Shrugging as he shifted slightly to get more comfortable, Whitepaw stared up at the sky through the trees. "Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how greencough works, but if we aren't careful, I think it could spread if it starts up." Thinking of the kits in the nursery, of his mother, of Brookpaw's slightly weakened state, Whitepaw winced slightly. If greencough did break out this winter, it wouldn't be an easy thing to shake. He couldn't help but wonder if Brookpaw was prepared, if she had enough catmint and anything else that might help.
Turning his attention back to Buckpaw, Whitepaw shrugged and stood up, playfully pawing at the snow and flicking it towards his friend, mischief gleaming just slightly in his pale eyes. "Who knows, but it's sure fun to play with. Might as well make the most of it."
// that's alright! i totally understand that things are busy right now
After landing his solid enough blow to free Lionpaw from the fox's jaws, Whitepaw was momentarily distracted by the utterly devastated yowl that pierced the air. Whirling around on instinct to spot Buckpaw fending off a fox that had latched onto his tail, something cold sunk into Whitepaw's stomach. He knew that he couldn't realistically get over there in time to do anything, especially since he was still facing his own fox down and -- oh. That's right. He had turned his back on a fox
Whirling back around just in time to have the fox latch onto his hind leg, Whitepaw yowl shortly in shock before twisting around quickly in the fox's hold to slash violent, merciless claws across the creature's face. He was aiming to slash at the fox's eye, but he would take whatever blow he could give.
Seeming to sense Buckpaw's eyes on him, Whitepaw's pale gaze swiveled to his friend, catching the distress and panic burning there. Flashing what he hoped was a reassuring look to the other apprentice, Whitepaw launched himself into the fray. As he drew closer to where the fox had attacked Leo, Whitepaw aimed to throw his weight into the fox's shoulder, claws hopefully sinking into the flesh there to try and get the creature to release the former kittypet.
Glancing up from his book as his mother rushed passed, Wen raised an eyebrow curiously and sat up a little straighter. He had no clue where his brothers and sisters were at the moment - he did not like joining in on their escapades - but his mother looked like she was expecting them to be burning down the house within the next five minutes. "Mom? You need help with anything?" Wen knew that his mom loved having everyone over for the holidays, because it really was the only time they could all get together. But it also stressed her out the most because she always wanted everything to be perfect.
Whitepaw was only slightly worried about Buckpaw, because some nights the tom came back to camp a little later than normal and smelling very, very faintly of BloodClan. He wasn't sure what it meant, but Whitepaw trusted his friend and didn't push or question it. Maybe he should, because they really couldn't afford something like defection at a time like this, but SkyClan was allied with BloodClan, so in theory there was nothing wrong with Buckpaw visiting their allies every now and again.
Needing to clear his head, Whitepaw was taking a walk through the territory, keeping an ear out for prey just in case. He wasn't out with the intention of hunting, but since leafbare was fast approaching, they would need everything they could get. So he was only half paying attention, but Whitepaw recognized the smell of fox from his days out of the territory, and immediately panicked. Picking up his pace, focusing on his surroundings again, Whitepaw followed the scent and happened to stumble upon Buckpaw, Vinepaw, and Leo - and they were facing down a fox.
Whitepaw seemed to settle comfortably the more they talked, the tension easing from his shoulders and his quiet voice taking on a note of calm. Shaking his head in response to Buckpaw's question, Whitepaw shifted a little. "No, I've never had greencough thankfully. I don't know much about it either, since this is my first winter. But I hope that no one falls ill with it this time around. We don't really need any sickness on top of the rest of what's going on." Thinking briefly of his mother, Whitepaw sighed quietly. "But yes, Brookpaw is very knowledgeable, especially for someone her age and lacking a mentor. She's studied hard to be as useful as possible to the Clan, and we're lucky to have her."
Whitepaw chuckled a little at Buckpaw's comments on the snow. Personally, he disagreed, because he would never really lose the awe and excitement he felt at seeing those icy flakes falling from the sky to accumulate on the ground. But then he went silent at Buckpaw's blurted question, thinking for a moment before answering knowing this was a delicate situation. "My mother's told me before that cats can die, but it's usually from something like greencough before it's from starvation. As long as we do our best to take care of ourselves, I think we'll be okay." Shooting the other apprentice a reassuring look, Whitepaw shifted slightly in his seat and looked up at the sky, wondering when the first snow might be.
// that's okay friend i understand i've been a little less active recently due to personal events
Sensing that Buckpaw was trying to shift the topic to spare him anymore distress, Whitepaw humored him and went with the awkward shifting flow. He didn't mind discussing this stuff, but it was kind of the other apprentice to think of him. Nodding eagerly, Whitepaw glanced up at the sky, as if checking to see if it was about to snow just by being mentioned. "It's amazing, honestly. It's freezing, of course, but it's fun as long as there isn't too much of it. I've never seen snow here, though. Only in the mountains. Don't tell my siblings that, though. They'll be jealous I saw it before them." Chuckling softly, Whitepaw relaxed a little and grinned Buckpaw's way.
Whitepaw was fondly amused with how excited Buckpaw got over the idea of hunting huge mountain birds. He had been excited too, and admittedly whenever he thought about it, he did get a little excited. It was pretty cool to see other cats take down huge birds. The change of tone caught his attention, though; Buckpaw's question twisting Whitepaw's heart slightly. His voice was quiet when he finally answered.
