Meeting the Babies
Outside of the nursery, the dark Riverclan warrior, Otterfoot, paced with uncertainty. It had happened. Angel... Angelfeather now... was inside the bush with her kittens. There were five babies, and Otterfoot felt like an anxious tom. She didn't know if she wanted to go in now or wait. It's not like she had any obligation to these kits, but she felt such a protectiveness over their mother now. She knew sooner or later she would have to meet the offspring of her friend.
After countless time waiting and pacing around camp, she finally stood at the entrance of the nursery and took a deep breath. She plunged her head inside, then took a couple steps. Her eyes adjusted to the layered sunlight that filtered through the thick bush. The nursery was located inside of a scrub that was mostly hollow inside. Upon looking around, Otterfoot saw her friend, and she saw the small lives at her belly. The dark tabby's bright orange eyes rounded into orbs as she took in the sight. Five small, perfect kits nestled in the crook of Angelfeather's belly. When she spoke, her voice was a little cracked. "Angelfeather.. they are beautiful..."
All day, faint scents of her dark friend wafted into the nursery, getting Angelfeather's hopes up, only to be dashed when she lender entered. "Perhaps she's busy..."
the thought to herself as she looked down at her kits. "Or maybe she doesn't want to see them..."
They were cute! Why wouldn't she want to see her perfect, beautiful children?! She blinked then calmed herself down by grooming herself, then her kits. "Maybe she's just not ready."
That was her final conclusion on the matter, so she waited patiently.
When Otterfoot finally came in, it immediately brightened Angelfeather's day. "It's about time," she mewed quietly yet happily. And hearing what she said next made her feel a surge of pride. "Aren't they...? Come on, come closer. It's a little dark in here, so I want you to see and welcome them all into the family." If she had a tail, it would be flicking around happily right then.
She wasted no time introducing them- her voice bubbly with excitement and pride, as if she was showing off a collection of rare jewels. "This tom here was first born, his name is Amber kit. I love how his little tush is white! Isn't he cute? It's like someone forgot to continue painting on his ginger coat." She laughed softly mad the continued on to the next kit, "And look at this one; he looks a lot like you- well, Redwave, but still. I was thinking about you when I named him; wanna try guessing it? You get one clue. He's named after another cute fluffy brown animal that's not an otter." She winked playfully.
All those moons of carrying these little burdens had dowsed the she-cat's once vivacious personality, but now that they were here, she didn't feel so alone and for the first time in a long time, she felt truly happy. And it was obvious as well; she got that playful spark back. "I believe Mini-me was born next, but by then I was so drugged by poppy seeds that I don't really remember," she admitted sheepishly before turning to look at a little kit that look nearly identical to her, with the exception of stripes. "I decided to give her my old name, Cookie... With kit at the end of course. And then next was her sister, Fizzykit. She reminds me of this bubbly brown water two legs drink- I believe it's called 'cream soda' and it fizzes. And even as a baby, I can tell that she'll be a handful." She continued smiling and laughing, right up until she got to the last kit. Her face said it all; there was confusion as well as dislike and remorse. Just a messy mix before she looked at Otterfoot with a bit of a heavy heart. "The darkest one, the tom... He's the youngest. And I... I'm pretty sure Shadesong's the father..." She whispered quietly, just to make sure absolutely no one would hear this aside from Otterfooot. She had already told the she-cat her secret, and now that they were here, she just wanted to let her know who was whose. "I think most of them are Redwave's... I mean, they all have stripes, so that's a good sign. Shadesong had spots, so I'm not so sure if Squirrel and Match are Redwave's... But Squirrel looks just like his father... Haha, and so does Match." She shifted a little uncomfortably at the subject, but even with that tiny movement, made little Squirrelkit flop over.
Angelfeather's face lined with worry as she tried helping him latch back on, but she was still new at this, so she would need Dewsplash's help since Squirrelkit was the hardest one to feed. Though, it was a blessing in disguise, considering that it didn't leave her much time to fret over her kits paternity.
Otterfoot knew she had taken too long to come inside, but her hesitance had no malice. Still, she couldn't deny the wonderful sight of the kits. She took a few steps closer at Angelfeather's encouragement.
