Hello all and happy Valentine's day! (or single's awareness day... we're people too!)
Anyway this isn't a Valentine's day story, but it is a present for the amazing Crescent Moon Dancer.
She's a wonderful author and has really been a firm supporter of my writing, and she gave me this idea a while back, so I decided to run with it and make it a gift!
Please go and read and review her works, especially the western story "One Had to Die" which is my all time favorite! (If not a bit sad). Because seriously, they are far better than the stuff I spew out as stories :)
I hope you enjoy this story
Night had fallen on the tundra, and the moon and stars shone down on the snow. The snow itself was smooth and white for miles and miles, almost like frosting over the frozen ground. An owl winged its way over the clear night sky, and despite its powerful eyesight it only saw the miles of white snow. It didn't see, however, the blood red and churned up snow, which signaled the passage of an injured beast.
The beast in question was a female Siberian tiger, who took long powerful strides through the ice and snow, dragging a limp behind her. Her back leg was badly bloodied and she walked through the wind slowly, only pushing on through the cold because of the promise of a warm den and a freshly hunted meal.
She had bloodied her leg on a rock while chasing an elk. She'd been bucked off and landed awkwardly, scraping her leg and causing the blood to flow out like a red river.
Ordinarily the injury wouldn't be too much for her to handle, but it was nightfall, and the wolves always came out at night. They claimed the tundra as their own once the moon rose, and they hunted any prey without mercy.
As every animal knew, prey was any-beast weaker than the beast that hunted it. She was injured and out in the open… she was weak, once they caught the scent they'd be hunting for her.
She redoubled her efforts to get home, back to her safe secure den. She could wait for morning then, wait until the sun drove the wolves into hiding, she'd resume her role as the top predator of the tundra during the daylight.
Pain lanced through her leg as the snow cut into her wound, she continued dragging the useless limb behind her as the wind pushed against her fur. She growled at the elements and trudged on, forging a path through the deep white ocean of snow.
Then the howls pierced the air, the wolves were on the trail, they were coming for her.
She scrabbled with her claws digging them into the snow, attempting to move faster, but the dead weight of her leg dragged her down into the cold unforgiving slush, which seemed to turn to water under her weight.
The howling got closer as the scent of blood filled the noses of those hunting her, the wolves were fast enough to run on top of the snow…. They were faster than her.
She pulled herself up to a patch of solid ice and took deep breaths, letting the crisp air sting her lungs. She stood up and summoned her last reserves of strength, determined to walk on.
Barks echoed behind her as the wolves sped across the snow like white and gray missiles, surrounding her and licking their fangs… fangs that would very likely be set into her throat.
The leader of the pack wasn't the biggest, but he carried an air of authority as he walked through the ring. He leaned down and examined her leg, and his eyes filled with something she never expected.
Not hunger, not bloodlust, not primal rage.
They were filled with sorrow, and a soft whimper escaped his throat as he looked at the wound. He let out a gruff bark towards the pack, and the wolves stepped back.
All but one.
A massive black wolf remained where he was and let out several barks of his own, pointing with his nose at her.
She didn't understand wolf, but she didn't have to. That black wolf intended to kill her, and the leader was attempting to stop it.
The two began to circle one another, exchanging barks and growls as they probed one another for weaknesses. Finally they leapt forward and fought.
The white wolf was smaller and quicker, and his black counterpart was larger and slower. Still these differences were minuscule and almost unnoticeable as the two wolves clawed, bit, and yowled at one another.
She watched the battle intently while at the same time attempting to stand up. The pack seemed transfixed on this struggle for dominance, so if she could just rise and run…
Her injured paw shot pain through her entire body as she stood up and attempted to run, but fell after two steps. The other wolves fixed their eyes on her and growled, and she remained still.
The two wolves' continued biting and clawing at one another, staining the snow red with blood. The white wolf kept his body between the black wolf and the injured tigress, despite a painful scratch on his side. The remaining wolves watched the fight with rapt interest, as the victory would determine the new pack leader.
The battle continued as yips and growls pierced the still night air and the blood spattered on the snow. Teeth bit, claws flashed, and snow churned as the pair clashed.
Until finally one wolf hit the bloodstained ground, whimpering in pain.
The black wolf stood over his opponent, howling in victory.
