Dawn might have considered the following if she had not been thinking about the seriousness of her injuries, but she also had the three others to think about as she continued her way home. Right as soon as she ended up within the area of the pack, the night had almost completely faded away. She could barely even see Snowflake's white fur. All she could see were their eyes - eyes with eyeshine. And then, Dawn remembered that she still had to deal with Leader. She knew that he would have an objection to this. She could just tell.
"Listen," she said quietly to them, so not to disturb the rest of the pack. "Leader is not going to like this at all, and neither are the majority of the pack. But we are still returning. Most likely, they won't know until morning. We have no choice but to sleep somewhere out here. Leader would notice if we entered one of the dens."
"But what would we do if he did find out?" Snowflake asked. "Wouldn't he kill Sparrow, like he said that he would?"
Dawn shook her head. "Sparrow's presence is to be kept a secret. Never say anything about it. I know that he'll find out tomorrow when he smells his scent or if he sees him."
Sparrow gulped. He should have just stayed behind. Now, he was terrified of what could have happened to him if Leader was not willing to allow him back into the pack.
"Ready?" Dawn asked the wolves. They all began to walk further into the trees, near their territory. It was very hard to see, causing Sapphire to yelp as she tripped over a rock.
"Shhhh," Dawn snarled at her. "You mustn't make any noises. Someone will hear you."
Finally finding a place to stay for the night, Dawn was satisfied. "We're further enough away not to be found quite yet, but we're still close to the pack," she explained. "So, you must be quiet tonight."
~ ~ ~
Sparrow woke the next morning, still under the tree. He didn't even remember falling asleep the night before - he had been very tired that night and probably dozed off before Dawn finished telling them what to do. When he woke, he observed his surroundings - Dawn was gone, but Sapphire and Snowflake were still there, asleep.
Standing and stretching, Sparrow walked around to the other side of the tree. Now that it was morning and the sun had risen, he could see the clearing very well. It was surrounded by trees, which stood perfectly still considering that there was no breeze this morning. There was a small puddle of water beside one of the trees, which Sparrow walked over to and took a quick drink from. He hadn't tasted water in a few days.
A scent caught Sparrow's attention as he stood back up, finished drinking. Taking another sniff, he realized that it was Dawn's scent.
She walked back into the clearing, a defeated look on her face. "I met with Leader," she said quietly, so not to wake the other two. "He disagrees with me again."
Sparrow sighed. "I thought so," he said. Dawn looked at him with concern in her eyes. "I'm sorry I ever brought you back here," she said softly. "All that I've done is hurt you, for your entire life."
"I would have been hurt far worse if you had never found me," Sparrowreplied, a small smile appearing on his face.
Dawn sighed, her eyes darting to the entrance to Leader's den. "He's inside," she said quietly. "I suppose that I could force him to allow you back in. You never intentionally did anything wrong, and he has no right to punish you for that."
Sparrow agreed silently, and he started to walk with her up to Leader's den.
Snowflake and Sapphire were still asleep, but he was pretty sure that they would soon wake up and go into Leader's den to try and get Sparrow back into the pack.
Leader was sitting in the middle of the den, a frown appearing on his face as he saw Sparrow walking with Dawn. "I already made it clear that Sparrow is NOT allowed back here," he said, a snarl escaping from his mouth.
Dawn's eyes narrowed. "And I made it clear that this is not his fault." With a sigh, she hung her head and said in a hoarse voice, "It's mine."
Leader growled softly, and took a step forward. "Exactly," he said coldly. "You should have left him to die out there. I warned you not to go out there in the first place. You should have listened. That was a foolish thing to do."
"And it was also foolish of you to banish him."
Turning, Sparrow was now face to face with Snowflake and Sapphire. The two wolves were staring at Leader with slight hatred on their faces, eyes locked on their father.
It was Sapphire who had spoken, and she continued. "Leader, don't you understand? Sparrow isn't going to hurt us. If he was going to, he would have already killed Snowflake and I. Maybe even Dawn, the one who rescued him." Taking a shaky breath, she took a few steps closer to Sparrow, standing beside him. "He wouldn't have agreed to return if he was truly evil."
Leader narrowed his eyes, and he sat up straighter. "Nothing that any of you say will change my mind," he said firmly. "I've had a lot of experience with wolves from the enemy pack, and I know what they are capable of doing. I care about my family, and want them to be safe from all danger."
"If you really cared about us, you would listen to us," Snowflake growled. "We've told you numerous times that Sparrow was too young to have been taught anything like that. He was only two weeks old when Dawn found him."
"But he was old enough to have been out of the cave," Leader said fiercely. "If he was out of the nursery, he had clearly seen what the other wolves did and had realized that this was what he had to do as well."
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Those wolves wouldn't have taught him anything," she said, struggling not to yell at him.
"And those wolves have turned on each other in the past." Leader stood, walking towards his mate. "They will never lose their reputation in this forest for being true killers."
Sparrow was lost in thought the entire time that this conversation was on, and as it went on, he was still thinking. How did Leader know what the wolves were capable of? Had he seen it himself? Or was he just telling them what he had heard?
As there was finally a moment of silence, Sparrow spoke. "How do you know," he said, fuming, "that these wolves are vicious and bloodthirsty? Have you ever encountered them?"
Leader snarled. "That," he said, "does not concern you."
"This entire conversation is about me," Sparrow said flatly. "Everything in it concerns me."
Leader sighed in frustration. "If you must know," he growled, "I have seen things. Things that I should not share with a traitor such as you. It may give you ideas."
Dawn interrupted him with a snarl. "Ideas?" she said. "For the last time, Leader, Sparrow is one of us. We raised him. We taught him what was right. He knows that it is my fault that he is even involved in this, and that I will always be with him. So, if he is not allowed to stay..." She gave a quick sigh. "I am leaving as well."
Leader said nothing for a while. All he did was look back and forth at Sparrow and Dawn without making a single sound; his eyes had a dangerous glint in them.
"I have made my decision," he finally said.