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Avoiding the snow.


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#1
Gau

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Gau had been traveling in no particular direction, the “trail” of his brother having gone temporarily cold, and ended up back not terribly far from where he had run into a feisty dog in the past. In the male's mouth, was a small rabbit that had not been quite fast enough to reach it's burrow in time. It had been a while since stumbling across one of his victims, or anyone that had spotted the one that Gau hunted. Part of the brown wolf liked to hope that it meant his brother had finally stepped away from the evil acts that Gau knew him for, and had slipped away to start life with a clean slate. Much more likely though, was he had just been unlucky about finding anyone that might know where he had gone,
it wouldn't last forever, Gau was always good at finding his way back on the path to his brother. Gau was usually content to chalk that up to fate, or good luck, and patiently wait for the next break.

 

The sun above was almost hidden by darkened clouds that were probably heavy with snow, and was glad that he had already found a good place to stay the night, an old unused burrow in the side of some hilly terrain. It probably wouldn't have killed him to sleep out in the open, but the little bit of effort to find somewhere to escape the cold was usually worth it, at least to Gau. Thinking of the cold, reminded Gau of Shiba, the feisty little dog that he hoped had managed to stay out of trouble since they last saw one another, and how she might be handling the cold weather.

 

A white flake drifted past Gau's nose, the first of many that had begun falling down from above, and made the male a little more intent on getting back to the place he had chosen to spend the night. The sun still had hours in the sky, but he didn't want to risk the snow hiding the entrance before he got there. It would have probably made more sense to just eat his rabbit at the place it was caught, but he had instead started walking with it, and planned to eat once inside of the burrow.

 

Sure enough, by the time he had made it back to where he figured the place would be, it was getting harder to differentiate the burrow from the snow covered ground, and would require some attention to avoid being snowed in. Without paying a whole lot of attention, Gau started trying to enter the burrow, thoughts entirely on the rabbit that was to be his meal.


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#2
Torn

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It was a cold, harsh world out there. But then again, that was nothing new to Torn. She might have been raised within the confines of a fur farm, might have spent her earlier days being raised in a metal cage but that hadn't stopped her knowledge from being gained. Just because they were under the nebulous care of the humans didn't mean anything. They were still outside in their cages, still exposed to the elements. The only difference had been straw and small boxes that gave them some moderate shelter and warmth. Out here, out in the wild, there was none of that. There was no easy access to food, no ready made shelter, nothing to face the bite of the wind. It was a bitter world and Torn had molded herself to acclimate to that harshness and bitterness in the best way that she knew how. She could take care of herself, but why should she do all the work? Why should she not show how clever she was and how keen she was to survive through the efforts of others. By Torn's mind, if someone was stupid enough to fall for her ruses then they deserved whatever she gave them (which was often very little, except fleeting laughter and the whisk of a tail as she disappeared).

She had not been in this area for very long, but it was long enough to stake out a small area and see what lived here. Plenty of prey. Plenty of dogs, apparently. So far, she hadn't really run into any of them, a mingled bit of relief and a pity. One might provide her with some food and shelter. A whole group, however, was not something she could take on. Her clever, keen eyes had spotted the well hidden disturbance that indicated a burrow and she had weighed the options. She could ignore it. After all, most creatures were not pleased to find their homes invaded. She could fight whomever owned it, hoping that they were not overwhelmingly stronger than she was. The third option was her usual method; she would appear, seduce, charm, and use all of the skills available to her to make them think she was sincerely apologetic, that she just needed a place to stay, a bite to eat. Then she would whisk away come morning. It worked most of the time.

She had spotted another animal - what she thought might be a dog, although it was larger, shaped just a bit differently - leaving the den. It was a male, that much she knew, and that was enough for her. Most females tended to catch on to her, or at least weren't interested in any of the charms that Torn had to supposedly offer. Males, however, usually were. And that was what decided her. She needed to get out of the cold, get out of the potential blizzard that might sweep through and bury the land in snow. Her coat was thick, but she was not made to survive in this weather (or so she believed) and the colors that had been bred to appear onto her pelt put her at a severe disadvantage if it wasn't autumn. She needed a place to ride out the storm and relax, not worry if her colors might alert prey or predator alike.

