[P] Make the Most of It
Fluffy; Theo
"Hey dad." The young Reeves spoke up as she walked alongside her father to the spot where the two of them would train occasionally, when he wasn't off working or spending time with her mom. She could never understand why her sister didn't come with them more often, the things dad taught them were way more exciting than sniffing plants and making tea or talking to the air. She might not get it, but it was whatever, at least she still had her dad to do the more cool stuff with when her sister didn't wanna hang out at times. 

"You remember when I ran away that time...?" She asked tentatively, testing the waters and hoping not to make the man angry with her all over again. "I promise there's a point to me bringing it up." She placated with a disarming hand gesture and a sheepish smile, hands up and palms forward. "Well, I saw that guy, Waynescott? And he taught me how to rope, a little, he said he woulda thought you'd have taught me..." She mumbled, eyes glancing up  the side to gauge his reaction from under dark lashes. 

They were approaching their knife throwing spot now, and Aether hurried forward with a bouncing stride, excited to get to practicing. Nothing really beat the rush of excitement she felt when she hit the target, and more than anything, she wanted to be as good and strong as her dad was. She looked up to him with a broad grin. "I bet I'll beat you today!" She told him, her tail wagging. "I'm even gonna be as tall as you soon I bet!"
"Yeah kiddo?" came his response, glancing down at one of the kids he and Whisper had together, already grown up to an alarming degree.  Secretly, he was over the moon about how he shared a special connection with Aether, that the two of them would bond over knives and rough-housing, something that hadn't really appealed to Whisper or Ariadne.  It was something unique to the pair of them, and it made the father feel like he was... well, good at being a parent.  He knew that wasn't the only criteria a person could have, but it was something he held close to his heart.

Aether had continued her thought after he acknowledged her prompting, and he raised an eyebrow as the mottled coydog began to dig up the past.  Yes, Aether did know exactly how to get his attention.  "I'm listenin'." he said patiently, attempting to reassure her as she stated that there was more to the subject than reminding him of the time that he was worried sick.  The Reeves father placed his feet cautiously as they walked, listening to Aether as he checked to make sure they weren't walking into a patch of ice under the snow, hoping to avoid eating a face full of snow and losing dignity in front of his pup.  His expression flickered to something a bit more reflective when the young hellion brought up Waynescott, whom he was obviously familiar with.  He had been one of the ones responsible for finding their children alone and frightened with Jed when he and Whisper had been kidnapped by slavers, escorting them to safety in Casa's lands.

He nodded absently, thinking about how much he had or hadn't actually taught Aether and Ariadne.  "You're right, I should'a taught you that, and more." he admitted, staring ahead as his thoughts strayed elsewhere, snapping back to attention as Aether bounded forward to their practice range.  It was pretty bare bones, with targets painted onto dead, thin trunks that Theo had found and chopped up to be approximately shoulder height.  It had taken some time and effort, but being able to strip the bark away and have a softer, easier target to penetrate was a better idea than taking turns chucking knives at each other.  That was something he didn't want to relive anytime soon, the male rubbing his brow in rememberance.  He gave a soft bark of a laugh at Aether's claims of beating him, a small smirk playing on his muzzle as she declared that she'd get to be as tall as him.  Maybe so, there was still some growing that could potentially happen.  It wouldn't do to let it get to her head though.

"Let's just focus on not bouncin' your target today." he joked, bumping his still-shorter pup with his arm.  Glancing over to the targets again now, he looked back to Aether and held up a hand.  "Actually, I need to go over somethin' with you, about our technique when throwin'?" he informed Aether, less of a question than a statement.
Aether gave a thoughtful nod as though she was reflecting on something deep when Theo gave his response about how he should have taught them a lot of things. "Why don't you then?" She asked simply, as though it wasn't complicated a thing to ask in the slightest. "You're not that old yet." She added with a sly smirk, adding a bit of insult and injury for the fun of it, after all, she was an adolescent now to a t. Aether didn't place her feet nearly as carefully as her dad did, she had a bounce to her step like a bounding deer, only a couple times did she hit a patch of slippery terrain and slid forward a pace, compensating for her balance by flailing her arms but not losing her footing as she continued on. 

They made it there to their little array of targets and Aether beamed in excitement, her tail wagging as she looked to her father, the keeper of the knives, but his response to her challenge took her smile and changed it into a rather powerful pout, her arms crossed. "Ha ha very funny." She said, playfully pushing her father for revenge at his jab towards her skills. Much to her chagrin, they didn't get to business right away, instead he wanted to work some kind of tired lesson into their practice. "Yeah? What about our technique?" She asked with a frown, sass written all over it. "Can't we throw and talk at the same time?"
What Aether said made sense, though he scoffed loudly at the way she chose to word it.  "Maybe I should start with teachin' you to respect your elders." he said gruffly, though he couldn't hide the smile from his face to complete the effect.  It was alright though, he didn't mind her teasing all that much while he got to watch the young coydog flop around like a fawn getting used to its legs every time she found a slick spot on the ground.  It would probably only take one or two times for Aether to bust her hind on the deceptively hard ground before she was a little more cautious when moving around.  Or maybe three or four, knowing how hard of head she could be, though Theo supposed that was inherited from him.

