. And it made it so strange to lie here with Duskhaunting now. One was the daughter of the king, bastard or not; she loved him, and she always would. No matter what, no matter what he did to Duskhaunting and her family, she’d love the tyrant. The other was that king’s unwilling court jester, made to have rotting fruit thrown at and be laughed about loud enough for her to hear. They were as different as could be.
What are you doing here? She smiled, forcing herself to look up from where her head had drifted into a bow as she gave into thought. “Lying next to you, nitwit,” she whispered back, leaning over slightly to bump her cheek softly against the other she-cat’s. When she shifted closer, Brat did the same, until there was no space left between them; everything was moss and warmth and them. “I came to say goodbye. Keep you company. Something like that — whichever one you need, that’s what I’m doing. I thought you might be lonely.” In the dark, as she gazed at Duskhaunting, she could see her better out of left eye than out of her right; her blown pupil took in more light than her shrunken one. It was an odd sensation, like the warrior was brighter, more defined, more detailed, on the left, and on the right she was in shadow — like she was wearing sunglasses only on one eye. She knew it must have been the same for Kier, but he’d never mentioned it to her, and she’d never asked; he was very good at pretending to everyone else that there was absolutely nothing about himself that warranted any concern or thought, at laughing things off and steamrolling over them even if he’d actually spent hours walking back and forth, back and forth, over an area to get a feel for it before anyone else arrived, just in case he tripped. Brat’s smiled softened. “And I know what that’s like. You don’t have to grow up until the moon rises in an hour. We have a little more time. And we’ll spend it together.”
She just gazed at her for a moment, like she wanted to say something else but was warring with herself, like it was right there on her tongue but she wasn’t letting it out. Finally, when she spoke again, there was something vulnerable in her voice that was so rarely there — something so fragile and hopeful and sad and quiet. It was little more than a breath, so much more delicate than the whispers of before. “What was it like? Having a mum?” It was selfish to ask, to want to live vicariously for a moment at the expense of someone who had just buried her mother, but she was Kier’s daughter — selfishness ran in her blood. She wished, insanely, just for a moment, that she could have been born in Duskhaunting’s stead — but what would that have solved? It seemed worse, from where she was looking, to have loved a mother and lost her than to have never known her at all. And what she’d heard hadn’t been kind. Some passing gold digger. But still… her mother. Her mama.