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   Chapter 20 A Secret Meeting at FourTrees

City of Ice and Fire By Grace Estellar Characters: 17644

Updated: 2019-10-10 23:25

****Arrowheart's POV****

Arrowheart wakes up to the feeling of someone wrapped around him, a reassuring warmth pressed up against his back. The pitch blackness of the night sky lets him know that it's still nowhere near morning, and that he must've been out for awhile.

The scenery around him is different from what Arrowheart remembers. Deep green forest surrounds them, with a prickly thorn bush right in his line of sight a few tail lengths away. He has to lift his head up slightly to examine it more closely as he must be in a hollow of sorts, dug out if the scuffs in the earth are anything to go by.

Sleepily he looks down at the paws on his chest, the ginger and black coloring of them familiar and comforting in equal measures. Patchfur continues to sleep on soundly beside him with a peaceful smile on his face. Arrowheart licks one of the paws fondly, his blue eyes warm.

He can't recall how he managed to get here, but if he had to guess the others had to have brought him here. I must've passed out. I was really tired after fighting that dog, so it makes sense. Arrowheart remembers how he'd ripped chunks of flesh from the dog's back; how he'd scratched the dog in the eyes and ears.

Attacking another animal in such a way wasn't the preferred fighting style by any means, but Arrowheart was willing to do whatever it took to keep the mad dog away from his boyfriend and friends. The fearless rune had given him the strength he needed to take down the slobbering mutt, but apparently he also lost all his energy in the process.

"Arrowheart, are you awake?" Patchfur asks with a sleepy yawn.

Arrowheart turns in the other tom's arms to face him. Even in the night, Patchfur is a vision to behold. The bicolored tom lays on his side sleepily, his big golden green eyes blinking lazily. The warlock's tail thumps behind him pleased, going to interlink itself with Arrowheart's tail. He hopes that Patchfur can't see his blush as he can feel the prominent blood rushing to his cheeks.

"Y-Yea. I'm awake." He stutters out.

Patchfur lets out a small exhale, the puff of air sending a spool of warmth across his muzzle. In the darkness, he can faintly see the other tom smile at him. That upturn of Patchfur's lips makes him feel all fuzzy inside, butterflies restlessly fluttering in his stomach.

"That's good to hear. You had us all worried when you passed out. I especially was concerned."

"Oh, you were?" Arrowheart can't help feeling surprised.

He'd never been in a relationship before Patchfur, and he was uncertain as to how strongly the warrior felt for him. Patchfur nods before leaning in to press his forehead against Arrowheart's. This close up, Arrowheart can see the flecks of darker gold in the bicolored warrior's eyes. Up close, his eyes were an even more breathtaking sight to behold.

"Of course I was. I'll always be concerned for you Arrowheart. For so long, I closed myself off for feeling anything for anyone. You've unlocked something in me." Patchfur tells Arrowheart.

The young Shadowhunter can feel his heart skip a beat, his blue eyes widening as the other tom presses his nose to Arrowheart's nose to give him a nuzzle. When the older warrior pulls back he still feels as though he's out of breath, and he almost misses Patchfur's next words.

The bicolored warrior rises to his paws. "C'mon. You must be starving, and thirsty too. We can eat the squirrel I hunted down last night and then drink something from the puddle over there." Patchfur flicks his tail in the direction of a small puddle underneath an old cedar tree.

Arrowheart gets up onto his paws, shaking out the clumps of moss from his pelt. It's still dark out, but he can still make out the shapes of the rest of their companions. Sparkpaw and the vampire are curled up together in a gap between two of the tree's roots. The tabby tom almost envelopes Sparkpaw completely. In fact, the only way he new his apprentice was there was the flame colored tail resting over Simon's hindquarters.

Silverthorn and Strikeclaw are sleeping close to one another near the puddle, just barely brushing pelts. It was clear the two were still figuring each other out, hence the jealous looks Strikeclaw had been flashing him earlier before his untimely collapse.