So when the male canine had left, she had slunk down carefully, carefully, oh so slowly. She had slid within it, nostrils flaring at the scent that permeated through the earth around her. And then she had curled up and waited in the relative warmth; comfortable, but not relaxed. Just because this usually worked didn't mean it would work this time. If she was lucky, it would. If he decided not to believe her, if she was lucky all that would happen would be he force her to leave. No time to relax with that weight hanging over her head. Time passed until eventually she heard the tell-tale signs of another approaching and of paws scrabbling against dirt. She schooled her expression into one of contrite fear, as if she had been startled and knew she was in the wrong. She waited until the male appeared, ears flattening down. "Oh! Oh, I didn't know - I... I'm sorry to intrude. I had hoped what I had found was vacated." Any animal with a sense of smell should know how recently in use this burrow was but if she perhaps looked tired, a little small, alone and cold then he might just take pity upon her.



#3
Gau

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Gau had been looking forward to getting inside of his den, and digging into the rabbit, then probably taking a nap.  It had all sort of played out in the male's head, and so he was quite surprised to move part way into the den, his front half inside, his back half still outside, and spot someone else occupying the space.  The rabbit had been dropped, so that Gau could fight if he had to, his lips pulling back in the beginnings of a growl. In the time it took for Gau's eyes to adjust to the darkness, made worse by the fact that he was blocking most of the entrance, the wolf couldn't quite tell what was in front of him.  Whatever it was, they had not attacked, and the timid feminine voice caused Gau to quickly lose the aggressive posture.  Even if she had been less timid, Gau didn't like the idea of fighting the opposite sex.

With the question of whether the intruder was a threat apparently resolved, Gau considered how to handle the situation.  Where a look of lingering surprise had hung on the male's face, now lay a look of thoughtful consideration.  In the dim light, she looked to be smaller then himself, and some sort of canine, but what kind, he wasn't sure.  Dogs took many forms, so he supposed that might be what the stranger was.  Sending her back out into the cold would not have been the right thing to do, though Gau didn't really want to end up finding a new place for himself, and the last time he'd shared a den with someone else had been awkward at the very least.

"Calm down... I'm not the sort to hurt random strangers." Gau responded after the pause, sighing at running into another female that appeared vulnerable in his eyes.  "My name's Gau, if you'd like to stay, you can, but it's going to be a tight fit with two of us in here.  You'll need to move over a bit, so I can get in though." Gau spoke, and assuming that she would probably decide to stay, began carefully trying to move the rest of the way into the den.  Gau moved slowly to avoid stepping on the other canine while maneuvering, and also to give ample chance for her to declare any desire to leave instead.

Gau intended to position himself alongside the stranger, with his face toward the entrance.  The male wasn't too shy about sharing the close quarters with someone else, but still felt a little wariness about how the stranger might react.  The last female dog that had crawled into such cramped quarters with him, had seemed amiable about it at first, but had been touchy about the strangest things, and becoming aggressive because of it.  Gau only hoped that this one wasn't quite as unpredictable as Shiba had been, or at least remained predictable until they parted ways, he assumed in the morning after the snow had stopped falling.


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#4
Torn

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The problem with observing something from a distance was the inevitable truth that you did not quite realize just how big it was unless you had something to compare it with or until you drew near. This was the case for Torn. She had not realized how large the other canine was. Not until now, anyways. The inside of this den was not small by any means but it was also tight. If he chose to stand in the mouth of the den and he turned nasty, well, the odds might just be against her. But then again, that was life. Torn was a tricky and canny soul but she also understood the way of the world. If she made a poor choice, if she got herself caught then well... that was what she deserved in the end. That was why she took from and used others; if they allowed it, they deserved it. If she made a poor choice and her life ended then it was her own fault for being stupid.

Thankfully, her luck was with her and holding as her act of timidity seemed to be paying off. After the initial shock of the moment, the other canine had lost that aggressive stance and there was even a soft little sigh before the male told her to calm down. That was perfect in her eyes. He wasn't being overly protective of the situation and he seemed willing to allow her to stay. If the lighting hadn't been so dim within the confines of the burrow, the amused and yet greedy light practically dancing in those pale eyes might have given her away. This was perfect. Every male she had ever run across that either wanted something from her or wanted to protect her had provided good fun and good food before she raced off to her next conquest. It looked like this male would prove to be similar.