He became a little more serious though when it came to discussing knife throwing, especially since he had in recent times become aware of a failing of his.  "So you know how we throw the knife startin' from back here, above the head an' shoulder?" he said, mimicking the posture and motions that he drilled into Aether, until she could hit the targets with a considerable amount of reliability.  "Forget that.  It's all showdressin', apparently.  I learned that there's a much, much better way to throw."  To demonstrate, he drew a knife from his belt, stood with his off-shoulder side on with a target, rocked onto his back foot as he planted it, and brought the knife high in an arc over his head, following through with the motion as he brought his front foot down, letting the blade fly freely from his hand as he did so, watching it fly straight ahead, point forward, and in a key note, much, much faster than the flamboyant nonsense he'd been telling Aether to do it.  He heard the knife slam into the rotten trunk of the tree, dead center where it remained buried.

"What I taught you before was performance, just parlor tricks.  This, is real combat throwing." he said, a little chuffed.  He remembered how Hector's laugh rang in his ears as he learned that the art he'd been learning and practicing all his life was just that, art.  That's why the duel was so structured like it was, if you had tried to actually move around as you fought, it would be impossible to do any real damage without taking far too long to line up a shot and release, as he learned first hand.  And, as bitter as it made him to admit, the technique he demonstrated was a far easier way to throw a knife, being much more versatile on the move to boot.  "Practice the other way if you want to impress someone, but this is what you're gonna learn for defending yourself." he told Aether, looking to her to see if she had any questions.
For as much trouble as she gave him, she did respect him, and she simply answered his rebuttal with a shrug and an innocent smile, knowing just how much she could push her dad and keep it fun for both of them, that was one valuable lesson she had learned from her mother, at least she could give her that much credit, as well as the lesson of emotional availability and a bit of maturity and level headedness, otherwise, she was without a doubt her father's kid. "I'll just have to get better than you quickly then, that way you can start respecting your betters too." She returned, the delivery completed with a quick hip check to her father before she allowed herself to get serious, ready for the lesson he had to teach her. 

At the mention of a better way to throw, Aether looked confused, her brows coming together over her eyes as he told her to disregard everything he'd taught her up to that point as show dressing. "A better way?" They asked, head tilting, but their eyes watched sharply each of the movements that Theo then demonstrated, the way he turned to the side, and pitched the knife forward like a fast ball, and how the blade shot straight like an arrow from his hand, not spinning end over end like it usually did. Aether's jaw dropped and they looked incredulously at their father. "You mean to tell me all that practice making the knife hit point first was for nothing?!" She questioned, before huffing and running over to the tree to collect the knife from it's wood. 

"I want to try!" She yelled from across the range as she marched back, knife in her hand and legs striding to their fullest extent with eagerness and frustration. "Show me again?" They asked when they got back, watching Theo and doing their best to imitate the movement he made, in slow motion at first, to try and get it down before trying to actually throw in that manner.
Aether's quick rebuttal left Theo with his mouth agape, as he turned to look at the shorter coydog, his face morphing into a toothy grin as he leered at her, waggling a finger at her as he nodded, filing the insult away to address it another time when he came up with a suitable comeback of his own.  If he wasn't so sure that Aether would eventually one day wander off from home and needed to know how to fight, he might've second guessed teaching her all the best moves and techniques to throwing these things.  For the time being, he bided his tongue till he could clap back with something witty, yet not crossing a line.

His little protégé seemed uncertain when he started the explanation, but when she saw the results, Aether was understandably outraged that he'd taught a much harder, much less useful technique in the beginning, but hopefully now he could set things on the right path with this.  And besides, it wasn't for nothing, though he thought about telling the apprentice that it was just to mess with her.  Learning that performative technique taught the growing pup discipline, and gave her the skills and patience required to make learning this better technique a relative breeze, all she needed was to form the habits around this different style.  "Well it wasn't for nothin'.  It'll be a neat party trick for makin' friends."  He couldn't resist poking the tip of his tongue out as he said it, hoping she didn't mind the mild teasing all that much.

Eager as ever to learn, Theo waved the teen over to stand where he had thrown the knife, only a short distance away to start with so one could learn the basics of the technique before trying to compensate for distance.  "Square up here then, with your shoulder lined up with the target." he instructed, demonstrating as he went for a visual guide to go along with.  "Have your knife down here, your arm hangin' its natural length, an' your grip like this."  The father took a break from physically demonstrating the steps to bring his hand and knife up, showing Aether that he had his index finger resting along the side of the knife, his thumb pinching the handle as the rest of his fingers held it loosely closer to the end of the handle, wrapped around the opposite side of the knife than his index.

Resuming his coordinated representation, Theo positioned himself against the target once more, bringing his hand to a lax position by his leg.  "Put your weight on your back foot, bring the knife up an' over without bendin' your arm too much, and let it go as you bring your foot down."  With the verbal part of the instruction down, he proceeded to throw the knife at his former target once more, hearing the resounding smack as his knife drove home, though it stuck at a slight angle this time, and off center from the target.  "I'm still tryna get the hang of it too, so just hang in there." he told Aether, a part of him in the back of his head wondering if that little tidbit of knowledge would spark that competitive streak in Aether.

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