Patchfur slinks over to the remaining fresh-kill near Simon and Sparkpaw. A few battered leaves were scuffed over it to keep away the prying eyes of other predators. Arrowheart can feel his stomach rumble in approval at the sight of the squirrel as Patchfur tugs it out. Despite the chilling of the weather, this squirrel is relatively plump, it's fur a silvery gray in the moonlight.

"Thank the Angel you guys hunted before going to sleep. I'm starved!" He exclaims.

"Well, no need to thank us. We should be thanking you for taking down that dog. Might I say you looked quite handsome afterwards, all hot and rugged like~." Patchfur purrs.

Arrowheart doesn't have to feel the heat rising back up in his cheeks to know he's blushing. Hastily he plunges into eating the squirrel. He precisely tears each and every strip of meat off the animal, ridding it of its bushy tail before anything else.

"Thanks." He murmurs shyly. "Do you want some?"

"Sure. But I'll eat only after you

Duskstep watches her with keen eyes, his tail swishing behind him. Around the two cats glimmering yellow dots blinked in and out, zig zagging in no real pattern that she could determine. Their soft yellow light made the gray of Duskstep's paws more musky in color, and his green eyes gain a golden glint.

The resemblance of those eyes remind her of Goldenclaw ever so slightly. She can't help but wonder what the golden tabby might think of her now, if he knew about her meeting with Duskstep. Would he think I'm disloyal? Would he think this was a mistake?

For that, she did not have an answer.

Lately, more and more HunterClan cats were questioning her brother's loyalty, saying that he could be just as bad as Frostfang, his father. It made Nightrose outraged, especially since this negative view did not extend to his apparent sister Sparkpaw. Why should she be allowed to go on quests while Goldenclaw faces makes no sense at all!!

"I can tell something is bothering you." Duskstep murmurs.

Nightrose sighs, watching the glowing fireflies as they dance together. "Yes. But I would rather not talk about it." She explains.

"Of course, tonight is meant for relaxing, not for stirring up trauma. Though I am disappointed anyone would cause trouble for a lovely she-cat like you." He tells her.

Nightrose feels warmed by the tom's words. "Thanks. But it's not me I'm worried about. It's Goldenclaw."

"Oh, that's the golden tabby tom yes? Not the tall handsome black furred blue eyed beauty?"

Her whiskers twitch at the strangely admiring tone of Duskstep's voice towards her litter mate. Aside from Patchfur, she has never heard another tom comment about her brother in that way. A part of her welcomes it.

"He has a lot going on right now. Too much really for him to handle." Nightrose groans, burying her head in her shoulder. "I wish I could make things easier for him."

Duskstep eyes her intensely, his green eyes glazed as though recalling something from long ago.

"I'm certain you just being there for him is doing plenty of help. I would not fret over it too much." He tells her.

Nightrose nods, looking up at Duskstep again. "I hope you're right."

"Me too. Now come, let us relax." He sprawls out on the grass, pulling her down to lay beside him. Nightrose presses up close against Duskstep as they look at the night sky. Despite the trees surrounding them along with the ferns she can still pick out many stars.

"Tonight is lovely." She murmurs, her breath coming out in a white cloud.

The grass around them was covered in pristine white frost. It was strange to see the weather getting so cold so quickly. All the other warriors in HunterClan had said that early frost such as this didn't usually mean anything good: a sign of a bad omen. Nightrose hopes that doesn't prove to be the case.

"I'm glad you think so." Duskstep said.

"And we can see the stars from here too. I...I didn't think we could." She tells him.

"You'd be surprised to see what the forest can be capable of." He says airily, his tone betraying nothing of how he felt.

"I guess so." She agrees.

A bluster of cold air washes over her suddenly, the force of chilling right down to her bones. Shivering, she shuffles closer to Duskstep, pressing into the warmth of the mostly black tom's side. Duskstep accommodates for her, shifting so that she can get comfortable.

For the rest of the night, the two cats simply enjoy each other's presence and talk about the stars.

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