Nestled in the heart of Komorrah itself is the city. Honking horns, a constant flow of people, and an ebbing murmur of sounds gives the city both its appeal and chaos. The city expansive and wild; it's crowded and perfect for someone who just wants to blend in. It's here, in the gullet of Kessir, where the Dodgers call their home; you'll find their dens in the Labyrinth.
Four gangs inhabit the city. All have one goal in mind...to leave a mark, to make the best of the life that they've been dealt. Tensions rise. Alliances are made. Love found and lives lost. Only the strong make it in this harsh world. Your goal? Survive the city.
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Choppa’s face was usually contorted in deep thought and somberness but this particular time was one where the dog appeared absolutely wrecked. It was probably common knowledge at this point that Choppa had messed up and messed up bad and he already hated himself more and more. News circulated fast and by now they all heard of his mistake and will be very disappointed in him. About a day prior he was leading a scraping expedition, perhaps his time to show his mettle and he managed to drag them all down with his stamina yet again. While diving for people’s groceries they had attracted a fair bit of attention and the catcher was alerted and the male lagged behind during the fleeing.
One of the hounds came in and tripped the catcher that nearly got him and they narrowly managed to escape but it was clear, he messed up bad. Maybe it was a bit too involved and ambitious to steal from the humans but normal ones are so slow and sluggish so it seemed perfect. While towards the end they hauled in some of that meat wrapped in the plastic, chips, some, weird flavor powders, and plush oven mitts, Choppa still felt guilty to jeopardize them like that. If not for him it would have been a success but some of the haul was left during the chase unfortunately.
Now the male sat there with his chin placed atop his paws, he was depressed and he couldn’t display his shame further. Banna probably will be yelling at him, she deserved to do it at least or maybe she’ll send Chase, either way he expected punishment and his would was worse than usual. All he wanted was to be useful for once but he should have known he was useless like usual and the mere thought caused him to grit his teeth. Huffing sadly he placed his feathery paw over his eyes, he just wanted to hide.
Every dog did. In a gang as close-knit as the Dodgers, news traveled like disease in an airport - fast. Especially when a dog messed up. Whispers of Choppa's failure to pups loudly asking 'who did bad'...she could only imagine what was going through the male's head. She could only imagine what he felt when he heard the words 'Chase wouldn't do that'. Usually, the tough faced female was that of a perfectionist. While she understood mistakes, she disliked them immensely, and simple mistakes and miscalculations were something she utterly couldn't tolerate. A part of her wanted to go scold the male - to tell him his mistakes in hopes that he wouldn't make them again.
And...initially, that was what Juno planned on doing. While she was positive most dog's hated her 'know it all attitude', she did it out of sheer desire to make sure every dog did their best. And knowing how to fix a mistake was a key importance of that.
She had ever intention on 'setting him straight'...until she caught sight of the dog. Approaching him, tuckered away within a corner within the labyrinth, the smell of dread soaked over his thin fur...and his face. He looked completely and utterly torn up over his mistake. A small part of her argued to continue forth anyways - it wasn't as though she of all dogs could offer him any comfort. If...he wanted that, he could go to Fallon, or maybe Carlise.
Still...something about seeing him there...She couldn't help but think of herself. Her frustrations, her failures, her stress...And so, after stiffly approaching him and merely standing there in silence, looming over Choppa for several moments, she cleared her throat.
"Get up," she grumbled, "come with me."
Her 'demand' was expected to be met as she turned away from the dog, padding forth only to pause and see if he'd truly follow.
Feathery chin remained planted atop his equally as furred paws, his toes flexing as he pondered his turmoil. Choppa knew others thought poorly of him, or at least knew he wasn’t as great as Chase… He thought it too but it didn’t mean it hurt less to accept you weren’t as good as others. They were pups from the same exact litter but he was such a failure and Chase? He’s just amazing. Chase struggled with the same problems as Choppa but he managed to triumph regardless, something Choppa knew he would never be able to do. He was thankful no hound was captured during the expedition but that doesn’t mean he didn’t mess up. They should have quit earlier before they attracted too much attention but Choppa pressed on and he was the one who slacked while running. If only his stamina wasn’t such trash, maybe if he was even half the dog Chase was he would be enough. Bitter thoughts churned like an inky pool within his mind, brow anchored down whilst his lips tugged into a deep frown.
