A/N: Inspired by the fic 'The Stump and The Butterfly', an allegory written by Juliabohemian in the House, MD fandom.
Summary: A wolf and a cub are playing a game in the forest. But when does the game end, and the hunt begin? Allegory, fluff.
A cub watched as the wolf prowled ahead of him, keeping light on his paws, ears low, and tail too, peering through the bushes.
The cub copied the wolf's movements, peering out the bushes, and…ah, there it was.
They heard a soft keen from the eagle above, scouting for them. Simple enough, but the cub knew there was more to it than what appeared. It was a message. He tried to remember what different ones meant, and…this one meant things were good.
"Good, right?" he whispered to the wolf, who nodded, but didn't say anything. He was a rather grouchy wolf.
A snake appeared from the bush, moving through the leaves and twigs on the ground, raising a head to nod – agreeing with the eagle's keen – and disappeared again.
And for a few moments, they waited, the cub keeping absolutely still…when suddenly, he heard another keen. The fox!
And the cub almost moved forward, before remembering he wasn't supposed to.
But neither was the wolf. The fox and the eagle and the snake were moving in on the game, on the prey, but the wolf was frozen.
Thinking quickly, the cub bit on his tail.
That got him moving.
He stayed hidden, like he was supposed to, and only barely kept his tail up when the wolf came back.
He didn't even whine.
"Good work," was all the wolf said, before prowling back to their den.
The cub was freezing, but he kept running, running, running! He had to get away from the two bears chasing him down the mountain. He had other cubs to free from that wretched cave!
He ran between two trees, tiny as he was, and one of the bear tried to run after – but he got stuck.
The other bear was a little smarter. Gr…
He whimpered, keening, as he was tripped by the bear, rolled, and hit a rock, at least landing on his feet again, running, when he bounced off it, into the snow.
Quickly, he turned, saw another rock, and ran straight for it. He let the bear get closer and closer…
And he jumped up at the last minute.
The bear didn't.
He yipped as the bear fell into the snow and didn't get back up again.
Huffing, he went down the mountain again…
More bears. And they looked hungry…
It wasn't frozen, but it was rushing, rushing, rushing fast, chunks of ice floating around on top of it.
Snarling at the bears, instead of turning towards the clearing of trees, on the side of the river, he jumped right onto a piece of ice.
He wagged his tail a little as the river carried him onwards, before suddenly he turned around.
Whimpering, he jumped off the ice, and-
But taking another deep breath, he tried to swim against the rush-
He hit a rock, and was wiped out cold.
He was lucky the waterfall wasn't too far down.
The wolf watched carefully, as the cub, now not moving, fell down the water fall. The eagle flew up to make sure the bears left, and the snake went ahead, to make sure no one was following them to the den.
"Is he still alive?" the fox asked.
"He better be," the wolf said. "Stay here. Get the grass and leaves ready for a soft spot for him. I want him back up fast."
The fox nodded, as the wolf dashed forward.
He got to the banks, and jumped in. The water was cold, but he kept swimming. The cub needed his help.
Swimming up to the floating, furry little body, he gently clamped his teeth on the back of the cub's neck, and pulled him towards the bank, the cub's paws and tail trailing behind him.
Scrabbling up the muddy bank, he prowled back to the den, slowly, carefully, ears pointed up and sharp and looking out for danger.
When he got there, the pile of grass and leaves was finished, and the fox's eyes widened at the sight of the cub dangling from the tip of his jaws, paws moving with every swing, tail nearly brushing the floor.
He set the cub down on the pile, carefully, before gently pressing his snout into the cub's underside.
Warm, and slightly moving.
"He's alive," the wolf growled, before settling down, chin on his folded paws, to watch over the cub.
Someone had to.
The wolf flattened his ears against his head as he listened to what the cobra told him to do. He didn't want to be mean to the sub, anymore. Didn't want to make him go back to the dark cave.
Yet, he had to listen to the cobra. He knew she was right – the cub would know the way.
But he didn't like it. Not one bit. The cub just woke up! He still could barely stand on his tiny four legs.
But, they had no choice. She was higher up the food chain.
He might as well do it. At least he could watch out and make sure the cub didn't get into too much trouble, as the pup had knack for.
Someone had to watch out for the little pup.
Might as well be him.