Title: Den Mother
Author: JustHuman
Rating: NC-17 (m/m slash, kinda)
Pairing: Cordelia POV, Wesley/Gunn, Cordelia/Angel implied
Improv: Improv #41 steel - false - letter - shiver
Spoiler: vague, everything before Darla returns pregnant
Disclaimer: If I owned any of it, Buffy Season 6 would be less depressing and Wesley would wear far less clothing. *Sigh * Joss, Mutant Enemy, assorted minions and evil corporations own it all and I'm really not worth suing.
Author's Notes: OK, this one's different. It's Cordelia's point of view on life in a pack of demon slayers. If for some strange reason you want to post this, go ahead, but let me know where. Feedback is welcome justhuman111@hotmail.com

A long time ago in a place very far away, I had once thought of myself as a human. It wasn't so difficult really. I looked like one and moved like them. They saw me in my human clothes and took me as one of their own. But the pack that denned in the library kept crossing my path. I never heard a magic word like abracadabra but then one day I was four-legged and tailed just like them. Oh, the rest still saw human by day and by night, but we saw each other and knew the truth of fur and teeth. There are no mirrors for canines, so while I could see what species they were; I had no clue as to my own identity.

They took me in because they could see what I was but I did not understand the way of the pack and could not be socialized to their way. The females were all wolves and there was the wise old coyote that guided them. Be careful about coyotes. They are tricksters who know magic and see further into the darkness than most. He taught the little she-wolf the ways of wand and potion. He taught the other females the way of tooth and claw. The werewolf and I never bothered with each other, but the hyena boy and ran together for a time. Hyenas define their loyalties in their own way, and I could never squeeze between him and the little wolf witch. In the end, instinct told me what I was and since there was already an alpha-bitch for their little clan, I wandered into the woods to look for my humanity again.

Try as I might to wear the evening gowns and smile with lipstick, the hope of humanity was a false one. The pull of what I did not understand but nonetheless was becoming drew me to the hellhound and the mutt. I knew the hellhound; he had been part of the pack once. They had tried to take his bestial ways and domesticate him to be merely a wolf. He had been willing to toss aside the mantle of evil, but no amount of good intentions could change his very nature. The strength of three humans, hackles that caused terror and overlong teeth that made the world to shake and shiver, it was apparent that he was beyond the realm of nature. And so the hellhound became a dire wolf but this was not good enough for the pack.

The mutt was my undoing. He padded behind me as was proper and lowered his tail in my presence. My growls never stopped him from sniffing at my haunches. He offered me devotion and admiration and I returned indifference and derision. None of that detracted him as he burrowed me a proper den. Oh, he had his failings, he was a dog that stole from the butcher and tunneled under the farmer's fence. That perfect den he made for me had an alpha-female that I needed to fight for supremacy. After the battle my territory was defined and that's when I adopted my first stray.

The stray was lame and had never been loosed from the chains of his mother. I gave him all the freedom that he could take and never considered evicting him from my home. Our ways were sometimes different, but I was the alpha and never let him forget. When I would return wounded from the hunt, he would lie next to me licking my wounds and grooming my fur. Though he would never be more than a puppy in my eyes, he accepted his place at my side.

If I had ever found the door to pass through in order to become human again, I would have brought the puppy with me. As a dog he would have been woman's best friend, seated on soft cushions and fed from golden dishes. The day came though when the doors to humanity became locked and barred to one such as me. As I said, it was the mutt who was my undoing. Despite my better instincts, he had been wearing me down. Just as I might have caved in to his advances, he bared his throat to the enemy and sealed my fate with a kiss. Oh, I tried for a time to throw off the mark, but like the scarlet letter, I was branded a seer and a mission filled my heart.

