Balto: Puppy Days
Notes: I was browsing this site, and came across an absolutely adorable picture of Balto as a puppy by Kelev, and I thought that I could use it to write a story. Please enjoy!
Note: This fic takes place a month or so after the original Balto, and will, for the most part, disregard the sequels, because I feel they sort of take away from the magic of the original.
Things had never been better.
This was the thought that was running through Baltos mind as he strolled about Nome, with Jenna at his side. Ever since the medicine run a month earlier, the entire town, humans and dogs alike, had had their perspectives of Balto completely changed; while they had once shunned him and rejected him because of his wolf heritage, they now treated him as a hero in light of his bravery and successful delivery of the medicine. Balto chuckled quietly as he thought of some of the things he had heard from the other dogs, as well as his own sled team. They ran the gamut from exaggerations of his exploits, to complete fabrications (Balto rolled his eyes at this,) and even the suggestion that a statue should be made in his honor (this came from Star, mainly.)
Though Balto was flattered by all this, and ecstatic at finally being accepted, he never forgot his first friends: Boris, Muk, and Luk. He and Jenna had just been to see them, and, Balto was happy to say, they were still the same; Boris was still caring but grumpy, and Muk and Luk
well, they were still somewhat terrified of swimming, but were trying to conquer their fears, a task made somewhat easier by their selfless rescue of Balto a month earlier, during which they had swam for the first time in their lives.
The best part of it all, though, was Jenna. Even before the medicine run, shed reached out to him and recognized that he was more than just a halfbreed. Shed always been so kind and accepting, and now
now that Balto was a hero, they were able to be together.
Rosys family had, in gratitude, accepted him into their home. While Balto was occasionally a bit uneasy, due both to his past experiences and wolf heritage, he was for the most part happy, feeling truly content for the first time in a long while.
Yes, life was good for him. The town accepted him, he was with Jenna
A soft yawn interrupted his thoughts. Looking back, he saw Jenna starting to slow down, her eyebrows growing heavy. Balto smiled. Tired, Jenna?
Looking up, Jenna shook her head. No, Im fine. I
Almost immediately, she yawned again.
Balto chuckled. That was just like Jenna; she almost never thought about herself, and even in moments of weakness, she put on a strong front. Still
Balto walked over to Jenna, nuzzling her snout gently.
Jenna, head back to Rosys. He told her.
Jenna blinked in surprise. But, Balto
Balto gave her a warm smile. Go. Youre tired. Seeing the unsure look on Jennas face, Balto nuzzled her again. Dont worry. I probably wont go that far, and besides, I can take care of myself.
After a few moments of thought, Jenna smiled, albeit reluctantly. Alright, Balto. She gave him a tender lick. Ill see you later.
Balto watched her leave, then turned around and strode further off.
About half an hour later, Balto was walking about the snowy outskirts of Nome. Hed always enjoyed the peace and quiet it lent him. Whenever hed wanted time to think, hed sneak out during the night while Boris, Muk, and Luk were still asleep, sit at the head of the run-down boat that had served as his home, and peacefully take in the vast expanse of white.
Presently, he was about to turn around and head back when something caught his nose. Puzzled, he sniffed the air.
Upon recognizing the scent, Baltos expression hardened. Steele.
Chuckling ominously, Steele sauntered up behind Balto, his every step precise and filled with some dark intent. Nothing gets past you, eh, wolfdog? Steele punctuated this last remark by spitting at Balto and striding up beside him, his cold blue eyes bearing into the wolf dog.
On alert, Balto bared his teeth, but still kept calm. How long have you been following me? he asked, matching Steeles every step.
The sinewy malamute chuckled, beginning to circle around Balto. Oh, Ive been following you for a while, wolfdog. At least for an hour or so. He licked his lips in anticipation before speaking again. Maybe you should have kept Jenna with you; at least then you wouldnt be all by your lonesome. Steele grinned maliciously.
Beginning to growl, Balto stopped moving, as did Steele. They turned to face each other, neither taking their eyes off the other.
Balto was the first to speak. What is it you want, Steele?
Steele shook his head, as though exasperated. I want what youve got, wolfdog. He paused to think for a minute. No: I want whats mine.
Steele began advancing towards Balto. The glory, the praise
you took all that away from me.
Balto growled, moving toward Steele in turn. Hey, I was actually concerned about the town and the kids. You just wanted the glory.
Steele laughed cruelly. Dont kid yourself, half-breed. You just wanted to impress Jenna.
Balto faltered for a second at this comment. He had wanted to prove himself to Jenna
Seeing the look on Baltos face, Steele smirked. Now whos the selfish one, eh? Cant criticize me there, wolfdog. The large malamute laughed cruelly.
Though momentarily taken off guard, Balto eventually responded in kind. Youre right; I did want Jenna to see me as a hero. He began advancing toward Steele. But I also wanted to save the kids. They hadnt done anything to deserve death, and I wasnt going to just let them die.
Steele smirked. Spoken like a true hero, he spat, beginning to growl. But youre gonna die like the mongrel you are.
Balto scarcely had time to process this before Steele lunged, fangs bared. Balto managed to roll out of the way in time to avoid any serious injury, but Steeles teeth still grazed him, cutting a shallow but noticeable wound on his side.
Gritting his teeth in pain, Balto staggered and glared at Steele. Youre trying to kill me?
Casually wiping the blood off his snout with a paw, Steele rolled his eyes. Give the mutt a prize, he growled, narrowing his eyes. He began making his way toward Balto.
Im gonna mess you up real good, wolfdog, Steele hissed as he licked his teeth in anticipation. That way, when they find your body, theyll think maybe another wild animal got you. He turned to the side to avoid a retaliatory attack by Balto, grabbing his neck in the process.
With a savage howl, Steele began shaking Balto about, slamming him into the ground and tossing him from side to side, only grinning in response to Baltos groans of pain. After a while, Steele seemed to grow bored with this and tossed a bloodied and beaten Balto against the snow.
Hurts, doesnt it, wolfdog? Steele jeered, watching Balto struggle to his feet. Yeah, go on, get up. It makes this more fun.
Painfully turning his head, Balto coughed, spitting up a combination of saliva and blood. Though he was in obvious pain, he managed to ask a question, husky-voiced and raspy. W-why are you doing this? Balto panted, his legs beginning to give out.
Shaking his head incredulously, Steele replied, moving in for the final blow. Havent I already told ya, wolfdog? You hogged my glory away from me; Im just returning the favor. Steele chuckled again, unaware that he was within striking distance of Baltos teeth. Balto didnt fail to notice it, and took the opportunity.
His bite fell short, and he only managed to wound Steele slightly at the hindquarters before his legs buckled again. Steele took the opportunity to strike, sinking his teeth in Baltos neck. He savored Baltos groans of pain before tearing his mouth away forcefully.
Balto howled in pain as his neck was all but torn open, blood flowing freely from the opening. Even through his pain, there was only one thing on his mind.
His consciousness slowly leaving him, Balto began to turn around, aiming for the town. However, his wounds and fatigue were too great; he collapsed almost immediately. As his breathing grew shallow, he began shivering, an action that had nothing to do with the cold.