The whispers his thoughts and other’s voices, he wanted to curl up and cry but he couldn’t even vent out his own despair to his brother because he was too busy. When Chase and him talked it never got this bad, he was able to release his pent up sadness but lately he had been suppressing himself. A tense sight rolled from his tapered muzzle, slender body ridged with his own despair.
The grumble that strummed from the female before him caught him completely off guard, far too engrossed into his thoughts to realize she had wandered up on his sulking corner. Nearly jumping from his loose skin, he suppressed a small shriek as he jerked wide nervous eyes towards the female.
“J-Juno?” wavered his voice in surprise. Had she come to scold him? He expected it and he honestly wouldn’t blame her, he deserved it. Juno was amazing, she was like tempered steel in her resolved and honestly nothing shook her. He admired her ability to remain focus, rarely ever faltering to play or indulge. She was always a working dog and rarely ever made a mistake, she was something he wanted to be. Warm mocha eyes stared at her vibrant blues, his thought process finally registering her command but he honestly was a bit intimidated by her.
“Me? Why?” he questioned despite the fact he was already hauling to his stilt-like limbs, toppled ears pinned back in puzzlement and nervousness. Did she know it was him and not Chase? Or… Banna might have summoned him to scold him. Tapered muzzle inclined down in more shame but he quickly leaped towards her to keep up. Lips parted to speak but not a word escaped, only a small noise as if he wanted to ask more questions. Talking wasn’t his strength so he merely walked towards the rear with a truly baffled and awkward face.
Of course, Juno didn't even notice that the smaller dog was obviously startled at her sudden appearance and demanding words. His question wasn't regarded with much as the dog stalked forward, her head a bit low and her tail limp - like always. Still, she'd briefly glance at him from the corner of her eyes, "you know why." It...wasn't supposed to be cruel nor intimidating despite her usually blunt tone. The poor walker just didn't seem to realize the effect her short words could really have with others! Thankfully, she didn't talk further other than that - mostly because she was trying to figure out what to say and how to say it.
Tch, maybe this was a bad idea after all? Maybe she should've just let some other dog deal with this? They'd be much more gentler than she ever could...but... The mottled dog shook her head, letting out an irate huff. She had to do this.
And so, she continued to stalk forward, not uttering out a word as she led the way out of the sanctuary of where the sleeping and resting forms of their gangmates slept. As they traveled further and further out of earshot, she wouldn't slow so they could walk side by side, but, her tense form did seem to relax a bit.
"How...do you feel?"
The abrupt, very awkward, question left her lips. She was unsure how to start this whole thing, but...this didn't seem like too bad of a way to do so. Tag: Choppa, Comments: poor sad bby
Stress oozed off the male in thick waves, his slick lengthy coat prickling upwards ever so slightly as he lagged behind the female. He mimicked her pose, similar but less ridge, more slippery and drooped. He wasn’t grumpy, he was defeated and limp, his face sagged with the sorrow of his mistakes. Choppa couldn’t read Juno, she was like a book with no text, well, more like a book and the only text was carved into every page and it read ‘I’m annoyed leave me be.’ She triggered warning signals to flare within his mind, a dog he shouldn’t speak to under any circumstance but like the viper crawling into the nest of chicks, there she was beckoning him forward. Her voice shattered into his glass-like composure, his slender shoulders flinching from the weight of her tone. A frightening hound, intimidating and cool as frosted paws. Someone to respect and fear, a dog Choppa liked despite her hard exterior.
Choppa hesitantly glanced around, tracing their movements. They were being led farther away from the others and his paranoia was already causing a tremble within his tail. Perhaps she intended on outing him, did Banna deem him unfixable? Too much of a liability? Gulping audibly his tapered muzzle dipped down in further shame. That was unlikely but he couldn’t help the taste of guilt souring his tongue.
