The sudden sound of the trains whistle echoed through the forest around us "I would say we better get a move on so you don't miss that train" Marcel said taking off followed by Paddy "Alright" was all I said as I started to run towards the sound of the train. Soon I could see the tracks and noticed the train gaining on me. "Do you think I can make it?" I called out above me to the birds
"Yes sir!" Paddy called out "and just as you hit the tracks you should see an open train car!" "We'll avoid truck stops, bears and that hideous dessert, what is it called?" Marcel said "Cupcakes sir" Paddy quickly answered "Ah yes cupcakes, yick" He finished I couldn't help but smile at that, "I will, thanks guys" I said slowly before changing direction to intersect with that train. I kept up my pace and looked at the open boxcar ever so often to make sure I wouldn't miss my jump. I noticed that the tracks curved just up ahead giving me a good shot for a straight jump inside, but then something caught my mind. 'That boxcar it looks so familiar...' Then it hit me, that was the same boxcar Kate and I were in just the night before. A sudden flash of memory of the night we howled passed through my mind and I saw us both howling in the boxcar just like that very night.
Time began to slow yet again as I watched the faint image of us pass by 'What am I doing?' My mind echoed 'Paddy was right, I shouldn't be running away' I quickly changed my direction and ran along side the train in the opposite direction letting it pass by. Once it did I proceeded to cross the tracks still continuing my sprint but this time towards the valley. 'I can't just leave all that I've loved behind, I'm not that kind of guy just like she told me.' My mind said as I flew by tree after tree. "Got to stop that wedding" I said to myself, never have I ran this fast in my life, I was going to tell Kate how I felt even if it kills me. I felt no more sadness just determination, I felt stupid doing this at the same time though.
Here I was leaving Jasper and now I'm running back towards it just to tell Kate how I felt, And if she didn't feel the same way then oh well at least I can say I tried. I began to see the valley below and came skidding to a stop at the rim of it on my paws but at the same time a tan blur passed right in front of me, was I seeing things? My thoughts were answered when I heard a gasp "Humphrey!" I heard a wolf yell to me, I looked to my right and saw Kate standing right there near me looking right at me. "Kate!" I called back to her as I joined by her side, I noticed that she was looking down to the valley so I looked to and what I saw was unbelievable. There was Winston and Tony caught running in front of a caribou stamped, "We got to help them" I heard her say. I quickly looked around looking for something to get down there fast, and then I saw an old price of tree bark that would make a perfect log sled. "Look" I said pointing to the piece of bark, "Good thinking" She said "Come on". I followed her to the bark and we ripped it off the stump of the tree to place it flat on the ground.
"Get in I'll steer it" I said hopping in followed by her as she sat in front of me on the log, I gave us a strong push to get us started down the slope. I couldn't believe that once again Kate and I were working as a team. It didn't take long before we were flying at full speed passing many trees and sharp rocks "Roll left" I called out to Kate as we both steered the sled to the left narrowly missing a large tree. "Roll right" I called again as we turned and avoided yet another tree "Wow your getting good at this" I complimented, "I had a good teacher" She said looking at me with a smile before resuming looking ahead of us.
"There too far ahead" She said looking at where Winston and Tony were "We'll never make it" she finished. I on the other hand noticed a rock overhang ahead and it looked like a suitable ramp "Hold on" I said as I turned the sled to the right and hit the ramp. I was surprised that the log didn't snap in half at the force we hit it at, the next thing I knew was we were both up in the air in the sled above the fleeing pack leaders. Kate and I braced ourselves for the hard landing to come but it didn't help much since when we hit the ground it sent us somersaulting into the air before we both landed once again on the ground a good distance from the sled. I quickly shook my head to clear my vision and saw that Winston and Tony were both ducked under what was once the sled. And it seemed to work well as protection since the caribou just jumped right over it, but I knew Kate and I wouldn't be alive much longer in the open. We both laughed and looked at each other as we made our way to the safety of the log sled "World adventurers" I said looking at her with a smile which she returned.
"I told you we make a good team" She said "Did you say that? I thought I said that" I said before I did a low jump to under the log. I expected to see Kate right by my side but what I heard next was a sound I never wanted to hear in my life
I heard Kate let out a cry of pain as I looked in horror to see her body fall to the ground motionless out in the middle of the stamped. "KATE!" I yelled, without even thinking I jumped from the safety of the log out into the storm of flying hooves that could kill with one hit. I landed right above her lying body using mine as a shield to protect her from being trampled and from any other blows that might do worse damage. I knew the possible consequences of my actions for jumping out and protecting her could mean losing my life but if Kate was in danger I would risk my life just to save her. I let out a few howls of pain as I felt the painful sting of hard hooves hitting me right in the back, it was almost enough to make me collapse on top of her but I just took the pain and held my ground. There was no way I would let Kate get hurt any further, and much to my hope the last of the stamped finally passed leaving just me, Kate, Winston and Tony. Breathing heavily I got off of Kate and sat by her side looking down at her body that was still lying motionless on the hard ground.
