Silent Night – Chapter 4: Tsume's Pride
Tsume's PoV.

A.N: Hey people, sorry it's taken me sooo long to actually do this next chapter, but I hadn't originally planned it to go any further than the 3rd chapter!
But I did eventually think of something to write for the next bit, but so much crap happened and well this chapter just didn't.
But thanks to my PSD class I actually worte this out! I have no idea if you guys will like this or if it even fits in with the previous chapters!

So I hope you like it!

To the story!

Tsume watched as Hige leant against a tree and slid down to the floor, so he was lying down, and let out a sigh of relief. The group of wolves and the flower maiden had been walking around the forest for hours, and were still surrounded by nothing but a dense, endless sea of tree trunks.

They had decided now would be a good chance to rest. Kiba, being the pack leader, had decided to go look for something the wolves could eat, while they rested. He left Cheza behind to rest and bathe in the sunlight drifting down through the tree tops.

Something rubbed against the grumpy wolf's side and as he looked down he saw that stupid pup looking up at him with bright, hope-filled eyes. "Toboe" he growled at the red wolf, a warning for him to back off or be yelled at. Tsume knew what he wanted, but, damn it, he was not going to give in to him again!

But he had to admit, he always felt a little cold and lonely not having the young cub by his side, as a constant source of warmth and a caring companion. He would never admit any of this out loud though; he'd rather fight off an army of Noble troops.

Tsume's mind was brought back to the present as he caught Cheza watching him with her deep pink eyes. He still felt uneasy around her, considering her origins, but he really couldn't stand it when she stared at him like that, like she could read his mind or something. It made him feel defensive; however he was starting to get on with her, since she was nowhere near as annoying as his pup.

He mentally cursed at that slip up –his pup– since when was he so possessive and attached to that kid? Tsume assured himself he wasn't, and couldn't care less about who Toboe was owned by. He didn't believe a word of his excuses but could pretend for the sake of his sanity.

Tsume was broken out of his mental panic when he noticed a red blur rushing towards him. He briefly thought about how the kid still had energy when he was moaning earlier about all the walking, but the fast blob of fur tackled him to floor. The battle experienced wolf's instincts kicked in and he rolled them so that he had the excited wolf pinned underneath him.

The older wolf realised what had happened so he relaxed, and if he wasn't such a badass wolf he would have blushed at the sight of the younger wolf lying there. He looked away, so he didn't have to look Toboe in the eye and feel his resolve slip away, only to see Hige watching them.

A strange sense of déjà vu made Tsume's eye twitch with annoyance and Hige cleared his throat, catching the young wolf's attention as well, "Why do I always seem to find you two like this? Can't you give it a rest, or at least go hide behind a tree for this sort of thing?"

Tsume had to clench his jaw and claw up the grass beneath his claws just to stop himself from attacking the brown wolf. "What do you want from us Porky?" His lips pulled back to show off the grey wolf's shinning fangs, they were every bit as eyes drawing as the wolf's piercing yellow eyes. Hige backed off a bit and Tsume's snarl became a smirk.

"I was gunna ask if you noticed some strange scents when we entered this forest. I thought I caught the scent of a predator awhile back but Kiba didn't sense anything." Hige looked serious for once and his eyes were shifting around, he was looking beyond the trees. He followed Hige's gaze, he hadn't noticed anything unusual for a forest, but he had been pre-occupied getting Toboe to stop nuzzling him while they were walking.

"If Kiba didn't notice anything and neither did I, then your nose is malfunctioning. Now get lost." Tsume watched as Hige sulked and went off mumbling to himself. Now that, that was sorted, Tsume just needed to sort out Toboe. Who had just realised was starting to nuzzle and lick his front leg.

Tsume's eye gave another twitch of annoyance as he felt Toboe's tongue dampen his fur and looked down at the pup, all the anger faded away when he saw the happy look that was on the young wolf's face. It made him realise, once again, that Toboe had managed to get through to him and into his heart. He nuzzled back at Toboe, glad to have someone to care for and who cared for him.

The grey wolf relaxed and enjoyed the moment with the red wolf, hating how rare these moments were, because of his own stubbornness about these things. He closed his eyes and focused on the wolf still underneath him, trying to make the moment last as long as he could. Before his pride could take over and made him feel like he couldn't let others see him acting like this, see him being so weak.

As if knowing Tsume's last thought, Tsume picked up Kiba's scent and pulled away from Toboe to see the white wolf watching them curiously. Tsume couldn't stand it for more than a few seconds and jumped away from Toboe, startling the younger wolf, who stood up to see what happened to make the grey wolf move. But Tsume just stood there glaring and meeting Kiba's gaze, even when Toboe timidly walked over and rubbed against his side to try and sooth him.

He was sure Toboe felt the growl that rumbled in his chest before it erupted out of the pissed off wolf's mouth. But it didn't put off the determined red wolf; clearly he was becoming used to Tsume's aggressiveness. Toboe nudged Tsume's head and gave a gentle whimper, asking for Tsume to return to his affection. Tsume wanted to, but all that time alone and with humans had set him in his ways, so that he refused to show affection and love in front of others. Instead he just bared his teeth and growled, "Get off me. Now Toboe," at the upset wolf.

Toboe was obviously unsure of what to do, and Tsume couldn't blame him, the pup's affection had just been turned down in front of their pack mates. Tsume noticed Hige looking nervous and shifty, probably trying to decide if anyone would mind him ripping into the carcass lying next to, or if he could use it to calm the tense atmosphere that was forming.

