“I’m going to buy a dog,” Laoise announced suddenly.
Ruarc, who had been minding his own business, sat his book down on the table as he processed what he had just heard. Squinting from behind his glasses, he stared at his familiar in a way that suggested he was wondering when she would say the punchline. She just stood there with a determined air about her. Shifting in his seat, the Irishman took his classes off and sat them on top of the book. “A dog? Why do you want a dog?” he finally asked.
“Because I want to exercise my independence,” the young woman explained.
“Y’sure it’s not because you had a traumatic experience and now want to have a renewed measure of control?” the older man analyzed. Laoise shrank a little in response, but Ruarc was quick to raise a hand and gesture that nothing was wrong.
“It’s a reasonable response,” Ruarc stated. “My only concern is that, well, I get the feeling that I would end up being the one really taking care of it.”
“I mean, given my work I would ask for help taking care of it, but that is what family is for; right?” Laoise followed. Ruarc sighed at the blatant buttering, and rested his chin in a braced palm as he considered the notion.
“Very well,” Ruarc relented. “But I expect you to research and pla…”
The door swung open with great speed.
“Ruru! We bought you a dog!” Caoranach said as she practically skipped into the cottage; a lumpy ball of fur cradled in her arms.
“Caoranach! The plan! You’re too early!” Laoise said with indignation. Ruarc was speechless and sat motionless.
“Relax, he was always going to agree to it, and I just got so excited because of this li’l cutie,” the fairy said as she cuddled the bundle.
“What do you mean you bought me a dog?” Ruarc asked, making Laoise freeze.
“Laoise was testing the waters to see how you felt,” Carrie responded.
“It’s not testing the waters if you already have the dog.”
“You had just agreed to a dog.”
“I agreed to Laoise getting a dog with…”
“Shush. You had already come to terms with being the primary owner of the dog, and to claim otherwise would be dishonest.”
Ruarc definitely locked eyes with Caoranach who never shied away as she stared back with a cool and steady gaze. He didn’t appreciate having words put in his mouth even if they were fairly accurate, and he still felt he might be too stubborn to keep the company of fae royalty. Before he could say anything else Caoranach had lifted the bundle of fluff in front of her face.
“I was also suuuuuuuper excited to meet you,” Caoranach said from behind the dog, wiggling it in time with her words while doing a dopey voice to go along with it. After she was done, she kept hiding her face behind the dog. Ruarc felt off balance. Was she feeling bashful about her actions, he wondered.
The druid sighed heavily. Objectively, she wasn’t wrong. He liked dogs, and he would have no qualms with helping take care of one; his only real hang up right now was his pride, and any debate he were to have with Caoranach would be simply a clash of wills. No, she wasn’t bashful; she was trying to play to his emotions to flip his opinion of the matter. He would cut her off at the pass.
“Put the dog down, Carrie,” Ruarc said, sitting back and crossing his arms to show he wasn’t budging. “There are terms to discuss, and should you not agree to them all, then you will be taking that dog back to wherever it was that you got it. Understand?”
Caoranach wore a smirk as her face came out from behind the puppy, and took a seat while getting the dog in her lap; the bundle of fluff looking around the cottage with youthful curiosity.
“First, Laoise; you will be financially responsible for him. Shots, food, bedding, any extra vet work that may be needed. Second, Caoranach; you will be in charge of grooming the dog and cleaning up after it. This dog’s presence means no more randomly showing up and disappearing. You will be here regularly, and you will be expected to carry a degree of responsibility beyond your own whims. I will be in charge of the dog’s training and day to day well being,” Ruarc stated the terms very matter-of-factly, his tone leaving no room for negotiations. Laoise would learn fiscal responsibility to help her with her newfound independence, and Caoranach would be given personal responsibility to ground her in the new age she had been drifting through.
“Instead…” Caoranach began.
“No,” Ruarc cut off. “Those are the terms, and they aren’t changing. If you want to add extra stipulations you may, but the ones I’ve stated are set in stone.”
The trio sat in silence as Ruarc waited for any complaints. When none came, he nodded. “Saddle me with responsibility; prepare to be saddled with your own.”
“Very well,” Ruarc said finally. “Now, we should discuss names.”
“I already have one,” Laoise said. “I like the name Alva”
“Not bad, but…” Caoranach began.
“No,” Laoise cut off, smirking as she held up her phone. “I already bought the collar and tag.”
“Well, well,” Caoranach relaxed back into her seat. “This is quite the handsome family we’ve got.”
“What kind of dog is that, by the way?” Ruarc asked.
“Tibetan mastiff,” Caoranach said simply. Ruarc’s jaw dropped.
“Ti… Tibetan mastiff?” Ruarc stammered, noting now how oddly large the puppy seemed. It was going to practically be a bear one day. “Where… how did you find a mastiff in Japan?”
“I found him at some monastery,” responded the fairy.
Ruarc made eye contact with the lazy looking pup. A temple guard mastiff. Ruarc pinched the bridge of his nose as Caoranach sat contentedly scratching the puppy’s ear.
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