Beyla sniffed the entrance to the den, then stepped back and looked at Akela.

"It's easily big enough for all of us. We shall rest here for the night."

With a nod to the big wolf, she turned back to check over her own pack. Rin was still looking just as confused as he had before, and his twin sister Nira was sticking close to him, fear and suspicion in her dark eyes. Zeph, a huge black and tan brute of a wolf, was eyeing the opposing pack with his lips pulled back in a snarl. Beyla barked at him and he backed off, still shooting mistrustful glances over his shoulder at the other wolves. Only Sirou, the youngest of the group, seemed calm. The little pale grey ball of fluff was sitting contentedly at Nira's feet, rubbing himself against her warm flank and making happy yipping sounds every now and again. Beyla smiled, nothing daunted the cub's spirit, not even the worst of situations could worry him.

As long as he had his family with him, Sirou never felt worried by anything. Not even the death of his father seemed to have upset him for long. His mother Nira had been devastated, and was not fiercely defensive of her remaining kin. Beyla had tried to impress upon Sirou that this trusting nature was probably not a good thing, but she let it be. You couldn't change who a wolf was in their heart after all.

She nudged each of her friend's shoulders in turn, letting them know she was still here for them. They each nuded her back, snuffing her scent and licking her flanks as a sign of affection.

Eventually she stepped forward and faced Akela, standing tall and confidently in front of her pack, looking every inch the alphess.

"I think it is time we were introduced to one another. If we are going to work together, we must at least be familiar with each other's names, don't you think?"

The End

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