"Oh, yes, of course," the coyote kept up the shy, timid front that she had put in place for now. It was reasonable that she would still be unsettled. Later she could shift to something a little better suited towards her general personality if it seemed favorable. Her keen eyes didn't miss the rabbit that the male had dropped on the ground of the den in the least. Little did he know it, but she quite planned to take that dinner from him - or at least what he would willingly spare. Slowly, carefully, the female lifted herself up enough that she could shift to the side and make room for the larger male. She had little problem with being crowded, so long as he didn't try to attack her or get too into her personal space. It actually made the little burrow quite warm and comfy with two creatures giving off body heat after all.

Finally settled, she watched the dark brown canine as he shifted closer towards her. She was wary still, but that was not really breaking her personality much. Just about any wild creature would be wary of a stranger. It was always a surprise to her when some dog decided that just because she was female she was no threat and needed to be protected. Well, most of them that were her size or larger she couldn't do much about in terms of harming them but she certainly could break their hearts and steal their lunches. "I hadn't intended to disturb you, Gau. I've just been... so tired, I suppose I missed signs that I should see." The ears and head dipped just a tiny bit; not enough to be seen as obviously acting, but enough to hopefully convey that she was weary, perhaps lacking food in the harshness of the winter. "My name is Torn," she offered up her own name to the male. She could have used a fake one - she had in the past - but she often didn't see the need, not unless she felt the other was incredibly dangerous. She could usually get out of there before it got too deep.



#5
Gau

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As Gau had expected, the female did not turn down his offer of staying, but kept the timid demeanor, which he imagined she would probably keep until she became comfortable around him. Being in a den with a stranger wasn't something that put Gau at ease, and he could imagine that being in a den with a larger male stranger, as a female, was even less appealing for her. Once he had settled in beside the other canine, Gau listened, while turning his head so that he could look at them.

 

Whatever they were, Gau had never seen their like before.  She was obviously a canine of some sort, not a wolf, and not a fox.  A dog maybe, and those were not too far off from his own kind, at least usually.  She was easy enough on the eyes, having a hint of the exotic, at least to Gau, but not so exotic that any potential appeal was washed away by being too alien.  Unlike his brother Aug, Gau didn't hold any disdain for dogs, and believed that all things being equal, they could be just as ugly, or attractive as a wolf.

 

The larger male considered Torn, while thinking on what she had told him. From looking at Torn, the wolf suspected that she wasn't well suited for the harsher winter months, and her words only reinforced that suspicion. Not finding quite enough food, and going to sleep cold every night, both could contribute to being tired. That reminded him of the rabbit that he had brought with him, what Gau had planned to eat for his meal. With Torn presumably staying the night, Gau knew that he should share some of the rabbit with the female, certainly not all of it, but half maybe.


That didn't solve the problem that Gau thought Torn had, since winter wasn't likely to vanish in a night's time. ”Torn...” Gau repeated, to help himself remember, before continuing ”A pretty name. You didn't really disturb me, surprise yes, but you don't seem like the sort I should avoid sharing
a den with.”
. Gau's tone was light, an attempt to coax torn into relaxing a bit, her shyness making the male think she was fearful of him. Being feared was something that made Gau think of his brother Aug, and emulating his brother was the last thing that the male liked to do.

 

In the back of Gau's head, he considered offering longer term help, at least for the duration of winter, but he was reluctant to be stuck in one spot for so long, at least while Aug was loose. ”I don't think I've seen anyone like you before, are you a dog? You don't look like the snow is your friend.” Gau commented, fishing for some more information, hoping that she was just some human's pet that had become temporarily lost. Or maybe being corrected, and finding out that she endured the winter weather just fine, without any help from strange wolves.

 

Reaching out with one of his forepaws, Gau gently pulled the rabbit closer to himself, and watched for the female's reaction. Gau wanted to know if she was going hungry, and figured he might be able to find that out by watching how she responded to his moving food around near her. It was a largely
pointless exercise, since he had already decided to share half of the rabbit, but that didn't stop the wolf.


