Sooo I was glancing through my folders of previously written fics, and I can across this little darling. Different Path has the distinction of being one of the first fics I started with serious intent, and the greater distinction of being the first one I finished! Yay!

So I decided to put it up. I'll try to keep on a once a week update basis, like I'm trying to do with Lioness, soooo hopefully I'll be able to stick to that!

Here it is! Enjoy!

The air was always hot, but today, in Shenshen's hut, it seemed unbearably so. A jolt of pain shot through her body and she gritted her teeth. "Funny, I don't remember it being this bad with the other two."

Her life-mate smiled at her, "Our baby's impatient to meet his mother. I can't say that I blame him."

She chuckled then winced as another contraction started, "Where's Sunfox?"

"With Cutter and Skywise, don't worry about her. She'll be fine with them for a bit longer."

At that she had to throw back her head and laugh. Hearing her overprotective life-mate say that their daughter would be fine without them was just funny. Suddenly her laughter was cut off by another contraction, worse than any of the earlier ones. Her life-mate's eyes widened, "Shenshen!" He called, "The baby's coming!" Within moments the mid-wife was at their side.

Wincing in pain she began to push, Shenshen murmuring instructions that she didn't need but found comforting, and her life-mate holding her close.

"Just a bit more, just… a… bit… there!"

She fell back gasping against her life-mates chest.

"You have a son!"

She opened her eyes as Shenshen placed the newborn in her arms. "He's so beautiful." Her life-mate whispered.

"Yes. He is."

The boy gave a soft wail then settled down in his mother's arms. He looked up at his parents with a pair of amazingly bright blue eyes. Her life-mate got up and grabbed a blanket from nearby. As he was headed back Shenshen intercepted him, "Sunfox has been asking when she can come in."

He smiled, "She's been waiting so long to meet her new baby brother, let's not make her wait any longer." He crossed the rest of the distance and gently wrapped the blanket around their son's dark skinned body.

'Their son.'

A few tears formed in his eyes, *We have a son!*

She smiled at him as he took her hand, the warmth and joy of his sending banishing any residual pain away. *He needs a name life-mate.*

*And by that tone I guess that you have one in mind.*

*Mhm. Sandcat.*

*You heard that from Leetah didn't you.*

He wrinkled his nose in slight annoyance when she began to chuckle. After a moment he sent again, *Sandcat… it's a good name. And it's not as though I could dissuade you anyway.*

*It's good to see that you're learning.*

"Mama, Papa! Is that him!?"

A bundle of brown and gold shot towards them. Her life-mate managed to catch the child before her path landed her on mother and baby.

"Careful Sunfox, you don't want to squish your new baby brother do you?"

"That's him? But he's so tiny!"

Her parents chuckled softly as her father sat down next to her mother, still holding her, "No smaller than normal. Actually, you were smaller than he was."

"Really? What's his name?"


"Sa-nd-ca-t… I like it! Hello Sandcat I'm your sister! My name's Sunfox I can't wait until you're big enough to play it'll be great! I teach you to climb and hunt and ride a wolf and we'll tie Strongbow's bootlaces together when he's not looking like Skywise showed me and…"

As their daughter rambled on to her little brother the life-mates merely held each other, their eyes and hearts filled with joy. **I never imagined that having a family could feel so wonderful.**

She smiled, **Just wait until both of them are running around, then we'll see how wonderful it is.** they both chuckled softy and she looked up into his eyes, **High Ones Rayek I love you.**

He smiled back, filled with a warmth that most never saw, **And I you my Dehl, and I you.**

The name Sandcat was directly stolen- I mean borrowed- from the uber-glorious Manga. Worship her mortals. Worship I say!