Amberkit. Otterfoot looked down at the first born and gave him a quick sniff. All of the kits smelled like Angel, milk, and even a faint scent of Riverclan. Amberkit was strong looking with the beginnings of a fluffy coat. Otterfoot didn't say it, but she wondered how well a fluffy cat would do in Riverclan's waters. Then again, the kit could grow out of the fluffy stage very easily.
The warrior turned to the next kit. "Only one hint?" She gave a slight grin and thought about it for a moment. "Beaverkit?" She gave a light laugh. "But they aren't really fluffy. I'm going guess Squirrelkit." She said with finality. Upon closer inspection of the second kit, Otterfoot wondered if he was ok. He didn't move as much as the other kits and when he did it was in a strange way. It seemed like he was having a hard time kneading Angel's stomach. A slight look of concern flicked then left Otterfoot's features.
Otterfoot gave a chuckle to Angel's poppy seed comment. She had been on them once before, and she understood. "Cookiekit will grow up to be a beautiful cat, just like her mother." She said the words matter-of-fact, then blushed after she said them. She tried to continue with her comments gracefully. Otterfoot didn't know what 'cream soda' was, but she nodded as though it made since. Fizzykit was already a squirmy child, nudging her siblings and causing a little scene and Otterfoot smiled at the sight.
Her vision fell to the last kit, and then to Angel's face. Angel's emotions were clear and Otterfoot felt sad for her friend. She reached over to the dark kit and gave him a lick on the head. "You know Angel, he kind of looks like me too." The warrior's tufted ears flicked back as she gave a funny face that resembled a kit who's eyes weren't open yet. "Do you see the resemblance?" Otterfoot's sun eyes flicked back open and she once again wondered if there was something wrong with the kit who fell over.
Angelfeather couldn't help the deep rumbling purr that reverberated in her chest. She felt so happy and content! Otterfoot seemed pretty impressed by her kits; almost as if they were related to her or something. Well, maybe she and Redwave were related...? She never asked, and they both were tabbies... Oh StarClan, that would be so awkward! Her lip jutted out in a thoughtful pout before she piped up, "Hey, you and Redwave wouldn't happen to be related, would you?"
She nodded happily, "Only one! Hm... I've never seen a beaver before. So nope! Ah yes~! I can't believe you guessed it so quickly." She laughed a little, though, once she noticed that slight look of concern, she felt her heart drop down to her stomach. So Otterfoot noticed as well...? Surely it can't be that bad! He's just a kit, he can grow out of it... Angelfeather shifted a little to shelter her son protectively.
The she-cat blushed brightly at Otterfoot's comment, but she just ended up smiling and laughing quietly, "I think she'll turn out even more beautiful, since she'll have all her legs and a tail, not only that, but stripes too~! I wonder if she'll have my eyes?" She said happily; it didn't matter to her, so long as she was healthy... She found herself glancing at Squirrelkit again.
Angelfeather smiled once more when the other she-cat seemed to approve of her daughters; it was a bit of a relief to be honest. If Otterfoot gave her approval, then the rest of the clan would, right? At least, that's what she hoped for. "Hey Otterfoot? Do you think they'll be treated alright in the clan...?" She finally asked. She didn't see why not, but still... Not everyone liked kittypets or their children. But it's not their fault!
"He does?" She asked, sounding a little shocked, but after witnessing that face the tabby made, she couldn't help but snicker and giggle until she was out-right laughing, "Well~! When you pull a face like that, I'm sure you could make any kit look like you." It brought her spirits back up, and soon she said playfully, "Well, if anyone asks, then I'll just say you're the father, kay?" she joked with a wink while sticking her tongue out slightly. But after a moment, her brow furrowed as she huffed, "It's not anyone's business anyway. Besides... It's not like Shadesong is a bad cat... In fact, I hope Matchkit turns out like his father in every way possible." She mewed before glancing at the dark tabby. She couldn't help but think of how handsome he'll become in the future; she just prayed he wouldn't make the same decisions his parents made...