She frowned a bit as the wolves now focused their bloodthirsty gazes upon her, and pushed herself up on her remaining three limbs. She wasn't doing to die like a common animal, night or not she was still a ruler of the tundra!
The black wolf faced her, teeth and claws red with blood, and then it barked twice.
The pack rallied behind its new leader and then they vanished, melting back into the wilds from whence they came.
The tigress hobbled over to the white wolf, noticing he was still breathing, and stood over him. It would be easy to lunge forward and sink her fangs into his throat, make sure there was one less wolf after her. She growled and moved her powerful maw forward, just one quick bite and it'd all be over….
He attempted to stand, but then collapsed into the snow and simply lay there. He was waiting to die.
She shook her head from side to side and then leaned forward, pressing her nose to his fur and helping him stand up. He'd fought to save her life, now she'd do the same.
He didn't resist, nor did he pull away when she wrapped her tail around his body to steady him, in fact he leaned into her warmth.
The pair slowly made their way to the cave the tigress called home. It was a simple hole in a rock wall, with only the carcass of a dead elk inside, but it was warm, safe, and most of all hers.
She untangled her tail from him and walked inside, her eyes fixed on the carcass that was her dinner, so much so that she didn't notice when he didn't follow.
He waited at the mouth of the cave, gazing at the elk with the same hunger that she was, but he made no move to enter.
Impatient, she pointed with her nose at the elk trying to let him know that he could eat it.
He remained where he was, confusion etched across his features.
She pointed with her nose again and let out a small growl. Attempting to communicate that he could eat with her, it was okay.
He remained where he was.
She huffed a bit and gave up, maybe he was a stupid wolf. That was it, she decided… he was dumb.
Satisfied with her conclusion, she let out a huff and turned to her meal, sinking her teeth into the meat and swallowing huge chunks.
She could still hear his breathing from behind her and she tossed a chunk of meat over her shoulder with a flick of her head. She turned to see that he had advanced towards the meat and gobbled it up in three large bites, and she tossed another chunk towards him.
He advanced towards that chunk and ate it quickly, and did the same with the next two chunks she tossed his way… until finally he was standing next to her, staring down at the food with hungry eyes. She pointed down at the food again and he dove into it, snapping up large mouthfuls.
Pleased that her message had finally been understood she stretched and limped over to the spot that was her bed. She laid down and began licking her wound, cleaning away all the blood and snow and smoothing out the fur… it wasn't too bad, she just needed some rest and it would heal.
The wolf finished eating and walked over to her, whimpering at the sight of her wound. He lay down beside her and simply stared at her with big brown eyes.
Uncomfortable, she turned away to face the cave entrance as a storm began to pick up. The once clear night now was raging as snow fell from the sky and the wind whistled across the stones.
She watched the wolf stand and walk towards the cave entrance, and she considered letting him go. She'd helped him, fed him, and they were both safe. That was all she needed to do… she owed him nothing more.
Still, she let out a small whine to grab his attention and when he turned she wearily patted the space beside her with her paw. Letting him wait out the storm here wasn't a bad thing was it?
He walked to the opposite end of the cave and plopped down on the ground with his back to her.
She curled up in her spot and faced the stone wall, conflicted about her decision. He was in need and he had saved her life, but he was still an enemy. Having him in the cave was a dangerous risk.
To that end she slept with one eye open the entire night, and so did he.
The next morning she woke up and turned to see her guest standing by the mouth of the cave, staring out into the fresh snow. The wolf turned to the tigress and nodded a thank you before running out into the wild.
She stood up and watched him leave, slightly unsure why she felt… something at his departure. A hunt would clear her mind, she thought as she also exited the cave.
Against her better judgement she followed him, all the while telling herself that she was monitoring him as he was on her hunting ground. That was the only reason.
Until she saw him stalking a caribou.
She paused and shook her head, caribou were simply far too big and strong to be hunted alone. She had tried once and one kick from those powerful back legs had nearly broken her ribs. She'd never hunted a full grown caribou again… but the dumb wolf was attempting to hunt one alone, without a pack!
Her legs began moving in his direction before her head began to register what she was doing. She wanted to persuade him against the course of action, even though the wolf getting himself killed would benefit her own survival.
The wolf rushed towards the caribou, barking like mad, as it began to run away. He skidded in the snow as his prey made a sharp turn but he quickly righted himself.
