It's hard to say goodbye...
Tumblepaw hadn't meant to land them in so much trouble. Looking back on everything he realized that with Dreampaw whispering him the prophecy, they should have stayed near to camp. Upcoming danger was not a good thing. Safety in numbers and all that.
But he'd needed to get out.
It had started to feel suffocating there, so he'd coaxed his brother into going out with him to find herbs. They hadn't really told anyone they were leaving.
That was the first mistake.
Especially to kin...
Their second...HIS second..was choosing to follow the strange scent of unfamiliar cats.
He thought they were just other clan cats trespassing.
He couldn't have been more wrong.
A medicine cat apprentice falls easily, without warrior training, against rogues with age-old blood lust.
When you fall together...
The cats did not fight by a Code. Tumblepaw could do nothing to save his brother...or himself...
When the rogues were satisfied the apprentices could warn no one, they left them, strewn across the pebbled ground.
When you blame yourself...
Tumblepaw weakly dragged himself over to Dreampaw, curling against his brother, gasping out apologies and blame upon his own shoulders. The medicine cat apprentice looked at him feebly, "It's not your fault," blood dripped from his maw, but his voice was soft and steady, "It would have happened one day."
"I'll miss them," Tumblepaw stammered, burying his face in his brother's light pelt, "Mintstreak...Deerleap...their kits...I-I wanted to train one. All of them. So many kits...Emberkit...Burntkit..Fastkit...Driftkit..."
"You would have been the best mentor," Dreampaw's voice sighed tenderly, "They would have been lucky to have you."
"I...I hope Heavypaw reaches out...makes friends..."
"I think he had Spottedpaw already," Dreampaw whispered, lapping at his brother's ear.
"Spottedpaw's a good friend...I wanted to be friends forever."
"Smallpaw too....little sis...she'll grow up into a beautiful warrior...and...if anyone hurts her...I'll haunt them!" he spat feebly.
Dreampaw laughed weakly, "We'll watch over them all."
"Pidgeondive...someday she'll find someone. I know she...she likes someone."
"Y-Yes..." he blushed, remembering the dark male, "She does."
"Finchsight...the other warriors...Cursedstar..."
"I know Tumble..."
"Dad..." his eyes shut, "D-Do you think...he'd be disappointed with me?"
"You fought like a warrior...he'd be proud of you, and I know he considers you a son..."
"He's a great dad...Minstreak...I'm going to miss him."
"I know Tumble," Dreampaw's voice wavered, "I'll miss them all too...Cursedstar...like a mom..."
"We'll just be there waiting for them..."
When you enter the unknown...
Tumblepaw was silent for a moment, then mewed feebly, "Dream? I'm scared..."
Dreampaw tucked closer, their blood mixing, "I know...but it will be okay...there's someone there waiting to meet you...I've told him so much about you..." he closed his eyes, a smile gracing his maw, "Tumble...he's...he's more than I could ever be...he'll take care of us. He's taken care of me."
Tumblepaw looked at him, knowingly, "I trust him then."
The brothers' breathing hitched and slowed...until it came to a lull...
Goodbyes are hard...
"Tumblepaw...Dreampaw?" a soft voice washed over them, from a cat with stars in his fur, "Come with me..."
Dreampaw stepped from his body, pressing his muzzle to the other apprentice's, "Lightpaw~" he breathed.
Tumblepaw followed, dipping his head in greeting, "I'm ready..."
Lightpaw touched noses with the darker brother, then gazed at Dreampaw, "Then let us go and be one with the stars...watching over those we leave behind..."
...but not forever...