A/N: This was one of the most taxing stories I have ever written. It took me months of editing and rewrites as nothing seemed to flow very well. I feel good enough about it to post but we'll see what you guys think. Also I think this is the first story featuring Miles in a major role. YAY! Miles rules. Anyway, hope you all enjoy!
All character and places belong to Rick Griffin. Lyrics belong to Weird Al.
Let It Out
Miles couldn't sleep.
He lay in bed, arms nestled comfortably behind his head, staring at the darkened ceiling above. The dull illumination of the red neon numbers on the dresser next to the bed read one thirty. Miles could see it through the corner of his eye and he let out a large yet silent sigh. Insomnia had never been an issue with him or any wolf he knew but lately, things were just so…
"Different." He thought.
A slight murmur of sound, almost like the coo of a dove graced his ears which caused him to look over to his left. Lucretia had moved in her sleep, draping her arm across his muscular chest and nuzzled the crook of his neck. Miles took a deep inhale of her scent, hoping that the calming feeling it always gave him would finally coax him into sleep. Unfortunately it seemed to be ineffective and the wolf let out another burdened sigh. Miles realized he had two options;
One: Stay in bed and hope that sleep will eventually come like he had been doing since eleven that night.
Two: If he was up then he might as well get up.
Deciding that option two was the most logical of choices, Miles gently eased his way out of his mate's warm embrace. He was careful not to disturb her as he slid his arm from underneath her head. A small moan of disappointment slid past her lips, her arm lazily searching for him again. Miles gently placed a paw on her forehead and softly stroked the spot between her eyes with his thumb. Lucretia's sleep induced search for him faded and she settled into place. Miles felt a twinge of regret for getting up now, a part of him wishing he was still laying down with her, feeling the warmth of her body pressed against his own.
But Miles knew that it would be futile, even if he was with, in his mind, the most beautiful creature on Earth.
Silently he left the bedroom and closed the door shut, turning the handle as he did as too avoid the clicking sound it made. He moved through the dark empty hallway, trying to avoid creaking floorboards when he passed his brothers' room and especially his children's.
Miles made his way downstairs and into the living room where he turned on a nearby lamp. The sudden onslaught of light caused him to shield his eyes and look away to let his eyes adjust. Once his vision became clear he looked around the room trying to find some sort of activity to occupy his restlessness. There was television but Miles quickly dismissed it. Television was more of a luxury for Lucretia and the kids. He rarely watched television and when he did it was purely for extending his knowledge on human society.
His attention then turned to a large book case on the opposite end of the room. The canine's eyes scanned the spines of each book that littered the shelves.
Hemmingway, Dickens, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Twain and dozens of other great human writers. Books that covered everything from proper dining etiquette to other various social standards rested just below. Those books occupied two shelves. He sheepishly avoided looking at the small section in the corner that stored a few "For Dummies" books.
Despite his ever longing thirst to become more versed in the affairs of humans, he had already read those books more than once and to be honest, his brain was much too busy to focus on reading.
Miles scratched his head feeling somewhat lost. A part of him wanted a distraction while another wanted to just sit down and sort out his thoughts. He looked out a nearby window and saw it was a clear night. No clouds in the sky and a bright full moon hung in the darkness, sending some light onto the streets of Babylon Gardens. He thought about it for a moment then decided that maybe he could use some exercise.
Opening a closet next to the front door, Miles searched through the few pieces of clothing that hung on a rack. The large wolf growled in annoyance when he saw the only thing that belonged to him was the turtleneck sweater that had been given to him by Mr. Sandwich when he and the pack first moved in. He shook his head and pulled the tight and usually hot sweater over his head. He fiddled with the sleeves and collar until he was somewhat comfortable in it.
Miles opened the front door and was greeted with a rush of cold November air which instantly made him glad he had chosen the turtleneck after all. He softly closed the door and walked out onto the streets.
Miles walked down the side walk of the neighborhood. Houses sat silent and dark, everyone in their beds sound asleep. How he envied them.