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#6
Torn

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Amazingly, her story was still holding and the other canine was falling for it all. It was always amazing to her. Half the time she could be a terrible actress with a story that was hard to believe, but so long as she feigned a little bit of weakness most others would be willing to believe whatever she said. It was certainly a bonus, even if it baffled her. It often meant she never had to worry about where to sleep or what she would eat. Not when others just gave it to her willingly. The larger ears of the female rotated just a little bit, taking in the sounds of the male as he settled in. She could feel the golden eyes that rested on her and wondered what he was making of her; feeling pity, perhaps? Or scrutinizing her for flaws in her story? It was always a possibility, either way. As he spoke, she turned her head towards him, her own pale golden eyes watching him just as intently. A slight smile tugged its way up onto her muzzle at his compliment of her name - certainly not the first time that she had heard that - and she dipped her head just a little in acknowledgement of the compliment. "I'm very glad of that," she responded to his words. He would never know just how glad or the why of it. Not until she was long gone, with only the memories of her act to keep him company.

He seemed to be going out of his way to keep his voice and tone even, likely to not attempt to startle her. Well, that just meant he was probably thinking she was still apt to panic at any moment, still worried about him. All to the good. At his words, she couldn't quite stop the snort that came. She was all right enough in the snow, but the winter was no one's friend. It didn't matter how well prepared or not she was for it. It certainly would not pull any punches. "No, no, I am not a dog at all. Nor, I think, are you." She spoke the last bit tentatively, as if afraid of retribution. She had no name for what he was, but he certainly did not look like any dog she had met (although she knew that they came in far more shapes and sizes than any other canine she had run into). "I am called a coyote." And she had never seen another of her kind, except for the ones that had lived on the human farm that she had. Once she had escaped there had never been any sign of another coyote. "It is cold, but I just need a bit of time to rest. My coat is thick enough." She was, after all, bred to have a nice, plush coat.

"And you?" she questioned him. For once she was curious. She had run across plenty of dogs, a few foxes - even a few raccoon dogs. But she had never seen another coyote since she had left the fur farm and there her knowledge of canines died. Her head turned just a tiny bit at the action from the large male, watching as his paw pulled the rabbit closer. The keen eyes didn't miss much when it came to food and she certainly wasn't acting in the least when she felt her mouth salivate some at the sight of food so near, when her body shifted forward just a tiny bit towards the food and when she made a soft noise - almost but not quite a whine - in the back of her throat. Torn hardly ever actually begged for food. She acted the part and allowed her body (and her stomach) do the talking for her. She was rangy enough, like most coyotes, that she looked as if she was having a hard time. She just let whomever she was around infer the rest.



#7
Gau

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Gau was pleased with himself, his attempts to make his unexpected guest feel safe around him seemed to be working.  At least he thought her behavior had become less flighty, and the slight smile at his compliment brought a soft wolfish grin to his own face.  Part of Gau would have preferred his night be spent alone, and not looking over a strange female, but the male was still more than ready to be protective toward what he considered to be the weaker gender.

Torn's cautious response to Gau's curiosity caused him to be even more interested in what she might be.  He was only familiar with dogs, wolves, and foxes, having never seen a coyote in his life before.  "A coyote huh?  I've never seen one of your kind before, but you don't seem too different from wolves, and dogs." Gau replied, intending to emphasize their similarities, but not thinking a comparison with dogs might be insulting to the stranger.  "I'm a wolf of course, not a dog." Gau added as an after thought, realizing his words might not have made that clear.

Moving the food around had caused Torn to show interest, as Gau had expected, but the male had not expected how strong the female's interest seemed to be.  The begging sounds that came from the coyote made Gau feel a little guilty about trying to get a response from Torn.  "Seems like you probably need a little more than just a bit of time to rest..." Gau commented, while taking another good look at the coyote.  Gau wasn't sure how bulky coyotes were supposed to look, but to him, she seemed like more than just the one rabbit would be needed to put some meat on her bones.

Gau wished at times like then, that he was just a little bit more selfish, and more ready to eat the rabbit that he had worked to catch.  He wasn't his brother though, and Torn certainly looked like she could use the food more than he needed it.  Reaching down to take the rabbit in his teeth, Gau picked up what he had intended to be his meal, and set it in front of Torn.  "Here, you can have the rabbit, I should be fine till morning." Gau said, some of his reluctance leaking through into his voice.

