The grey pup look at the Fierce Pup. "What's your name?" She asked.

"I don't have a name." He said sadly.

The little pup nudged him in comfort. "Don't worry. Me neither." She said.

The Fierce pup said, "I want a name."

Her tail wagged thoughtfully. "Perhaps we could give eachother names." She suggested.

The Fierce pup wagged his tail. "Yeah. Sure." He said.

"Well first we need to know eachother a bit" She told him, and licked his cheek.

"Okay." He said.

She kept trotting, happy that the male fierce-pup agreed. She caught herself staring at him, forcing her eyes away. "What happened to your Mother-dog?" She asked, hoping that she was not crossing the line. She remembered her own Mother-dog and frowned.

The fierce dog pup looked down. "I don't know. She didn't like the fierce dogs though. So she left. And then we got separated from her."

She nuzzled him in comfort. "My Mother got killed. Fierce-dogs attacked" She said glumly.

The fierce dog pup tried not to flinch. My own kind. He thought. Will I even be accepted here?

She noticed him flinch. "I don't belive you, or your Mother had anything to do with that. I trust you" She said, nuzzling his scruff.

She saw his surprised look. She was surprised as well, it was just, something about him, something she couldn't explain.

"Who was the biggest of the litter?" She asked the Fierce-pup.

The fierce pup replied, "Me."

"Really? Me too" She said proudly, lifting her head high.

The fierce pup smiled. He pressed his flank against hers..

She smiled as well, letting him flank her. She nuzzled his neck happily.

The fierce dog pup looked into this pup's blue eyes. "Blue." He whispered. "Your eyes..." Breathed the fierce pup. "They're beautiful."

The pup held her breath. Blood rushed through her cheeks. "Th-Thank you" She said. She nuzzled him happily.

The fierce pup thought, Maybe her name could be Blue? Maybe not?

The pup looked at him, tilting her head. What could be his name, she wondered. She nipped his ear playfully.

The pup play bowed and nipped at her heels playfully.

She pounced on him, chewing his hind leg gently.

The fierce pup yipped in surprise and twisted his leg out of her mouth. He then leaped on her back trying to declare dominance.

She yipped joyously, wriggling away from him. She bashed her head in his side. She then jumped on him. She tried to roll him over, though unsuccessful. She also tried pinning him down, but that didn't work.

The fierce pup rolled over and rejumped on her.

She growled playfully, trying to wriggle free.

The fierce pup tried pinning the other pup down. But in doing so, lost his balance.

The pup, taking advantage of his fall, pounced on him.

The fierce dog pup curiosity finally got the best of him. "What will my name be?" He asked.

She stood up, tilting her head at him. "Hmmmm" She said. She thought about what his name could possibly be. An idea struck her mind "Claw!" She blurt out.

Claw bounced around. "Yes, yes, yes!" He looked at the other pup. "How about you Blue?" He asked.

Blue ran in circles around him "Yes! Yes!" She yipped, her tail wagging furiously.

Claw thought, I'm named!

Blue licked Claw's jaw happily.

Blue looked around as the sun was setting. "We should get food., and find some shelter" She said. She and Claw would probably have to try to hunt some.

"Let's go on a hunt?" She asked "We have to feed ourselves somehow" She said, looking at the two dogs.

Claw shrugged. "Okay."

Blue quietly went into the more heavily wooded areas. She sniffed around. "I smell rabbit" She whispered.

Claw nodded. "Me too."

Soon, two rabbits came in sight. She had never hunted before. She looked at Claw, ready to pounce.

Claw thought, Here's the leap of faith. He pounced on one of the rabbits killing it quickly.

Blue pounced on the other, a black and white one. She bit at it's neck, killing it. "Now, we need to find a camp, and we can then eat!" She said, her tounge lolling happy with their good hunt.

Claw nodded. "Your right." He looked at Blue. Something inside of him sparked.

