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Starlingfire stared at the fresh-kill pile, feeling lonely. The Gathering cats had left, and she hadn't been chosen. She wasn't tired, but the pile didn't need stocking.

She glanced around, trying to find someone to talk to, although it was in vain. Most cats were resting, either asleep or waiting for the others to come back. She stared up at the full moon. StarClan, I'm bored!

Starlingfire glanced back around and jumped to her paws in surprise. A pair of silvery-green eyes stared at her. It was obvious they hadn't been expecting her to turn, for they blinked, widened, and then disappeared. An intruder! Feeling excited, she ran forward and jumped over the bush - one of the few, in the mountains.

As she entered the dead of night, she noticed a gray figure bounding onto a boulder. The intruder. Now knowing where to run, she jumped down the mountain before reaching the next boulder in the row and stopping, standing in the way. Nowhere to run.

The cat jumped onto the next boulder and, like planned, was too panicked to notice her. They leaped and landed -on her tail. She yelped, so they yelped and got off. Free of the weight, she narrowed her sapphire eyes. The cat was a tom - a gray tabby, with silver front paws, a white muzzle and blaze going up between his smiling silvery-green eyes. She growled, pinning him down. "Who are you? What are you doing in StreamClan territory?"

"My name is Frost," he replied coolly, "and I don't know. Just wandered here."

"Well then, how about you wander off, before I toss your sorry tail out?"

"I don't know about that, princess."

She snarled, paws lighting up. His eyes widened. "Fire manipulation?" He looked up, before smirking. "Do better, dear."

Starlingfire yowled, propelling herself forward. He slammed down his front silver paw, and ice formed, spreading outwards quickly. It spread under her feet, and the running dark gray she-cat slipped. The fire died quickly as she scrambled to get up, but the ice kept spreading forward. Curse it!

The ice suddenly stopped and melted away. She hurried to her paws, prepared once more, but the tom was gone. She stiffened as his voice whispered into her ear, "You've got to do much better than that, princess."

She orbited to him, but he touched her nose with his. She stopped, surprised, before going to bite his shoulder. But her feet wouldn't move. She tried to look at them, but her head wouldn't move either. All that could move were her eyes. She stared at Frost, frightened, and he chuckled. "Don't worry," he meowed, stroking her back with his tail. How she wished she could turn and bite it. "It'll wear off in..." He tilted his head, as if in thought. "Three hours."

Three hours?

"But, I'll free you from that if you promise not to report me." He smiled a cheery grin - one that was sort of lopsided, she noticed. "Can you blink your eyes?"

Hating being told what to do, she tried, and found she could. Frost seemed satisfied. "Blink if you'll agree to keep quiet, then." She wanted to frown at him, but settled for a glare. "No? Well, then." He shrugged. "You sure?"

She hesitated. No one would be able to free her - at least, she didn't think so - if they came by. She would be stuck here, unable to even say what happened. I can always say I found him, she decided. Although immediately or if he comes again can be decided later. Slowly, reluctantly, she blinked.

Suddenly she could move again, and she took the chance to step to the side. Frost's tail fell from her back. "Glad you came to your...senses." He chuckled. Starlingfire growled. "Not one who appreciates jokes?" He shrugged. "Oh well."

"I'll be going now," she meowed, staring at his eyes. She took a slow step back to her home.

Frost frowned. "Leaving so soon?" He gazed at her, before suddenly blinking. "You were planning on telling on me, weren't you?" He seemed almost hurt, and glanced away.

"N - No," she stuttered.

"Then you shouldn't mind coming and sitting with me?" Without waiting for an answer, he walked over a fox-length and sat down. She hesitated. I could just go. But she pulled her paws over and sat down. Frost glanced over and beamed.

"You did decide to join me. I'm glad," he purred. He flicked his tail at the stars. "Look up there."

You can't tell me what to do! she wanted to say. Starlingfire held her tongue, though, instead looking up. Stars danced, twinkling and blinking at her. Beautiful.

"What's your name?" Frost asked curiously, glancing at the sapphire-eyed she-cat.


"Starlingfire?" Frost seemed both amused and bemused. "Are all..." He wrinkled his nose. "StreamClan cats named that way?'"

"Yeah." She nodded, before suddenly narrowing her eyes. "Are you trying to figure out us, so that way you can ambush us?"

"No." He rolled his silvery-green orbs. "Only trying to figure out names. That way, if I meet another beautiful princess, I'll know how to properly greet them. Although I doubt any are as gorgeous as you."

She ignored the compliment, sighing. "Alright."

"So..." He frowned, turning his head back to the sky. "I would be Frostfire?"

"No, no," she quickly assured. "Fire can be a prefix, after all. You would probably be Frostsnow or Frostwind..." She trailed off. "Let me start from the bottom.

"Kits are the bottom rank. They aren't old enough to become novices - in-trainings - yet, so they're named by their parents - in some cases, the queen herself names them. I was Starlingkit." She felt her throat close up as she remembered being told she wasn't Nighthawk and Aspentail's daughter, before shaking the thought away. "Then, I became a novice, and followed the path of a warrior, so I was named Starlingpaw."

"Starlingpaw?" Frost interrupted. "Starlings don't have paws."

"It's the standard suffix," she explained.

"Still. Why not Starlingtalon or something?" He tilted his head.

"Because talon is an option for a warrior name. Naming me that would make me special, and incorrect." She shrugged. "Anyways. I developed my powers soon after that. I was terrified - fire's dangerous, after all. Aspentail finally convinced me there wasn't much to burn, and they would be careful. But someone who could control water was always nearby.

"No one else had fire manipulation, so I was taught by other manipulators how they controlled it, and figured out my way. Eventually, I passed my assessment - I knew how to hunt, fight, and control my powers well enough to earn my warrior name. I was named Starlingfire, for my powers." She shrugged. "Eventually, I may become deputy - I'd still be Starlingfire then," she added. "But if I became leader, I'd become Starlingstar."

"Why change your name when you become a leader? Do you choose to?"

"It's part of the ceremony," she explained, before glancing up. The moon still shone, reminding her of the Gathering cats. Don't come back right now, she begged. What would they think, seeing her stargazing with this rogue? StarClan, what am I doing? she realized. Jumping to her paws, she meowed, "I really do need to go."

"But..." He trailed off, before sighing. "Okay." Frost blinked at her. "Can I expect you again?" he asked hopefully.

"You'd expect me to schedule a visit with a rogue?" she hissed. Frost's eyes widened, and he quickly turned his head, but not before she saw hurt glitter in them. She sighed. Just once. "Fine. Tomorrow, two claw-lengths past sunhigh. Here." She paused. "Don't make me regret it," she threatened.

He beamed. "Great!" In a quick motion, he rubbed himself against her cheek, before darting over to the boulder. "See you then, princess."

She stared after his departing form. "What have I gotten myself into?" she whispered.