Cheza was looking at them all with a sad smile, like she could tell the conflicting feelings and thoughts each of them was having, when she looked right at him. Tsume didn't like the look she gave him, like she felt sorry for him. He did not want her to pity him or act like she knew more than she did.

Lastly Kiba was watching every move he and Toboe made, scowling as he noticed Tsume not calming the distressed young wolf. He didn't seem happy with the coldness Tsume was treating Toboe with and started to walk towards Tsume.

Tsume growled at Toboe as he crept closer as well, "Don't even try it Runt!" He snapped at the red wolf and turned around, stalking off into the woods behind them. When he heard a whine behind him and saw Toboe starting to follow after him. "Toboe! Don't follow me!"And he snapped at the wolf again before he stormed off, disappearing into the dense forest.

The angry wolf had been walking around the forest for a couple of hours to calm himself down. He knew it was stupid, getting so pissed off just because Kiba saw them, but he just couldn't stand that guy seeing him like that, looking weak. He only trusted Toboe with that, which made him feel even worse for yelling at the kid. Tsume let out a frustrated sigh, knowing he would have to go back and apologise to Toboe.

Tsume wandered back to the area the rest of the pack was resting in. At first he was only slightly worried at the absence of the happy wolf bounding up to him, but assumed it was just because he had upset Toboe and the wolf didn't want to get yelled at again. So he scanned the area, Cheza and Kiba were relaxing near a large tree and Hige was licking his paws. But there was no sight of the red wolf.

A chilling panic raced along the wolf's spine as he realised how upset Toboe must have to have gone off on his own. He still couldn't face Kiba about this so he went to find out what Hige knew about the young wolf's absence. "Oi, Porky, where did Runt run off to now?" Tsume smirked at having made the wolf jump, too engrossed with grooming himself to notice the grey wolf approaching.

Hige stood up to face Tsume, "Toboe went off after you left, Kiba tried to talk to him but he was too upset to listen and ran off. Haven't seen him since then." And he glared at Tsume, clearly thinking it was his fault, and Tsume couldn't help but agree with that.

Even when he and Toboe fell out in the past, Toboe always came back after a little while, like the two were destined to be stuck with each other. He was sure that was it, and Toboe would return, he just had to finish sulking somewhere so that Tsume could apologise to him when he got back.

It had been another half hour before Hige went off to look for Toboe. Tsume still refused to worry too much, the kid would be back soon, he always was. He had to come back. Tsume could feel the ache in his heart from knowing that this was his fault and there was a small chance he had pushed the pup just that bit too far this time.

Kiba wandered over, Tsume knew he would eventually try to talk about this, and he wasn't looking forward to it at all. "Tsume." Kiba was keeping it cool and sounded almost emotionless, letting his eyes display his emotion instead. "What, Kiba?" The grey wolf was trying to sound as calm and normal as the white wolf but even he knew his voice sounded rough from worrying about the missing red wolf.

"Maybe you should look for him. Toboe would come back if you asked him to." Tsume felt a twinge of guilt because he knew it was true, but it still annoyed him that Kiba was telling him and trying to give him advice. "I know what I'm doing, and you don't know anything about what's happened. So don't act like you can help!" Anger flared in both the wolves' eyes.

Hige burst through the trees, running straight at the wolves staring each other down. The brown wolf was running as fast as he could and skidded to a stop. "Kiba! Tsume!" He was struggling to catch his breath back, "I followed Toboe's scent..." He was looking away from them, trying to avoid Tsume's eye. Tsume felt pissed off that the wolf was avoiding him.

"Where's Toboe? Why didn't you bring him back here with you?" Tsume demanded, the panic bubbling up again at why Toboe hadn't come back, with Hige, to the pack. Had he really upset the pup so much that he wouldn't come back to Tsume?

"I lost his scent in another clearing, a little while away from here," Tsume knew something was off. Hige had the best scent of smell, Toboe hadn't been gone long so something must have interrupted the scent trail, "And there was a strong scent of something, else. There must have been about 4, at least. He wouldn't stand a chance." Hige practically whispered the last part.

Tsume felt his blood run cold. "Don't say that! He..." His mouth went dry and his mind was blank as every part of him went numb. Tsume was only vaguely aware that Kiba had asked something and that Hige was answering it. "I only picked up about 4. They masked his and I thought I should come back before following it any further. I'm not so stupid that I'd chase after a group of tigers on my own."

'Tigers. Toboe wouldn't be able to handle them on his own.' Tsume disengaged from the conversation between the other wolves. Toboe needed him; it was his fault the young wolf had gone off and was now in trouble. He had to go and help the wolf he loved.

"Tsume, go get Toboe. This one knows he's waiting for you to save him from them." He realised Cheza was standing next to him now, and that she was whispering into his ear while Kiba and Hige argued about what to do. There was a delicate smile on her face, and he knew she was right.

He turned around and headed off the way Hige had com, ignoring the shouts coming from behind him. He had to put Toboe first, he was more important than anything else in Tsume's life, even more important than his useless pride that only drove his Toboe away. And he wasn't about to lose the one wolf he truly cared for over that, or to a bunch of overgrown cats.

"I swear I'll bring him back." Tsume promised himself.

~To Be Continued~