Blue nodded happily, before walking around with the rabbit in her mouth, looking for a camp. She flanked him.

Claw soon saw a small clearing in the forest. "Hey how about here?" He asked. There was a cave and river.

"It's perfect!" She yapped. She examined the cave "It's perfect size! A bit big for us now, but when we grow up it will be the perfect size for the both of us" She said.

Claw nodded. "Your right!" He yapped happily.

Blue stared at him fondly, before her tummy rumbles. A guilty look crosses her face, but then she shakes it off like dirt. "Let's eat" She said.

Claw nodded. "Okay." He started to eat his rabbit.

Blue tore into her rabbit hungrily. Soon, with about 1/3 rabbit left. Blue stooped eating "Woah, I'm full." She said, staring at Claw affectionately as he ate his rabbit.

When Claw finished his he said, "Me too." He nuzzled Blue.

"Really, Claw, when my Mother-dog died, and my pack, too, I thought my life would be horrible. Now I don't think it'll be so bad." She told him "Now that I found you" She added in a low voice.

Claw nodded. "When I saw my mother die and when I got separated from my siblings...I thought that my life was over. But not any more. Because of you." He said.

Blue felt blood rush to her cheeks as she shuffled her paws awkwardly. "Let's go to the den?" She asked, the Moon-dog was high now, and she was getting sleepy. She yawned, and started towards the den.

Claw followed.

Blue curled up tightly with Claw, drifting off into a peaceful sleep.

Next Day

Blue's eyes blinked open. She looked around. She and Claw were still curled up like they had been the night before, and she smiled. She carefully got up, not to wake Claw. She sat down, staring at him as he slept. She felt something just spark inside of her.

Claw then awoke with a start. Nightmare. He thought.

Blue looked at him. "Are you okay?" She asked worriedly. "Was it a nightmare?"

Claw shook his head. "No I'm fine."

"Really? If not, please tell me" She said

Claw shrugged. "Just a little dream. Nothing really."

Blue nodded "If you don't mind me asking, about what?" She asked.

"Oh just about my past." Replied Claw.

Blue nodded. "Do you smell that?" She asked "It's like a dog, but different. Stinky, too" She said.

Claw nodded. "Yeah."

A fox emerged from the bushes, 4 fox kits crowding her feet. She licked her lips. "Mmm. My pupses needs real prey now. Little crunchy dogse treats are good" She said, flicking her bushy tail.

Claw saw the foxes. He lunged at one of the pups killing it.

Soon, 2 out of 4 fox kits had died. The fox attacked Blue, biting down on her leg. When Claw attacked her, he was stronger than she thought. She scowled "Ahh! Fox-Cloud not waste her time on stupid dogse!" She said, running away with her fox kits

Blue growled after her, and started licking her bite wound. She had hurt her pretty badly. Blue collapsed. Her leg was bleeding a lot, and it hurt horribly.

Claw growled at them as they ran off. He turned to Blue. "Are you alright?" He asked worriedly.

Blue panted before looking up at him dizzily "I-I think."

Claw licked her wound fiercely.

Blue felt her head spinning. She tried looking up, to see Claw, but her head just fell and she passed out.

Claw whimpered. He didn't know what to do! He plucked a leaf from a small tree and pressed it on the wound.

Blue's head shot up, and judging by the sky, she had been asleep for hours. She saw Claw, and he had put a leaf on her wound, which stung horribly. "Wh-what happened?" she asked.

"You nearly got killed by a fox!" Said Claw.

Her ears pricked up "Fox?! Where?" She asked, trying to get up. She walked one step, then fell, hurting herself even more.

"Don't move. There is no fox. There was but not anymore. Now stay still!" He exclaimed.

Blue groaned in pain and obeyed. The Moon-dog was visible now. "How long was I asleep?" She asked, beginning to shiver.

Claw shrugged. "Awhile."

"What were you doing the whole time?"

"Helping your wound."