The tigress smiled a bit as the caribou rushed towards her, not recognizing the danger that lay in front of it. She leapt forward, careful to avoid the hooves, and latched her teeth onto its back leg dragging it down into the snow with a powerful twist of her head.
It yelped as it crashed into the snow, allowing the wolf at its heels to catch up and rake its claws down the exposed flank. The snow was stained crimson as both beasts advanced on their prey, easily slaying it with powerful teeth and claws. The caribou lay dead at their feet, and both beasts looked at one another sharing a common bond over the thrill of the hunt and the glory of the kill.
The tigress unsheathed her claws and watched the wolf carefully. The meat of the caribou was enough to sustain her for days… she had to have it for herself, and fighting the wolf for it was something she would gladly do.
The wolf grabbed a leg of the dead beast and she prepared herself for the battle to come….
When he began dragging it back to her cave. She stared at the wolf as he pulled the body towards her home, his brown eyes were filled with fury and joy at the kill, but no malice or greed to take the kill for himself.
She watched in shock, secretly wondering how dumb actually he was. The caribou could feed him and his pack just as well as it could feed her… and with the winter reaching its peak every scrap of food was helpful for all.
She continued pondering the wolf's strange behavior as he kept hauling the beast through the snow. They were enemies! Wolves and tigers naturally competed to become the top predators in the frozen tundra, and her mother had often told her about battles between tigers and wolves, but that was all before she had left her den.
Still he had saved her life, when by all means he should have killed her. He was giving her food when by all means he should be letting her starve. Why?
Suddenly it hit her like a blast of bitter cold.
He needed a pack.
She still didn't know why he saved her life, but all the kindness he was showing her was simply because he was lost…. He was bonding to her because she was wounded and hungry, and every wolf was reared to take care of their pack.
She frowned, exposing a mouthful of sharp teeth. She was a loner… and aside from her mother and denmates, she hadn't even seen another tiger for many moons. The wolf might be trying to earn her trust, but that didn't mean that she was willing to give it away.
She walked over and took another leg between her jaws, helping him drag the beast to the back of her den. She marveled at the sheer size of the animal, no wonder she couldn't bring one down alone! Well at least the concept of a pack had one advantage.
Maybe having him with her wasn't so bad.
The pair dined together on their shared kill, and he remained in her cave for the night. Surprisingly the pair slept soundly, momentarily forgetting that they were supposed to be foes… they simply remembered the common satisfaction of the shared kill.
The moons passed by and the pair soon developed a rhythm, they would hunt together every morning and often bring in more kill than any one of them could do alone, then they'd simply explore their territory, gradually expanding their borders.
Even the wolf pack was unable to touch a wolf and a Siberian tiger when they stood together, so they were even able to roam the nights without fear of being hunted.
The pair soon became the undisputed rulers of the tundra, and as their borders expanded their influence expanded. Until soon the only borders that existed in the tundra were the ones that they made themselves.
They often slept side by side together, relishing the warmth and the comfort of not being alone in the cold artic wasteland.
The hunts, the shared warmth, the expansion of their territory. All that continued to bond the unlikely pair, until a friendship blossomed… and all thoughts of being enemies were forgotten.
Many more moons passed by and the tundra gradually was tamed under the paws of its new rulers… until a new force entered the scene.
As the pair pushed through underbrush and bracken, on one of their many hunts, they noticed a strange domed structure swaying in the wind and several unknown creatures walking around it.
The creatures were tall, and stood on their hind legs. They had multicolored pelts and almost no hair on their bodies, and their paws had no claws on them.
Their scents were also foreign, unlike anything either animal had smelled before, but after several minutes of watching from the brush it appeared these strange creatures weren't going anywhere near their territory.
They were wrong. Very wrong.
The strange Two-legs began to advance into their hunting grounds, wielding massive sticks that spat fire and made a sound like thunder. Their prey began to die in droves, and the Two-legs collected it before either of them could.
He kept up a brave face for her, and she could tell he was hunting much harder to feed them both. He often managed to bring back small game to feed her, often nosing the food towards her and refusing to eat until she did.
She ate the food with a heavy heart each and every time, noticing how he often ate less and hunted more each day.
Finally the pair went out hunting again, hoping to find more than the two scrawny rabbits they had managed to get earlier.
Then the Two-legs emerged armed with their sticks and they began to spit fire towards the pair.
She yowled and leapt backward as the snow exploded and the thunderous sound pierced the air, she turned tail and began to run, finally beginning to feel a new feeling in her veins…fear.