While I was trying to accept this and to deal with the pain it gave me was when the next stray arrive. I recognized this one too from the pack in the library. I had been attracted to him there. Looking back now, I could see all the reasons clearly. The others shunned him because all they saw was a little yappy dog. They derided him be cause he was smaller and lacked their strength. I was running on the outer edge of the pack as well. What I saw was the brilliant red tail streaming behind him as he elegantly ran to battle. Oh, he was not much of a fighter and became frightened too easily. But he was clever and good with tactics, the fox was. No one wanted him, this other kind of dog. There was already a clever old coyote and my little fox had not found his steely resolve yet. That would come later in our pack. No, this stray like all my strays was burdened by the pack he was born to. I wasn't ready to compete against this history and it was a kiss then that separated us for a while.

So, there I found myself trapped as a dog of unknown species with special markings and a purpose that I did not choose. Companioned to the lost dire wolf and the uncertain fox. These things do not have to be planned or learned. Instinct takes over and drives what needs doing. We stalked and circled one another until we spiraled into a pack of our own. We accepted the dire wolf for what he was but took on the quest to bring him back to natures fold. We petted and coaxed the red fox until his natural talents began to shine like that red coat. For me there was loyalty and pain and for having both, the other two clung to me as if I were life itself. The petted me when I was felled by the sight. They spoke to me quietly to learn the vision. Then we went to battle following the dire wolf. He had been alone for too long and often did not remember that we were there, but we strove not to let him forget.

At some point, we came across a rag tag pack led by a junkyard dog. His midnight fur was short and bristly. He wore his anger like badges of courage. Many thought him wild and dull, but we saw better because after all, we knew how to see canines disguised as humans. The ferule stance of that pit bull was in part truth but also in part a robe he wore for his pack. He joined us too. It was hard at first because he was an alpha-male like the dire wolf and chose to establish his place by beating down the fox. He tried to stare me down but he did not count on the strength of my paws. He tasted his own blood from my claws and then he tasted my loyalty and we had no more problems.

He stopped challenging the dire wolf and fell into a comfortable rhythm with all except the fox. I worried for the fox at first, but we all forget how clever foxes are. He never over powered the pit bull, but he slinked into his graces by doing things the bigger dog could not. He spoke the languages of the other animals and foxes of course know magic. After a while, their battles were only mock ones.

The bitch who sired the dire wolf came back one day. Did I tell you that all my strays had issues with the packs from which they came? She confused and beguiled him until he was acting more like a hellhound again. It was than that he chased us from our den and tried to scatter the pack. We were lost and confused for a moment. This was especially hard for me as the others could walk away but I could not. I carried the mark and it did not leave when the dire wolf did. Perhaps we were surprised but then again, maybe we were not. The red fox became the alpha-male. We, the pit bull and myself supported him and leaned on him and we were a pack again. All that petting and coaxing had done its job and the fox led us with wisdom instead of brute strength.

Foxes are shape shifters with a weakness for wanting to be human. Our fox was no different and for a time he pretended to be a man with a human woman. The magic was very convincing; I saw it myself. But in the end, there is no substance beneath such deceits and the human woman walked away. She did this when he was wounded trying to save the pit bull. His pack, us, scared her and she saw his true self for a moment. We were sad for his loss, but were happy that he was ours again. The dire wolf regained his senses and came back to beg with his tail lowered. He was down on his front paws whimpering at the muzzle of the red fox. To others it would be a comic sight. After all, how long would a dire wolf be led by a fox? But we took him back anyway and I must say, he did a very good job minding his place. The pack was quieter and more deadly being led by someone so sly instead of the pit bull or the dire wolf who led by brute strength.

There was a great adventure to a land that enslaved dogs. They tried to steal my visions there. The mate they offered me was pleasing, but I needed my mark. It was what I gave to the pack. Better that I be dead than to give it up. Of course, that would probably be soon, because one such as myself was not meant for such a burden. It was then that I realized that I was just an ordinary dog. A part of me had hoped vainly that the visions would change me and make me something special, that I would learn to endure the pain. Instead they were killing me.

