Word Count: 424
Summary: Written for bonus challenge 3 for summerpornathon. Arthur discovers a new wolf near his pack.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to Shine and BBC. I make no profit from this endeavor.
He was the biggest wolf Arthur had ever seen, head high when he did nothing but sit at the edge of the forest and gaze into the trees, body sleek when he prowled through the periphery at night in search of prey. If he knew of Arthur and Lancelot's presence, he didn't acknowledge it, never looking in their direction, never uttering a sound. Even when he killed, fierce attacks that were over before they'd even started, he did so with the clean efficiency of a true hunter.
"Where's his pack?" Arthur asked on the third day.
Lancelot shrugged. "I don't think he has one."
He must, though. A wolf of that size, of that power? Arthur would've thought him another alpha if they'd met under other circumstances.
That night, he shifted and left the den alone, though everyone from Merlin to Gwaine tried to stop him. "At least take someone to watch your back," Merlin argued. "You don't know who this is."
"All the more reason to keep him as far away from my pack as possible," Arthur countered.
Finding the strange wolf by night was even simpler than by day. At the edge of the forest, with another kill on his breath, he turned his head toward him when Arthur emerged from the trees. Their gazes met for a brief moment.
Then, the strange wolf sank to his belly and averted his eyes.
They stayed like that through the night, neither moving, neither shifting. When sunlight broke through the branches overhead, Arthur finally rested his head. Sleep came unbidden within moments.
Growls and the scent of fresh blood startled him awake. Arthur leapt to his paws, ready to fight off his attacker, but the battle was already over, the strange wolf yards away, standing over the dead body of a young bear. His ears pricked when Arthur padded silently closer, but he didn't sink to his haunches until Arthur was at his side. The same detente that had characterized their night settled between them again.
That evening, Lancelot greeted him when he returned to the den. Curious eyes flickered past Arthur's shoulder to the silent giant walking behind him.
"This is Percival," Arthur said. "Introduce him to the others, show him around, find him a bed."
Nobody questioned their new packmate, though Arthur knew they had questions, and in spite of Lancelot following his instructions to the letter, when Arthur woke up the next morning, he found an alert Percival guarding the mouth of his tent.
Just like he did every morning afterward.