As his footsteps continued on silently, his mind continued on with the thoughts that had been plaguing him all night. But before he could begin to start the thinking process, it was then that his keen ears picked up a faint sound of music. It seemed to be coming from down the next block or two and Miles took a few short sniffs in the air picking up a familiar scent. His curiosity now peaked, he headed towards the direction of scent and sound.
The further down the neighborhood he got, the louder the music became.
From his beard to his boots, he was covered in ammo like a big fat drunk disgruntled yuletide Rambo…
"Such odd lyrics." Miles said aloud to himself.
He came to a four way cross section and the music seemed to be emanating to his right. Turning his head, Miles spotted a bus stop bench and a lonely figure sitting on it. He squinted in the darkness to try and make out the figure and instantly recognized the red collar around his neck.
Walking down the street and stopping just a foot away from the bench, the figure hadn't looked up at him. A pair of ear phones was hanging around his neck, music still playing but he didn't seem to notice. The chocolate colored dog had his face in his hands, ears drooping. Miles stood there studying him for a moment before asking,
The dog's head snapped up upon hearing his name being called. His light blue eyes met Miles's concerned dark ones and he cleared his throat in embarrassment.
"Oh. Hey Miles. Uh…Nice night huh?" He replied awkwardly.
"Peanut, what on Earth are you doing out this late?"
Peanut nervously scratched the back of his head and adverted his gaze towards the empty street.
"I'm just…getting some air is all." He mumbled. Miles frowned. He had heard better excuses from his cubs.
"I see." Is all he said. There was a heavy silence for a while, either of them not really sure what to say next. The large wolf rubbed the back of his neck feeling more than a little awkward. This didn't seem like the type of situation where you just shoot the breeze then go own about your business. And the notion of just leaving the pup in the middle of the cold night made Miles uncomfortable as well.
"Perhaps I should take you home. Your parents wouldn't be too happy with me if they found out you were out here all alone and I just ignored it." Miles spoke up.
The mention of home seemed to make Peanut uncomfortable. He stayed seated and nervously poked his fingers together. "Um…I'll be okay Miles…I wasn't planning to stay out much longer."
"Peanut is something wrong?" Miles flat out asked, crossing his arms over his chest. Peanut faked a laugh and threw a paw in the air, waving off the question.
"No! Everything's great! Everything's…fine." He said, his voice slightly trailing off at the end. He swallowed a small lump in his throat as Miles stared at him hard as if to say he could smell the lie from a mile away.
"I have three children Peanut. Call it a sixth sense but I know when something is bothering them and it's no different from what I'm reading from you."
Peanut looked away again, closing his eyes tightly and clutching his bone shaped tag in his paw. Miles read his body language and felt a sudden rise of shame.
"I'm sorry Peanut. It's none of my business. If you don't want to talk about it, that's fine. I didn't mean to pry." Miles apologized. Peanut opened his eyes but didn't say anything. Miles looked at his feet, not exactly positive on what to do.
"Can I ask you something Miles?"
Miles looked back up and saw Peanut staring at him with tired eyes. The usual happy and imaginative sparkle they hold seemed to be vacant. He sat down next to the small dog and let his paws fall into his lap.
"Of course you can." He replied with a small smile. Peanut toyed with his tag some more, trying to piece together his thoughts. Miles waited patiently, a small breeze whistling through the night air.
"If," Peanut finally began, "You're in a relationship and its good and everything but you have feelings for someone else…does that make you a bad person?"
Miles was a little taken back from the question. He was not expecting…well, that.
"No Peanut, it doesn't. But I can't say that's very fair to whomever you're with." He answered, leaning one arm against the back of the bench.
"That's what I thought." Peanut sighed, letting his head fall back and stare at the night sky. Miles followed the younger canine's actions, staring at the stars himself. "Is this why you don't want to go home?" He asked bluntly.
Peanut snapped his head towards him, a slightly embarrassed blush creeping across his face. He waved off the question with his hand and stuck his tongue out, blowing a raspberry. "What! Get out of here Miles! That's…that's silly…" Peanut finished weakly, the blush still present.