The female didn’t even turn to face his despicable form as her harsh doused words tore out once more. At first he couldn’t quite place the reason for the question. It was very unlikely she was concerned, right? Juno was known for scolding those who deserved it like the unofficial enforcer of the Dodgers. You broke the rules, she’ll know and make sure you remember. Choppa’s mouth dropped open to speak but merely closed then opened again as he tried to ready his words. Ah, self-reflecting, she wanted to make sure he felt bad for it. He really did, truly, so he’ll say his words from the heart.
“Terrible,” he admitted finally, it was difficult for him to convey his emotions so he hesitated, moistening his dry lips to speak once more. “I can’t stop thinking about it… I feel so bad and I hate what happened,” it was slow coming but then the words began spilling out like an uncorked bottle, “I really messed up and I wish I wasn’t like this, if I was better, if I was even a toe of the dog Chase was it wouldn’t have happened,” suddenly his teeth enclosed around his tongue, cocoa eyes widening. Why did he say that? No, he wanted to swallow his words back but they were already out. Quickly he felt his teeth clamped upon his tongue as he yanked his gaze to the side, ashamed further and embarrassed to no end. He should have just kept his stupid mouth shut.
For a moment, there was nothing but silence. For an impatient dog like herself, she was tempted to speak up once more - possibly snap at him to speak but...this was delicate. And so, she waited as she trotted along until, finally, the paranoid dog spoke up. Her large, bat-like ears twitched forward as a sign that she was listening, despite not turning to face him nor slowing down in her trot. She...was never really good with others pouring their heart out to her. Really, talking to a wall was better than trying to be comforted by Juno, but...she was trying. She really was.
And so, she listened...and at what she heard, her fur bristled ever so slightly as her trot abruptly stopped. Her first, natural reaction was to scoff - tell him to 'get over it' and 'get better'. That was how she dealt with things. And that was how she expected everyone else to. You weren't supposed to break from failures, you were supposed to grow off of them to ensure they never happened again...Turn that despair into something the gang could use. She wanted to say he looked pitiful, and that he was merely feeling sorry for himself, which was a waste of time. The words longed to leap off of her tongue as though she'd swallowed a fire and they were looking for a way to escape...but, they didn't.
Or more like, she couldn't.
There was...something in Choppa's words that struck something within her. Something in them that made her cringe and her heart hurt. Something within them that made them think of herself. Because...they were words that described the emotions that often churned within her head on a daily basis. Words she always tried to ignore and push aside, merely because she thought they'd go away if she just 'dealt with it' the same way she told others to deal with their own problems. But...it didn't work. It was like attaching a tiny bandage to a heaping gash - it didn't help at all.
"That's not true!" The words left her lips in a forced, almost frantic growl as the mottled dog's head whipped around. The moment she stared at Choppa though, her serious look softened and her words faltered. Ears lying back, a rare look of uncertainty crossed the walker's face as she glanced away. "No dog is perfect." The words came from her lips a bit bitterly. It was less of a helpful comment, and more of a mocking one. "That's what you've been told since you were a brat, right?" "But even still, it still...hurts. It's still frustrating...right? Because deep inside, you feel as though everything you do will never be good enough, even if its not perfect, right?" Her voice was far quieter than it usually was, sounding much more insecure than usual...It was as though she were speaking from her actual emotions - from the actual heart of the dog underneath all of her usual stockiness. And...it lacked the usual confidence Juno brimmed with. It sounded nothing like the 'usual' Juno.
Tapered nose was angled away, shame stabbing deep like a pair of teeth. The troubled hound was very much aware he was pathetic and that he needed to get over himself and try harder but he honestly was trying hard. He wanted nothing more than to be important to someone, he wanted to be a pillar of support for his gang, his brother, for anyone who needed it but he knew that a one-legged dog couldn’t help one with four legs walk. Choppa was a voice without volume, a bird with no wings, he could list everything wrong with him but nothing good would mar his list of failures. Did he want what Chase had? The true answer was, no. Choppa wanted to be important but he didn’t seek power or status, he simply wanted to be more than what he actually was, a worm in an anthill. Choppa didn’t have a clue what to expect from the female, he was lost and troubled. If anything, he expected her to turn towards him with seething eyes and tell him to try harder, do better, and quit weakening the gang. Juno strode for perfection and he was far from that.
