I WOKE UP THE NEXT MORNING, hoping that I finally had someone to play with. Whitekit was asleep, so was everyone else. Bluefur spent the night here, watching over her nephew. Snowfur then woke up, staring down at her son.

I never realized how young she was. She was not even a senior warrior yet; and neither was Thistleclaw. I also saw deep tiredness in her eyes, from after her kitting. Then, I heard yawning. A deep purr rumbled in Snowfur's throat.

"You've opened your eyes!" she whispered.

There was a tiny mewling. "Are you--are you my mother?"

Snowfur nodded. "Yes, Whitekit. I'm Snowfur."

"Oh, hi! I'm Whiekit!"

Snowfur let out another purr. She then looked over at Bluefur. "Bluefur! Look! He's opened his eyes already!"

I bounded up with joy. "Great!" I walked by Snowfur's nest. "Can I take him out to explore?"

Snowfur had horror in her gaze. She shook her head. "No!" She protectively wrapped her tail around Whitekit.

Bluefur looked at her sister. "You made me go out the moment I opened my eyes."

Snowfur hesitated, then sighed. "If he wants to go out, then he can." Then she wrapped her tail tighter aroung her son. She glared at me. "But no farther than the clearing!"

"I'll keep an eye on him," Bluefur told her sister. "You just rest."

Snowfur relaxed. "Thank you," she breathed.

I leapt by the edge of the nest. "Come on, Whitekit! There's loads to see!"

Whitekit turned away from his mother and looked at me.

"We're going to be warriors!" I explained. "We might as well start now!"

Whitekit blinked. "Okay," he mewed. He scrambled out of the nest and teetered beside me.

"This way," I took Whitekit out of the entrance. He was slower than me, and I waited as Whitekit got used to the outside world. He gazed around, eyes gleaming, at his collossal surroundings.

"Everything's...so...big!" I heard Whitekit squeak.

"That's nothing," I told him. "Wait till we become apprentices; we'll se the whole forest!"

"Hey, Tigerkit!" Lionpaw came out of the apprentices' den. "Who's this?"

"I'm Whitekit!" he then cocked his head to the side with curiosity. "Who are you?"

"I'm Lionpaw," he mewed, lightly, "and my sister, Goldenpaw, is here somewhere--"

"Gotcha!" Goldenpaw pounced on Lionpaw by surprise. They were play-fighting, and Whitekit watched in amazement, as the littermates played. Goldenpaw then pinned Lionpaw to the ground.

"I give!" Lionpaw purred. He brought himself up on his haunches, puffing with exhaustion. "Goldenpaw," he began, when he caught his breath, "this is Snowfur's son, Whitekit."

"Aww," Goldenpaw cooed. "Thistleclaw was bragging about how adorable you are!"

"That's Goldenpaw," I whispered to Whitekit. "She's Lionpaw's sister."

"Oh," Whitekit whispered back.

"Hi, Goldenpaw!" Thistleclaw arrived right on schedule. "Whitekit!" He hugged his son close to him.

"You're squishing me!" Whitekit squirmed.

"Sorry," his father released. He looked at Whitekit more closely. "You have my eyes, you know; amber."

Whitekit widened his eyes, letting everyone see their glory.

"Speaking of Snowfur, how is she?"

"Exhausted," Bluefur came into the conversation. "I think you should visit her."

Thistleclaw nodded, then glanced at Whitekit. "After I give my son, here, a tour."

"Can I come?" I asked.

"Sure, Tigerkit!" Thistleclaw mewed. "Lionpaw, Golenpaw, do you want to join us?"

"Sure!" they both exclaimed. "We love to help!"

"Okay," Thistleclaw nudged Whitekit lightly with his muzzle. "Keep your paws and tails inside the patrol group, and here we go!"

Thistleclaw led the way to Highrock. "Here is Highrock. This is where Sunstar has Clan meetings."

"Before that," I told Whitekit, "Pinestar was leader. He was my father."

"Wow," he exclaimed, "your father was Clan leader? What happened to him?"

"He left to become a kittypet."

Whitekit froze, then frowned. "I'm sorry."

I nodded, keeping my eyes on what was ahead of me.

"Here's the warriors' den." Thistleclaw explained. "Over there, the fallen tree, that's the elders' den. Over here is the medicine cats' den." Thistleclaw walked around the clearing, stopping at the nursery. "Okay, we will end our tour at the nursery. Don't wander off until the tour comes to a complete stop. Okay, you may go now."

