Hey all DLW here with a new ep. Still going on with the marathon, expect more updates over the weekend. A big thank you goes to all my readers, you've all helped inspire me to make this story go on and improve. Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in Alpha and Omega. Except for the O/C's.
Humphrey the Lone Wolf
Part 1 Valley of Grey
Chapter 3 The Pack
Just as quickly as it had come in the morning, the sun made its final descent over the horizon. Its disappearance encased the valley itself in a vale of darkness, night had finally come.
For the patrons of the valley, only the light granted by the moon would be able to guide them at this hour. For many that light was a hope for a promise, but others, it was nothing more than a somber light of solace.
"Enjoy your fill kid?" Earnest called behind him as he navigated the gloomy woods with little light left to guide him. He knew the terrain well enough to find his way around, it was his territory after all, and he had to get he and his guest home.
Humphrey, having just eaten his share given to him by Earnest, was grateful to have someone to accompany him. As dark as it was, he could only see Earnest partially, so he listened out to wherever the wolf turned and he silently followed.
"Well, you know," He said sarcastically, trying to lighten the mood "I couldn't pass up free food." Before Earnest gave him part of his share earlier, Humphrey thought he wouldn't be able to find any food for another day or so.
Earnest shook his head at the reply. He couldn't blame him for having such a personality, for his rank it suited him better. "It's free the first go-around kid," Earnest said sternly "But honestly, you're gonna have to learn to catch 'and' get it open for yourself."
Humphrey felt the truthful sting behind these words as he walked forward. He hadn't been able to catch anything but a sprained paw and a few bruises in the last week.
This also was the second time Earnest had to help him get a carcass open, and he could almost feel the frustration Earnest had while repeating this process so he didn't starve.
"You comin' pup?" Earnest called to him from a good distance ahead.
Humphrey jolted and searched for the direction of the voice. He hand't noticed that he stopped walking forward until even Earnest's outline had vanished. From the thick coat of darkness, Humphrey lost sight of his new mentor.
Looking in every direction possible, Humphrey searched for the voice once more, but this time he heard nothing but the symphony of nocturnal creatures beginning to stir, and rough scratches on the ground from his own fear. "Earnest?" He called out in a fit of panic.
He turned to see behind him, only to find more woods and no Earnest in sight. 'What's going on?' He said to himself and continued to turn.
With the extra weight on his leg he felt himself panic more, as if something were attacking him then and there.
"I'm right here Humphrey." Earnest said disappointingly, causing him to jump slightly.
Humphrey re-corrected the direction he was facing. He heard light footsteps come towards him and he tried to keep his calm despite his episode. Just in front of him he heard the footsteps stop, closely followed by a long and drawn-out sigh.
"Kid next time use this." Earnest raised a paw in the dark lightly tapped the end of Humphrey's nose with one of his claws "Last time I checked your leg was the only thing busted."
Just before Humphrey found the wit to respond, a glint of silver light touched down around them. Humphrey tilted his head to the sky, part of the overcast clouds had made way for a sliver of moonlight to escape.
Everything, just as it had done before in the sunlight, glistened and danced under the new light.
By the time Humphrey had noticed ,once again, continued his walk towards the den.
Humphrey felt at ease sitting under the light of the moon. He always felt better after looking towards it at night, like someone was watching over him. As many good feelings it brought about, it reminded him of everything he had back at home.
Feeling a twinge of distraught, Humphrey flattened his ears to his head and continued his watch. 'I wonder if Kate's looking up too.' He asked himself, seeing Earnest nowhere in sight.
He could feel a sorrow, deep within his heart, and felt the pain of departed memories coming back to him. Unable to bear anymore weight on his shoulders, Humphrey tilted his head toward the only part of the moon he could see, still casting its silent glow.
He took a deep breath, drawing in memories as if it were the air itself. He narrowed his mouth and felt for a rhythm that he hoped would appear.
"What are you doing?" Earnest yelled out, startling Humphrey in the process.
Earnest sat just beyond the sight of the faint glow, the only thing Humphrey could see from him was a silver spec of his eye.
"Oh." Humphrey exclaimed and idly fumbled with his paws. "Well, back at home," He looked towards the visible part of the sphere and smiled "I would always how at the moon."
"I would howl if I was with friends," He said somberly "With, Kate."
Thought he wanted to find something more to say, He couldn't find anything, other than let his voice speak for himself.
"It isn't all that good of an idea here, Humphrey." Earnest calmly replied, and went about walking with a heavier sounding stride.
"But, why?" Humphrey asked, hastily. He had never heard of a wolf that didn't want to howl.
Earnest stopped for a moment and looked over his shoulder. "If there are any other wolves in the valley, then they might find where you are." He said sternly.
As these words set in, Earnest could see the difference in Humphrey's demeanor. Humphrey, in a matter of seconds, went to from a wolf that struggled to stay alive, to a defeated heap of despair.
Earnest felt terrible at even the sight. What took Humphrey days to do to himself, he had done in an instant. "Oy," He said disapprovingly and waived his paw in a 'shoo' motion.
"Go ahead, just keep it down." He called back and sat just at the edge of where the light faded into nothingness.
Humphrey perked up his ears at the mention of this. "You sure?" He shouted gleefully, though Earnest sat in silence.
'I guess that means yes.' He muttered to himself and regathered his thoughts.
Repeating his motions just as before, Humphrey turned to face the light of the moon. He took in a deep breath and released what he felt on his mind, and in his heart.
Not more than a moment after he tried this, he felt something was wrong. He heard something that sounded terrible, but Earnest was the only other wolf around.