Miles merely nodded, accepting the answer although not believing a single word of it. He knew he was above average intelligence by most wild animal standards but it didn't take a high IQ to see what was obvious. He saw the way the pup often reacted around her when they were alone and when she was with her boyfriend. The differences were not always night and day but enough for most to put two and two together. It troubled Miles to see someone so young to be burdened by something so heavy and close to home.
"But you are happy in your current relationship yes?" Miles asked changing the subject back to the original question.
"Well…yeah I am. Tarot's great. She's nice and sweet and fun and…great." Peanut answered but even he picked up on his own hesitation on the last word.
"But?" Miles interjected for him knowing full well that there would be a 'but'. There always was. "But I guess, deep down inside…I know what I really want." Peanut finished, his voice barely above a whisper. Miles could sense the shame and guilt in his tone and it troubled the lupine even more.
"Does Tarot know that you feel this way?"
"I don't think so but then again it's a little hard to follow her sometimes when she makes references to the universe and the spirits and stuff like that you know?"
"Er…yes." Miles replied somewhat confused. "Well what about this other girl," He started again, "Have you told her you feel this way about her?"
Peanut just nodded.
"It didn't go well?" He asked surprised.
"No. Not exactly." Peanut murmured. Miles stayed quiet, waiting for him to continue. "We're best friends and we already cuddle and hug and spend lots of time with each other so...why change things if it's good just the way it is?"
Miles only nodded feeling that perhaps there was more. "It would never work anyways." Peanut whispered. Miles frowned, his brow scrunching in confusion.
"Why not? You said that you're already close." He asked.
"Because we're too…different. We would have to face the ridicule and judgement of everyone in the neighborhood."
"Why?" Miles asked. Peanut remained silent, not wanting to blurt out his hidden shame. He wasn't exactly sure he wanted to tell Miles the truth. This wasn't something he was too keen to admit to, especially to another canine. But in all honesty, keeping this bottled up was beginning to take its toll on him. He couldn't tell his parents and he couldn't tell any of the guys. It was a weight that he so wished he could take off his shoulders, even if it was just for a little while. Maybe it was time to take a chance…
Peanut could sense that Miles was waiting patiently to hear more. Miles was always polite like that.
"Because she's…she's…a cat." Peanut finally answered, struggling with every word. He paused, waiting for the humiliating laughter that would come from making such a statement.
But it never came.
The young dog saw that the feral that sat next to him had no look of disgust or judgement upon his face. There was no belittling or crude joke thrown his way. Just Miles sitting next to him with a calm and friendly expression on his face.
"And?" He asked, feigning ignorance.
Peanut stared at the wolf in shock. And? And! How could he just say and! Miles waved a paw in front of his face.
"Hello? Earth to Peanut." Peanut snapped out of his trance and ran a paw through his head fur.
"Miles," He began, "Everyone already suspects I'm a cat lover and I've had to put up with they're teasing for longer than I've wanted. If I started something with Gra-…great girl that she is, they'd never let it down! Even if there was a chance I could never put her through something like that."
Miles took his eyes off the dog and cast them upon the streets for a brief moment then returned back to him.
"So even if there was a chance for you and this girl, you're saying that you wouldn't jump at the opportunity because of what a few dogs in the neighborhood might think of you?"
Peanut slowly nodded his head though his face had a distinct look of uncertainty to it. Hearing it come from someone else's mouth made it sound kind of, well, silly. Miles stretched his arms over his head and leaned back into the bench, taking in a much more comfortable position before he continued.
"Have you ever heard of Andre Gide Peanut?" He asked. Peanut put his finger to his chin and thought hard.
"Is he the wrestler?"
"No, no," Miles chuckled, "Andre Gide was a human writer from Paris. He once said that, 'It is better to be hated for what you are then loved for what you are not'."
Peanut's ears flicked in thought. It did make sense. But there was a crucial fact that Miles had left out. "But he wasn't a dog Miles. He doesn't have to deal with someone like Bino and the risk of having his Good Ol' Dogs' Club membership getting taken away AGAIN." He told him.
Miles sighed and leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, narrowing his eyes at Peanut.
