The Pack

Disclaimer: Standard, I own none of it. I am playing in someone else's sandbox.

Summary: Always remember . . . Wolves travel in packs.

The first Wolf was lonely. Yes, the other animals were there, but it wasn't quite the same. The Falcon and the Crane spent most of their time flying together. The Bear, Ape, and Frog were good friends, but ultimately, only a Wolf can understand a Wolf. But the Wolf had his mission, and his work, so he didn't have much time to dwell on the ache ever present in the back of his mind.

When his mission was concluded the Wolf found solace for a time in the company of the Dolphin, but still, there was always that distant longing for something he didn't quite understand. An ache that friends and family never quite filled . . . until one day he heard that there was another Wolf.

This Wolf was a little different. She was traveling the stars, and was a different color, but like the first Wolf the second was surrounded other animal friends and had her own mission. So the first Wolf waited, and watched, and when her mission was completed the first Wolf sought out the second and the Pack was formed.

It was a few years before the Pack was able to find their next Wolf. He was on the first Wolf's homeworld. He too had a mission, but when his was over, he chose to wander alone. When the first two Wolves approached him he was reluctant to join the Pack, just as he had been reluctant to join in with the other animals that had offered him friendship. This Wolf still felt he was tainted, and that he did not deserve the Pack. However, the first Wolf sought out his old friend the Falcon, who himself had once been touched by Darkness. The Falcon convinced the newest Wolf that he could move on from his past, and so the Pack grew.

Again, several years passed. And again, the newest Wolf was one who had walked through Darkness. This Wolf, however, had the support of a mate, and a cub to bring him back to himself. And also unlike the other Wolves, he was not surrounded by other animals, but great Titans of myth and magic. He understood and embraced the Pack the moment the other three Wolves approached him, becoming not the Alpha, for he honored the First Wolf in creating the Pack, but as the Elder.

Now the Pack sensed another Wolf. They looked in on him and for the first time decided to not wait until after his mission was complete to bring him into the Pack. Like most of them, he too was surrounded by other animals . . . but they were almost all Cats; a Tiger, a Jaguar, and a Cheetah. These cats definitely did not understand the ways of Pack and while this Wolf didn't show it, the loneliness ate at him. Yes, there was also his old friend the Rhino . . . but more and more his eyes were only for the Owl. The decision was made.

RJ wasn't sure what made him pause in his pizza making when he heard the door chime. Yes, the lunch rush was over, but it wasn't unusual for customers to come in between lunch and dinner. But this time, he felt some inexplicable pull. In a way, it reminded him of the day he had completed the ritual in which he found the Wolf Spirit within himself.

RJ followed this pull and looked through the window in the kitchen door. He could see Lily showing four customers to a table. One was a sandy-haired man in dark slacks and a blue dress shirt. The only woman was a flowing brunette wearing high boots, a dark, woven skirt, and a yellow leather halter-top. Third was a youngish-looking man with dark hair that had a silver streak running through it wearing a dark gray t-shirt and black leather pants. The fourth was an older gentleman in a red turtleneck and gray slacks.

All four suddenly stopped, just before they sat down, and looked at the kitchen door. For a moment, just for a moment, RJ was certain their eyes flashed yellow . . . the eyes of Wolves. RJ couldn't help himself . . . he burst through the door and then came to a dead stop. There was a momentary pause and then, as the four smiled at him, RJ breathed, "Pack."