Blue felt butterflys flutter in her belly and blood rush to her cheeks. "Tha-thank you" She said.

Claw grunted, "You're welcome."

"Did the fox hurt you?" She asked, trying not to sound as worried as she really was.

Claw shook his head. "Just a scratch." He said geturing toward his little scratch. "The good news is that we got dinner. You like fox?"

She licked her lips. "Well, I'm so hungry anything sounds good!" She joked.

Claw let out a bark of laughter. "Me too!"

"You could've eaten while I was asleep" She pointed out "We were fighting late morning, and its already night" She said.

Claw shrugged. "Wasn't hungry." He said.

She raised her eyebrows in doubt, but started eating one out of two of the fox kits.

Claw started to eat the other one.

Soon, they had finished, and, she with difficulty dragged herself to the den.

Claw padded over to the den.

When Claw came in, she positioned herself that she was curled up with him and her leg was comfy. Soon, she was asleep and snoring softly.

Claw awoke in the morning.

Blue's eyes fluttered open, and she realized that Claw was already awake. "Morning, Claw" She said softly, staring at him.


Blue forced her stare off him. "How'd you sleep?"

Claw shrugged. "Fine."

Blue tried getting up, and kind of did, but slumped back down with a groan.

Claw looked back. "How about you stay here, while I go hunt. You need to rest your leg."

Blue nodded, "Well, it's not like I'd be able to do anything. Have fun, and please be careful" She said.

Claw nodded. "Okay. See ya." He ran off into the forest.

Blue let out a whine. She felt more vulnerable without him, and the fox that hurt her could find him, and she would never know.

Claw dashed through the forest, not being cautious at all. He looked across a big river. He could smell prey over there! There were some wet stepping stones. He jumped from one to the other. But he lost his balance and plunged into the river. Claw let out a strangled cry as the river took him under. He thrashed and wriggled, desperately trying to get free.

Finally Blue had had enough. She got up, her leg a piercing pain. She sniffed in his direction, and only came to a roaring river. She saw him struggle in the water. "Claw!" She cried desperately "River-dog, help!"

Claw was again pushed under. His body slammed against a rock. He felt his head also hit something. He fell unconscious.

Everest dove into the water, grabbing the Fierce-pup and putting him gently on the bank, close to the other dog. Blue dashed to Claw, licking him quickly. "Wake up" She said desperately.

Claw was still unconscious.

"Watch over him, and you're welcome" Everest growled, before disaperring into the forest again. Blue nudged Claw, forgetting the pain in her leg. She licked his face fiercly. "Wake up!" She howled desperately.

Claw nuzzled Morningstar. He was with her and his littermates. "It's not your time yet." Said Morningstar. Claw looked at her sadly. "Why not? Why can't I just escape the pain?" Morningstar shook her head. "You can never truly escape your pain. You're not ready to go to Earth Dog."

Blue let out a mournful and horribly sad howl. "Don't go, Claw!" She cried, tears in her eyes.

Claw nodded. "Fine." He then awoke coughing and sputtering.

"Claw!" Blue exclaimed, her voice full of relief. "Claw, You're ok!" She licked his face happily.

"Yeah! I'm fine! Now get off!" Snapped Claw angrily.

Blue's ears pinned back against her skull, and she backed away. Why is he so mad at me? She thought with a whine.

Claw stalked away back to camp without a word.

Blue hesitantly followed, limping back to camp. Blue finally caught up to Claw, and asked, "Are you ok? Hurt? Hungry?"

Claw glared at her. "I'm fine." He spat angrily.

"Claw, what happened to you?" She asked, remembering how kind he was towards her before. A thought suddenly struck her. What if his memories were taken away? She thought with a whine.

"Nothing! Now leave me alone!" He snarled scratching her muzzle.

Blue flinched, and sank down. She whimpered miserably. "Sky-dogs, why do you ruin my life like this!?" She howled.