"That's not true!"
Choppa was initially turned away in shame but as she jolted to stare strongly towards him, he too faced her with a look of pure puzzlement, surprise anchoring his jaw down into an ‘O’. She looked absolutely triggered, ready to sink her teeth into his face but as soon as that fire erupted, he felt the heat dwindle and her intensity softer. Finally his closed his mouth, feathery wars pinned down as he fixed her a truly strained look. Familiar words crossed into the depths of those very ears but Choppa remained silent as she spoke, confusion and wonder churning within his mind. He had heard that saying multiple of times but being perfect wasn’t the point, he wanted to be better, he wanted to be something and almost echoing his thoughts she continued to speak.
Choppa’s gaze widened suddenly, as if following the song of her heart and he realized this indeed was the song he was familiar with. No hound understood something that clearly unless felt, at least he decided that especially if it was Juno. Honestly, he never realized it, she was always so hard on others but the thought never crossed his mind that maybe she was even harder on herself. He was socially inapt but he did understand others, he could relate to them even if he couldn’t form the words he needed. Juno understood him and he offered her a look of concern, a look of mutual knowing. To a dog like Choppa, seeing himself in another hound was bizarre especially Juno, the hound of pure steel. She was everything he thought defined a sculpted dog. The words Choppa had always wanted to hear, he spoke them to her.
“You’re good enough to me,” nodded the hound in a gentle boyish voice. She was trying to console him and he was too dense, too focused on himself to realize she wasn’t going to scold him, this was to help him. “Thank you…” he drifted off again, trying to form the words he actually wanted to say to her. “I just want to be helpful and be there for the gang, for someone,” confessed the hound, not meeting her vibrant speckled gaze. “Perfect isn’t the point, but if someone doesn’t think I’m as horrible as I do… I can accept that,” yeah, that would be enough and while he knows Chase doesn’t hate him it’s a bit different when family says you’re enough. It feels like he has to.
Large ears twitched forward, lurching towards the thin dog as he spoke. She held her tongue - perhaps a bit afraid to speak as the dog opened up to her, if just a bit. She...knew Choppa always suffered from such problems, but, never to this degree. She never knew that he felt like this. She never knew that he felt like her. And that...that made the mottled walker feel all the more guilty. Slowly but surely, the recent events, Banna, Spider, Choppa - they were teaching her so many new things...and it was mind boggling - hard to accept and swallow down. Hard to just keep carrying on as she usually did. She...she didn't know what to say.
And for once, she cared enough - far too much to not want to say the wrong thing. And so, she remained quiet, her gaze unwavering as she simply stared on.
Most dogs saw her as someone least likely to get emotional. She was a pillar - stoic and always one to stand strong even in situations where most couldn't. She was the one who could steel herself in times of weakness for the gang and plod on, unfazed. But...sometimes, they forgot. Sometimes, they forgot that even she had emotions. She had hardships. She had doubts. She had insecurities. In fact, she probably had far more than most dogs.
Even Banna, the dog she was, at one point, closest too, likely never understood the burden Juno willingly and unconsciously placed on her shoulders each and every day. That silent refusal to acknowledge those softer, crumbling parts of herself...Because, if she wasn't going to be the pillar, then, who would? As of late, it felt as though those cracks had gotten far too big for her to simply 'fix'.
She...she couldn't fix it on her own. But, who would she turn to? Now that she had driven even her closest companion away...who would deal with the Juno who wasn't always so stoic and 'perfect'?
“I just want to be helpful and be there for the gang, for someone,”
She paused - before, cautiously stating, "you can be there for me then." Never before had she asked someone this. Not her father. Not her mother. Not even to Banna. That brindled bundle of fun had just...interjected herself into Juno's life, after all. But, perhaps it was time to stop being so distant from her gangmates when it was obvious she needed help? Or...at the very least, open up to a dog who knew what she felt.
She swallowed thickly, but, she refused to let herself look away from the scraper, as her gaze burned more fiercely than any fire. Even in her weak moments like this, it seemed somethings about the walker would never change. "And...I'll try and do the same." She paused, adding in a bit of a gruff voice, "I'm not good with words though. So don't expect miracles." Despite her tone, there...was a bit of light-hearted amusement to it. As though she of all dogs was trying to lift the mood.
