Pack Theory: Fact or Fiction?
Pack theory states that dogs, like wolves and some other wild canids, are “pack” animals. This is understood to mean that they would naturally live in complex social groups with a clear hierarchy governing the relationships between individuals in the group. While the group would cooperate in order to hunt and care for offspring, there would also be constant competition within the group as each animal strove to increase its status. There would be a clear leader of the pack, known as the “alpha” male, and his mating partner would be the “alpha” or highest ranking female. The alpha pair would have absolute rights to food, shelter and reproductive activity. All the other animals would have a definite place in the hierarchy and would relate to each other through submissive or dominant gestures depending on where they ranked. The lowest ranking animal, the “omega”, would be constantly picked on by everyone. If the alpha dog became ill or showed any form of weakness, he would be deposed and replaced by the dog next in seniority.
Pack theory was originally based on a study of captive wolves (Zimen, 1975). Wolves from various origins were brought together and had no choice but to live together. Studying these wolves revealed that there was a significant amount of competition and fighting to establish rank within the group. However, at the time it was not taken into account that captivity was a major influence in this behaviour. More recently, a 13 year study of wild wolves at Ellesmere Island (Mech, 1999) revealed that wolves actually live in family groups consisting of parents and offspring. Once pups reach 1 to 2 years of age they leave their parents, find their own mates and start their own families. Thus all wolves eventually become “alpha”! Furthermore, conflict within family groups is rare, with parents naturally caring and providing for their offspring and pups naturally relying and depending on their parents.
…the only conclusion we can draw is that the way dogs and wolves relate to each other and behave within a group seems to be determined by the situation they find themselves in i.e. the environment.
Me: *explains the B&D universe*
Grant: Wait, soulbonding?
Me: *explains the fannish convention of soulbonding*
Grant: Ah! Okay.
Me: *ponders* If we were in a soulbonding universe, do you think we’d be soulmates?
Grant: I hope so! I wouldn’t want to be bonded to anyone else!
People do marriages in fandom lots of different ways, but I love that my guy actually takes my worldbuilding questions seriously.
And that he knows where a joining spot is and has been known to nuzzle mine while spooning me.
(Neither one of us actually believes in the “One Perfect Mate” or “soulmates” theory — we have actually had conversations about which of our friends we could have happy marriages with, and neither one of us is the least bit threatened by those people! — but it’s sweet that if the soulbond was a real phenomonon, he’d want to be bonded to me. NAWWWW. I would certainly want to be bonded to him!)
Meanwhile, this is probably why within Bound & Determined verse(s) we don’t necessarily believe in One Perfect Mate either, which contributes to our interest in branching AUs to the AU. Our OTP always love each other. But Jason is happily in love with Kurt in a lot of branches, and happily in love in a trio with Charles and Erik in others. Kurt can be happy with Jason, or happy in a polyamorous tie with Piotr, Kitty, and Logan. Sometimes Tony reconciles with Rhodey, sometimes Rhodey takes up with Nick Fury and Tony gets together with Steve…
Charles tucks away the tiny hint of triumph that was just starting to show and breathes again, “Please.”
“Shameless,” Erik mutters, getting in and yanking Charles into his lap by his shirt, slamming shut all the doors at once. “You’re not getting a ‘backseat makeout,’ I’ll tell you that now,” he’s stripping Charles half with his hands and half with his power, “I’m not going to stop at heavy petting, I’m not squirming around back here groping like a teenager.” He sits on the passenger’s side and kicks Charles’s trousers into other footwell, shoves the rest of his clothes out of the way. He needs Charles’s cooperation to get off the shirt, and Charles resists, holding it around him and blushing furiously, as if this whole thing hadn’t been his idea.
He never knows, with Charles, if anything is an act, if Charles really feels something, really enjoys something, or just reads Erik’s mind and reacts the way Erik expects, gives Erik what he wants to see. At times like this, half-angry with Charles and so turned on he’s light-headed, Erik’s not sure it matters. He unfastens his belt and fly and spreads the zipper open, and he nearly can’t believe he’s doing this in a car outdoors with sunlight pouring in through the window, open for anyone to see, but he pulls out his cock and says, “Suck me.”
Charles nods and folds down awkwardly in the footwell, leaning over Erik’s lap and mouthing Erik’s cock the way he always takes it at first… a false start, his tongue sliding under, his red lips parted, not enough, and a little frown; then he licks his lips and tries again, opening wider, eyes falling shut, a low, hungry nnh in his throat as he keeps trying to take more and more.
Erik can’t let him keep it up long, the sight overwhelming as always. He threads his fingers through Charles’s hair and tugs with a hoarse, “Stop,” and Charles reluctantly pulls off. “Get up here,” Erik says, and when Charles starts to straddle his lap, “no. Facing away.” Charles swallows, shuddering, and turns around, bracing himself against the passenger’s seat.
By now Erik knows better than to go anywhere with Charles without a tube of Vaseline, and that alone makes him angry again, evidence of how well Charles has him trained.
From Backseat Driver. I wrote that story all in one night. I really like it, I think it’s one of the solo stories I’m most happy with (probably because I didn’t have a chance to overthink it.) I always enjoy writing for fanart and Palalife’s car sex fanart was particularly, ahem, inspiring.
This illustrates my headcanon that whatever might happen between Charles and Erik, ultimately Charles is going to be in control, because he can’t help but be. He knows how people feel, what they want, what they’re thinking. That’s natural for him. If he wants backseat sex and Erik’s stubborn about it, Charles is going to know that he can get his way by begging, and he’s perfectly willing to do it, because I don’t imagine a mindreader would be very inhibited.
But at the same time, it’s not wholly manipulative, because when Charles blushes, he really is embarrassed. Not because it’s sexual; that doesn’t get to him. But because he’s showing vulnerability, admitting that he wants something— even if he’s only showing it by giving Erik what he wants to see, still, the fact that he’s willing to pretend to beg is just as exposing as begging would be.