Chapter Four: The Colors of Gray

The sun shown through the pouring rains as morning had come, waking Humphrey and soaking his gray fur in a layer of water. He sat up as the dirt floor of his hidden den had become mud, and his claws slowly began to sink into it. The world outside his den looked dull and wet, but it had also been illuminated by the light of the sun, thus giving it a glossy shine against the damp. His head began to hurt as he tried to recall the events that had led him to this point. He could remember running away from the pack after he saw Kate, but nothing else. '...must have just ran' he thought to himself as he walked out into the new day.

A small chuckle escaped his lips as he admired how the mud of the ground around him held the same shade of gray as the still-clean parts of his fur. He looked up at the sky, noticing a rainbow stretching over the further parts of Jasper, noticing how juxtaposed it was to the ground it covered. 'The colors of the rainbow shine so bright' he thought as a rhythmic hum was simultaneously released through his closed muzzle, then quickly shaking his head. 'What are you doing!' he mentally shouted at himself. He couldn't help but remember a time when he had compared the beauty of a certain wolf to the beauty of a sunny-day rainbow, and for that, he was mad at himself. 'Come on Humphrey!' he continued to psychologically shout at himself, 'Are you seriously going to fall because of a damn rainbow?'

Another laugh escaped him as his thoughts continued. 'Oh what is the point? You used to be nothing more than a funny Omega, now you are the reason for everything!' He was at least a mile away from any other wolf, but he still did not feel far enough. The colors in the sky remained bright, almost as if they were taunting him. He walked over to a decent sized puddle, another laugh escaped as he caught his reflection within the ripples. 'IDIOT!' he thought. 'FOOL!' his mind shouted. "MURDERER!" he scream at himself, no longer confined inside of his head. His reflection took on its own form as he stared into the layer of water. "That's right Humphrey, it's because of you why the pack leaders are dead!" the dark reflection shouted at the Omega. "If it wasn't for your stupid charades, you and Kate would have never been sent to Sawtooth. Kate and Garth would be happily married, and Winston would be alive." The reflection laughed and gave a suave look to Humphrey, implying that it was time for a response. Humphrey was confused yet insane enough to speak back to the wolf in the puddle, "It's not my fault!" he shouted, loud enough that some of the birds in the near trees decided to leave. "It's not my fault that I love Kate. It's not my fault that a stampede started. How could I start a stampede without even being near the valley?" he asked the water. The reflection shook his head in complete impatience for the Omega. "This is why you aren't an Alpha and just an Omega." he growled at Humphrey. "Did you hear anything that stupid Eastern shewolf said? Maybe this will refresh it." A ripple scattered across the surface of the water; the face of Humphrey disappeared and was replaced by Claws'; it was a memory from the night before. "This is the stupid coyote that Winston's daughter fell for!" the watery wolfess shouted at him. Humphrey's throat suddenly felt constrained and his stomach twisted - something he had only felt back on the train with Kate. He looked back up towards the sky, where the rainbow had begun to fade. In shock he looked back towards the muddy pond he stood above. His face had returned to the puddle, but it was only his face. He began speaking incoherently to the mud, not realizing that the supposed "magic" that he had found had left. After a few moments without answer, he again looked up at the sky, noticing that the rainbow had completely disappeared.

Something that his reflection had told him quickly resurface itself into Humphrey's mind. This was why he was only an Omega. Everything he had always thought about was in the simplest of possible ways. Everything he had ever encountered had been given to him at face-value, and that was all he had ever given as well. An Alpha could think critically about the issues he or she would face, while Humphrey could only think about what he saw. All the hope that had re-entered his soul had faded just as quickly as the rainbow, leaving behind only a memory of what once was. 'Idiot.' resonated through his head; through the empty caverns that obviously existed within.

It was time, he decided, that he stopped acting like an Omega - stopped acting like an idiot - and accepted reality for how it was. The world around him was complex, beyond anything he previously thought, and it was about time he accepted it. Rainbows weren't magical, and neither was the puddle. "Magic" did not exist, "Hope" was pointless, and "Love" was useless. Humphrey was not a hero, and so would never get the girl. He wasn't even a villain, rather he was the nobody who is casted as "Tree-Two" in a play; yet he was still the one everyone hated. Humphrey's world had shattered, and with the broken pieces he would build a lens in which he could view the world as it is. No more sugar-coating. No more play-times.

He looked at himself in the shaking water below, where the mud had almost completely clouded that water and stole away the reflection. "There is no such thing as 'destiny'" he whispered. "There is no such thing as magic." he told himself. "All you saw that that puddle was your subconscious trying to make sense of the world. You have let the inevitable tear you apart, and you still continue to let it do so." He looked up and towards the entrance to his den, where water had officially created a pool deep enough to swim in.

Another chuckle escaped his muzzle. "And you continue to refer to yourself in the second-person."

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As always, read for your own enjoyment.