Author's Note Edit

This is a oneshot focusing on the backstory of Star Flower. Feedback is appreciated. Enjoy!

Rabbit Heart Edit

I'm the she-cat no one forgets.  My body: a sun-kissed forest.  Sugar eyes, sad home.  A sickness with no symptoms.  Two tongues that bleed honey and venom.  Gorgeous and pepper bright.  I puncture broken necks with rose-thorn claws.  A flowery sort of death.  Petals.  Bones.

When I was a kit, my mother left.  Let me rephrase that.  When I was a kit, the sparrow in my stomach died alone.  I was a baby.  There was nothing I could do.

I come from a motherless, godless land that doesn't believe in tears.  Innocence is chunks of dried blood.  It must be choked out at a young age.  My youth was coated in death.  Midnight murders and a father who licked my ears with a cut tongue.  One Eye hunted rabbits and ripped their beating hearts right out of their chests.  I, a good daughter, did the same.  The eyes of the rabbits were wide and afraid.  I whispered 'sorry', but the poor things were too dead to hear me.

My first love was terrified of me.  Terrified of my soft, golden fur and the way I hovered an inch away from his petrified  face.  His name was Rye.  He was my six-moon lover, until my father found a new group of cats to exploit and I had to leave him behind.  My best friend, Tawny Feather bumped into Rye once and asked him about me.  For a blank second, he couldn't recall my name.

Within that year I learned to be violent.  My weapons of choice: lust and love.  One Eye would point at a group he was trying to conquer, and he would say, "Pick a tom and do what you did to Rye.  Get as much information as you can."  It didn't matter how old or young they were.  To One Eye, they weren't cats.  They were victims and servants.  I created tactics for seduction, a fatal battle plan.

1. Tilt my head slightly when speaking.

2. Touch them accidentally, body language that says "come and get it".

3. Don't say much about myself.  Keep them guessing.

4. Practice.

5. Be what they want.

6. Don't love them.  Drown myself in them.

I remember them.  Most of them.  The hearts I broke like willow branches.  Mallow, on fire.  Emmer, dovesong voice.  Dew, love at first scream.  Storm, a lightning strike.  Swallow, who I found in the rain.  Thorn, who I still think of.  Winter, the one-night stand.  Russet, who already had a mate.  Crescent, who hated his scars when it was the rest of him that needed hating.  Dash, who I never figured out.  Cedar, the one I ran from.  Frosted Branch, my skinny love.  Bracken, smoother than broken glass.  Spark, whose jokes were terribly funny.  Oak, bleeding and beautiful.  Thorn, my hopeless dream, spirits, I miss you.

Oh wait, I already mentioned him.

I've never known anything different from this life.  Tawny Feather asked me why I didn't leave the crime behind me.  I told her I liked the rush, the adrenaline, but really I needed the protection.  Star Flower is vulnerable.  Star Flower, daughter of One Eye, heir to a criminal empire, is untouchable.  Blazing.

Tawny Feather had a mouth full of white lies.  She used to have a rotating set of toms, in and out of her life.  She talked about them all night.  Rain did this, Colt did that.  But we got older, and she started talking about she-cats like they were toms.  She started talking to me like I was a stranger.  Who are you?  What have you become?  Tawny Feather dreamed of she-cats from the forest, with sparkling eyes and smiles made for the stars.

There was a she-cat Tawny Feather fancied named Violet, a grief-stricken, half-broken cat.  Just Slash's type.  I don't think Violet loved Slash or Tawny Feather.  Tawny Feather tried flirting with Violet.  "I love you," would come out as, "Hey," until "I love you" got too strong, and Tawny Feather vomited it onto Violet's paws.  Slash and One Eye saw her do it.  Slash was ready to kill Tawny Feather, he had his filthy paws on her neck.  He was just as forceful inside, with his claws, as he was outside, with curses and insults.  Violet was screaming, and the screams triggered something convoluted in my father.  He threw Slash off Tawny Feather and found me.  I pleaded and begged and screamed on muddy knees.  I didn't want to do it.  There was a river and there was Tawny Feather and there was me.  Slash was holding Violet back, holding her too close.  The river and Tawny Feather and One Eye was watching me, silent threats.  I had no choice.

If it's about what happened next, I can answer the questions.  No, I hardly remember why.  Yes, I should have stood up for myself.  Don't scold me.  I'm not your kit.  No, she didn't fight me.  Yes, I was trembling.  I drowned her.  Is that what you want to hear?  I drowned her and the water was clear and the sky was blue, bluer than death.

We moved after that, back to my father's homeland of moors and forests that snap like the wind.  A sick home that rises in welts.  I was the cure.  Besides, Star Flower is just a prettier name for borage, the herb my mother gave to my father, saving his life.  They might have loved each other, once.  I stored my grief in my sternum for a she-cat I never really knew.  Every action was a word in a eulogy for a stranger.

That night, sobs crawled out of my throat, disgusting, slimy parasites.  Tomorrow, I would start on my next project: Thunder.  But for just one night, my body would set with the sun, and when I woke up, my eyes would hold lifetimes.

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