Eyes like the warmth of cocoa stared towards the female with a brand of ice for eyes, brows with slack with concern and there was a creamy gentleness to his face. Words were easy to spew but the right ones so rare to obtain, anyone could say anything but to Choppa speaking was one of the hardest things to do. In his life he struggled with confidence, with standing out especially with Chase always seeming better. No one needed him; at least that’s what he thought. An ordinary hound with ordinary skills, there wasn’t a time where someone would choose him because they liked him or needed him. That strain was like an anchor, constantly weighing upon his back and causing him to regret and second-guess himself. Even if he was important, he still felt unworthy, something he was working on but couldn’t help the hurt.
A logical hound, he knew that someone out there felt his troubles and understood but he never sought out others, it might trouble then, therefore he endured his turmoil. Honestly, out of every dog he could think of, Juno was least likely the one he thought would understand and he not regretted that most of all. Her posture, her expressions, every little movement shouldered the weight and rejected others but trace her beautiful spotted features to the eyes… It was like he was gazing at the wide expanse of a sky. They spoke, there was softness to the azure luminance and to Choppa they seemed quite sad which tugged a bit at his heard. How unfair he had been, how unfair everyone else had been to the female who was the pillar of the Dodgers. He knew the sayings, he heard them too, she was strong and kicked everyone away, “Don’t even try to approach her,” and he felt guilty. Perhaps he was being hard on himself but he deserved the harshness anyways.
Nevertheless, with this weakness bearing into him with those icicle eyes, Choppa didn’t think any differently or less, if anything he saw her strength brimming more so. So powerful, she was so very… Amazing. Tapered muzzle twitched and the male felt his chest hammering heavily, he could describe the fountain of anxiety he was feeling but it was wavering.
"You can be there for me then."
Smiling a bit stronger, he nodded absently, of course that seemed easy enough—what. Choppa’s tree-bark gaze widened and he nearly choked on the force of his heart slamming against his chest. What… What did that mean? Blinking rapidly, he swallowed thickly while also searching her face, body posture, anything to see if she was even embarrassed or sheepish. Juno’s next set of words merely caused him to shift nervously from one slender paw to the next, his tail wagging nervously. Heat saturated his cheeks and whatever words merely rasped in his dry throat. How could she say that with a straight face? Was that a confession? Choppa tried to mask his shy nervousness but the hound found himself unable to stare at her intense face. She was really pretty, honestly, but he was so unsure at this moment to bring himself to understand. No, no way she was confessing, not to him. He needed more time to think this over.
Inhaling sharply, he tried to still his heart, he couldn’t tell if it was even beating anymore or if he was beating so fast it went numb. With occasional glances to her nose then back towards his paws he readied his next set of words.
“That… sounds nice, it’s okay… I think you’re really great and a miracle to me,” gulping, he still refused to stare at her, trying to conjure up more words, “Maybe we could go out sometimes too?” he then quickly fixed her with a wide smile. Wait… Thoughts churned in replay as he tried to consider what he had just said but as it finally sunk in, his blood ran cold. How can he even explain that, How!? He wasn’t confessing, no… Oh, no this why did he have to be so lousy at talking.
Two awkward, hurt hounds trying to find comfort and understanding within their own right. To some, it sounded strange. And it was. While, at one point in time, the thought of 'help' in such a way disgusted her, she was realizing things. But, slowly, Juno was..realizing she couldn't do this on her own. She just couldn't. But maybe...if she had a dog who understood the stress and strain of such self doubts and hardships, it'd help ease it a bit more. Maybe they could help each other, if just a little bit?
Slowly, that stiff, usually still tail of hers gave a single wag.
...And, of course, she failed to notice the sheer turmoil her 'simple' words had caused within the mind of her newest 'ally'. He didn't seem to hesitate in accepting them, but, what was that brief, frantic look that crossed his eyes? Was something wrong? Large, bat-like ears briefly perked forward when the silky furred hound finally spoke up, his voice a mere tremble in the wind, but, seemingly filled with nothing but warmth.
