Leader of the Pack
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: Hopefully this turned out right…
Growling at outsiders was a signal. Humans generally didn't understand it, attributing the hostile greeting to shyness or fear.
Even the most base stupid animal would recognize it for what it was, a warning against the invasion of territory or harming the pack.
It said "Someone owns this, owns them. I do. If any harms them it shall be me. And any violation of pack shall be punished without mercy. Especially for a member." Pack wasn't safe without someone constantly looking out for it. But only those feral enough, brave enough, dominant enough growled. Those who feared hid.
Most humans didn't comprehend either its purpose or its significance. Dominant always took care of the rest, it just was that way. It should be that way. Every pack needed to be owned. It meant safety.
Nanaki thought humans silly for not employing such safeguards. Pack had been saved many times through such warnings. Grandpa's tales had taught him that. Most two legged ones didn't understand it. They didn't like the notion of being owned.
Others thought it meant one could use one's pack at will, then throw them away. ShinRa was like that. It was not safe to be owned by ShinRa.
No human would truly understand the concept.
Or so he thought.
But he noted something in the behavior of the humans who rescued him. Something he hadn't seen in humans before. And he had watched many humans. These ones behaved like a pack.
It came from the leader.
Cloud Strife marked his territory. Any newcomer was greeted with a careful evaluation and a growl of warning, his judgment deciding the behavior of the others. This human was dominant, making sure others knew what would happen should harm come to what he owned. But he treated his pack with respect, listening to their opinions and allowing them to help decide. He would punish those who betrayed pack without repentance and no other would be allowed to.
It was the trust, the knowledge that the pack leader would protect them and they would be dead before that protection ended. This ownership was the right type, fierce and brutal but kind in its way, a feral thing.
And Cloud Strife had marked Nanaki as territory. No human had ever done so.
Most humans would have found the label disturbing.
To Nanaki it was comforting. Someone worthy owned, him, owned them. The alpha would protect, pack was family. It was how things should be.
The chase after Sephiroth was one he would support wholeheartedly. The man had betrayed his alpha. He had betrayed pack. And he was not sorry. He would pay.
Nanaki no longer felt the need to growl at outsiders. It had already been done.