"You would spend your entire life doing what others tell you, saying what they tell you, THINKING what they tell you because they think they're way of thinking is what's right. Tell me Peanut, does that sound like much of a life to you?"
The pup said nothing, his eyes down casted to his lap, paws fiddling with his iPod. Miles watched him but remained silent to let him settle his thoughts. Finally Peanut shook his head as he looked up at Miles.
"No. It doesn't." Miles smiled at the answer he wanted to hear. He ruffled Peanut's head fur with a big paw. "That's right. You only get one life Peanut and I'd hate to see someone as special as you waste it on a few ignorant remarks."
Peanut smiled at him and nodded but looked down into his lap again. He hopped off the bench, tucking his earphones into his collar and turned to Miles.
"Thanks Miles. I appreciate you listening to me but I should probably go home now." He told him with a sigh and a half-smile. Miles' own smile faded as he could sense that things were still amiss with Peanut. It was then that Miles realized that a hypothetical future was not the main reason Peanut was out here and in the dumps. The situation was indeed a complicated one and there was no easy solution that he could give the youngster. It was then that Miles noticed the full moon again hanging in the sky. He smiled as an idea formed in his head.
Peanut began to walk away but stopped when he felt the wolf's paw on his shoulder. Miles smiled down at him again and said, "Come with me."
Peanut watched as the feral started to make his way down the street. He looked back over to the direction of his house then back to Miles. Feeling curiosity get the best of him, he decided to follow Miles.
He caught up with him and the two canines walked in silence, the occasional whisper of chilly wind the only real sound. They continued down a few more streets and Peanut noticed that they were approaching the entrance to the woods. Miles walked straight in and Peanut hesitated. Miles turned back to him and motioned to keep going with his head. Peanut swallowed a nervous lump in his throat and pressed on although keeping very close to Miles. The woods at night were pretty spooky but he supposed if he was with one of the wilds top predators then there wouldn't be much to worry about.
Over fallen logs and through thick bushes, the pair trudged through the dark woods. Peanut's head swivelled from right to left after every cracked branch and owl hoot that echoed through the trees. After what seemed like forever, Miles finally stopped and announced,
"Here we are."
Peanut looked to what Miles was referring to and saw nothing but a small cliffside that hung on the edge of a hill. There wasn't as many trees or bushes and you could see the sky clearly. Miles walked up the hill and to the edge, beckoning Peanut with his paw. Peanut slowly made his way to the edge and looked over.
Peanut scrunched his face in utter confusion. He looked along the tree tops trying to find something, anything but could not find anything of grand importance or interest for that matter. He looked up to Miles, scratching behind his right ear.
"I don't get it Miles. What am I supposed to be looking at?" He asked. Miles chuckled and shook his head. "Try looking up." He said, jerking upwards with his thumb.
Peanut tilted his head back and his eyes widened at the sight of the full moon directly above them. Only it was about three times the size as normal. The pup marveled at the glowing orb's shining aura that he swore could light his entire house. After a minute of being transfixed on the lunar sensation, he looked to Miles again.
"Go ahead. It will make you feel better." Miles told him.
Peanut looked to the moon again then back to Miles, confusion written all over his face. Then it suddenly struck the dog as to what Miles was getting at and he blushed while digging one foot into the ground awkwardly.
"Oh…I don't know Miles. That's…uh…kinda your guy's thing isn't it?"
"It's fine Peanut." Miles snickered. "I'm giving you permission to do this, not only as a wolf but as the Alpha wolf of my pack. Now let me hear a big one."
With another hesitant look, Peanut gazed up at the moon which in itself was a little intimidating. How could a mere pup pay tribute better than a pure blooded wolf? Swallowing his nerves, Peanut threw his head back and let out a howl.
Unfortunately the howl that escaped his throat was little more than a high pitched bark that barely carried its way over the cliffside.
Peanut could feel his ears heat up from the embarrassment from such a pitiful attempt and gave Miles a sheepish half smile. Miles made neither scorn nor humiliating comment. He simply walked over to Peanut and put his hands on his hips.
"You're thinking too hard Peanut." He said. "Howling serves no mystical purpose nor is it some blatant show of masculinity. A howl doesn't come from here." Miles tapped Peanut's forehead.
