It seems that there can be no stability in the heart of SkyClan. In the heart of Minnowstar, more like. The sorrow of the death of Poppystar followed by the love and pride towards having kits, the sheer panic when Whitekit ran off, followed by relief when Sky told her he was safe. The anxiety and uncertainty with border discussions and with BloodClan. The joy of having all five kits back together. The heartbreak of Glacewing's death. The stress of being a full time mother, leader, and her own deputy.
But her kits certainly bring her joy during times like these. Especially now that Whitekit was back.
Though with the chaos that happened since his return, Minnowstar has yet to truly hear his stories. She had been so overjoyed to have him back she never asked. But she's just given every cat a patrol or assignment, and she's forcing herself to make time.
"Whitekit," Minnowstar calls to the child, "I think about time I've heard your traveling stories."
// I JUST NOTICED YOUR OPTIMISTIC LESBIAN SIGNATURE I LOVE IT
Glancing up from the prey he had been steadily working on eating, Whitekit's little ears twitched curiously as he looked into his mother's eyes. She seemed stressed, and she had looked that way ever since Whitekit had gotten back to SkyClan. He couldn't blame her honestly. She was so horrid at hiding it that Whitekit wasn't even kicking up a fuss about his and his siblings' delayed apprentice ceremonies. He knew that with Glacewing's loss on top of everything else happening in and out of the Clan, Minnowstar was under a lot of pressure. It was a miracle his mother hadn't burned out yet, though he suspected that she would sooner rather than later.
Shoving to his paws, Whitekit trotted over to his mother, settling down by her side and pressing into her fur, purring quietly. Of all the things he had missed while traveling, he had honestly missed Minnowstar the most. He always was a momma's boy, and that hadn't changed despite all the other changes he had ended up going through. Nuzzling against her shoulder, Whitekit sighed and gave a little shrug. "Do you want me to start anywhere in particular? Quite a bit happened out there."
Minnowstar takes a moment to just take in the scent of her returned son, the sound of his voice and feel of his fur. Takes his question at face value, and really takes a moment to think about it. Because everything was entirely too broad, and most likely would simply take too long and stress the child out in an attempt to really remember everything. And so, what did she want to know?
Besides, y'know, everything.
"How about we start at the beginning," Minnowstar suggests, "For example, why you felt like you had to run off to begin with?"
Whitekit nods, countenance calm as he shifts into a slightly more comfortable position against Minnowstar's side. He heaves a quiet sigh and can't help but think about how he had taken advantage of Glacewing's debilitated state to escape camp, and now she was gone and he could never get the chance to apologize for that. Wincing slightly at the thought, Whitekit forged on and started to recount everything he could.
"We spoke a little bit about it before I left, but I was just feeling overwhelmed, pressured by the expectation to be something I wasn't - something I won't ever be. I'm not energetic or kit-like. I felt like it was something others thought I would grow out of, but I think this is just who I'm going to be for a good part of my life. I don't know why it was so hard to accept that and not feel like I was letting everyone down before I left, but it just was." Turning to look up at his mother, Whitekit's hazel eyes were full of regret and apology. "I'm sorry that I ran away, mom. I didn't want to make you upset by doing so, but I was just so desperate to find somewhere or something that didn't make me feel like I was going to break under the pressure. And I knew I couldn't find it here at the time."
Minnowstar nods along as Whitekit speaks, the conversation they had before the kit ran off strong in her memory. It had often crossed her mind in the early days of her son's disappearance. How she should have seen it coming, or had said more.
Now that he talked, it seemed to all make sense.
"I hate to say it-actually, I don't-but I understand why you ran off. Do I wish you hadn't? Yes. But I understand, especially based on what we had talked about," Minnowstar replies, slowly at first as if trying to figure out her next sentences, "I wish the Clan allowed you to be yourself, and I wish we all realized what an old soul you are compared to your siblings. I wish a lot of things, but I'm mostly just happy you're home. And I hope next time you feel the need to take off, you at least give us some notice."
With a nod of finality, she adds, "So. Did you find what you were looking for?"
Shifting in his seat, Whitekit moved a little closer to his mother and nodded quietly, looking down at the dirt in front of them. "It took a while, but I did. I ran into a loner at first, and she was really nice. But I didn't spend much time with her. Then you know I went to the Tribe for a while. Sky offered to take me in as a To Be if I stayed long enough. But I spoke with one of their cave guards and eventually realized that I needed to find my place outside of structures like the Clan or the Tribe." This was where Whitekit became apprehensive, just because he didn't want to upset his mother with the knowledge that he was on his own and in danger for a while. Even though she already knew. "I left the Tribe and was on my own for about a moon. I ran into some cats who weren't exactly the nicest of sorts...but they taught me how to survive and left a few physical scars because of it. I don't regret it, though. It wasn't exactly out of malice, just a tough way of learning."
//aaahh I almost forgot to post as Whitekit instead of Whitepaw