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A Dog's Life ( Pt. 2 )

Rebecca woke in a sweat.

For long moments she just lay in darkness, waiting, for her pulse to slow, for breaths to come slow and steady. For the ache to again lose it's edge.

Jack...

Bending knees and pushing with one arm, she sat up, bringing a hand to her face.

She'd been due of course; It had been longer than usual - weeks, really - since she'd dreamt of him, dreamt about -

"Shit."

There was faint, flickering light from the entrance to her shelter. 'Merry f'ing moring', she thought. Grabbing her belt - the leather strap holding her blade and tinder-box was the only article save her boots the hadn't worn to sleep - she crawled through the opening. Got her feet under her to stand...and fealt something impact from behind, sharp points prickling her neck as she went to her knees. Reaching up over her shoulder with both hands, she grabbed and shrugged her attacker to the ground, then lunged -

- but the Wolfling was quicker than she was.

"You brat!" she called after him as he ran back towards the den, though she chuckled as she said it. She saw Gray Eyes looking at her with an open-mouthed grin and snorted.

She breathed in deep, the dream fading to the background of her thoughts as she pulled on her boots. All around, the woods were waking with the coming of Spring, a thousand bird-calls echoed through the budding trees, a near cacanphony to greet the not-yet-risen sun.

The time for depending on the Wolves was past, she thought happily. She'd string up the bow and do some hunting of her own soon. Not today though;there was a stream she meant to visit, if memory served - no line or net, but all she'd need was speed....

And, she thought, looking at the Wolf trotting her way, she might
have help, too - though she wondered what he'd actually offer save the pleasure of his company.

"Pack ever hunt fish, Grey Eyes?"

He gave her a sideways look.

"No? Well, you come along 'n I'm sure you'll be some use anyways."

She chuckled at the look he gave her.

Since the night of that first fire, he'd been spending more and more time with her, not just around the den but accompanying her when she ventured out to gather wood, or whatever other reason. Evidently, he found her company better than the pack's when not on a hunt.

Looking at the Wolf trotting beside her, she wondered at that. Was it more than just her company? Pack politics, maybe? He wasn't exactly low rung on the ladder last she knew....

No; He didn't spend all his time with her, and she'd seen nothing to change her impression. Besides, he'd never looked like he'd been whupped.

Some, she thought, just dance to their own tune.

***

'Gocha!'

Rebecca lunged at the salmon - catching just enough tail to feel it slip through her fingers as her bare foot slipped out from under her, sending her face-first into the water.

"Okay -" she sputtered at the Wolf, looking insufferably amused from his perch on the near bank when she'd regained her footing. "- so I'm outta practice. You jus' make sure th' ones I do manage to get don't end up back 'n the river!"

She crouched again and waited.

Lunge. Splash.

"Yeeasss!" She cried triumphantly, sending the fish flying throught the air in the Wolf's general direction. Lunging, he caught it just before it hit the ground, growling as he finished it with a shake. He looked at her and gave a sweep of his tail before dropping it for the next one.

Rebecca just grinned and shook her head.

'Damn crazy Wolf....'

***

Whatever else you might say, one couldn't fault Mother as a cook, Rebecca thought as she drew the three skewered fish from the fire.

Still, she thought with an appreciative sniff, fish was fish, The predomminant cullinary staple in her town, it was a favorite in allmost any form.

"Uh uh." she told the Wolf, staring intently at the fish she'd removed and just drawn her knife to begin slicing in her lap. "You had two allready an' I don't hafta know th' season to tell huntin's good for yu'all right now."

Glare

"If ya couldn't wait 'till they cooked it's yur own damn fault."

He gave a low growl, turned to walk several paces and lay down, directing his gave elsewhere.

Humph. 'That's th' trouble breakin' bread with humans.' she thought with a chuckle. You couldn't fight 'em for it.

Which meant nothing, she soon realized, for what one didn't happen to have in one's posession at a given time.

She was on the second fish, with one left on the skewer stuck end-first in the ground. Sensing with the corner of her eye, glanced up and leapt to her feet - "HEY!" - to grab the stick just ahead of the bolting canine. Not that she could do a damn thing if he grapped the fish....

They both froze. "Go ahead." she said, locking eyes, challenging. And she'd....what? Hells, she didn't think she'd even be pissed.

"Well?" she asked when he didn't move. "Second thoughts, hmmm?"

They stayed locked for a few moments more, then - to her surprise - the Wolf backed down, turned it eyes away, trotted back and gave every appearance of settling in for a nap.

Rebecca blinked. She hadn't expected that.

What - - just happened?

And for that matter, what'n Mothers' was she thinking, challenging a rottin' Wolf that way?! True, one good-natured and friendly with her. Even so - Go ahead and try it??? What stupid, moronic....

Returing to her meal she watched the Wolf, thoughtfull. And - why did the whole encounter leave her feeling vaguely unsettled?

A childhood memory bought a grin to her face. Curled by the fire like that, he really did resemble an oversized mutt, she thought with a chuckle. Not that she'd ever mention that to him of course -

Another bought her up short. 'Mother would certainly approve.' She thought, feeling a pang of guilt.

Finishing the fish, she slid the third and last from the stick. For a moment she stood holding it, looking at the Wolf. Then, shrugging and giving a theatrical sigh, she resumed her seat, retrieved the knife and, with a few quick slices, cut it neatly in half.

Bringing fingers to her mouth, she gave a sharp whistle; "HEY, GREY EYES!"

He turned to look at her.

She tossed him his half. "Here ya go, brat!" she said with a wink.

Leaping to his feet, he gave a chuff while looking right at her, grinning widely. She grinned wider.

Yes, she thought as he tore in; She was definitely going to miss him when she left.

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