Back in the Pack?
It had been a year since Reugerf had left his home to live with his friend Cosmo; a lot had changed since then. More people came by and started living in the house, new friends were made, parties were thrown, the house elevated by the surrounding trees had gone through several upgrades to accommodate those who stayed in the rooms, and Reugerf even got a new paint job that hid all the evidence of him ever being a Werelupe. Life was good for the splotched canine; his afternoons no longer consisted of fighting for survival and his nights stopped being reminders that an equally terrible day would arise when the sun came back up. His days now involved traveling around Neopia and meeting interesting people who would no doubt be befriended by him and Cosmo later in the day.
He smiled at this thought while he was out lying in the sun. His new life carried no misfortune, no pain or suffering of any kind other than the annoyance felt towards a few members of his new family. But he wouldn't have it any other way. The wind brew over him, tickling his nose as it went past him, The breeze carried a familiar scent from farther out in the woods that made Reugerf's ears perk up.
Cosmo noticed it even without taking her eyes off the pages from the newest book she purchased. "What is it?" she asked, her eyes still glued to the words inside.
"I don't know," the splotched Lupe answered as he looked over the balcony for the source. He saw two large shapes making their way towards the tree house and let out a worried sigh. "But I have a feeling on who it might be."
Cosmo raised an eyebrow. "Is it seriously them again?"
The two figures appeared under the balcony, both were large Werelupes. The larger one had brown fur and a dull black underbelly, the other had black fur and a dull brown underbelly. The pair of brothers looked up at the set of eyes viewing them from above.
"Beta 5!" the large brown one called. "Get down from there."
"I told you, my name isn't Beta 5 anymore," Reugerf responded. "And I'm not coming down."
"We just wanna talk."
"Then go talk to someone else!" the smaller, tree dwelling Lupe said.
"It's about Dad." The black furred Lupe spoke up this time, he sounded congested. "He's the one who wants to talk to you. He wants you to come back to the pack."
A disgusted look came across Reugerf's face. "He had his chance to talk to me a year ago! And why would he want me to come back? He banished me from the pack, remember?"
"Stop being stubborn and get down here!" the brown Lupe demanded.
It was at this time that Cosmo placed a bookmark between the pages she was at, got up, and leaned over the balcony railing with her friend, "Well, if it ain't my two favorite little monsters, Charley and Booger."
"My name isn't Charley!" the brown Lupe growled, a merciless look reflected of his large eyes.
"Sure it is." Cosmo's demeanor suddenly changed from her usually happy and sunshiny self into something that would have sent the Werelupe king himself scurrying away. "Listen, Reugerf said he doesn't want to go back and as his older brothers you should respect his decision."
"Stay out of it! We're dealing with an important family matter, and you're not family."
"That's not what he said," the girl responded, pointed to the splattered Lupe beside her. "I've been more of a family to him in a year than your entire pack put together has during his lifetime, and you think you can come here and say otherwise? You think you come to my house and force this innocent soul to go back to a place where he was never happy?" She let out a sarcastic sounding laugh. "Yeah, right. If anything, he's just going to end up in the hospital again!"
The pair of brothers looked a little uncomfortable in the hot seat, not only that but Cosmo's rising anger on the subject made her look far scarier that she truly was and the last thing they wanted was for her to jump down and fight them.
"The two of you didn't even lift a paw to help him when his own father did this to him!" She pointed to Reugerf's scarred face. There were three horizontal claw marks across the entire length of his face that were close to blinding him in both of his soft brown eyes. His left ear was lame; it drooped down over the side of his face and wasn't erect like the one beside it. It never would be again thanks to the fight he got into with his father. His outward appearance wasn't as bad as the internal damage, which took many months in the hospital and a lot of time to completely heal. Even his back legs would never be the same; he could still walk on them just fine but once in a while they would randomly buckle or he would start limping while he was walking. He also couldn't go very far without assistance if the family decided to take a long trip. Walking took a lot out of him now despite how young and spry he was.
"And you call yourselves his brothers! You should be ashamed of what you did!" Cosmo pointed to the surrounding tree lin. "Now get off of my lawn!"
"Hey, you can't just-" Booger began. Before he could finish his sentence, Cosmo threw a large book at them. The brothers quickly stopped what they were doing and ran from the projectile before it could hit either of them. The hard covered book made a loud thump sound as it hit the hard ground below, flipping open upon impact and scattering a few loose papers scribbled with poorly done fractions that were pressed in between the pages.
"If there wasn't a censor I would be doing a lot worse than throwing old books at you. I'd come down there and really give you a piece of my mind, you snotty fur ball!"
The brothers took this as their cue to leave, seeing that there was nothing more they could say or do while Cosmo was yelling at them and defending the younger Lupe. They darted back to the safety of the trees, but not before Charley turned back and shouted, "You can't hide behind the human forever, Beta 5! One of these days you'll come back to the pack, and when you do-"
"I have a five hundred page graphic design text book and I'm not afraid to use it!" the girl from the tree shouted, already hoisting her next weapon against the dogs over her head.
Charley scurried away without saying any more. And just like that, the two brothers had disappeared as quickly as they came.
Pleased with her latest victory, Cosmo set her book down and let out a sigh. "Those idiots never learn. They'll just keep coming back until they manage to break you."
"I know," Reugerf sighed as well. He looked up at his young friend and smiled. "Thanks for defending me, Cosmo."
"Oh, no problem," she said with a smile of her own. "I'm just surprised that you're not mad at me; a lot of guys don't like it when women fight their battles for them."
"Are you kidding? That was incredible! I didn't think you had that kind of ferocity in you."
"Hey, I can fight back when I have to." Cosmo laughed. "No one messes with my brother and gets away with it," she added, sounding confident.
Hearing that really meant something to him. Sure, Cosmo had referred to the multicolored Lupe as her brother numerous times before, but for some reason hearing it now made him feel better than the title ever had before. He was in a family that truly cared about him now, one that made him feel secure and loved much more than by the creatures who shared his bondage by blood.
Cosmo held her arms out, a sign that she wanted a hug from the scarred Lupe beside her. Reugerf rolled his eyes at the thought of a hug at first, but after looking into her pleading eyes for a few moments, he scooped her up and gave her a bear hug with enough power to crush the tomboy's spine. This was truly where he belonged, in the house in the trees, with his little sister and the group of wanderers and strangers she called a family.
"Shouldn't you go down and get your text book?" the Lupe asked.
Cosmo just laughed at his suggestion. "Please, it's math. It's not like I need it."
They started laughing again as a shadow Eyrie with a white crop of feathers on his head walked out holding a few yellow envelopes. "Madam Cosmo," he said eloquently and calmly, "you've received several neomails from your friends and an alert from the team informing you about your auction results." He informed as he handed the letters and a large bag of neopoints to the tomboy.
"Thank you, Cubra." She opened the first neomail in the pile as she started walking back into the house. Reugerf could hear her chuckle about whatever response one of her her friends gave her.
"She left before I could inform her of lunch."
"She'll notice it sooner or later," Reugerf responded.
From inside the house the two could hear Cosmo saying, "Awesome, strawberries!"
The Lupe chuckled. "Told you."
"Would you like some lunch Master Reugerf?" Cubra asked. "I've prepared an assortment of sandwiches and fresh fruit."
"Sure, that sounds great. Thank you, Cubra," he answered and trotted into the house to join the rest of his family, so he could continue living out the rest of his life in the random chaos he loved so much. There was no way his father or any other force in the world could take him away from all of this, and he would be sure of it.
Hooray! This is my first ever submission and I hope to have many more. Thanks for reading.