Disclaimer: "The Fox and the Hound" is property of Daniel P. Mannix and Walt Disney Company, not mine...unfortunately.

A/N: Okay, this is the first part of a three-part series I have to continue the legacy of this movie, which happens to be my favorite Disney film! And to those who know me in the Recess column, no I have not stopped writing for it, I've just hit major writer's block, and needed a break. But I hope you all enjoy this!

The Fox and the Hound 2: Friends in Need

Chapter One: A New Danger

The breeze that was felt across the forest was gladly welcomed by its inhabitants. The summer heat always managed to strike early in the season. The leaves were a rich green color and new life was in the area, including a very lucky fox family.

Tod, who had been orphaned as a cub and raised by the loving Widow Tweed, smiled proudly at his mate Vixey as she groomed their two newly born cubs. They had been born just the previous night and Tod had never been happier.

"They're just beautiful, aren't they, Vixey?" he asked as one of the cubs gave a yawn and laid its head down on the soft pine straw bedding Vixey had made them. He chuckled. "I thought you said you wanted SIX cubs."

"I did," the female fox sighed as she looked down lovingly at her children. "But I suppose two is enough for now. We can always have more."

"As many as you like. What should we call them?" Tod asked, changing the subject. "They do need names, you know."

Vixey put on a look of concentration. "Hm, one's a boy and one's a girl...hm, I don't know, Tod, you come up with something."

"O-kay, how about–" he thought heavily. "How about for the girl...Autumn. She's the color of the fallen leaves."

Vixey looked at her daughter, who was at present trying to wiggle away from her brother. "That's a lovely name. She DOES have a nice rich color to her, doesn't she? But what about her brother?"

Tod watched as the boy cub swung his head around to nibble on Autumn's ear. Although he only had baby teeth, they must still have hurt for the little girl gave a squeal. Tod started laughing but Vixey hushed them and brought them closer to her. Autumn stayed put in her mother's arms but the boy seemed desperate to wander off.

"He moves pretty fast for little guy, huh?" Tod pointed out. "Hey, how does Swift sound for a name?"

"I like it...Swift and Autumn, our first babies," Vixey said softly as she herded Swift up and cuddled with them.

Tod would have bent down and cuddled along with them if he hadn't heard a faint noise from outside. His pointy ears shot up and he jerked his head towards the den's entrance. Vixey heard something too, and she tensed up. The cubs started whimpering, not understanding what was going on. Tod glanced at Vixey, whispered for her to stay there, and carefully crept out of the den.

He poked his head out first before completely exiting. He smelt the air. Strange, there wasn't a scent of human anywhere. Ever since the red fox had a few run-ins with hunter Amos Slade, he had learned to be wary of huntsmen. Tod quietly made his way through the brush to find what it was he had heard. It was so quiet–not even the usual songbirds could be heard.

After maybe fifteen minutes of heart-pounding silence and stealthily making his way across the forest, Tod came to a clearing. Careful not to be seen by anyone or anything that might be there, he stuck his head out of a nearby bush. With his keen eyes he could make out a sign of smoke in the distance, about two miles away. Curious, he reached a foot out to get closer but the sound of a dog made him stop in his tracks. No, make that TWO dogs. No, more than two, it was a whole slew of dogs. And mixed in with the howling and barking, Tod could hear human voices–not just one human, but many humans. What was going on here?

Not wanting to endanger himself or his family, Tod turned tail and quickly (but quietly) ran back to his den. He didn't understand the details, but he knew that they were in trouble. A group of dogs and a group of humans that large could only mean one thing–hunting. And with their size, they could cover acres and miles of territory–they might even reach Vixey and the cubs. Tod raced home, trying to think of a way he could possibly protect them. Somehow, someway, he knew deep-down he was going to have to transport them to a far away home, away from this new danger.

Along a dusty dirt road near where Tod had seen the smoke rising up at, an old jeep came bouncing up and down as it sped over the bumpy surface. The driver, an elderly hunter by the name of Amos Slade, kept a firm grip on the steering wheel. He glanced over at his bloodhound-mix, Copper, who was sitting beside him in the passenger seat. The dog didn't look to comfortable being jostled about and eventually gave up on using his claws to hold on to the seat. He simply laid down along the seat and suffered it out.

Amos figured that if Copper was having no luck in being comfortable then he knew his old dog, a gray-colored Trigg hound named Chief, was having even worse luck. He was sitting in the back with the luggage, much to his disliking, and being tossed around with the boxes and supplies was not his idea of fun.

"Just hang on, boys, we're almost there," Amos promised them as the jeep trudged along the road at a slow and steady pace. "When we DO get there, we're going to have a bit of fun, huh?"

Copper had no idea where they were headed, but wherever it was had better be worth the trouble of this headache of a ride. He held his head up and turned it to where Chief was hanging on to a box in an attempt to stay inside the truck.

"Hey, Chief?" he asked the older dog as the truck gracefully hit a pothole. "Where exactly are we going? The Master never said."

"To this regional hunt thing that happens every year," Chief answered. He saw the look of confusion etched on Copper's face, so he sighed and explained. "It's where all the hunters and dogs from a certain place group up and have a contest on who brings in the most game."

A regional hunt? Wow, that sounded like fun to Copper even if he had only been hunting for little over a year now. To him, hunting wasn't just a job, it was a favorite past-time. He enjoyed getting to put his nose to good use out on the field. Except for when he went after his best friend earlier that year–a fox named Tod. They had been childhood pals, but Copper had left to begin his training in the art of hunting. When he returned, an accident occurred which included Chief suffering a broken leg, so Copper had gone after Tod in revenge. Only after a showdown with a ferocious bear did things patch up between the two of them.

Copper suddenly wondered how his old friend was doing ever since he became a resident of forest life. He hadn't seen the fox since that day of the bear attack. Perhaps it was for the better–if Tod came around, things would just get crazy all over again. Amos would want to blow the fox's head off, Chief would want to rip his throat out–Copper just couldn't handle the conflict again. He was just glad his two elder friends didn't know of his secret friendship with Tod–now THAT would be bad.

Okay, that's it for chapter one, will Tod and Copper run into each other eventually? What's to happen when they do? Gotta keep reading to find out, and PLEASE review!!