From that moment I feared the most, she could already be dead, or was she just knocked unconscious from the blow? "Kate?" I said half expecting her to just wake up like nothing ever happened but it never came, not even a slight movement. "Kate?" I called again looking at her still, my voice had sadness in it now "Please Kate you can't do this..." I said laying down right up next to her. I pushed my nose up against her neck a few times to see if the movement would wake her but that too failed since all it did was move her head slightly. I sat back up and from that moment I knew she had to be gone, I couldn't hear any breathing when I got close to her. I could feel tears trying for push their way through as I went back down and embraced her in a hug.
"I love you..." I said very quietly, but I knew Winston and Tony could hear me. I once again sat back up and howled, a howl full of sorrow and emotion, I was a little unsure she could be gone but from what I heard growing up that it didn't take much for a caribou's blow to be lethal. So as much as it hurt to think my one and only true love was now gone forever, this felt like a nightmare ever since she and I got home. I have been expecting for me to wake up in the train by her side like none of it ever happened but this was as real of a reality as it could get. I still continued to howl but I was soon joined slowly by every wolf in the packs as we all howled a sad song to the loss of a good alpha and great friend/love of mine. I was even surprised to hear Tony join in on the howl as well considering he was the one that caused all this. This life changing event for myself, I didn't hate him though, I understood that he was just trying to do the best he can do for his pack.
Yet a better idea would be to let a couple unite the packs through love not forced on. I was nearing the end of my howl when suddenly I heard a groan, I stopped howling and looked down to see that Kate's eyes were open. My heart was over filled with relief that she wasn't dead after all, but was I dreaming?
"Kate" I said looking at her as she got up a little and looked right at me "Humphrey?" She asked in a quite voice giving me a soft smile "I thought I lost you" I said. My thoughts about this all being a dream were changed when she shook her head no. I had never noticed that the rest of the pack was around us though I did hear them howl. They must of had all come up after the stampede passed when I was too busy fearing that Kate had passed. I watched as Kate got up more and looked around us, noticing the entire pack in a circle around us. "Is everyone starring at us?" She asked looking back at me
I it was my turn to look around and sure enough they were "Well not every- oh wait, yeah now they are" I said before looking back at her with a smile. I couldn't hide it since I was overjoyed that she was perfectly fine and that I could truly tell her face to face how I really felt about her, though I'm sure she could already tell. "Aww darn" She started, I had to admit her voice sounded pretty cute when she said that "cause I wanted to tell you something"
My heart began to race 'Could it be? Was she going to say that she loved me?' My thoughts said as she sat up and leaned up to my ear so that no one else could hear around us. "Humphrey, I just wanted to say that I love you. It took me some time to notice this and it almost cost me losing you, but now I am one hundred percent sure." She whispered. I couldn't help but laugh a little in disbelief, the girl of my dreams just said that she loved me and it was enough to make me want to do back flips in victory. "Really?" I asked with a huge smile on my face, I wanted to be certain that what I just heard was right. "Uh-huh" She said quietly retuning the smile
I knew it was now my turn to tell her how I felt so I leaned up to her ear now and whispered the following. "You don't know how overjoyed I am to hear that you love me. I love you too, always had ever since I got to know you well as pups. And I got a question, will you marry me?" I could hear her giggle quietly as I said this and gasp when I asked her the question. "Yes, of course I will marry you Humphrey" She said before we shared a kiss, our first real kiss. Not just some accidental touch of the nose, which never counted.
I savored the moment, here I was kissing the girl of my dreams who I was now engaged to as if nothing bad had ever happened. I wasn't running away from the problem and it ended up turning to the better by staying. And I wasn't going anywhere anytime soon now that I had a soon to be mate. It's amazing how things can go from feeling like your life is at an all time low to feeling like you're in a dream come true. We ended our kiss and just sat staring at each other knowing that both of our dreams had come true after so long. I looked around us and noticed that all the pack was howling in joy not just for us but also for Garth and Lilly since I noticed that they were talking together.
"I think I found a suitable couple to unite the two packs" I said nodding my head towards the other couple "Yeah I agree, I'm so happy for my sister I know she'll be happy with him" Kate said looking over at them before looking back at me "And I'm happy for us too" She said putting her paw on mine "I am too" I said smiling looking back into her eyes, they gave off a glow in the sunlight. Our silence was interrupted when we heard Marcel and Paddy talking, we turned and say them talking to Winston and Tony while holding their wooden stick they used to play their game. "You think their telling your dad and Tony about that golf game they play?" I asked her with a laugh. She laughed as well "Yeah I'm sure they are" She said
I watched as Marcel placed a small round pebble on what was once our log sled "Fore!" He yelled before taking a swing that launched the ball in the air out into the valley. "I can see it now, your dad hitting those rocks straight at caribou's heads" I joked making Kate laugh. "Oh that was a good one" She said leaning up against me.