Claw heard her and growled, "Shut up!"

"Why are you so angry at me?" Blue growled.

Claw whirled around to face her, eyes blazing. "You want this to get messy?" He asked, bristling.

Blue's tail rose "Why are you angry at me? Do you even remember me?" She snarled.

Claw eyes sparked for a moment. The old Claw was in there. He dissapeared quickly though. "Don't trust the Spirit Dogs. They'll turn their backs on you."

"Claw, please come back" She pleaded.

Claw kept stalking back to camp.

"Claw! Do you even remember who I am?" She asked, following him, wanting to make sure he still has memories.

Claw snorted. "No. You just showed up out of nowhere."

"What's wrong with you?! What happened, you were nice before?!" She demanded.

Claw said, "I don't remember anything! All I remember is that Earth Dog wouldn't take me."

"Wha-why? Do you even remember my name?" She questioned.

"Yes. In fact I do. I recall that your name is Annoying Dog Who Won't Leave Me Alone."

"You! Why? Don't you remember our fight with the fox? And how you tended to me all day? And how we hunted together?"

Claw grunted. "No."

"Look at me and try to remember. Please" She asked, desperate to get him to remember her.

Claw spat, "I don't have time for this!"

Blue, sick of his behaivor, pounced on him, pushing his so hard he fell and hit his head hard. She backed away, gasping "What did I do?" She whined.

Claw yelped in pain as everything came back to him. "Ow! Blue! Why did you do that?!" He asked.

"Y-You remember?"

"Remember? Remember what? That I fell into a river?"

"No. You fell into the river. Hit your head, and then, you hated me. You didn't even remember my name" She said, she then showed how he'd scratch her muzzle, and it was lightly bleeding.

Claw was shocked. "I did that?! I'm so sorry. I would never have said or done anything, if I had known."

"Don't worry, I believe you" She said truthfully, coming up to him with a bit of struggle and nuzzling him.

Claw nuzzled her back.

1 Year later, Blue is now River, Claw is now Lightning.

River padded out of their den and stretched.

Lightning came out of the den beside River.

"Hello, Lightning" River greeted him with an affectionate lick on his nose.

Lightning licked her back. "Morning River."

She wagged her tail. "Well. Lets go on a hunt?"

"Sure." Lightning bounded off into the trees.

She ran off after him, catching up quickly. She slowed to a jog, scenting the air. "Deer" She whispered. Soon, they came into a clearing, with a big, male deer.

Lightning crouched down, his belly scraping the ground.

When Lightning gave the signal, River bounded after the deer, pouncing on it's neck. Lightning also helped, and soon the deer was dead. "This will feed us for days!" She said happily. River grabbed the antler, and with her mates help, began dragging it to camp.

Lightning put the deer down when they got back to camp.

River sat down, and stared at Lightning's eyes. She shook herself. "Lightning, I have to tell you something" She said.

"What is it?" He asked.

River bit her lip and stood up. "Well, I've been suspecting it for a couple days now, but now I'm sure. I'm expecting! You're going to be a Father-dog!" She told him happily,

Lightning was shocked. "Wha? Really? Oh River this is amazing! Are you alright? Are you comfortable? Have you been getting enough prey?"

River chuckled softly. "I'm fine, comfortable, yes. Prey, more than enough. Just a bit more tired, lately. That's all" She said, licking his ears affectionatley.

Lightning nuzzled her.

The sun-dog was setting. "Shall we eat?" She asked.

Lightning nodded. "Sure."

Since there were only two dogs, she and Lightning, they ate together, at the same time. She and Lightning started eating, and soon were both full. They sat back, and by the time the Moon-dog was up. Tonight she was showing her full face, so they went a little ways away from the deer, ready to howl.

Lightning started to howl.

River moved closer to Lightning, so that their flanks were touching. She began to howl with him. She felt thrill surge through her bones, and love for her mate in her heart. She felt so closely bonded with them, as nothing could tear their bond apart.

