Eight and Stern walked side দ্বারা side in silence for a while, making great distance on the open plains on their way toward the Den. Each of them carried a brisk pace, unsure as to what real time frame they had to work in.
Stern's tasks were all lined up, and he wore the face of a নেকড়ে on a mission. Eight did the same, now was not the time for any fooling about. Not only did he know that there was serious business to attend to, but he knew that in overstepping several of his bounds this evening, he may very easily be up for punishment.
The pair of নেকড়ে trudged through the cold morning air, dew clinging to their পশম as they passed through whisps of clouds, little আরো than dense, light moisture that clung to the earth. Each traveled at a trot, heads low, tails serving only for balance as their pace continued in the silence of the evening.
They now neared Stern's area of the land, the place where they met every night for patrol, the place where Eight came the very first evening he intruded upon the pack's territory, but rather than passing through this area as quickly as all the others, Stern slowed to a stop allowing Eight to pass him for a moment before stopping as well.
Eight looked at him inquisitively, head cocked to the side and ears perked as he cautiously stepped toward the smaller of the two.
Stern looked up at him from the ground where his eyes were previously affixed, no doubt in thought and he spoke,
"We need to get a few things cleared up, Eight."
He wasn't loud, he wasn't pushy, he didn't have a tone of aggravation in his voice as he usually did. He simply spoke. Perhaps he realized that this would be the best way to get through to his listener, seeing as the other times he hadn't been taken seriously.
Eight closed the gap between the two, slowly, his হৃদয় wrenched a little bit from the lashing he was sure to receive, verbal অথবা otherwise,
"Alright, Cap'n. Shoot."
Stern began, with little time between Eight's self appointed 'permission',
"For things to work well in a pack," He paused for thought midway between his sentences, অথবা perhaps he paused to keep his head about him, "Everyone has to pull their weight. Everyone has to obey their appointed leaders and do what they're told when they're told. Everyone has to work together to function properly." He cast his gaze to Eight, head perched tall, chest out as he explained.
"You're an advantage for the pack to have nine times out of 10. আপনি can do anything we need আপনি to, and that makes everyone else's job easier."
"Uh, Thanks, I-"
"But আপনি have a problem with authority, its clear." Stern cut him off quickly, keeping the edge in the conversation.
"Now hey, Wait a damn মিনিট -" Eight stepped অগ্রবর্তী and protested, a little anger rising up in his veins, but only to be cut off again.
"Keep it down." Stern demanded, keeping his calm surprisingly well.
Eight stepped back, and allowed his ears and muscles to relax for a moment before beginning again.
"Now, just 'cause I don't put up with your crap, Stern, Don't mean that I don't jump when আপনি say to."
"I know আপনি do." Stern agreed, holding his paw up, to calm Eight. Who'd have thought that Stern would be the level headed one in this conversation.
"But the way আপনি speak back to me, like I'm some Omega, অথবা one of your own... I don't really take to that."
"Well, since we're on the topic of how we're being treated, I guess I should let আপনি know that I'm not very fond of the way আপনি speak to me either." Eight rebuttaled, his voice carrying a smarmy tone to it.
"And can আপনি blame me?" Stern questioned him, "You waltzed into this little area of the world and got handed everything আপনি needed to feed yourself and sleep comfortably while the rest of us had to work our tails off for it." He finished out his sentence in frustration bubbling to the surface.
Eight was taken back for a moment and about to let loose with a tongue lashing of his own in return before he was stopped. He understood now what its been all about. The bulk of Sterns treatment toward him was because he wasn't a pack member here. The continued treatment was because of Eight's own lack of patience. Every time he snapped back at Stern, it was like throwing what he was প্রদত্ত in his face...
A look of realization covered his face, he gazed at the ground for a moment as the full gravity took hold of him, making his mind swim for a moment before turning to Stern. He tried to speak, but all that came was mouth motions of syllables.
"Maybe..." Stern began, attempting to speak on neutral ground, "...There's a chance that I've been harder on আপনি than I need to be." He breathed heavily in thought, "I guess that my perpetuated attitude toward আপনি has only, in turn, perpetuated yours toward me. But... Attitude অথবা no, You've always done what anyone's asked of you. I guess that counts for something."
"Way to make me feel like an ass." Eight said, shuffling the dirt beneath his paws.
"Well," Stern breathed heavily, as the feeling of tension lifted its weight from the area, "You are an ass."
Eight looked up at him sharply until he noticed a grin on the স্থুলকায় wolf's face,
"But then again, So am I."
"Will we ever learn?" Eight asked, melodramatically grinning once, his হৃদয় feeling lighter.
"Not likely, but there's always hope." Stern replied. "Just remember, the job is the job. Thats the way of things."
"I won't forget." Eight said, his smile fading back into seriousness along with Stern's own.
"One other thing... Don't expect this to change much between us. This may well pass, but I'm still your superior, and I don't much care for that mouth of yours." Stern went on, his somber voice filling the air with a serious tone once again. "So here we are, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you."
They stood for a moment, breathing the heavy morning air in and out, creating clouds of heat from their nostrils. Eight fought for a moment to contain his joking nature, knowing that this still wasn't the time. He and Stern may have reconciled some differences between them, but as he said, The job is the job, and there was still much to do ahead of them.
"Okay then," The short নেকড়ে started, bucking up a little bit, clearing his throat, "Now that this little moment is out of the way, We've got a task to do."
"Right." Eight agreed in a single word.
"See? Was that so hard?" Stern teased at Eight's single word reply as he walked past the shaggy নেকড়ে to continue the last part of their trek.
The two continued on, toward the den. The পরবর্তি task was to call a meeting between the leaders and Alphas to determine whether অথবা not they would সরানো on the projected plan. They needed to at this point, অথবা some of the pack would surely starve through the winter. In Stern's mind it wasn't a matter of "If", but rather a matter of how the undertaking would go down, and how the pack leaders would address the liberties that the two নেকড়ে had taken that evening with pack bylaws and territorial protocol.
The set of নেকড়ে mucked through the dark as the moon made its way down toward the horizon. An eventful evening for sure, but that was nothing compared to the পরবর্তি set of trials.
"Hey, Stern..." Eight asked, his voice echoing through the dense evening fog.
"Yeah?" Stern sighed.
"Should we... hug অথবা something?"