To most, such a statement would...definitely raise brows and tilt heads. Was this...a confession? Why was he inviting her out? What did he think this was? Juno though? She didn't think much of it. Any 'hidden undertone' flew right over the dog's head, as she answered him in a heartbeat just as she typically would any other. "Of course. Be it for work or just..." She paused - what was the word she was looking for...? "To relax." Gods knew how long it'd been since she'd ever just...'relaxed'. She saw no need to, most of the time. And few dogs found true relaxation around her anyway - and, she knew this too.
Without saying another words, Juno began to pad forward once more, likely intent on continuing their little walk. It was very likely she was cold as well, as the sensation of standing still was getting to her limbs. It didn't help that she was short furred too. Either way, she fell silent - likely thinking as they walked along.
"...Are you...feeling better?" The words awkwardly tumbled from out her lips after a few moments of pure silence and reflecting. Sure, there hadn't been too much said. But...she liked to believe he felt the same way she did right now; at ease. At this moment, she didn't need to be perfect. She didn't need to be the stoic, well-spoken prodigy around him.
Brindled fur shuddered as he shook ever so slightly like an autumn leaf, he was truly anxiety riddled after his foolish words. Choppa felt like the biggest idiot, bigger than the whole city. Eyes like warm cocoa stretched and his lips formed tautly against his teeth as he smiled awkwardly. Tail halted within the air as if stuck in molasses, it didn’t even move, it merely sat statuette. No breath heaved from his large barreled chest; he was anticipating Juno’s bitter reply or the disgust that would smear atop her speckled features. His words sounded like a confession, it was obvious, so obvious he felt like there was no getting out of this without laughter. Choppa had bad experiences with crushes or love of any kind… He had a crush once but she turned him down and laughed, it honestly destroyed him on how terribly he was struck down. Choppa knew he wasn’t the best dog around but he had feelings too and even if but accident he pretty much just spewed a, ‘you’re a miracle let’s go out’.
The hound’s heart was aching and he wanted to tear his gaze away but her vibrant steely gaze kept him locked. As he finally scanned her face, quelled his pounding heart, and assessed her expressions did he realize that no contorting of displeasure formed atop the freckled visage. Blinking, he slowly tried to understand why she wasn’t already curling his lip at him but before he had a chance, she spoke which caused more puzzlement to form an ‘o’ atop his lips. What? Brows tensed up and he merely gawked openly towards her, trying to see if she realized or not but as she spoke like nothing was suggested did he realize she might be denser than he was.
Bizarre, truly it was but he was thankful that for whatever reason she wasn’t judging him coldly and he could still show his face around her. Still, he was feeling a bit self-conscience, his paws shuffling timidly but then she started walking along like everything was natural. Tongue stalled like the engine of a car, pure shock plastered against his banded features. She truly was unique and he couldn’t fathom how he never realized it before.
"...Are you...feeling better?"
Gaping mouth closed into a thin line as he stared towards her back, a solemn expression forming against his furry face. She just wanted to cheer him out, he could clearly see this and even if he still was confused and a bit anxious about the future, he did feel better.
“Yeah, thanks to you,” he peppered up, cautiously jogging towards her to manage a friendly grin tossed her way. Perhaps… he should change the subject.
“Soo… I often wake up just before sunrise and jog if you ever wanna join me?" he began, casual and smooth… So casual and smooth and not nervous one bit, “My stamina is bad so I’ve been trying, the runs often feel nice and maybe with… company y’know… nicer," he voice shrunk towards the end as his nervousness started to get the better of him. This asking thing was really alarming and he felt like he was serving his heart on an open platter, it made him feel so vulnerable.
Perhaps their shared awkwardness for even the simplest of social actives aided both of the hounds? Juno, incredibly unaware of the sheer meaning Choppa's 'compliment' had, didn't see his gesture as flirtatious. Perhaps a bit odd, but, he was a hound of heart. She was positive that he meant what he said, and she appreciated it. Even if she didn't smile as wide as Fallon nor let her whole body shake when wagging her tail like Athena. Maybe...maybe one day, she'd learn that it was okay to 'let her guard down' and lighten up a bit. Or, rather, perhaps someone would help teach her to? Either way, not a single malice-filled thought crossed her mind in regards to the canine.
