To say that he didn't miss home - miss SkyClan and his mother and siblings - would be a bald faced lie. Whitekit ached to go home and see his family and the familiar trees that surrounded their camp. This was not to say that the Tribe of Rushing Water had been unkind to him; quite the contrary they had been more than welcoming. Sky with No Moon had been beyond understanding in allowing Whitekit to stay with her and the Tribe. The other Tribe cats had also welcomed him into their home and were understanding as well. Whitekit honestly felt like it was more than he deserved.
But the time away from home and new perspective offered by the Tribe gave him the time to think about who he was and what he wanted out of his life. Being in SkyClan as the son of the leader with siblings who were rambunctious and playful seemed to put Whitekit at odds with expectations. But here, he found that it was okay for him to be the way he was. He didn't need to be what others expected him to be. Whitekit just needed to be who he wanted to be, who he was meant to be. If that meant that not every cat in SkyClan took fondness to him, than that was okay. As long as he was home and had his family, Whitekit would be fine.
Taking a deep breath, Whitekit pushed himself up from where he had been sitting inside the Tribe's cave. He thought distantly of the offer that Sky with No Moon had presented to him half a moon ago; that if he were still around when he reached eight moons of age, he could become a To-Be. He was just now approaching six moons, and he longed to go home and begin his apprenticeship. He knew it probably wouldn't be that easy, his family would probably turn him away at first, but he wanted to go home.
It was time to go home. But first, he needed to be on his own for a little while longer. So he slipped discretely from the Tribe's cave without a word to anyone and vanished into the dusk.
Whitekit nodded, looking thoughtful. He wasn't sure how long he was going to stay here, or if he would fit into the mold of just hunting or fighting, but it was an interesting thought to have after the structure he had grown used to in the Clans. Looking up at Sky gratefully, Whitekit purred quietly and dipped his head. "Thank you, Sky. I'm not sure what will happen in the coming moons, but your acceptance means a lot. Mom always speaks highly of you."
Whitekit looked between the two older cats as they spoke, nodding when Screech told him that Tribe cats became a to-be almost two moons after Clan cats became apprentices. Looking back up at Sky, Whitekit couldn't help but see a glimmer of Minnowstar in the she-cat. Maybe it was the way she held herself or the way she lightly teased her loyal Tribemates. Shrugging, Whitekit waved his tail and looked between Screech and Sky. "I'm not asking to become a to-be, but if I'm still here when I reach eight moons, would you make me one?"
Surprisingly, Whitekit had to ponder that question for a moment before answering. He hadn't been like his sisters, eagerly counting down the days until he turned six moons old and could get his apprentice name. But he remembered after a heartbeat or two and nodded confidently to Screech when he said, "About five and a half moons."
Making a face at the warrior, Whitekit pressed his ears back against his head at the thought of being eaten by a large bird. "Well...I don't think I'll have to worry about that. Sky made it clear that until I'm of the same age as your to-be cats, I'm to stay in here." Whitekit was never one to break rules, not in SkyClan, and certainly not here since the territory was even more unfamiliar to him than SkyClan's was. He honestly wasn't sure how long he was going to be here, but Whitekit figured that if he reached the age of a to-be, maybe Sky wouldn't mind if he learned a few things from them. That was a question for Sky with No Moon
Whitekit seemed to ponder over Screech's words for a few minutes before he nodded slowly, quietly to himself for a moment. "I think that makes sense...I just haven't felt that yet. I know I want to go home and see my family, I'm just not entirely sure if that's where I belong just yet." Looking up at Screech again, Whitekit looked a little scared. "Is that wrong of me to think?"
Looking over at Screech's voice, Whitekit shook his head and gestured to the caves with his nose. "No, not really. Just looking around is all. This is still kind of new to me." Looking up at the older cat, Whitekit paused for a moment before asking quietly, "How did you know that you belonged here? That the role you were assigned to was the right one for you?"
