I remembered there had been fourteen of them not including myself. Where were the others that were a part of the original pack? Suddenly on the far side of the clearing in the opposite direction of the river walked in four wolves. They all looked slightly familiar like the other ten that I knew belonged here did. The last wolf to walk in had his head low to the ground, his nose almost touching the grass, yet he was the biggest, except for the wolf in the lead who was of equal height, and oldest looking of all of them. He dropped a rabbit on to a pile of food that was in a different position than I remembered. His nose twitched as if catching a scent and he closed his eyes razing his nose to the sky and it slowly dropped to level with me as he opened his eyes and his gaze met mine. My heart started to beat faster and longing went through my body from the tips of my ears to the tips of my toes. I knew that wolf as I knew the fur on my own pelt. I knew the snow white fur and the beautiful green eyes that could spark with anger or kindness at a moments notice. I suddenly could remember everyone that was semi familiar in the clearing.
The name, his name, Whitefang went through me and I knew instantly that was him; the wolf I loved and called my mate. My tail wagged of its own accord as our gazes stayed locked together. “Blue,” the wolf shouted and charged at me. His body rammed into mine and I tumbled on to the ground with his tongue licking frantically over my muzzle. I felt all the others freeze as he licked and nuzzled into me and I returned his welcome as fearfully as he did. After a moment, he slid off me and sat as I stood to see everyone looking at me with surprise in their eyes.
“Blue? is that really you,” Healing whispered stepping forward. I wagged joyously as I remembered everyone like I had before I had been taken by the dogs a full moon cycle and then a few moon rises ago. I nodded at Healing and she cried out with joy, pressing against my fur lovingly. I looked at the other familiar faces as they watched with awe. Earheart and Prettyeye came up to me next after Healing’s outburst laughing and smiling like usual, but with tears flowing down their cheeks. Then Teeth and Toes came wagging their tails and happy to see I was back with them. Happytail and Whitespots approached and licked me gently and whispered their joy to see me back home with their own eyes full of unshed tears. Paws and Paw came and even Fightingfeet came up and touched my nose and whispered his thanks to the Wolfyas for helping me come home, trying to fight off his own tears. A pup that was a lot bigger than the last time I saw it, hurled itself at me and licked me over with joy. Face, the pup that no long seemed to be one, then trotted over to Earheart and Prettyeye to sit between them.
I then looked at the two wolves that would really make me feel like I was truly home. I sat staring at my brothers, waiting patiently. Finally Brownstripe ran to press his body against mine, whispering his love to me as unchecked tears slide down his cheeks on to mine as my own eyes filled. After he moved aside, Swiftfeet walked forward to see me his eyes bright with love and tears. “I am glad your home sister,” he whispered in my ear as he rubbed his cheek against mine making my tears spill over. He pulled away and looked in my eyes and I knew he had forgiven Whitefang and me for being mates and knew all he had wanted to do was protect me from what he had seen as a threat. I butted my head against his chest to let him know he was also forgiven and he stood to the side to say with a sweep of his tail, “These three wolves that did not walk forward because they don’t know that you are pack leader sister. Come Water, Rain and Snow.” I looked at the three unfamiliar wolves as they stepped forward. They nodded respectfully then stood still as I looked them over with an examining gaze of curiosity.
Water was a blue wolf with shiny blue eyes. They did look like fresh water from the stream that was at our backs. Next was the gray wolf with black spots on his pelt called Rain. He was an Eyereke and had gray and blue eyes and was missing the very tips of his ears. Lastly there was Snow with her white pelt and amber eyes that glowed with wonder back into mine. I knew why two normal wolves had stayed with an Eyereke because my brothers had done the same for me. They were a family and were sticking together when their brother needed his sisters most. I smiled kindly and bowed my head respectfully, showing my own respect for the family. They smiled and gave a wag of their tails to see they appreciated my gesture and walked to sit with the others. Rain, about to sit beside his sister Snow, suddenly stopped and sniffed the air. I knew immediately that he had caught the scent of the dogs crouching behind me.
The wolves felt his hostility and as a unit, growled themselves, glaring in the direction of the dogs crouching in the bushes. Rain leaped towards the bushes but I leaped in his path and knocked him out of the way. “Stop it. The dogs are friendly,” I said getting between Rain and my adopted pack.