"Hmm..." She looked concerned as she shifted and tried her best to get in a position that would work for Squirrelkit and the rest, but that didn't seem to be happening... "Do you think you could get the medicine cat, or his apprentice...? I'm still not sure how to feed Squirrelkit yet and I don't want the poor thing starving..." The she-cat sounded forlorn; what kind of mother couldn't even feed her child? "Sorry to ask you... I mean, unless you want to watch them while I go get him? They'd probably get really fussy considering they're nursing now..." And mewling kits isn't going to warm any hearts like it did when they were first born.
"Related? Well no, I don't think so." Otterfoot gave a puzzled look. She didn't think she was related to Redwave. No one in her family looked like him that she knew of. She brushed the idea off with a shrug of her shoulders.
Otterfoot thought about her answer to Angel's concern. Sometimes kits born to kittypets had a rough life, but Redwave was a warrior of Riverclan and his clanmates respected him. "I think your kits will turn out alright as long as they uphold the warrior code and work hard for the clan." The tabby nodded to emphasis her thoughts.
Otterfoot blushed at the comment of fatherhood. She felt that any cat should be proud to be the father of Angel's kits. Finally, however, the dark cat decided to ask bluntly about Squirrelkit. "Is that little kit alright? The one you named after the fluffy forest animal. " Otterfoot spoke the words frankly but with concern as well. "I will go get the medicine cat apprentice if you would prefer that."
"Oh, good! W-well, um... not good necessarily, just... I was just curious is all, since you're both tabbies is all." She smiled sheepishly and inside felt a little relieved. So, she wasn't interested in the father of her kits' sister or anything like that. That would be... tough.
Her ears perked attentively as she watched the she-cat and listened to her advice; she greatly valued her advice, so with a meek smile, she nodded. "That's true; I'll be sure to teach them to live by it! T-though... Ahaha... I might need a little review as well." Her cheeks went a little rosy from embarrassment. The only time she had heard about the warrior code extensively was the first time she met Redwave many moons ago.
Angelfeather grinned mischievously when she embarrassed Otterfoot, but as soon as the she-cat brought up Squirrelkit, that demeanor quickly faded. Her lip quivered a bit as tears began to bubble and blur part of her vision. Quickly she looked down at him and murmured shakily, "I-I don't know... I don't know what to do Otterfoot, I'm scared I'm going to lose him...! I love all my kits, I wanna see them become warriors, b-but..." She sniffled and then gently touched her tiny brown tabby with her nose. "I don't know what to do... What if he doesn't make it? It would be my fault... I'm the mother after all...!" Carefully, she picked him up and moved him up between her paws so she could begin grooming him to soothe herself. As long as she could feel him breathing, she'd be alright. "I... think something might be wrong with his legs..." She finally voiced her concerns. She didn't want to tell anyone that she birthed kits that weren't able to become warriors. And whether it was her fault or Redwave's, she didn't know, but she felt responsible considering she was the one that carried them for those two moons, and she was the one taking care of them. "W-Well... He's not so fussy right now, so he mustn't be very hungry... I think we'll be okay without him, but once Squirrelkit starts squeaking, I'll need your help in getting him."
Otterfoot leaned down and touched her nose to the top of Amberkit's head. "I'll do my best to teach them all too." Her orange eyes returned to Angelfeather and she added, "I'll teach you too, if you want. But the elders may help even more than me. They love to ramble about the code " She gave a light laugh.
Otterfoot's tabby features twisted with concern for Squirrelkit. Something was definitely odd about the kit, and the warrior had never seen anything like it before in her life. But the warrior didn't want to worry Angelfeather any more than was necessary. "Well, I'm sure everything will work out. After all, if his mother can become a warrior with three legs and no tail, then he should be able to even with a leg problem." Otterfoot hoped she was right. The she-cat remembered when her sister twisted her paw in the undercurrent of the river. It had been a slow recovery, and life could be rough for a cat who couldn't use their front paws. Right now though, it was more important for Squirrelkit to learn to nurse.
The sturdy she-cat let her belly brush the ground as she tucked her front paws under her tan fur. "I know the clan will help out if he needs it." She spoke affirmatively.
She smiled softly and happily, her eyes closing as she nodded her head approvingly, "I couldn't think of a better mentor- that reminds me! When they're old enough, do you think I could request you to mentor one of my kits? I think you'd make a wonderful teacher, Otterfoot." She said sincerely as she peeked at the tabby warrior. "Heehee~ I'll be sure to visit them soon then," she replied happily.