"It comes from here." He exclaimed, gently poking him in the chest now.
"A howl is a release Peanut. It's the buildup of every emotion that runs through your heart and soul. Then it is thrown out to the world, echoing over the horizon until it disappears. Take your frustration Peanut, take your worry and your grief and let it go. Take it and send it there." Miles pointed to the moon that hovered above them.
"Send it to the place so far away that it can never come back. Like this."
Miles threw his head back and let out a howl of his own. Peanut had to resist the urge to cover his ears with his paws as it was one of the loudest he had ever heard. The cry carried on over the forest and up into the sky, traces of it lingering in a faint echo. Miles let his head drop back and let out a tired sigh. Peanut took notice but said nothing.
"Now you." The wolf told him, a smile returning to his muzzle.
Peanut rubbed the back of his neck and took a deep breath, closing his eyes. He thought about everything. He thought about the embarrassment, the shame and the guilt. He thought about the frustration and the anger as well as the sadness. All those who had impacted his life so much soon came pouring in. His parents, Bino, Tarot, Max, everyone. But it was all replaced with but a singular thought.
Without even realizing it, Peanut threw his head back and let out a howl that he didn't even think was possible for him. Just like Miles', it rang over the trees and up into the sky, its own echo hanging faintly in the air. Peanut stood there for a moment, not saying a word until he turned back to face Miles. The feral still had that smile on his face.
"Feel better?" He asked.
"Actually…yeah, I do." Peanut replied with a relived laugh. It was true. Peanut couldn't explain it but it truly did feel that something inside him had been cast out…and it felt good. Miles ruffled his head again and laughed. He turned to leave but was stopped by Peanut's own question.
Miles turned back and opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out. He scrunched his face in confusion at the question. "What do you mean?" He queried.
"Well, it's just that…you were out here late tonight too and, uh, it seemed to me that something was bothering you as well maybe?" Peanut finished weakly. He did not want to pry into Miles' personal life and wanted to show the wolf the same respect he had shown to him earlier. "If you don't want to tell me I totally understand. It's just…um…if something is bothering you, I just…want to help…like you did for me."
Miles could not help but snicker at the irony. He stared at the little dog for a moment, his brain trying to decide whether or not it would be appropriate to share something so grown up with him. But he could not deny the fact that Peanut was already dealing with a very adult situation and it seemed only fair that Miles return the favor.
"You are a very considerate pup Peanut, you know that?" He told him. Peanut just gave him a goofy smile. Miles let out another tired sigh and rubbed the back of his neck.
"The truth is, I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision with my family."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Taking them away from this." Miles said, referring to the forest that surrounded them. "I'm more than happy that that they have all the comforts and security that can be provided. The Miltons have been very good to us but…" He paused as he absentmindedly fiddled with the cuffs of his sweater.
"Sometimes I feel that maybe I robbed the kids of their heritage. That I took was most known to Lucretia and Daryl and put them in a whole different world…and for that perhaps, they may resent me for it." He finished, staring back at the moon. He smiled again though and looked back to the youngster. "But to answer your question, yes, I do feel better. Perhaps not as much as I would like but it's a start."
Peanut said nothing as he watched Miles turn back to the woods and make his way down the hill. He felt as if he was in shock in all honesty. Peanut never would have guessed any doubt that Miles would have had when it came to providing for his family. Everything he did he's done for them. Shaking the bewilderment from his head, he ran after the wolf that was waiting for him at the bottom of the hill.
They made their way back to the neighborhood in silence. Peanut wanted to say something, anything but did not really know the right words. Before he knew it, they were back right where they started at the bench. Peanut looked to Miles who crouched down in front of him, placing his large paw on his shoulder.
"I know the world can be a confusing place at times Peanut," He told him softly, "And often it can be overwhelming. I wish that I had an answer for your dilemma but the truth is, there are no easy answers. This is something that I believe, in time, you will figure out on your own and that can often be a long and difficult road."
Peanut swallowed a lump in his throat and nodded solemnly, indicating he understood but wasn't necessarily happy about it. Miles tipped his chin up to look at him again.