Granted, she also didn't notice his anxiety riddled movements either. Growing accustomed to others feelings and knowing how to pinpoint them...that was definitely something that would take time. At the very least, her newfound companion wouldn't have to worry about her noticing every nervous, anxious thought or gesture he gave!
The sound of pawsteps next to her made that chilling gaze of hers slowly flicker downwards to the slightly shorter male by her side as he answered. Though she gave no further response, the slight twitch of her large ear to the slightest sway of her tail was, in her opinion, more than enough to convey how she felt.
His offer was met with her full attention, as her neck actually craned towards the male, head tilted slightly. An invite out to jog? Some might've found this bit of one on one time and invitation certainly...'suspicious'. But, Juno?
Nah. In fact...
"Then I'll train you. You may be faster than me, but few in the gang can beat me in terms of stamina." It was part of what made her a superb walker - the ability to push herself to her limit and further beyond. The power to continue even in the worst of conditions, mental or physical...it was a talent one had to hone if they aimed to really please anyone. And so, of course, Juno naturally related this invite out to a relaxing jog into some sort of 'training' as though her mind couldn't handle the idea of her going out to have 'fun'.
Like a true workaholic, she continued on, "we'll increase it day by day - a few different exercises here and there to make sure you don't grow used to the same thing. Be sure to drink plenty of water before we leave - ah, we'll start tomorrow." Leave it to Juno to somehow take control of the whole thing...and change it completely.
However, this seemed different than her usual nagging, domineering self. In fact, there almost seemed to be a happy glimmer in her eye, as though she was truly pleased that she might've been able to help him out. It was easily missed in the face of the usually scowling dog...but, it was there.
Limp strands of coffee and cream fur started to slacken to his taut muscles rather than prickling with unease. Walking alongside Juno felt different, it honestly felt extremely weird to be this close to another hound when he usually kept his distance or followed towards the rear. He flanked her without even thinking and as he realized his position did his chest start hammering with uncertainty, what right did he have to act like an equal to her? No… This is different, they had already poured their feelings out within the open, he shouldn’t dismiss it. She cared and Choppa was struggling with his inner turmoil, trying to slap them down from his blossoming mood.
Lengthy limbs stepped carefully over the grown, cocoa hued eyes swimming around her proximity rather than actually staring directly at her. His eye-contact skills were floaty and he could barely keep a straight face during these situations. Choppa was trying to think his words through the best her could but now that he was actually realizing the gravity of what he had said, he was thoroughly confused that Juno wasn’t unhappy by his requests. To most hounds it looked like he was asking her out and Choppa was struggling with the idea if Juno had a thing for him or not… She said such bizarre things to him it almost made him feel special.
Warmth flooded his body for a moment; a weird twinge as he realized that feeling special to someone was kind of nice. Maybe she didn’t do this to many hounds… A moment they shared, an extraordinary scene that he experienced and no one else. A sheepish smile curled atop his tapered muzzle, yeah, he could try and make this friendship word. He wanted to. Juno’s silence broke as she answered his offer to jog with him and his warm brown gaze widened slightly at her proposed change in his work. The thought of exertion actually didn’t bother him, he wasn’t lazy by any means, no he was taken aback by her proposal to help and it was touching to say the least. Choppa wanted nothing more than to get better and Juno was willing to help, she didn’t dismiss him for being weak or anything… She even acknowledged his speed.
Before Choppa knew it, the entire atmosphere, everything, his anxiety from the beginning started to spill over in the faintest of mist from his gaze. It was relief, he didn’t expect this and he held so much gratitude. The moisture surprised him too and hoping before she noticed, the male jerked his face away, shaking his head to free the spare droplets as he readied his answer.
“I’m ready! I’ll love to have you train me… Because you’re just so… great,” his voice cracked a bit towards the end and he uttered about a few coughs in some attempts to mask it. “Wowie… This cold air gets ya sometimes,” croaked the male, gaze squinting towards nothing in particular in the distance. Smooth Choppa... Smooth.