As Lightning howled he thought he could see his family. He could see his mother, father, littermates, River, and even his future pups. Or pup. He thought.

Soon their howl died out. She stood up, still flanking Lightning. She started towards their den.

Lightning walked to the den with River by his side.

Soon, River was fast asleep. She dreamt of Lightning, and having their future pup(s).

Swift, a wolf, queitly padded into the dogs camp. Both dogs were in the den, fast asleep. A wild longpaw fang male and a fight dog female. They had a partially eaten deer lying around. He licked his lips, silently helping himself to the deer.

Lightning dreamt of his mother, Morningstar. She was telling him to wake up. "Why?" He asked. Morningstar said, "Just wake up!" Lightning growled irritably in his sleep.

River awoke to Lightning growling. "What's wrong?" She asked quietly, nudging him, unaware of the intruder.

Lightning jerked awake. "Something's wrong." He said.

River looked around, letting out a yip of surprise. "Wolf!"

Lightning growled at the wolf lunging at it.

Swift yipped in surprise, then let out a laugh. "Ha! A Longpaw fang? Against me?" Then viciously fought back.

River watched anxiously.

Lightning bit at the wolf. He saw the wolf claw his muzzle nearly missing his eye.

Swift plunged his fangs into his shoulder roughly, drawing blood. He huffed. "That should teach a dog like you a lesson. If you're smart enough!" He barked, sprinting away.

Lightning barked after him. He limped back to River.

"Did he hurt you?" She asked, her eyes laced with worry for her mate.

Lightning shook his head. "I'm fine." He limped into the den.

River snuggled up with him. "Rotten wolf! He hurt you, and ate most of the deer!" She said angrily.

Lightning nuzzled River. "He won't get away next time."

Next day

River's eyes fluttered open. She saw Lightning was still asleep, and she began staring at him.

Lightning awoke. "Morning RIver." He said.

"G'Morning" She said.

Lightning said, "I'm gonna go huntin." He glanced at her swollen belly. "Do you want to stay here?"

River nodded gratefully "Just be careful" She called. She remembered back to when they were pups, and he fell into the river, forgetting and hurting her. At that time, she was injured by a fox. She glanced at her leg wich was hurt before. It now currently had a scar.

Lightning took a new trail he had never before taken. It brought him to the edge of the forest. "Loudcages." He whispered seeing the big huge roaring monsters. He could smell food on the other side. And alot. Maybe if he could just....He put a paw on the big road. He ran across the road. He heard brakes screeching and loudcages roaring. He felt metal hit him as he went flying. He yelped in pain. A loudcage had hit him. He got up and painfully limped to the other side and hiding.

Swift padded along, and saw the Longpaw fang from the previous night. He barked with laughter. "Ha! Stupid dog! You're pathetic mate can't help you now! She's pregnant, making that deer mine!" He barked, howling with laughter as he ran to that camp.

Lightning gasped. "NO!" He ran after him but he felt something tighten around his neck. A longpaw had caught him.

Speedy, another wolf, lunged on Swift tearing at his back.

Swift twisted out of Speedy's grip. He looked a him "You! You're half dog, you weakling!" He said, lunging at him, he pushed him down, his jaws around his throat, but not killing him yet.

Speedy swiped at Swift's eyes with his paw clawing one of them.

Swift felt pain sear through his eye, and he knew he blinded him in one eye. He tightend his grip on his throat.

Speedy cried out in pain. He saw his throat. He clawed at it.

Swift tightened on his throat even more, as he felt Speedy's breathing grow shallower.

Speedy twisted. He knew he didn't have much longer. He jerked free of Swift's grip.

Swift pulled his lips back, revealing long, white fangs. He lunged at Speedy.

Speedy ducked away from Swift.

Lightning growled at the longpaw biting it and slipping free. He turned and limped back across the road. This time no loudcages hit him. He limped off into the forest. He slipped past the fightning wolves and made it back to River. He collapsed on his side, flanks bleeding and heaving.

