Most of the hot season had passed since Leader and Hunter had returned with the white wolfen one following them. He had been met and judged by each member of the pack and nobody found reason to distrust him.

The stranger had started learning their language, but he was hesitant to use it. He clung to his animal nature, using body language and small sounds to communicate most of the time. He only used a few words to get someone’s attention.

But, despite this, he was known for helping others.

One time while Scar was out on the hunt, Scar Mate did not feel well. She had lost her small meal and wanted to rest quietly. But, Pup would not leave her alone. The newcomer saw this and entertained the young Pup. Scar Mate still kept an eye open and watching Pup during the time, but she got several hours of respite and recovered her strength.

Another time the heavy rains late in the season caused the Old One pain in her legs. She often misses meals in weather like that, preferring a little hunger instead of enduring the pain and the wet to get food. But, the new wolfen one was along to share some food and some quiet company. He could even get along with the Old One, which was something of a miracle.

But, there were problems, too. One time he got a bit too nosy about Shadow when she did one of her rituals. She swatted at him ran off for a while. Those nights were filled with more strange sounds than usual. Everyone was happy when they saw her red fur and bushy tail once again, having rejoined the pack one night without anyone really noticing. “Perhaps there is something to her little rituals,” Scar said to Growl after she returned.

One thing everyone had noticed: the stranger had formed a strong bond with Help. She followed him around most of the time, watching him even after he was no longer viewed as a threat. She seemed happy to be working with him, helping out the rest of the pack as they could.

The sun was shining brightly down on a particularly hot day when Leader noticed the white one nearby. He was glancing over at Leader, something obviously bothering him but not acting upon it Leader got up from his sunny spot and walked over the the other.

“You good?” Leader asked, trying to remain friendly in his body language.

The new one ducked his head in submission as he noticed Leader approach.

“Use words,” Leader commanded.

“No… like words,” the new one spoke quietly, his posture still submissive.

“Words faster. You use words, you talk faster.”

Eyes looked up from the ground with worry in them.

“Relax. We all happy,” Leader said carefully, trying to reassure him with a confident posture.

The white one looked around, then down at the ground. Finally, the words came, “I am… pack?”

Leader understood what was troubling him; the wolfen ones needed to belong. The newcomer was worried about his position and security.

“Come,” Leader commanded as he walked back toward the pack. The white one followed.

The others were spending the day as they pleased. Some were stretched out in the sun, others were hiding in shadows trying to keep cool despite the heat. Leader went to a small boulder in the middle and stood upon it.

“Listen!” Leader called for attention. He stood up tall, drawing upon his commanding presence. “Decision! Is white one part of pack?”

Leader’s two mates bowed their heads to him, showing that they would agree to his decision. The other felines were mostly indifferent, not eager to get involved in the wolfen notion of the pack. Shadow also knew better than to stick her nose into the issue and went back to a hidden burrow to cool off.

The wolfen ones looked at each other and gathered into a tight group. Quiet words were spoken while they glanced at the new one and Leader. After a moment, the female wolfen one Help went to stand by the new one while the others approached Leader.

“Yes, he will be part of pack,” Growl said as his role as elder male of the wolfen ones. The new one and Help came to take their place in the circle. “His name is Help. His mate is now called Helpmeet.”

Leader looked at the pair. The relationship had grown over the months, and they were now recognized as proper mates by the others.

“Good,” Leader said, maintaining his commanding posture. “This is good.”

Helpmeet nuzzled her mate as he held his head high. He knew his position in the pack, had a mate, and was happy.

Leader stood up and walked back to his sunny patch to snooze the rest of the warm day away. There were now a few less things to bother him that day.

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