Eight and Deogee trekked on, their paws treading up the ground behind their steps. They paced along the treeline, where the growth of tall گھاس and wheat was stopped سے طرف کی regular daytime shade making way for the forest to begin. This was the edge of the once golden field that lay in front of the ماند, خلوت خانہ rock. The دن cooled some, but the sun came out now to hang dimly in the sky. It was after mid-day, but not quite late afternoon. Most of the jobs around the clan had been done, leaving the feel of a lazy دن all around.
Eight moved on with the old wolf, away from the den, away from the pack. They just walked on, Eight, all the while struggling with how to voice the feelings that he had just begun to sort through. Deogee understood. He was once young too, he gave Eight all the time he needed. They had all day.
"Well... I mean..." Eight fumbled around to get out what he had to say, "She's great."
"Great is a good start." The old بھیڑیا chuckled and grinned.
"She-she's مزید than just great, really." Eight sighed a little, his mood slightly elevated now as he described her. "Her fur, her eyes, her personality... All perfect."
"Perfect is even better." Deogee stated again, coaxing Eight on.
His mood began to lighten, آپ could hear it in his voice when he spoke, particularly when he spoke about 'her'. It shouldn't be too much longer before the spark returned to Eight's step, and the laughter to his voice. For now though, Deogee just let him continue.
"She's just. She's shy, but she's one of 'the guys', y'know? She has some mystery to her that I just can't..." Eight continued on, spilling what he could, but mostly speaking in circles that lead back to his حالیہ infatuation. But then, his pace slowed, his gaze lowered and his voice took on that sound again - as though inside, he was as dull and gray as the skies. His gaze fixed, he wasn't seeing the world now, he was in his own head again.
"But then... We stopped talking."
The two had all but stopped now. "It was great, everything was fine and it was at the river, and it was raining, and we - and we just... stopped." Eight felt the familiar feeling of despair settle back down on him, causing his دل to weigh down into his stomach. Deogee knew now that they were at a crucial juncture, he knew سے طرف کی this alone that this was what was causing the issue. He only stood there and allowed Eight to pour forth more, though now, his feelings trickled مزید than they poured.
"She was going to... We were so close and..." Eight's sentences faded before they were finished, Deogee intervened, to catch Eight before he fell again.
"Tell me about that day." Deogee spoke, his voice low and calm.
Eight snapped to, his attention returning to the world for the moment.
"We were at the river, The gang and I, we like to hang out there. I went off on my own for a walk and she trailed up behind me... She does that often..." His voice went soft and his face cracked a smile on the edges of his face, just a little as he remembered that part, "We were going to head back before the rain but, but I started - we were talking and... I know how I feel for her..."
Eight formulated his words now, trying to empty his soul out for examination, he turned to Deogee, now explaining مزید than retelling,
"I'm sure she felt the same way, I know it. The way she's always near me, and she always has a reason to be around me مزید than the others, but this time... We were talking and we were about to set it into the open... It started to rain. We had to get back to the den. That was a week ago."
He finished up, his eyes beginning to drift again before the Alpha spoke up.
"So, آپ think آپ scared her off, do you? Thats a tricky situation." Deogee paced آگے as did Eight, keeping pace with the older بھیڑیا as he snapped back to life at Deogee's words.
"I happen to think that maybe its the other way around," He smiled "I think maybe آپ each scared yourselves off, hmm? Could be that آپ were both just as timid as bunny rabbits and you've both made up this circumstance in your mind... creating what آپ THINK the other may be thinking یا wanting یا not wanting..."
His words came wise and sure, as though he had pondered this for years before he spoke them to the younger in the party. Eight took in the information دیا to him and almost immediately noticed a difference. Just like when the conversation started, he felt light as a feather.
The two stopped again and Eight looked dumbfounded to Deogee, his shaggy head فر, سمور only making the look worse. Deogee simply smiled and nodded as though Eight were silently questioning him and he was silently answering.
"Its that simple, Kiddo." The old بھیڑیا smiled widely.
"Well, Jerk my tail." Eight exasperated, the dumbfounded look sticking to his face as he shifted his eyebrows up, down and then alternated between the two.
The two stood there for a moment as Eight allowed the thought to sink in, his tail slowly wagging from left to right as it did. Deogee knew now that the worst was probably over.
Eight's tail stopped for a moment as he looked to Deogee, an inquisitive look across his face and began a question,
"So, hang on." The young بھیڑیا started out, "I've been meaning to ask. Zen told me that this pack has rules or, traditions یا somethin' and that I needed to ask about them. I had forgotten until now, but I think it had to do with بان and I."