Her ears twitched when the brown, long-legged dog spoke once more. This time, the obvious, yet sweet, compliment was enough to make the mottled female sputter slightly as she turned to stare at him, her walk briefly pausing. It wasn't...as though she was angry or even weirded out. It was just...well, he sounded so sincere with it. As though he truly meant it. And, well, in her own eyes, she really wasn't all that great...She was just..a dog that tried too hard most of the time.
Unsure what to say, the walker let out a little cough, head tilting elsewhere. "...Thanks," she lightly muttered out. She...didn't want him to feel bad nor awkward, but...it might've been a little too late for that now, huh?
A bit appreciative with the sudden conversation changing, the walker nodded. In the midst of all of this...'feelings talk' she hadn't even noticed the bitter cold that gnawed on her fur. "If you're cold you can walk closer. It's a tactic used for walkers for cold, early morning patrols." She offered, not exactly realizing that...she wasn't really helping in the whole 'awkward' air department as she partially invited the dog to cuddle. Still, it didn't even cross her mind as she shifted closer to Choppa, allowing their fur to very nearly rub against one another. She...also didn't realize he may have not been cold at all - it was just a conversation changer.
Tag: Choppa, Comments: Way shorter than I wanted it to be, sorry!
With his slightly wet eyes not drying in the cold air, he scowled towards nothing in particular. Choppa couldn’t see Juno’s face while he kept his gaze averted, it was odd not trying to read her expressions but perhaps this felt more genuine. She often didn’t make the visual reaction you’d expect and he could tell that her tone didn’t actually replicate her feelings. Perhaps she was easier to read than he thought and her eyes did shine with such emotion… It’s just her face is like a one way street. It wasn’t a bad thing, Choppa knew more than anything that he couldn’t judge someone’s communication skills because he likely sucked more.
Juno truly was pretty great; he meant it in the most innocent way he could manage. Choppa didn’t want to disrespect her and was making sure to keep his thoughts clean and lacking any impure intentions. This was just friend things; they needed to vent and stuff so this was normal. Chase and Banna probably did this stuff. That actually was a bad comparison; there was no way Choppa would let himself fall for another dog when he was so busy and unworthy in the first place. That was just wrong especially for Juno who had better things to do than deal with his stupid emotions.
A slight smile curled along his tapered muzzle at her soft ‘thanks’, it was so tender and cute in how she seemed reluctant to accept his praise. Chase often dismissed his praise too so it was amusing to see how others reacted to his appreciation, that wouldn’t stop him. He needed to show his adoration more often so these hounds could see how bright they shone. Feeling less incline to cry he moved his muzzle to face ahead, it wasn’t actually staring at her but he could see her in the corner of his eye at least.
Nodding seriously, he considered her offer with small awe. Incredible, the way Walkers functioned was different from Scraper’s blitz and move techniques. Their way of pacing themselves were to do bursts of runs which increased the heartrate and keep the limbs free moving and ready, however that was harder to do in casual walks and if your stamina was as rubbish as his was.
“Oh yeah, that’s pretty clever good thinking—EEP” he jumped for a second letting out a slightly high pitch yelp cocoa eyes jerking towards her in surprises as he felt plush fur graze his silky strands the slightest bit. His heart nearly jumped from his chest as she caught him off guard for a moment, eyes smoothing over her as he calmed. Then he felt it, the warmth circulated from her coat and he widened his eyes in awe once more.
“Oh wow you are hot. It’s like one of those two-leg carriers… Oh, wow,” he gushed smoothing into the warmth and accepting it better. He wasn’t the warmest of hounds so he did appreciate he gesture and a wide boyish smile pulled at his lips as he was lost in the moment, not realizing it as he merely pressed closer, smiling towards her.
“That’s really clever stuff! Yeah,” he answered with a firm nod, he already was learning so much from. “I look forward to learning more things, Juno!” a laugh passed from his lips, perhaps the first relaxed noise he gave this entire encounter. The initial closeness did startle him but now he realized it was to give him warmth, he was being silly with this stupid worrying that she might like him cause there was no way. A friend, a partner in training. That was Juno now.
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