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Rainflower's Guilt is a one-shot that exists because the author was bored.

The story Edit

"That's your nest."

You deserve better than to sleep with me, Rainflower thought. You don't want to stay with me. If I'd done something, you might have been Stormpaw. 

"My nest?"

Stormkit stared up at her with his round green eyes so like his father's.

"You'll need your own space." she told him.

However much she longed to tuck him in with her tail and let him curl up beside her, she wasn't going to do it. I don't deserve it, she said silently to herself. I don't deserve to be next to him.

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"So you're still determined to rename him Crookedkit?" Shellheart snarled.

"it will suit him."

"Don't you think it's a bit cruel?"

"If he'd stayed in camp he'd never have had the accident."

If I'd kept him in camp he'd never have had the accident, she thought. I'm sorry I let you down. Please don't hate me.

"Then he wouldn't be the ugly mess he is now. He'd still be my handsome young warrior."

I'm sorry I made you look like this. I should have watched you more. I should have kept you in there.

"How do you think Stormkit must feel?"

"He'll get used to it."

"To what?  His new name? Being scarred for life? Being rejected by his own mother?"

"It wasn't my fault! I shouldn't have to deal with it!" rage flooded through Rainflower, so that she barely knew what she was saying. 

It was my fault, her heart wailed. I should have done something. I should have kept him close. You don't know why I'm doing this, Shellheart.

"I never knew you could be so heartless, Rainflower." Shellheart spat. "If you insist on Hailstar going ahead with the renaming ceremony then we are no longer mates. I will never share a den or a piece of fresh-kill with you again."

"Very well."

You don't know anything, Shellheart. She thought furiously. You don't know how I feel right now. You don't know why I'm doing this. You don't know anything. I was stupid to think we could ever be mates.

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"Crookedpaw!" 

He's an apprentice now. He doesn't need you anymore. Realisation struck Rainflower like a bolt of lightening. Then she shook her head. He'll always be my kit. And it'll always be my fault.

She opened her mouth wide, and lifted her head. 

"Crookedpaw!"

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"Does it matter right now?" murmured Rainflower, half to herself. "He'll never be as good as you."

It's all my fault, she thought. It's all my fault. I should have kept you in there. I should have done something. I'm sorry.

"Why can't you just keep your thoughts to yourself, just once?" Shellheart snapped, whirling round. His eyes blazed with silent fury.

You don't understand. Rainflower didn't meet his gaze. You don't know why I'm doing this.

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"I'm sorry I can't make you proud of me," he mewed. "But I haven't finished yet. I'll do everything I can to make you glad I'm your son."

I wish, Rainflower thought. She stared into his pale green eyes with the same look he had given him that day in the nursery. I wish you could.

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Deafening barks sounded from the dog as it bounded after her. Rainflower could see Crookedjaw racing after it, gaining speed every now and then. But the dog was too. It skittered on the pebbles, and with a loud thump, it dove into the water beside her. 

This is it, she thought. 

Crookedjaw, I can never apologise enough. I'm sorry, my son. I'm sorry I made you look like this. I'm sorry I ruined everything for you.

Oakheart, I hope you become a great warrior, just like your brother would have been.

Hailstar, one of my sons is destined to be your deputy. Choose your successor well.

Brambleberry, you always knew what lay ahead for Crookedjaw. Guide him on his path. 

And Shellheart- I know you hate me now, and I'm sorry. You'll never understand why. But please, forgive me.

and with a thump, something hard and cold hit Rainflower, and the world faded into darkness.

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