"You mean SkyClan? I...yeah I think they were hurt. But mostly because they didn't understand. My siblings were confused and worried, my mother was a mess until Sky came and told her I was with the Tribe. But um..." Whitepaw's voice trailed off here, pale gaze shifting down to his paws and scuffing the dirt quietly. "The biggest thing I regret is that...I ignored Glacewing trying to help me and ran off while she was injured, knowing I could get away from her because of that. After I came back, she was only alive for a few days. I never got to apologize to her for running off the way I did. I think that hurt the most." The young tom's voice was soft now, more of a whisper than anything. He was staring unfocused at the dirt in front of him, lost in a memory. He missed the kind deputy, and he hoped that one day he might see her in StarClan and get the chance to apologize.
Whitepaw seemed to relax a little with Buckpaw's enthusiasm, but he went slightly stiff again after the other asked him for a story about his adventures. It wasn't that anything particularly bad had happened while he was away, just that some things were a little more sensitive than others. But he nodded, knowing that Buckpaw was just curious about the things outside of the Clans. "Well, when I first met the Tribe, I had wandered into their territory and one of the hunters took down his huge mountain bird that was apparently interested in trying to carry me away. I also got to meet Sky - their leader - and she told me I could stay with them. They were all really cool and really strong. I think it was because they lived up in the mountains." Whitepaw couldn't help the slight lilt of childish excitement that filter into his voice. He had really enjoyed being with the Tribe, even though SkyClan was home. It was fun to talk about it.
Blinking in surprise as the tom spoke, Whitepaw started to realize they had a bit more in common than he would have thought. But he could also pick up on the undertones of despair in Buckpaw's voice. "Well, I have a bit of an unfair advantage. I ran away from SkyClan as a kit and ended up living with the Tribe and then some loners for a while. They trained me to survive, so warrior training is kind of just an extension of that. But it's all about the application of training. Maybe you feel you're falling behind because you haven't been able to utilize your skills enough." Shifting slightly in his spot, Whitepaw fixed his pale eyes on Buckpaw curiously. "We could go hunting more often, or spar even, just so you can practice and use your skills if you want." This whole socializing thing was getting a little easier the longer the conversation went on, and Whitepaw was glad for it.
Blinking in surprise, as if Whitepaw was shocked Buckpaw had even started talking to him, Whitepaw was silent for a moment before he was able to answer. "It's been...fine. I'm worried about my mother, but training has been fine." Whitepaw was already at a loss for what to say to carry the conversation, so he tried to keep things going, a little desperate. "How have you been?" It wasn't that he didn't want Buckpaw here to talk to him, Whitepaw was just scared he was going to mess it up somehow, or that Buckpaw would bound away as soon as someone more interesting came into view.
It wasn't that Whitepaw missed being away from SkyClan, just that he missed the freedom to explore wherever he wanted without having to worry about training, or tasks, or expectations. He was not about to run away again, not with his mother just beginning to recover and the Clan needing to stay together more than ever, but he was bored. Because of his stint of exploration away from SkyClan as a kit, Whitepaw didn't really have many friends outside of his siblings. He had gone hunting with Buckpaw and Beastpaw that one time, and it had been fun; but he knew that didn't really constitute as friendship. He needed to hang out with other cats more often for that to happen. But that was just it, he didn't really know how he was supposed to do that. Whitepaw was on his own so often that he was pretty damn clueless when it came to socializing. Oh well, at least this leaf skittering across camp was somewhat interesting.
Nodding in encouragement at Beastpaw's catch, Whitepaw slunk off to find another creature to take down. He wasn't sure if Buckpaw was feeling better about this situation or needed any help, but he figured that Buckpaw would be able to ask if he needed it. Slinking almost silently through the underbrush of the clearing, Whitepaw followed the scent of a mouse. He was getting kind of hungry himself, but he knew the Clan came first. He wasn't wandering around as a loner anymore. He was back home, and feeding the others was his priority.
Glancing around at the surrounding clearing, opening his mouth slightly to taste the air, Whitepaw's eyes zeroed in on a partially hidden thrush lurking near a bush. He was surprised that their entrance hadn't already spooked the creature, but he wasn't about to complain or question it. Dropping easily into a hunting crouch, Whitepaw slunk forward, taking a moment to pause and judge the distance left before pouncing. The thrush put up a bit of a fight, but Whitepaw managed to bite down firmly on its neck before it got the chance to get away. Tugging the bird back over to the other two, he dropped it near the edge of the clearing and flicked his ears. "Well, now we won't go back without anything at least. But there's bound to be more here." He kept his voice quiet for that very reason, not wanting to spook potential prey.
Glancing over at Beastpaw's sudden appearance, Whitepaw offered the she-cat a nod, figuring that it couldn't hurt to have one more body to catch prey with. Trotting alongside Buckpaw as they started into the territory a little further, Whitepaw flicked his tail to their left, his movements sure. "Yeah, there's a little clearing a little ways that direction where birds and squirrels usually hang around. I think it has to do with whatever they find on the trees and bushes. Should be good hunting until leafbare really settles in." Whitepaw had stumbled upon the spot about half a moon ago and had tucked that information away for himself and for others.