"Thanks, Thistleclaw!" the apprentices went to their mentors.

"I never get tired of the tour!" I squeaked.

Whitekit and I went into the nursery. Thistleclaw followed us, moving toward Snowfur with a squirrel in his mouth.

"Hi, Thistleclaw," Snowfur wearily whispered.

Thistleclaw pressed his muzzle against hers. "Are you feeling alright?"

Snowfur nodded. "Just really tired. Have you seen Whitekit?"

Whitekit batted at Thistleclaw's tail. "You mean this little bundle?" his father purred. "He's beautiful, Snowfur."

"Because he has your good looks," Snowfur purred.

Snowfur ate the squirrel, sharing tongues with Thistleclaw. After Whitekit suckled, he went out to play.

"I got a moss ball for us!" I said through clenched jaws.

"Okay," Whitekit squeaked.

I rolled the moss ball to Whitekit, and he rolled it back.

"Dad!" Whitekit called to Thistleclaw, "Do you want to play with us?"

"I have to be on patrol," he replied.

"Okay," sighed Whitekit, as I rolled the ball back to him. He rolled it back.

As Thistleclaw left for the warriors' den, but then he pause. "Well," he murmured, "my patrol is at Sunhigh; that's not for a few moments." He rurned around. "So," he walked closer to his son, "that leaves me enough time...for this!"

Thistleclaw tickled Whitekit with his muzzle. Whitekit squealed with laughter, being tickled on his belly. He playfully batted at his father's muzzle. *Pinestar never did this to us!* Whitekit bounded up, tickling his father by scrambling his paws on his belly.

"Ah! It's Whitekit!" Thistleclaw wailed, dramatically. "Help! I'm being attacked by Whitekit! He's everywhere!" He scuffled in his own laughter, as Whitekit rolled off his belly. "I give!"

"That was fun, Dad!" Whitekit purred. "Can you do that again?"

Thistleclaw puffed. "Give me a minute. Man, you put up a fight!"

Whitekit stood with pride.

I then watched Thistleclaw tickle his son, with envy. *Pinestar never tickled us; he rarely visited us!* Now, I see Thistleclaw play with his son, and I realized I never had or will have that kind of bond with my own father. I rolled the moss ball meekly with my paw.

"Tigerkit!" Whitekit called out. "Come on! You can be on my team!"

I stayed where I was. I couldn't move or think correctly. I was filled with jealousy of Whitekit with his father.

"Okay," Whitekit purred, "you don't have to play."

"Thistleclaw!" Tawnyspots, the deputy, yowled. "Let's go! You're on patrol!"

"Okay, Whitekit. I have to go, now."

"Do you have to?" Whitekit hugged close to his father.

"Yes, my son," he replied. "I will see you later. Be good for your mom, okay?"


Thistleclaw pressed his muzzle to Whitekit's little head. "See you soon. I love you."

Thistleclaw then bounded off in the distance, out of the gorse tunnel, to catch up with the patrol.

"I love you, too, Dad!" Whitekit yawned. "Aren't you tired, Tigerkit?"

I shook my head. "I guess that's how kits might feel on their first day of exploring. Let's go in the nursery. I'm hungry!"

Whitekit nodded drowsily. "I sure am tired!"

We both padded in the nursery.

"There you toms are," Leopardfoot sighed.

Whitekit squirmed in the nest beside Snowfur. "How was your day with your father?"

"So much fun! He's going to come back soon, Mommy!"

She purred. "That's good, precious."

"I'm sleepy," Whitekit yawned.

Snowfur snuggled closer to her son. Steady breathing proved that both of them and Robinwing were asleep. I snuggled beside Leopardfoot after suckling.

"Are you jealous?" she asked me.

I hesitated. "Of what?"

"Are you jealous that Whitekit might have a better father than Pinestar? It's okay, you can tell me."

I shrugged. "I guess, a little."

"You shouldn't be jealous. Whitekit's your friend, and Thistleclaw is important to him. At least try to participate. Okay?"

I nodded, storing my hidden jeolousy. It was like there was a bundle in my heart where all of my anger was stored. It seemed to be getting more filled everyday, bursting at the seams. *I'll hide my anger; for Leopardfoot!* ...

Chapter 7 coming soon!