"But you need to remember that you are never alone in this world Peanut. You have your family and friends. You have your drawings and this wonderful imaginative thing right here." Miles poked him on his forehead.
"And if you ever need someone you can talk to about this or anything else, I'm just a few blocks away." Miles told him offering him another friendly grin. He was suddenly taken back when Peanut responded by throwing his arms around the wolf's neck and hugging him tight. Miles chuckled to himself and returned it. They pulled away and Peanut rubbed his eyes, possibly to keep away potential tears.
"Thanks Miles…for everything." He said. Miles just scratched him between the ears. "You're more than welcome Peanut."
Miles turned to start walking back to his house but stopped when Peanut's voice rang out. "Hey Miles?"
"I think you've done things right."
Miles gave him a quizzical look. Peanut scratched the side of his muzzle and tried to avoid his stare. He was never good at this kind of stuff.
"Your kids seem so happy every time I see them. I don't think I've seen anyone have as much fun as they do. Everything here is new to them but it's like they can't get enough of it. And I know for a fact that you are their hero. They always talk about how they want to be just like you."
Miles could only blink at the statement. It had caught him off guard to say the least. But despite that, Miles could feel a small swell of pride in his chest upon hearing the comment.
"I don't see much of Lucretia or Daryl so I can't really speak for them but from what I do see, they seem just as happy as your kids. You took them out of the cold and into a home. I know I'm not the smartest dog around but I'm pretty sure you're doing things right."
Miles looked down to his feet for a moment. He stared long and hard and then suddenly a low and heavy laugh started to emerge from his throat. He looked back to Peanut still laughing and shook his head. It amused Miles that despite his high intelligence, it was a mere boy who was able to point out the obvious whereas he couldn't even see it when it was right in front of his nose.
"Thank you Peanut." Miles said, his face taking on a look of relief and comfort. Peanut returned the look, a burst of happiness running across his features, glad he was able to help the wolf after all. "I don't know how much my kids will idolize me after I take them to get there vaccines tomorrow though." Miles chuckled.
"In that case, I'd ask for Dr. Wilson." Peanut said.
"I have no idea. All I know is that every time I see her for a checkup, Dad says I'm the luckiest boy in town. Then Mom smacks him in the face with a pillow for some reason."
"Hmm. Odd." Miles exclaimed somewhat bewildered by such an occurrence. Peanut just shrugged and tucked his iPod buds back into his ears. "I better get home before anyone finds out I'm gone otherwise I'll be in real trouble. Thanks Miles…for everything."
The wolf gave him a little wave goodbye and watched as the little dog headed down the street, bouncing to whatever song he was listening to now, eventually disappearing into the darkness. He chuckled to himself and made his own way down the street towards home. He walked a little slower despite the cold starting to cut into him, his mind wrapping itself around tonight's events. Before he realized it, he was already walking up the front steps of the house.
Miles opened the door to his home, an instant wave of warmth and comfort hitting his body as he stepped in. Softly closing the door, he removed his turtleneck and smoothed down his ruffled fur. He hung the piece of clothing back up and turned towards the living room but stopped in his tracks upon what he saw.
Lying on the couch, his tiny body curled up against the large cushions was the youngest of Miles' cubs. The little wolf slept soundly, a blanket bundled messily around his feet. Miles quietly walked over and knelt down beside him. He watched as the cub's chest rise and fall gently with each breath. He saw the look of pure comfort and harmony on his little face as he dreamed. Miles felt like he could watch this scene forever. It was then that Peanut's voice called out from the back of his mind.
"I think you've done things right."
Miles smiled and gently picked the boy up into his arms who murmured something in is sleep and wrapped his arms around his father's neck, burying his face into the fur. He turned off the light and headed upstairs, careful as to not make any creaking or groaning sounds on the way up. He came to the cubs room and found the door already opened. Miles carried his son past the other two beds where his other two boys were sleeping and tucked the youngest into his own. The cub snuggled into his soft warm blankets, his features looking even more content than ever. Miles kissed him on his forehead as he did with the other two, silently wishing them a good night. He stepped out of their room and closed the door when a smooth feminine voice danced into his ears from behind.