Having another warm body next to his own was a pleasant reminder of his past, when sharing a den with family was a regular thing for the male.  It was nice, and caused him to continue thinking about offering Torn the option to stay with him a while.  It was only icing on the cake that she was easy on the eyes as well, minus the bit where Torn seemed to need several good meals.  "If you want to stay for a while, we should be able to share more food, until you feel up to leaving anyways." Gau added, after the short pause.

If she accepted, it meant more time stuck in one place, and not chasing after his nemesis.  Of course Gau would be even less pleased, if he had not offered, and he found a starved coyote sometime in the future.  A few days was unlikely to make a huge difference anyways, at least that was the excuse that the wolf told himself.
 


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#8
Torn

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Had Torn been able to really spend time with others of her kind, she would have realized that she was following a long legacy of coyotes fulfilling the role of the inevitable trickster and survivor. Torn's association with others of her own kind, however, had been vastly limited. There had been space and wire and latches between her and the others at the place of humans. Many of the others had been placid or far too neurotic for her to engage in much conversation with. And so much of her own self-discovery and opinion of herself was that she was the trickiest, the only one who could pull this sort of thing off. It was perhaps a forgivable sort of assumption, although one that had the potential to turn quite deadly if someone turned the game back on her or if someone realized what she was doing and took offense to it. Her golden eyes watched the other canine as he spoke. A wolf? There was no familiarity in that name. She had only seen dogs and foxes (and the coyotes that were in the human farm). "I have never seen or heard of a wolf before." Instincts told her that he was probably something that she should fear, given that he was a much larger predator than she was. His own attitude, however, was one that kept her from abandoning her plan. Had he shown any bit of aggression her own experiences and instincts would have had her fleeing. But he seemed more than willing to offer her shelter and aid.

It was probably a good thing that the male didn't seem too keen on looking directly into her eyes, because it was hard to fully diminish the sudden light of accomplishment and greed that had popped up within them at the sight of the rabbit being lifted upwards and then placed directly in front of her. It was only a matter of seconds, however, and soon she had schooled the look in her eyes and her entire expression into one of dying gratitude. "Oh, but are you quite sure?" Though Torn really didn't care one way or another if Gau was sure, it was all part of a personality to keep going. A weak, nervous and unsure female certainly would want to make sure before she dived into the dinner of another, after all. With the confirmation that he did not mind (or at least he pretended to not mind with an overhanging feeling of chagrin) she leaned in, nostrils flaring just a tiny bit to draw in the enticing scent of the rabbit now lying right in front of her paws. She hadn't lied completely to the wolf. She was hungry and it had been awhile since she had eaten with any regularity. She wasn't starving by any means, but that didn't mean that she wasn't going to eat what was given to her. Perhaps she would leave a few tidbits for such a kind soul. Perhaps.

Delicately, she closed her own teeth around the body of the rabbit and pulled it just a bit closer, working at plucking some of the fur away with small nips and tugs. Her large ears - far larger than the ones that perched atop Gau's own head, she had noted - swiveled just a tiny bit as the male watched her and then when he spoke into the silence that had grown between them. It was all she could do to hide the triumphant smile that wanted to burst forth with those words. Share food indeed. She lifted her head and turned her gaze towards the male, ears pricking up, an expression of soft surprise flitting across her features. "Oh... you... yes, yes, I don't know why you have offered but yes. I think that I would like that very much." A few days, perhaps a few weeks, of steady meals, of warmth in the cold and of protection for very little effort? Yes, Torn would like that very much indeed. And Gau? Well, he would be blessed with her company. She wouldn't let him starve, of course. And she would speak with him, curl up with him. She would just ensure that she received the choice bits, the best spots and when she grew tired of it all... well, he could find someone else to keep him company then.



#9
Gau

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Gau's stomach was quick to remind him of his own hunger, as soon as Torn began eating the rabbit that he had given her.  The male ignored those feelings as much as he was able, focusing on the less filling feeling of having done what he thought was the right thing.  Right or wrong, he could still smell the rabbit, and watch it being eaten.  To add to everything, he had offered to endure very likely, more of the same.  The male was adept enough at feeding himself, but wondered how well he would be able to feed the female, as well as himself with snow on the ground, but he supposed there was always the chance she would turn his offer down, it would be awful trusting of her to just den up with a male she had only just met.