"Augh, what was that," Earnest yelled and covered his ears "Was that your howl?"
Humphrey immediately halted whatever he had left of a howl, almost biting his tongue in doing so.
'Not again,' His mind told him 'Why now?"
Earnest uncovered his ears and placed his paws back to the ground. He hadn't heard anything like that before, and he was curious as to what happened.
"I tried to howl, by the stream," Humphrey stated, accusing himself of what he had done earlier as an atrocity "I...i don't know why it sounds like that."
"So that was you back at the grass plane then?" Earnest asked.
Humphrey didn't even bother trying to move, he had sounded that bad before, and to him it was even worse than not being able to howl at all.
Earnest took a few steps forward, now visible in the pale, and dying beam of light "I thought someone was being put down!"
Humphrey was upset and frustrated at himself even more. He couldn't explain it, his voice never sounded this terrible before. While still getting a mouthful from Earnest Humphrey grit his teeth and wrenched his eyes shut. "So why don't you try?" He shouted back.
Earnest began to get upset. "Kid." He shouted, and took a step forward. But from witnessing firsthand Humphrey's problems he toned his voice down a little. "Humphrey, look," He said apologetically "I've got no reason to howl."
Humphrey grit his teeth at the statement. "What do you mean?" He asked, upset that for once, he was terrible at something he had always done "Everyone has something to howl for."
Earnest felt a cold chill run down his spine at the novice observation. "Almost everyone!" He yelled.
From the pit of his stomach, Earnest felt a pain he had tried to long seclude rise again. Thought he knew Humphrey liked howling at the moon from observing him, Earnest felt only the opposite.
Earnest walked up to Humphrey and placed a paw on his shoulder in hopes to get his attention. When Humphrey responded by looking up with a single tear in his eye, Earnest knew it was time for him to act.
He raised his paw to a far off place where the moon barely touched. "You see that mountain Humphrey?" He asked in a very deep and distraught tone.
Not even waiting for a response Earnest continued. "My mate," He shivered at his own words "I lost her a long time ago."
Humphrey didn't know what to say to that, he couldn't imagine losing a mate. But he also remembered what it felt like after he had run away from home, and that he would never have Kate by his side.
"I've been in this valley for years Humphrey," Earnest struggled on to speak, every now and then stopping to take a breath for the next few words "And since then, I've lost all my reasons to howl."
Silently acknowledging that Earnest, half blind and older, had gone through more than he could imagine, Humphrey didn't know what to say about his story.
Moments passed and Humphrey saw Earnest begin to walk away, though for a moment he believed he saw something shine and fall to the ground from the older wolf's muzzle.
"Ya' know, most wolves have something to howl for," Earnest said as he slowly walked away "Do you know why?"
Humphrey was caught off-guard by the question "To, uh-."
"I don't really know." Humphrey tried to think of a reason for why he howled. Mainly he did it to have fun with friends, but with no familiar friends, that was a moot point. He, now and then, howled to entertain others, even pups if they were interested "It was something I always did at home."
"We howl to communicate with one another," Earnest went on with his lecture, not even showing signs that he was tiring himself out "We're wolves, that's what we do."
"But, Humphrey," Earnest took a step forward into the dark veil of the forest, and leaving Humphrey in the light cast by the moon "When you're a lone, there's no reason to howl."
"So I'll tell you this Humphrey," Earnest looked behind him, shining his blinded eye once more "Find your reason."
With that Earnest turned and paced toward the den, it had been a long enough day for him already.
"Wait," Humphrey called ahead of him, he wanted answers "My reason to howl?"
There was a slight pause and Humphrey heard the slight rustle of leaves. "I said, find your reason kid." He heard from Earnest.
Humphrey looked to the moon once more. Its calm and silent glow helped put his thoughts at ease. From hearing Earnest's words he felt that there was something greater that he was meant for.
"My, reason?" He questioned towards the light. He had never thought of things in this way before, but he had to find out what Earnest meant.
As Humphrey continued to look skyward he saw clouds threatening to take away what little hight he had left. Taking the opportunity to see where the den was, he had seen that he wasn't very far away at all.
Sighing a breath of relief, and feeling even briefly happy for even a dim light to help guide him, Humphrey slowly trekked his way back to the den.
'Find my reason,' He thought, getting close to the barrier of bushes that hid away the den 'Did he mean my place?'
'I'm an omega,' He scolded himself 'But, what does that matter?'
Pawing his way through the thicket and finding it easier to get through than last time even with the cast, Humphrey found his way to back to his new home.
It wasn't as dreary as it was in the previous night, calm, cool, and only the damp mask of rain were all that was left of the prior storm.
'My reason to go on?' He asked himself and crawled into the mouth of the den.
By the time he had gotten in, Earnest was already asleep at the entrance.
Humphrey had no light to go by this time, and thought he could hear Earnest breathing, he didn't want to inconvenience him again by rudely awakening him.
'I know I have a reason to go on.' Inwardly he was conflicted because he tried to find something he could call to for him to carry on.
In the dark of the den, Humphrey fumbled around for a moment before remembering where he slept before. Feeling out a wall, he inched his way over to a spot not too far away from Earnest.
Feeling the effects of sleep starting to kick in after his long day, and satisfied by his meal, Humphrey sat down and continued to think.
He smiled and yawned from what he knew he would have to do. 'I know what I have to do,' He curled his tail around himself and slowly drifted off to sleep 'I've got to tell Kate.'
"A&O A Second Look" Is out, check it out on my profile or here along with "Alpha and Omega: The Series". Type it in after the .net in fanfiction (/topic/118805/74395964/1/Things-missed-in-A-O).
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