River gasped "What happened!?!"

Lightning gasped. "Loudcage....Hit me." His leg was dangling at an odd angle and he was bleeding very badly.

River whimpered, leaving the den. She tore off some specific leaves, tending to his wounds.

Lightning closed his eyes falling unconcious.

RIver whined anxiously. She lay next to him. After a couple hours, she nudged him gently.

Lightning opened his eyes slowly.

River yipped in relief "You're alive!"

Lightning licked River. "I am alive." He got to his paws, limping on three legs. "I think I hurt one of my legs." He said.

She raised her eyebrows "You think?" She padded over to what was left of the deer, which was a medium sized portion for the each of them "You need to eat" She said.

Lightning limped over to the portion of deer eating it quickly.

River looked at Lightning, who looked very hungry still. She tore off most of her portion, nudging it towards him "Here" she woofed.

Lightning shook his head. "No. You need it more."

River shook her head in refusal, eating the rest of her portion which she kept, nudging the other meat closer to him.

"That's not true" she said "I'll catch a rabbit or a weasel quickly. You eat" She said, jogging into the forest. Instead of a rabbit, she saw a white, fluffy animal. She recognized it as sheep. There were no longpaws, and she stalked it, attacking it. She killed it and dragged it into camp, head high in triumph.

When Lightning saw the sheep he then ate the deer.

River ate her portion of the sheep, but a lot was still leftover.

Lightning laid down deciding to try and sleep.

Before Lightning fell asleep, she said, "Lightning, I think we need new territory, especially before the litter comes. Longpaws, wolves. Our pups cant grow up here normally "

Lightning opened his eyes again. "I think you're right. I'm lucky to be alive after what happened. A longpaw even caught me!"

Lightning shrugged. "Right now, I suppose. I mean we should leave at the soonest time possible." Said Lightning. "Should we?"

She chuckled "Yes" she said, flanking him and beginning to walk.

Lightning said, "Let's go this way." He walked the opposite way he last saw Swift and Speedy.

River walked with him. They kept walking for about 2.5 hours, and the Moon was high. She yawned sleepily. "Can we maybe rest for the night?" She asked.

Lightning nodded. "Sure." He agreed.

River blinked gratefully at him, and sniffed around for shelter. There was a big hollow under the roots of a tree, and it was very big. It was even big enough for the both of them. She pointed there with her nose. "How about here?"

Lightning said, "Sure."

They both entered. She curled up with him, laying her head on him. "Goo- ni" She managed to stutter before falling into an exhausted sleep.

Lightning licked his mate as she fell asleep.

River snored softly. A giant fur tore through the bushes, swinging her arms at the two dogs, roaring furiously. "Go, run!" Lightning commanded, turning and snarling at the beast. "No, I won't leave you!" She howled "I said GO!" He barked. The giantfur had him cornered.  She killed him. "NOOO!" She howled, as the giantfur turned and left. She twitched and muttered in her sleep anxiously, waking up and panting and tears streaming down her face.

Lightning twitched in his sleep and awoke when River did. "Are you okay?" He asked.

"I don't know" She whined.

"Nightmare." He said. "Try and fall back alseep. This can't be good for the pups."

"I know. But I keep having them every single night" She whined

Lightning nuzzled her. "Well I don't know why you keep having that dream. It's probably just a lucid nightmare."

"And the same thing happens everytime" She whimpered miserably. She felt so weak.

Lightning looked down. "Let me guess. I die."

River bit her lip. She couldn't lie to him, he was her mate, and she refused to lie. She nodded sadly.

He sighed sadly putting his head on his paws.

"It's always different ways, too. Giantfurs, longpaws, wolves, flood, fire. They won't stop" She explained. "You don't think-" She hesitated before finishing "You don't think I'm too weak for you, do you?" She looked down at her paws

Lightning shook his head. "No! I would never think that! How about let's just go back to sleep. You and the pups need it."