 

That guilty hope that danced in the back of Gau's head, while watching the female eat his rabbit was very quickly dashed by the Coyote's reply.  Her deameanor made things a little more appealing of course, a damsel in distress was always a good way to tug at Gau's attention, even if he knew how troublesome helping might be for himself.  Gau did well at hiding those internal thoughts, when he replied in a pleasant tone "Well, you seemed like you could use the help, and I'd feel pretty bad if I just left a female out in the cold, only to hear later on about you not making it through the winter".  It was the truth, that he would feel badly, and probably assume that his help could have prevented it.

 

Looking on the bright side of things, the male imagined that staying around long enough to actually get to know someone would be a good change of pace.  Even more bright, was that the person he would get to know, happened to be a lady, and one that was easy on the eyes, even if he did not think anywhere beyond that.  It would also give him an excuse to try digging out, or claiming some sort of shelter that was more comfortable than whatever tree he happened to lay down under for a night's rest.  The den they were in currently, it would probably work, though he imagined she would probably want something not quite so cozy, not that he had any idea how the opposite gender thought.  Every encounter he had with them only reinforced that thought, and he did not expect his time with Torn to reverse that opinion.

 

"Besides, it will be nice to have someone else to help keep the chill out."  The male commented idley, not thinking too deeply into his own words, and started rearranging himself in the den somewhat, trying to find a more comfortable position to sleep in.  "Do you have family?" Gau would ask, trying to bring conversation, and draw his attention further away from the aroma of rabbit.


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#10
Torn

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Though Torn was not precisely cruel, neither was she an overly nice being either. She had very little concern for the hunger of the wolf beside her. In her world, there was only one individual that mattered and that was herself. She had never wished death upon another, but she wouldn't waste her time mourning if an acquaintance was lost - though that was hardly to be likely in this case. Gau was only offering up one meal to her and he certainly didn't look as if he were starved. And, for as long as she stayed around him, she wasn't going to let him starve to death. Why would she let her meal ticket go to waste, after all? Since she had escaped from confinement by the humans, she could even play off a lack of familiarity with hunting and keeping herself fed so that a steady supply of food would make its way towards her without her having to exert any effort. Of course, if he looked like he was beginning to become suspicious she would just let him 'teach' her how to hunt. That would be amusing and would probably appease him; she had met more than enough canines of Gau's type to know that the minute she acted like she needed his help he would fall all over himself to give her that aid without considering how much of it was exaggeration and how much was the truth. Really, it all depended on how long she could hold up this persona without pushing it too far.

One of the female's large ears flicked back slightly at the other canine's words and she had to resist a snort. She had met a fair few of chivalrous souls in her time and they all always seemed to think that just because she was a seemingly dainty female that she would perish the moment it became too cold or too hot or too anything. She had never chosen to enlighten them at how well she tended to do. She may have been raised in a fur farm, but her personality and her instincts were with that of her wild brethren. She had heard many stories of the tricks that coyotes could play and the instinct to survive. She was certainly not going to be a disgrace to her species. Maybe, one day, the dogs of this country would speak of her exploits in a kind of annoyed awe. It would be a testimony to her skills. "I do so appreciate it," she responded to the wolf, using the honeyed words rather than the derisive snort and yipping laughter common to her kind that she wanted to indulge in. "There is nothing like a little company when the wind is bitterly cold and the snow seems unending." And, of course, there was nothing like a little company to leech some heat from as well.

Amazingly, Gau voiced her own silent opinion although it was put a bit more delicately than her own thoughts. Some females probably would have taken offense to the words and, realistically, the female that she was playing probably should. But she couldn't find it in herself to really work up to pretending to be offended over it. He was right, after all. She was surprised when he questioned her about family, however. Most of the dogs that she had spoken to had all never been overly interested in her. Not in her past and they certainly didn't want family ties in the way. Torn did have family, of course; she had come from a mother and father, there had been a litter. Yet she had hardly known them. Once old enough, they had been moved to their own cages. There wasn't much social interaction outside of the few individuals caged beside you or across from you. "None that I am close to. I was born among humans and I was allowed very little contact with anyone until I escaped." That would certainly help confirm the whole 'damsel in distress' image that she seemed to have conjured up.