Angelfeather wasn't so much convinced, her head dipping a little as she frowned at the ground, "Well... I think I only became a warrior just because I was carrying Redwave's kits..." She stated softly, hoping Otterfoot wouldn't be surprised by her revelation, if it was one. This was just Angelfeather's thoughts on the matter; she wasn't much of a fighter, so really her only skill was fishing, and even that wasn't so great. The queen glanced down at her little kittens, looking over each and every one before setting her gaze on Squirrelkit, the kit closest to her paws. Once again, she shifted then tried to find a spot for him where she could easily reach him and readjust him if he needed to be, but it seemed like that was taken. Without much of a second thought, she removed Matchkit and set him aside to better attend to Squirrelkit. Like the medicine cat had shown her, she pawed at her own belly to get the milk flowing and soon the noisy kitten was quieted again.
With a soft yet tired sigh, she nodded, "I would hope so. Clans... They're like families, aren't they?" It was a soothing thought. So soothing, that she even began to doze off... Because, let's face it, how much sleep could she have gotten with five newborns constantly squeaking and vying for her attention? And now that the noisiest one was taken care of, she couldn't help herself from nodding off. However, that left Matchkit searching for his mother's warm belly, seeing as how she was so preoccupied with Squirrelkit, it seemed like he was forgotten. The dark kit clumsily bumbled over to Otterfoot where his head blindly bumped against her paw, only to rest there for a moment and mewl out a tiny squeak.
"Of course, I'd be happy..." Otterfoot started to reply when she noticed her friend beginning to seem sad again. "Oh, no Angelfeather. I don't think Echostar would have allowed you to stay if all you were good for was having kits. I really don't." Otterfoot's orange eyes noticed as her friend pushed the dark little kit aside and Otterfoot felt uneasy. She kind of liked the little kit already and she wondered if her friend's unease towards the kit was greater than she let on.
Watching Angel's head dip down in sleep, Otterfoot felt slightly relieved. She was just really tired; that was all. There couldn't be a hidden distaste towards her kit, right? Otterfoot shook her head slightly, throwing that idea away. When the tumbling, blind kit fell towards her, Otterfoot gave a surprised expression with wide eyes and tufted ears standing tall. "Oh!" She said quietly, " Shush, Matchkit. You'll wake your mother." The warrior bent down and gave the dark kit a few licks on his head to calm him down. "There's no need to fuss." She whispered then she picked up the hungry kit in her mouth and placed him down beside Angelfeather's belly. The kit began to suckle and Otterfoot felt relieved.
After replacing the kit, the warrior padded quietly towards Angelfeather's head and she laid down on the cool ground beside her. She gave her friend a few gentle licks on the head and gave a slight sigh as she rested her own head on her paws and closed her eyes. Maybe it was a good time for a nap.
That brightened her up a bit, feeling slightly better as she mewed softly, "Thanks..." With a yawn, she rested her head down and tried her best not to move so he kits could eat in peace and so she may sleep. At this point, Angel had mixed feelings about Matchkit. His father was just so charming and kind, but on the same foot, he was Thunderclan, and she was Riverclan now, and that just wasn't a good thing. Was it...? Probably not. She remembered the warrior code; not verbatim, but something like you're allowed to have friends in other clans, but you might meet them in battle one day, or something like that. Maybe having kits outside of your own clan wasn't as taboo as she previously thought. She'll have to ask about it some time...
The dark little tom gave her a quieter mew as she spoke to him, but was once again silent when Otterfoot had licked his head. His chubby little body curled up into a bundle of fur once he was picked up, and soon he was happily back at his mother's side.
Upon feeling the nice little licks from her friend, she gave her a weak little smile. She was too tired to actually open her eyes, but she felt it nonetheless and that warmed her heart. Her neck craned slightly, so her curly fur brushed lightly against Otterfoot's paw, which is where she decided she would rest. Hopefully the other she-cat wouldn't mind, but she liked having the company, which she didn't get too much of as of late. Still... Now seemed the perfect time for a nap with her dearest friend.