"You missed all the fun."
Miles turned to see Lucretia leaning against the door frame of their own room, her arms hugging her slender frame. He gave her a hard stare and asked, "What happened?"
"Just a nightmare is all." Lucretia answered, letting out a yawn. "Poor thing came running in here scared out of his wits."
"That bad?" Miles asked with a wince. A feeling of guilt was starting to well up inside him. Lucretia straightened herself up and walked over to him, a slight chuckle escaping her lips. "Just the usual. Monsters and vampires and stuff like that. I brought him downstairs and put on that movie he likes. The one about the toaster and the lamp that get thrown away. He was right back to sleep in fifteen minutes. I didn't have the heart to move him."
Miles simply nodded and stared off into space, still feeling guilty about being absent when his cub needed him. As if sensing his distress, Lucretia slid her paws up his chest and around his neck, pulling herself close to him.
"Hey," She whispered to him with a smile, "Don't beat yourself up okay? I knew why you were gone when I woke up."
"I've been with you for a long time Miles. I know when something is going on inside that big brain of yours. You've just seemed so distant in the last few days, especially before we went to bed tonight. If something is bothering you, I want you to tell me. I hate it when you hide things from me." She murmured as she nuzzled him in the crook of his neck. Miles wrapped his own arms around her, squeezing her tight against him.
"I'm sorry. I didn't want to worry you. Everything's fine though." He told her, breathing in her scent for the second time that night. Only this time, that calming feeling it always provided, spread throughout his body like a wave sliding into the shore.
"Is it?" Lucretia asked a hint of doubt evident in her voice. Miles pulled back so that she could look him in the eyes. He paused for a moment then said, "Well…can I ask you something?"
"Are you and Daryl happy here?" He asked out of the blue. Lucretia just stared at him as if he was crazy. "Did you hit your head while you were out there too?" She asked. But the look in her mate's eyes told her that this was as serious as it gets.
"Miles," She began softly, "I have a large home where my cubs are safe and warm all year round. We never have to hide from predators or scrounge for food. I have all the comforts and provisions that no wild animal has ever had. All because of you. I think it's a safe bet to say that I'm pretty happy."
Miles gave her a smile that radiated his own happiness and said, "Then everything is fine. Really."
He leaned in to kiss her when the sound of a toilet flushing was heard and Daryl stumbled out and clapped Miles roughly on the back.
"Yeah bro, I love it here! I mean, I'm the only wolf ever to have his own shaving kit and shower cap. IT'S AWESOME!"
Miles rolled his eyes but couldn't help but laugh and returned his brother's gesture. "Well I'm glad you're enjoying it so much Daryl."
"You better believe it and I can't wait for Thanksgiving and stuffing a turkey. I have no idea what that means but I've never not had fun stuffing something." Daryl exclaimed, punching a fist into his other paw.
"We'll cross that bridge when we get there then." Miles said, letting out a yawn. Daryl simply tipped his hat to his brother and sister in law and headed back to his room. Miles felt Lucretia tug on his paw and lead him back to their own bed. They took the previous position they had earlier before Miles left, Lucretia sighing tiredly as she reached across his chest and pulled their bodies closer.
"Goodnight Miles." She said, giving him a quick peck on the lips.
"Goodnight." He responded, giving her a tight squeeze.
Miles lay in the darkness, his mate nestled at his side. He stared up at the ceiling, his mind replaying the night's events once more. Things were still different. But his cubs were happy. His brother was happy. And his mate was happy.
Miles took them out of the wild and into society for a reason. And it was clear to him now that he truly had fulfilled that reason. It was then that something clicked in the wolf's brain like the pieces of a puzzle falling into place. He smiled as he felt his eyelids grow heavy, the world around him gradually fading into black.
Things were different. But Miles wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
A/N: SO glad I was able to finish this. As I said earlier, it was a hard one. Daryl's appearance felt a little random but I needed to get him in there if only for a short scene. Any who, hoped all enjoyed! Cya!