[P] The smallest pawsteps leave the largest prints in the snow
p. Thread
OOC: Backdated to late December.

Jonk winced and curled his arms around his head. He was able to distinguish his pups’ joyous screams by shrillness alone. That one, as evidenced by the pounding of his skull, was Smokescreen’s. They were good children, of course they were, but did they have to be so loud directly above his head? He had a splitting headache, and it was making him a terrible host.

Not that Thread seemed to mind. The wolf seemed content to keep him company as Marten bounded across the den site, playing chase with Jonk’s pups like she was their peer. Which, the golden prince supposed, she was — just an older one. The youth of New Caledonia so frequently separated themselves into children and adults that he’d almost forgotten what adolescence was supposed to look like; a roving pack of troublemaking pups who knew they weren’t ready for adulthood just yet.

He missed it. Smoketrail was talking about joining Del Cenere in the spring, for Horse Mother’s sake!

Jonk hoped that Woodsmoke and Kohl were having better luck preparing “den dinner,” the latter having brought an entire squash to cook down into a hearty hare stew. He wished he could meet the group’s resident agriculturist — Quincy became an anxious recluse once a moon, apparently — but his produce was just as tasty without his presence.

Another yell — Wojo’s this time — pierced Jonk’s skull like an arrowhead. Groaning into his forearms, he squinted at Thread through the gloom of his den. ”I imagine you’re hoping for at least six pups, then?” Jonk asked, smiling through the pain. Kohl and Marten certainly seemed excited for such a thing, having spent much of the afternoon trying to tire out his eight-strong brood.
The pups were loud, boisterous, and yet still fragile. Thread resisted the urge to toss them. Literally toss them. Many times he had thrown younger siblings or cousins into the lake, though that was when they were all two-legged and rowdy. These were still little pups, as loud as they were. The most he could do was to nudge the pups towards something more exciting than two older men just sitting about. Though from his experience, the man knew just how much pups loved to bother their fathers. A welcomed bother, but a bother none the less.

“For dat I’d need ta have t'ree wives,” Thread told Jonk. The man was well versed in failed pregnancies, and knew that the only way to have such a huge number of pups was to have many, many partners carrying as much young as they could. That, however, was irresponsible, though given that mainland was very full of food and everything anyone would need, perhaps it would be easier to have a whole pack of pups like Jonk did. “I’m not sure if Kohl is okay wit dat, and so I would settle fer one healthy pup,” The snaggle-toothed man explained.

“Not many pups survive wher I’m from, I don’t inten ta bring dat grief ta Kohl,” he told Jonk, though his tone was not angry. It wasn’t a chastisement of the handsome, smelly, horse lover. Thread merely was explaining his experience through the world. The common death of a pup was one of the reasons why Thread enjoyed the company of men more often than not. There wasn’t the chance of making life cut short with those who were configured like he was. “I am very happy for ya, ya kept yer wife very healthy durin’ her carryin’” he complimented his very handsome friend.

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