#11
Gau

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As Gau finally found the position he would spend the rest of the night in, barring some unforeseen  event, it struck the male how comfortable the den was with someone else inside of it with him. The coyote's scent permeating the immediate area was another change, but he had not yet decided what he thought about that. On the one hand, having an unfamiliar scent so close to him triggered caution in the male, but there was something enticing about it as well.

 

The coyote's honeyed words focused the wolf's attention back onto their conversation, and served to brush away some of Gau's lingering reluctance to acting as the female's temporary guardian. Hearing her sound more than okay with chasing away the winter cold with his help was a little bit of a surprise for the male, still holding onto the belief she would be a bit more shy about being as close to him as they were. That the alternative would have been freezing outside, at least in Gau's mind, kept the male from being too suspicious about an otherwise stereotypical damsel in distress.

 

“I'm sorry to hear that. About the humans, and not being close to your family.” Gau would respond in as comforting a tone as he could muster, one of his front paws lifting up to try draping across the Coyote alongside him. The reaction was one that Gau wouldn't even be aware he was doing, his voice continuing “But at least you got away from the humans, probably safer away from them since you are not a dog. At least they seem to be the only ones they treat well.”. Gau's tone became more neutral as he spoke of the human's differing treatment of canines, most of what he knew being from hearsay, given his own desire to avoid them. There was no hate for humans in the wolf, but he also didn't have a burning desire to be around something that was liable to make a rug out of him.


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#12
Torn

Torn
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At least she hadn't bungled up her little chance here by being so willing to curl up close to the other canine. Granted, she was crafty and hardy and would have found a way to make do if he cast her out but this was so much easier and Torn was all about making her life easy. It would have been a shame to lose the heat that was beginning to slowly build up in the den, thanks to the close walls and the two bodies emanating heat. It would have been a shame to lose such an easy meal, too. Thankfully the cold, much as she might dislike it, provided her with a good cover up. "It is certainly nice to be out of the wind and the snow," she sighed, adding just a little more verisimilitude to her story. Torn certainly didn't like the wet and the cold. She didn't have to act too much to show just how grateful she was to be out of the biting wind.

Torn felt little sadness in hardly knowing her family. She had never even met her father and only been allowed a specific amount of time with her mother and siblings. It certainly hadn't been long enough to make full bonds with them. From then on, her days had been mostly by herself in the cage that she lived in, surrounded by other coyotes but most of them didn't make too many friendships. Too easy to get hurt that way. It was everyone for themselves, mostly. So she didn't quite understand the way that the wolf seemed to want to comfort her for her lack of being with her family. Living with the humans she could understand, but family? Maybe it was a wolf thing. Gau was going to need an answer that lived up to the general personality that she was crafting here and, unfortunately, she just did not have the same life experiences that he must have had to feel sorry for herself over not knowing her family well. "It is a product of the humans, I suppose, that I don't feel a close tie to them," she tried to swing it more onto the humans. Most wild things disliked them and so surely Gau would believe that much. She twitched some as his paw came out towards her, skin flicking and shivering just a tiny bit at the familiarity but she didn't quite shrug him off either. It felt far too much like she could be easily trapped with that paw, and yet she realized that he was trying to offer her some sort of... comfort? And a weak and emotional creature such as she was portraying would probably like that comfort and so she allowed it, although anything more than that and she would have to make it quite clear that she would like some space at least. Politely and demurely, of course.

"Yes, they do seem to care for little other than themselves." In truth, Torn didn't honestly know much about the humans. They had kept her and others. They had fed her. But her interactions with them weren't precisely bad, either. Certainly she knew that she was their captive and had been since birth but there was no one attacking her, beating her, scaring her. They just existed as strange entities that brought food and water, cleaned cages. Sometimes, though, they came and took a handful of coyotes (or foxes; she had seen those there, too) and they were never seen again. Perhaps they set them free but she doubted that. Humans were just like any other animal - they were only interested in what benefited them and where was the benefit in keeping animals in cages, feeding them, and then letting them go? None, so far as Torn knew. So she had made it her aim to get out of there before she disappeared, too. For all that knowledge, though, she didn't particularly dislike them. They just were. "Have you had many dealings with them?" The wolf spoke as if he knew them. Perhaps he had some sort of vendetta against them, but maybe he was just speaking of the knowledge that most wild things had.






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