Petformers, slightly slashy and gender independent reproduction
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Chapter 02: Bad News
Sometimes Barricade wasn't sure whenever or not he loved winter time. It was calmer around this time of the year. The cattle was in the stables most of the time, the corn in the barn, the kittens were old enough to get down from the roof beam all by them selves ... well, in theory at least. He still had to get Bluestreak down almost every morning, but the kitten had a way to look at him he couldn't really stay angry at him.
Okay, scratch calmer. It was plain boring, but that didn't mean they could let their cores slip, so Barricade got up, shook his fell, cleaned his doghouse of snow and trotted into the house.
"A storm is coming" Prime said from his spot next to the oven in the living room. Prime position in every sense of the word, but the younger actually preferred to sleep outside anyway.
"Be careful and warn the others" Magnus added.
"Of course" the cattle-dog replied, then went up stairs to wake Rachel. When his owner was hard to wake in spring, summer and autumn it was almost impossible to do so in winter, but only almost.
With his food supplier out of her bed the next stop was the barn and as always Bluestreak sat on the roof beam, mewling pathetically.
"You're just doing that to annoy me, aren't you?"
"I believe he is searching something, but we have yet to figure out what" Prowl supplied frowning. Barricade huffed, then turned around and left.
"Hey, man, that ain't funny" Jazz complained, trying to block the other's path, but was just stepped over.
"It's not meant to be funny. He's old enough to get down by himself" the black dog replied and went to the stables, ignoring the protesting hisses with a grin. Of course he would check on them later again, but only later.
The cattle as alright, so Barricade let the horses out on the field, but in contrast to every other morning they didn't run out and teased him about his strict day to day routine. Instead they approached him quite seriously.
"A storm is coming" he informed them.
"It's not the storm we should worry about. A pack of wolves is coming down the mountains, too."
"Already? Usually they don't pass by here this early."
Thundercracker neighed and shock his head.
"It's a new pack."
"Be very careful. We've heard the leader is dangerous and brutal."
"And angry. It seems the humans have hunted too much this year."
Barricade let that information roll through his head.
Starscream snored and tapped his hoof six times. Six hungry mountain wolves ... not good. He needed to inform the other farms.
"I'll see what I can do, but keep your ears open."
"We always do."
They parted again. Barricade ran back into the barn, ignored the Bombays' angry hisses about his earlier departure and pulled the basket up, but once down again he didn't give Bluestreak and Prowl the chance to climb out, but bit the rope through and carried the basket to the nest.
"In there, all of you. You move into the house."
"Pack of wolves has been seen heading in our direction."
"And what has that to do with us?"
The adult cats looked at each other, then hurried to get all the kitties into the basket and laid the now worn out sweater over them. To say Rachel was surprised when she saw the strange procession would be an understatement. Irritated she followed them and watched the cats move in the empty room upstairs.
"Gramps, the animals are acting strange."
"They know a storm is coming."
"Barricade moved the cats into the empty room, Thunder, Star and Sky are extremely nervous and I tell you the dogs know something."
The old man turned around and looked out of the window. Frowning he watched Prime, Magnus and Barricade sit in a circle. Then suddenly Barricade came in, wolfed down his food and left the house to run away.
As expected Barricade didn't have to wait very long for Rachel to follow him and shortly after also the others arrived. Sometimes the cattle-dog wondered how humans managed life with their limited senses, but on days like this he suspected they had something else to make it up.
The first to arrive were the German sheep dog, Backout, and his owner Andy. His mate, an Irish setter going by the name Firebird, had obviously stayed at their farm with their cup, Bumblebee.
"What's the matter? It's not Wednesday, is it?"
"Bad news. I will explain it when the others arrive. How's the cub?"
"Hell bend on keeping us on our paws, but so incredible cute, you won't believe it."
An Irish wolfhound, Hound, and Rodimus, an English foxhound, and his mate, Arcee, a Manchester-Terrier, joined them with their respective owners Mikaela and Sam. The Border collie Mirage, Hounds mate, had also remained at home with their cub Cliffjumper.
"What's the matter? I haven't seen Sam this nervous since Miles brought that girl home."
"A pack of wolves, six or more, are coming this way."
"So? They always do. They come and pass and nothing ever happened" Arcee noted from between her larger mate's legs.
"It's another pack. They are very dangerous and hungry. They won't just pass by."
"Do the humans know?"
They glazed at their owners, watched their worried exchange. At last they now were alerted.
"We need to be very, very careful. Keep watch, especially at night. We have to protect our humans at all costs."
"Well, you can forget about that part right away. I won't risk Raj or Jumper."
"That's not what I meant."
"Are you sure?"
Barricade barred his teeth and growled.
"What are you implying?"
"He's implying nothing, Cade. He's just worried; we all are. Calm down" Blackout interfered, for once being the voice of reason. Too bad right now it was exactly the wrong thing to say.
"Why me? Why is it always me who has to be calm? Do what you want, I don't care!"
The black cattle-dog stomped away. He hadn't asked to be taught by a legend like Prime and he hadn't asked to be without a partner. All he had was his human. If the others weren't willing to protect theirs he wouldn't force them.
Although he really didn't feel like it Barricade stopped and let his human catch up.
"Oh, Cade. You are really scaring me. What's the matter, my friend?"
"I just fear for your life" the dog replied, but all Rachel heard was low whining and his breath when Barricade laid his head on her shoulder.
"I really wish I could understand you. Wait here a moment."
Rachel went back to the other humans, maybe just to bid them goodbye, maybe they had planed something on their own.
"They really got to you this time, didn't they?" Starscream asked calmly, from between her mates, bowing her head to be on one lever with the dark dog.
"You know, if you'd only let Rachel choose you a ..."
"If you don't want my fangs in your legs you better shut up!"