When we came back yapping in celebration, the witch-wolf was waiting. The alpha wolf was dead. The dire wolf yowled in mourning. I had not wished her ill, but I was angry that even far away and now dead, she ruled him. I was the alpha in my own right. This was my pack and still I needed to fight her for supremacy. But I was just a dog and now she was a ghost. You cannot bite a ghost or a memory. So, I did the only thing that I could. I sat by the dire wolf and waited for him to come to me. He left for a while but he always came back to our pack. He had learned a lesson the last time he abandoned us. Who says that old dogs cannot learn new tricks?

We came back from the strange land with yet another stray. This one was female and frightened of her own shadow. But we help the helpless so we took her in. The little female was no threat to me, but she disrupted the rest of the pack. She followed the dire wolf and in turn the fox and the pit bull followed her. I was not so worried about the dire wolf; he had curses, ghosts and then the resurrected to occupy his mind. It was the other two that could come to blows and rip a hole in the order. I watched them carefully trying to figure out how to throw one or both of them off her scent. But they solved the problem for me one night in the garden.

I was watching from the window ready to jump in. They did not see me because they were too busy growling about the female. The pit bull was stronger and faster. The fox was subtler and sneaky. If nothing else, it would be a good match to watch. However, it was all too likely that this would turn from sparing to blood and I could not let that happen. They were snarling and snapping and the pit bull kept trying to tackle his opponent. Red fox jumped up at the right moment and landed on the others back with teeth in neck just like he would have killed a mouse. Of course this was not enough to stop the pit bull, but that was when everything changed.

The pain in his neck must have been fierce and he could not shake off the fox. So, the pitbull lowered his body on his front paws, submitting for this round. Fox let go of his neck and then licked the pit bulls muzzle. I was shocked and so was the pit bull, so we both remained very still. Maybe the fox used his magic to keep the pit bull motionless, but I think he learned from the shapeshifting that this was not a good idea. He learned it is better to be what you are.

Soon they were licking each others muzzles, but the fox wasn't done. He sniffed his way down one side and began to lick the pit bull's balls. With his clever tongue, he coaxed forth the other's cock and started to suck on it like a puppy on his mother's teat. I could see the eyes of the pit bull glaze over in pleasure as his hind leg began to thump the ground. It finally became too much for him and he pulled away from the fox erect and dripping.

With a gentleness no one would have guessed he possessed, the pit bull pushed the fox onto his side and lapped at the other dog's cock and belly. The fox whimpered and whined in that special mournful way that screamed not of pain but of pleasure. I probably should have walked away, but they were my packmates and I loved them. I could not deny myself the pleasure of watching them love each other. Besides, I had heard of males doing this before to each other, but I had never seen it.

The fox was panting hard and finally rolled onto his belly and lifted his hindquarters in the air. He cocked his long red tail to one side like a female in heat and pushed himself back into the pit bulls face. Perhaps the pit bull was unsure at first, so he hesitated. The fox turned his head back and looked at him with those piercing blue eyes pleading for more. Pleading for release. Who would deny those eyes? The pit bull's tongue made contact, dripping with saliva and the fox became louder in his cries for pleasure. I wonder if it hurt when the pit bull mounted the fox, his cries told me both but pleasure was the loudest. The pit bull pounded the fox harder and harder. The fox clawed the tile. It was beautiful the ecstasy that filled the pit bulls face. He was unsteady on his feet as he dismounted, but he did not forget his lover. With an insistent snout he urged fox onto his back again. He sucked on fox like a pup desperate for milk and when the creamy liquid spilled over the two of them, the pit bull licked every drop.

They rolled over each other trying to find a good way to sleep and I turned to walk away. That was when I found myself staring into the eyes of the dire wolf. They were dark with desire. Was it the two in the garden? I could feel my own arousal from watching them. He began to sniff me. I was the alpha female and I could have pulled rank and stopped him if I chose to, but I did not want to. Face, neck, flank and tail. I felt his nose at my hindquarters and I tensed. I had never sought this but the desire of possibility began to fill me. He did not touch me, only smelled. And then he was gone too fast for me to follow. Curses and slayers, would I ever be free of them? But it didn't matter; it was only one more difficulty to overcome. My pack was in peace and balance. Tomorrow was soon enough to hunt again.



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