One look at her companion was enough to communicate the intention to him, and the pair took off like missiles through the snow.
The snow around them shot upwards as the Two-leg's sticks fired at them. They zigged and zagged as the noises of the sticks and the flash of the muzzles charged the fear in their veins, causing it to flash and ebb painfully.
She pushed through the fear and the pain, watching her friend dart slightly ahead of her. She smiled, wanting him to run… to get away!
Then he stopped and spun around, rushing towards their pursuers.
She very nearly stopped herself, cursing the stupidity of her friend by releasing several growls. They couldn't fight them! They needed to run away!
He lunged forward and leapt into the air behind her as a thunderous shot sounded, letting out a yelp as he froze in midair… and then he collapsed to the ground.
She spun around the second the yelp entered the air, and her jaw dropped as her friend collapsed. The snow underneath him was rapidly turning crimson. She rushed over to him and pressed her nose to his fur, attempting to get him up and moving.
He remained on the ground, and his body was growing as cold as the ice that surrounded it. She whimpered and whined as the smell of his blood filled her nostrils. The Two-legs fiddled with their sticks nearby, and she tried to shove him up again… Now was their chance to run!
He groaned and barked a bit, brown eyes filled with pain and hope. He yipped again at her, and she knew he was telling her to run, but she didn't care. Now it was her turn to be stupid as she tried to drag him, only to receive a high bark of pain the second she locked her jaws around his fur.
She nuzzled her friend, knowing she was losing him… and finally knowing why she cared so much about him. He was a dumb wolf, but he was also her pack, her friend, and her family. He had saved her life, and finally earned her trust.
She frowned as the snow became wet and slippery with his blood and he raised his head towards her, letting out a tiny bark.
The tigress leaned towards him, keeping an eye on the Two-Legs as she pressed her ear to his face waiting to hear what he had to say.
He licked her face softly and simply stared at her eyes, communicating all the friendship that he felt about her, how much he valued her as a pack member, and how much he cared for her. She felt her own eyes fill with tears as she watched his close forever.
Red hot wrath filled her bloodstream, melting the blood that was previously frozen with fear, her eyes turned red and she turned to face the Two-Legs that had killed her friend. Their sticks and fire and loud noises didn't scare her anymore! They killed her wolf! Now she'd kill them!
A roar of absolute wraith was ripped from her throat and she unsheathed her claws, kicking up snow as she charged towards the Two-legs. Their skin was hairless and hopefully undefended, that's where her claws and teeth would strike!
She leapt into the air and pushed herself forward with powerful hind leg muscles, claws extended and another roar in her throat. The urge to kill was the only thing in her mind, and she was ready to follow it!
Then the thunder sounded and the fire burned.
She fell onto the snow, feeling it become wet underneath her as the smell of her own blood filled her nose. She could feel her life ebbing away as the blood left her body, and she channeled all her remaining energy into dragging her body the painfully short distance to where her friend lay. She managed to do so and pressed her face to his fur one last time.
Then she closed her eyes for the final time, content as she died right by her wolf…. Who she never thought she would call her friend.
A short time later she opened her eyes and stood up, feeling no pain. She smelled no Two-Legs, the blood was gone and her cave was nearby, and the tundra remained hers.
But something was different…. Much different.
The snow seemed brighter, the smell of the area around her was slightly unfamiliar, and there was almost no sound.
All those thoughts were banished from her mind, however, when a familiar bark reached her ears.
She turned as he walked out of the cave with a smile on his face, greeting her with a familiar nuzzle. She nuzzled back and grinned. Her best friend was here, alive, and they were in no danger.
Happiness filled her heart and she looked into the brown eyes of her co-ruler and her friend. Then the pair wordlessly began to run, each unsure how they were alive, but neither giving it much thought.
They were together, bonded by an unlikely friendship, and that was all that mattered.
Well that story was different that what I normally write, but I think it turned out pretty well.
Do you Agree or Disagree? Please let me know in a review!
Also if you have a scenario or an idea for something you'd like to see me write please lay it on me in a review or PM! I'll accept anything!
I've also got a new chapter of "You Can Pretend I'm Her" coming out soon, as well as an Angst fic, so keep an eye out for those!
As always please review, feel free to check out my other works, go read Crescent's stories, and have a wonderful holiday!