River felt relief flood over her. She licked his nose, before laying her head on his shoulder.

Next Day

River woke up, and Lightning was still asleep. She remembered the night before. After she had fallen asleep, she had yet another nightmare. She nudged Lightning. "We need to keep searching, love" She said softly.

Lightning awoke with a yawn. "Okay."

River got up and stretched. She now felt much more heavy than before

Lightning got to his paws. He still had to limp. He let River lean on him if she needed. "Let's go." He said. He limped into the forest.

River began to walk with Lightning. She was parched. "Can you stay here? I'm gonna have a quick drink" She said, making her walk towards the stream. She was out of his sight

Blade marched through the forest with three longpaws, along with Dagger, Revolver, and Axe. "We need to find the pups. They're ours, even though they're grown" She growled "I can smell the big one" She said. She caught sight of Lightning and smiled evilly. She looked back at the longpaws, who all had long metal sticks with hoops on the end. They crept up to him, as a longpaw quickly got his head in the hoop. Everybody else surronded him, nipping at him when he tried to escape. The dog-garden was only two minutes away, and they were there instantly. "Today is the day, Fierce dogs!" Blade barked "We got him! We'll make him a true Fierce dog!" She howled "Starting with his apperance..." She sneered, looking at his floppy ears and long tail with disgust. The longpaws took him into the building, closing the doors behind them. "When he comes out again, he'll be looking like a true Fierce dog!" Blade howled, going up to the doors.  To her luck, a longpaw came and opened it, and she went inside.

Lightning whimpered in fear.

Blade gave him a sharp nip on the flank. "No cowering!" She growled.

A tall, thin, lonpaw approached with a big needle, used for making him pass out. Another longpaw put him on a metal, cold table.

Lightning snapped at Blade before passing out.

Blade snapped at him, the longpaws blocking her way as they began cropping. Soon, after a couple hours, they finished. She sat back with an evil smirk.

Lightning awoke. He bit at the longpaws. "Get away from me!"

Blade bared her teeth at Lightning, snarling "Questioning your masters?" She snarled. She had sent most of the other dogs out to patrol, and was completley unaware of the open door.

Lightning saw the open door and dashed outside. He ran and ran until he was to exhausted to even stand.

Blade barked in alarm. She huffed "What a waste!"

River came back from the stream. "Lightning?!" She yelped.

Lightning whimpered in pain.

"Your ears, and tail! What happened? Where were you?"

"Fierce Dogs." He panted painfully.

River whined "Oh no, we can't travel now, but we need to hide. lets go to the tree roots from last night" She said, helping him there. She licked his now pointed ears.

Lightning limped over to the tree. He gasped in pain when he laid down.

"Oh Lightning" She said, licking his wounds. He looked different now, more fierce, but she didn't care "I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have left you, no matter how thirsty I was"

Lightning shook his head. "No-You needed water."

"It was my fault" She whined.

Lightning shook his head again. "No. It wasn't. The Fierce Dogs would've come anyway and taken us both!"

"It was." She said, laying her head on her paws "What did the longpaws and Blade do to you?" She asked

"Cut my ears. And take off my tail." He said.

"Rotten creatures. I'll never fogive them" She snarled. She sniffed at his stumpy tail and pointy ears, and she caught his fear scent. She nuzzled him.

Lightning soon fell into an uneasy sleep.

River fell asleep, still very angry. Nightmares invaded her dreams like swarming ants. She twitched and whimpered. She woke up after a while, and it was dark. She licked Lightning's muzzle tenderly. River carefully got up, feeling heavier than before. Maybe I can catch something small... She thought as her tummy rumbled. She sniffed out a nest of voles, and killed 5. She knew this would be her last hunt in a while, soon she wouldn't be able to. She carried them to the tree, nudging Lightning gently

Lightning lifted his head groggily. "Yes?"

