ninemoons42 writes: Guard Dog
Erik has a fairly bad reputation in the neighborhood and he’s certain he’ll do everything in his power to make sure he keeps it.
He barks fit to blow out every window in his master’s house the moment he knows the postman is on the block. He growls at everyone and everything that passes him. He even bares his teeth at the three birds who like to perch in the branches of the tree over his kennel - though they’re funny birds and they twitter back to him when he snarls.
So when his midday nap is interrupted one day by a group of field mice, he lunges and snaps at them, and three of them freeze and hide their faces and scatter. He whuffs out a challenge because that’s not going to work on him. It only takes him a moment to remember what they smell like and he’ll be sure to attack them the moment he senses any of them coming near him again.
Which is why he yelps in surprise when he finds the *fourth* mouse, the *smallest* of the group, calmly investigating his food bowl.
Erik barks at him, once, and he feels his hackles rising, he could swallow that mouse in one gulp and still have room for another bowl of food.
The mouse simply, calmly, tilts its little head at him. Nostrils quivering. No fear-smell coming off him. The mouse does not act like prey - and Erik is a predator, no doubt about that, a guard dog and an exceptionally fierce one.
Erik watches, bemused, as the mouse climbs into the dish with some difficulty, long tail lashing madly.
He’s not surprised that the mouse comes out with a mouthful of food bulging in its cheeks - but he *is* surprised that the mouse is carrying more food in its paws.
More food, which the mouse deposits right next to Erik’s leg, and then the mouse flicks ears and tail at him and runs off. Maybe to find the others, who knows.
Erik stares at the place where the mouse had been, and then at the food next to his paw, and he gulps up the crumbs and maybe he can relax that reputation when it comes to that particular mouse.
He kind of wants to see it again.
Erik sighs and lies back down, puts his paws over his nose, and goes to sleep.
[When he wakes up the mouse is sleeping in a neat little curl of fur right at the door to his kennel, and he has to resist the urge to go over and sniff him right there and then. Instead he curls up nearby, protectively, and he listens with rapt attention to the rapid little breaths.]