Bounding around the Tribe's cave, Whitekit looked eagerly around at all the little openings within the rock face. He had been among the Tribe cats for nearly half a moon at this point, and everything about it still fascinated him. If he was honest with himself, he had come no closer to figuring out what he was searching for inside himself, but Sky had been very generous in her offer of hospitality. He was welcomed into the Tribe without much question and the rules were explained to him so he wouldn't cause too much trouble. Whitekit was quiet most of the time, bouncing from place to place in the cave and exploring carefully. He had a suspicion that Sky had gone back to Minnowstar and told her that Whitekit was here, but the little kit had yet to be forced home by either Sky's request or his mother's appearance. It was strange, but it wasn't like Whitekit was complaining.
He missed Minnowstar, but he still wasn't confident that he would be okay if he returned home now. He was still searching.
// I'm referring to Whitekit as that name in my narrative, but Wishes should call him by Stripes. If it gets too confusing, I can change the narrative to Stripes for you.
Nodding at the older she-cat, Whitekit dug into the crow again, savoring the taste and the feeling of food filling up his empty stomach. It had been almost a full day since he had eaten last, and having something freshly caught was even more than the little kit could have asked for.
Whitekit had watched Wishes with awe as she stalked and took down the large bird almost effortlessly. The crow was bigger than Whitekit was, and she had made the hunt look like it was nothing at all. Gaping for a moment, Whitekit shook himself and dipped his head to the older cat quickly. "Thank you very much!" Whitekit leaned forward and took a bite, the crow a new taste for him, before he looked up at Wishes. "Are you going to eat too?" he asked around his mouthful.
He was about to shake his head, not wanting to trouble the older cat, but Whitekit's stomach answered for him, rumbling loud enough to be heard between the two cats. "Uh...yeah a little. Sorry for the trouble."
Looking up at the older cat, Whitekit nodded politely and hesitated. He wasn't sure if the name Whitekit was still his to claim, especially since he had left the Clans. He knew enough to know that the second part of his name was something unique to Clan cats, something that made him part of the Clans in the eyes of StarClan. So was he still really allowed to be called Whitekit? Pondering for a few silent moments, Whitekit looked up at Wishes and spoke softly. "I'm Stripes," he mewed, thinking of the patterns on his tail. For now, he would give up the name Minnowstar gave him and only reclaim it when he returned.
Again, Whitekit shrugged, seemingly unconcerned. "My mom and siblings are probably worried...but I needed to get away for a little while. I need to understand some stuff before I go back, since they're things I can't find while living with my Clan. But I'll stay away from the rogues...I don't like them. They attacked us before I was born."
Whitekit quickly shook his head when the she-cat asked if he was a loner. But then he hesitated. Perhaps he was one now...after all he wanted to be alone, and he ran from the Clans. Maybe that made him a rogue? Oh StarClan...no he didn't want to be a rogue. They were mean and violent from everything Whitekit knew about them. "I'm a Clan cat!" Whitekit blurted out. "Or at least...I was. I ran away from home. But I think I'm going to go back just...not yet."
Looking up quickly from the little bug that had just caught his attention, Whitekit's ears flicked nervously as he gave the other cat a noncommittal shrug. "I mean...I suppose it depends. Where I come from, cats my age would be allowed to wander on their own in about a moon. Whitekit wasn't nervous, per say, in meeting this other cat. They had no distinct Clan scent clinging to their fur, so it was probably safe to assume that whoever this was, was a loner. Whitekit knew he would meet loners eventually, he just hadn't expected to meet one on his first day away from the Clans, since he didn't think any actually lived that close to the borders.
Nodding eagerly, Whitekit perks up and trots closer to Sky, eager to be out of the open and maybe just sleep for a little while. He knows he was lucky to run into the Tribe - of all the cats he could have run into, this was probably best case scenario. But he's not about to push that luck by staying out here and becoming prey for animals larger than him as Sky has suggested. Plus, he's curious and eager to see what the Tribe's home is like, especially compared to SkyClan.