"Here, you need to eat. How are you feeling?" She asked, worry obvious in her tone.

Lightning stretched. "Good. All the pain has left me."

River was surprised but happy. "Good. Perhaps, after we eat, we should keep going? I don't- I don't think I will be able to travel soon, the pups can be here any day now. It's just, I don't want our pups to grow up so close to the Fie-Blade" She corrected herself

Lightning knew what she had been about to say. But they're father is one. He thought.

"That's not what I meant! I love you, Lightning. I don't have one care at all what kind of dog you are. In my eyes, you are better than any other dog" She said, completly truthfully "I promise"

Lightning looked at her happily. She loved him, and he loved her.

She nuzzled him lovingly as they shared the voles. She then stood up "Let's go?" She asked.

Lightning nodded. "Sure."

They walked for several hours. She saw a tunnel, not to big not too small. About big enough for one dog. She sniffed at it, glancing at Lightning. She went through it and climbed a bit. It lead to a foresty place with a river, a cave, and lots of forest. The scent of prey was strong, and though it was large, she knew by the smells no other dogs were here, as they would've marked the entrance. She came back down "Amazing territory, no other dogs. Come!"

Lightning bounded up to the spot. "It's perfect!" He exclaimed.

"It really is" She said, entering the cave with a yawn. She began trembling uncontrollably, after laying down some moss and leaves. She howled in pain, collapsing.

Lightning gasped in shock. "What's wrong. It can't be the pups! It's to soon! None will survive!"

River was bleeding alot, the pain unbearable. "W-wet m-o-ss" She rasped.

Lightning darted out of the den and fetched some wet moss.

River would voice her thanks, but she found she couldn't. Hours passed when she finished 3 males and 1 female. "Lightning- these three, they- they- I don't think they made it" She whined.

Lightning shook his head. "They didn't. It's miracle even one survived."

River let out a long, mournfull, howl. She nuzzled all four pups.

Lightning moved the three dead pups away from River.

"No!" She yelped as Lightning took them away. Tears flooded her eyes. "I'm so, so sorry." She sighed "We need to bury them" She whispered, pulling the female closer to her protectively. "Why so early, why couldn't you come later?" She whined, gently pulling the living female closer to her. River looked at Lightning and let out a long, sad whine escape her throat.

Lightning nuzzled River. "I know, I know."

"It's not fair" She whined "They didn't get a chance at life and they're already dead"

The female pup whimpered weakly.

"Oh, it's ok, little one. I'll take care of you" She said softly, licking the female pup. She promised herself she'd never let anything happen to her.

The pup sneezed.

Lightning licked the small pup.

River smiled "Sneeze. We shall call you Sneeze" She said, looking to Lightning for approval.

Lightning nodded. "Yeah."

River curled around her so that she was in between Lightning and River, warm as she fed. "She's beautiful" She said, yawning from exhaustion.

Lightning nodded.

River laid her head on Lightning's back. "Can you watch her for just a moment? I just want to rest my ey-" She couldn't finish her sentence and was soon snoring

Lightning inwardly nodded.

After a couple hours, River woke up. Lightning was awake, ears up and alert, She licked his jaw. "What stories will you be telling her? My Mother-dog used to tell me stories about the RIver-dog, Earth-dog, Lightning, Sky-dogs, and the rest. Did your Mother-dog tell you stories of the Spirit-dogs?" She asked, trying to push her still-born pups out of her mind and focus on the live one.

Lightning shook his head. "No."

"Well there was the Watch-Dog. He was said to be vicious and strong. He was also said to rule the Sky Dogs."

River's muzzle wrinkled "Do you believe in him?" She asked "I don't believe any dog rules over the Sky-dogs" She said, ears flicking back in confusion.

Lightning shrugged. "I mean, yeah. I don't think he's evil but I do believe in him."

Sneeze whimpered as if to say 'I'm here'

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