Cloud that Shadows the Stars [oneshot

Flame me if you want (although that will only show your immaturity and I will put your name up on a list of flamers in my profile so that anyone reading it can scorn you and use their filter feature to make your life miserable), but I am a shameless Nightcloud lover. But almost everyone else seems to hate her. Why? For the same reason that everyone hates Ashfur, Spottedleaf (most people, at least), and Daisy. All of these cats were minding their own business, living a great life, until the Erin Hunters decided to use them for dramatic tension. For example, Ashfur, the nice cat who didn't hate Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw when they returned from the sun-drown place, the cute apprentice who still loves Cloudpaw as a friend and a brother even when he's being a jerk, was picked out of a hat and paired with Squirrelflight for a while because they needed to keep her apart from Brambleclaw. Because of that, everybody hates Ashfur. I have read an Ask Ashfur, and everyone had him made into a cake and run over by a car.

Nightcloud is in the same predicament. She has loved Crowfeather for a long time, yet whenever she tries to get close to him, he betrays her. While she covers for him, coming up with excuses for why he is missing so often, he sneaks of to be with Leafpool. It is obvious that he is using her, yet she still loves him hopelessly. I once had an Ask Nightcloud, before the TOS crusaders made me shut it down, and I have the records of how many people flamed her. It was not a pretty number.

So, in here I will try to redeem Nightcloud. Please try to keep an open mind while you are reading this; if you just skim through it and go "evil Nightcloud," without even considering the points I make in this heart-wrenching oneshot, then I will be very disappointed in you.

"Do you want to go hunting with me?" The moment the words left my mouth, I felt foolish. Every day I had asked the same question. And every day the answer was the same.

Ever since Crowfeather had gotten back from the sun-drown place, he had seemed different. At first, I assumed it was just sadness for losing our home, or guilt for not being there to help his Clan while we were starving, but eventually I found out. That day was the worst day of my life.

Flashback.

"Crowfeather?" I called, nosing the patch of moss in his nest. His scent was stale. "Crowfeather?"

"What's wrong?" Ashfoot was poking her nose into the den. "What about him?"

"He's gone," I whispered. I could feel my heart breaking.

I stared at the ThunderClan cats with undisguised hostility. "What have you done with him?" My voice sounded dry and scratchy.

"Where have you been?" I asked, furious. The ruins of the ThunderClan camp lay around us. "We were looking all over for you!" I knew that I sounded like Ashfoot, but I didn't care.

He bowed his head. "I- I ran away with Leafpool."

"The ThunderClan medicine cat?" I was unable to keep the derision out of my voice. "Why?"

"I love her."

Not 'I loved her,' but 'I love her.' How could he betray me like this? Every time that I had covered for him to keep him out of trouble, he had been seeing her. I could feel rage bubbling within me. "I hate you!" I shouted.

End flashback.

"Do you want to go hunting with me?" I repeated.

Crowfeather raised his head, and I couldn't help but gasp. His amber eyes were bloodshot as they stared blankly out of his matted gray fur. "I suppose," he muttered.

My mind was in turmoil as we headed towards the ThunderClan border. Was he just using me, like he had before? Had he only agreed to hunt so that he could slip over to meet Leafpool?

"I have something to say to you," I said. He turned to me, amber eyes blinking.

"I love you."

Where had those words come from? I had meant to say that there was a burr in his coat. But it was true. Every time that I had been kind to him when the whole Clan shunned him, every time that I had covered for him, every time I had brought him fresh-kill when he was too depressed to eat, I had loved him.

Crowfeather was silent. I began to feel stupid. He didn't love me, I knew that. He loved Leafpool. Finally, he turned to me and gave a small smile. "I love you too," he murmured.

I could see in his eyes that it was a lie. He didn't love me. But I loved him, and I would keep loving him anyway.