“Dogs,” Rain asked, his lips still curled away from his teeth, but with a paw against his shoulder from Brownstripe, he relaxed just enough to quiet his growling. Just as he opened his mouth to voice another challenge, the group of dogs stepped from out behind the bushes and the pack gasped in astonishment. The thirty-five dogs stood behind me, some holding their tails high, others with their ears back and tails between their legs in fear. Even though there were more of them, they didn’t want to see how good wolves could fight when outnumbered. The pack looked at them mouths wide open, staring in complete surprise at what stood before them.
“Yes, dogs Rain. They kidnapped me and took me away from my home. At first I fought knowing I had a pack to lead but soon I realized they needed my help more than my pack needed me at that moment. They needed me to help them win a race in a place called Alaska. They trained me and turned me into a wolf fit enough for the race. I ran in it and we won. Unfortunately a man attacked their owner and killed him.” I paused running my paw over my collar and medal feelings of Matt wanting to invade my mind, but I shoved them aside to focus on my wolves. “In revenge, we killed him as well and his dogs. Then we came back here to where I belong and where they hope to. Every one of them deserves to join the pack and be here like the rest of us. They are just like Eyerekes trying to prove themselves in a world that wants to deny them. They can and will if given the chance. I’ve seen what they can do and know that they can belong here like any wolf given the chance.” I said all of it holding my head high in front of the pack I once knew like my own name and still did, partly at least. They looked at me and at each other uncertain of what to do.
Finally, Whitefang stepped forward and hesitantly sniffed the closest dog to me, which gratefully was Small. Small sniffed him back politely in return and soon, they were both wagging tails in greeting. Others from the pack and the dog’s sled team stepped forward to sniff each other. I relaxed as the wolves and dogs got acquainted with each other with little argument. But one wolf caught my eye especially as she spoke kindly to Giant: Whitespots. I tilted my head as my eyes narrowed and really looked at her. Her scent was the same but oddly different, yet familiar from past experience. Suddenly, I knew what the difference was. Brownstripe’s scent was on her fur and also something more that I had smelled on my mother and Black’s mother. She had pups coming! I stared at her swollen belly in astonishment and looked at Brownstripe as he was giving Blood a good sniff and the bigger wolf sniffed him in return. I laughed at the surprise and could feel a shadow falling over me. I looked up from my wolf watching and turned my head to collide my nose with Whitefang’s.
He snorted and shook his head smiling down at me. I smiled back and touched my nose to his, this time gently. “What are you doing,” he asked flicking his ear toward Whitespots as Giant smiled at what she said.
“She’s bearing pups,” I stated more than asked. He nodded looking over at her again thoughtfully, his eyes full of wonder. I looked at her to and whispered, “More for the pack.” He smiled nudging my flank gently. I looked at him seeing the same love I remembered shining in his eyes for me stronger than before. I smiled nuzzling against his neck fur and he licked my ear softly in return. He wanted pups. I saw it in the way he looked so thoughtfully at Whitespots. He wanted a family. My gaze slowly traveled over to Blood. He was talking to Healing and was nodding at everything she was telling him. Suddenly his eyes flicked to mine and he smiled. I smiled back and looked away. He wanted the same thing. I sighed pressing my body against Whitefang, trying to taken in is warm to ward of the sudden chill I was getting.
He licked my ear then padded away to talk to Small and taking his warmth with him. Why did everyone want what I couldn’t or didn’t feel I could provide? I turned slowly, head down, and walked slowly away from the merging pack. What could I do? I could not have all of them as my mate. I sighed and with a heavy heart continued walking on and on, my mind swirling with images of all of the dogs and wolves that wanted me to be their mate: Blood, Kill, Chocolate and Whitefang. I looked up as my paws touched water and gravel and realized I was at the lake. Suddenly my senses came back to me and I could feel the wind moving my fur and smell the water as it was lapping at my paws. I sniffed and could also smell the scents the wind brought to my nose.
I sighed and sat down feeling the water lap over my fur. I couldn’t help them get what they desired. I was pack leader for Wolfyas sake and needed to care for my pack before I got tangled in things like that. I stared up at the sky, feeling the sun on my pelt. Wolfyas, what was I supposed to do? Unexpectedly I heard voices whispering quietly in my ears. I looked around but saw no one around me. I stranded my ears but the voices stayed just out of reach and never rose in volume. I heard the mumbles but I couldn’t catch what was being said. Without warning when I tried to rise, my body wouldn’t respond to me. Of my body’s own accord, it lay down in the water and my eyes closed without me asking them too. I couldn’t fight the force that took over my body and forced me to sleep without my consent.