Deogee nodded, closing his eyes for a moment, as though he knew exactly what Eight meant.
"Ahh, Zen. Good kid, excellent leadership qualities. He can get a little... wordy... at times." Deogee pondered aloud. "He's right though. The clan has rules about mating to one another..."
"Oh?" Eight inquired further, his head cocked to one side and his ears perked right up.
"In our law here, we stick to the older tradition of "Stripes with Stripes, Spots with Spots"."
Eight cocked an eyebrow up questioningly as Deogee explained further,
"The clan law allows for only same classes to be involved with one another. Meaning Alphas with Alphas, Betas with Betas and so forth. It keeps the pack in order, weeds out any favoritism from higher ranks... A smaller clan would have lax standards for such things, but as large as we are, we can afford to adopt the practice مزید than we can afford not to, I'm afraid." His voice became serious and he finished in a matter-of-factly statement.
Eights دل sank once again. What was the point of it all now? If he couldn't be with Lilac, then why did he go through any of this? If he couldn't be with Lilac... what would he do? He found his hind legs leave from under him as this new weight seated him to the earth, his look instantly growing distant.
"However," Deogee began again, a grin creeping across his face very slyly. Eight turned his attention immediately to the old بھیڑیا as he spoke, "However, You're not a part of our Clan, are you? And therefore, not necessarily bound سے طرف کی the Clan's laws." He grinned now as Eight's look of dumbfoundedness returned, a new realization setting in, tail beginning to wag slowly again. "There may be complications in the future, آپ not being a part of the pack, but if she wanted to follow you... well then... I'd say that there's not much anyone could say about the whole thing, now, is there?"
Eight's green eyes grew wide with excitement, he stood again, tail wagging مزید as he stood speechless before the tricky old Alpha.
"That بان is a special girl, y'know?" The old بھیڑیا stated as he sat himself down, looking to Eight, "I think you'd be lucky enough to set yourself up with that kid."
Eight stopped for a moment, once again, inquisitive, "Wait... Lila-How did you... You...?"
Deogee laughed, wrinkles forming around his amber eyes as his toothy smile came up as far as it would, "You don't think I didn't know, do آپ pup? I'm acting ALPHA here! I know aaalll the goings on in my pack!" He stated between laughs, his voice booming out loud through the area. "It didn't hurt that بان came to me three days پہلے with the same issue!" He laughed again, letting loose with his chuckles now, thoroughly amused سے طرف کی the current turn of events.
"Why, آپ slick old dog, you!" Eight jokingly threatened him, laughing away as well.
The two shared their merriment for 10 منٹ at least before conversation began to turn from topic to topic. It wasn't long after that, that Eight found himself starting to feel life again, and enjoy it. Who knew that it wouldn't take مزید than the meddling of a wily old dog to break him from his cage.
The two settled back down again, their laughs breaking and slowing before disappearing into the wind as it whisped by, taking with it, Eight's feelings of doubt and remorse.
Deogee smiled at Eight, looking like a Father would when he was proud of his son.
"So then," He began, "I guess آپ have some things to think about, hmm?"
"Thinkin' maybe I might." Eight replied, smiling back, head held high.
"Well, I'm glad to have آپ back, Eight." Deogee کہا as he stood. "I guess آپ have some things to take care of too before آپ call it a day? They're probably waiting for you, if they're not finished already."
Eight nodded, "Yeah, I'm thinkin' آپ may be right."
Deogee turned to leave, but before he began his long walk back to the ماند, خلوت خانہ for the rest of the evening, he parted with Eight on one last piece of knowledge,
"If آپ want my advice, آپ won't wait too long to get back in the saddle. The timing is about to be all but too perfect." He added, cryptically.
With that Deogee turned away from Eight, calling back over his shoulder, "Take it easy, Eight."
"Yeah, I will!" Eight called back to him before he, himself went on his way to his اگلے task. On his way, he wondered what the old بھیڑیا could have meant about the perfect timing.
That night, he had much to think about. He slept in his own small piece of the world that he made, but for a different reason now. For the quiet, so he could ponder to himself as much as he needed. And what a perfect and clear night it was for deep thought on the subject of his heart.
The stars were hung in a bright blanket in the sky, and the moon was only days from being full. Tonight, the dim blue light from the sky would wash away any doubt that still clung to Eight's heart.
Tomorrow would be a new day.