It was now late afternoon and the rest of the pack was now heading back to the den area to most likely rest after today's events. "Well I don't know about you but I sure am tired" I said getting up "Yeah I am too" She said "How about we join the others and take a nap back at the dens?" I asked "Sounds like a good plan to me" She said with a smile. We both got up and followed the rest of the pack as they walked up the valley slope. Kate and I were silent most of the way just walking side by side enjoying each others company. In my mind I was still absorbing everything that had happened in the past hours, I went from saying my goodbyes to my friends and Kate since I was going to run away, to log sledding down a hill with her and almost losing her in a stampede. And now here I was, engaged to a girl that was WAY out of my league and happy. No longer wishing to be a lone wolf and run away from this place I have called home for most of my life. I'm just glad that I listened to Paddy's advice at the most critical moment as I was running to that train, perhaps it was just fate telling me that running away was not the good option. Either way I owed him a thank you for telling that to me cause by now I would be many many miles away from Jasper and Winston and Tony could have been dead, but gladly that didn't happened.
My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Kate "Humphrey I'm sorry" She blurted out, I was confused by this "Sorry? What are you sorry about?" I asked "For not telling you the truth as to why I needed to get home so quickly" She said "For making you feel upset and maybe even used, and for making you almost runaway. You have no idea how hard it was for me to sit there and listen to you tell me that you were going to runaway. And finally I am sorry for taking so long to realize that I loved you I always had the feeling whenever I was around you and only now did I come to understand that it was love." I was taken aback by this, she was apologizing for the pain she had caused me but that pain was now all just a far away memory. "Thank you Kate, but it's nothing to sorry about, I understand that you just focused on responsibility at the time and perhaps I was overreacting. But it doesn't matter now, we are now together as a couple and everything that has happened these past few days are all just in the past." I said looking at her
"I'm glad that it's in the past too" She said with a smile "Now we can just make the most of our time in the present together." "Agreed" I said. We kept walking and we were almost to the den area when I decided to ask her a question that was on my mind ever since I aborted running away. "So, what exactly happened at the wedding?" I asked "Well Garth and I did all of the things you needed to do to become mates but one thing, our noses almost touched when I suddenly realized that what I was doing was wrong. I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life with someone I didn't love so I did us both a favor and backed down from the kiss. They started to ask why I couldn't marry him and I said because I was already in love with you, which enraged Tony and told his pack to take the valley. The fighting is what caused the stamped which caused everyone to run up the valley sides to where I shockingly found you right there at the top. I'm sure the rest you can put together." She said "Wow I'm just glad the stamped didn't kill anyone, especially you" I said
By the time I said that we were already in the den area, I lead her in the direction of my den since I'm sure she would of rather napped there then in her parents den. We continued our conversation as we came up to my den, "I guess I should ask you the same question, what caused you to change you mind?" Kate asked. "After I had left from your parents den I met up with Marcel and Paddy who arranged for me to jump on a train out of here. I was running straight towards that open boxcar when I realized it was the same car we howled in, I also remembered that very night and what Paddy told me when I was heading to the train. He said that running from your problems sometimes doesn't help the situation, I came to and realized that I should at least tell you how I felt and see if you had those same feelings. So I left the train and ran straight to the valley where I found you." I said "It's a decision I'm glad I made" "Maybe even fate, like we were meant to be" She said "Maybe that too" I said
We walked into my den and I sat in the back while Kate laid near me, "Well we better get some rest before the moonlight howl tonight" She said with a yawn, She was right and I had forgotten to was the full moon tonight. "Yeah I'll join you, I forgot that was tonight" I said laying near her side. I closed my eyes and was soon sound asleep, excited that I would get to howl with my girl once again later tonight.
Thing's were looking up for my life, it has been a few months since the events that happened after Kate and I got home from our Idaho adventure. We were now married and as happy as ever, the same went for Lilly and Garth who were now training to be Winston's and Eve's replacement leaders. I myself have been accepted into Kate's family greatly, I now considered her parents to be the ones like I never had as a pup before I can to Jasper long ago. Kate was also teaching me how to hunt so that one day we could start a family together, it'll be awhile until I'm ready to be a father and I know she feels the same way. So it will just be the two of us for some more time. I still look back at the days after we got back from Idaho and think 'Wow I'm one damn lucky wolf' I got a beautiful mate that I loved for her personality and not just for her looks and she felt the same way back. I look forward to spending the rest of my days with her.
A/N: Well there you have it! Just over 8,000 words and one for the most detailed short stories I have ever written. I hope you enjoyed reading this story and I greatly appreciate any feedback on what you thought of it via review or PM. If there were any mess ups I missed still like forgetting some of the movie lines (I wrote all this without even watching the movie once to remember the lines) then I don't want to hear it :P. I do have an idea for another short A&O story like this, but as of right now my hands hurt! Anyway perhaps I'll see you around in whatever it is I'll write next, have a good day.
ChriZ signing off!