and the wisdom to be wise

Thoth waved his tail a couple of times slowly when Cypress turned to him, recognising surprise and happiness on her face. Thor was what Danny had called him before when he’d turned into a wolf – probably by accident. There were worst aliases to be known as, and this one was strangely fitting. In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of the leader of the gods, Odin, and was himself a god of thunder – although he probably had more control over his weather manipulation than Thoth had.

Thoth’s tail stopped moving as soon as the beefy, evil-eyed man rounded the corner and glared at him. He pulled his lips back into a silent snarl, feeling a surge of satisfaction when the asshole chose to keep a wary distance. This was the guy who had been giving Cypress a hard time. Thoth pricked his ears forward and narrowed his eyes. He was exactly like Tarquin: a big, brutish bully. He bellowed at Cypress when she reached to get a coat and Thoth flattened his ears against the back of his head, unable to prevent a low growl escaping from the back of his throat.

Worthless piece of no good person.

Keeping his lips pulled back over his teeth and making sure to keep himself between her and the jackass, Thoth followed her as she moved towards the kennels to let some of the dogs out. He started to growl at Luke when he got close, but stopped when he noticed him passing the gloves to her. At least Cypress had an ally in here, although Luke seemed pretty useless at actually standing up to the kennel master.

Once they were outside, a couple of the dogs approached him interestedly. Maybe he still smelt like himself in wolf form and they remembered him. One of them barked something which could have been a greeting, but Thoth struggled with any language which wasn’t English when he was in this form. He just waved his tail back at them. At Cypress’s command, they dashed off with the others to run the length of the paddock. Thoth fought back against the instinct to chase off after them and run with the pack, making the conscious choice to stick by Cypress’s leg instead. She bent down to his level and took his face in her hands.

Thoth had never really looked at Cypress’s face properly before. The first time they’d met he’d been more interested in her dogs, and on the subsequent occasions he’d been more interested in other things, like his broken foot or the food and books she’d brought him. Her eyes were a really interesting shade: predominantly light brown, like honey, but with forest-green flecks. It was only with this proximity that Thoth noticed the light freckling across her nose, usually hidden by her skin tone.

She threw her arms around him. Thoth pushed his weight back onto his hind legs and lifted his front half up so that he could put his front legs over her shoulders in the closest approximation to a hug that a wolf could give. Underneath her jumper, she was shivering. A fresh surge of heat shot through Thoth’s veins and he glanced around, checking that the kennel master had definitely not followed them out. He hadn’t. Good. He extracted himself from the hug and padded back over towards the kennel block.

Fortunately for everyone, the asshole was nowhere to be seen. Thoth could hear him rummaging around in the storage room. Quietly, the scruffy grey wolf stood up onto his hind legs, resting one front paw against the wall, and carefully unhooked a thick coat from the peg. Gripping it tightly between his teeth, he dropped back onto all fours and trotted back out again, dragging the coat’s sleeves along the floor.

Cypress wasn’t alone when he returned. As Thoth was exiting the building, Danny’s familiar form was trudging across the frosty grass towards her, his hands and mouth moving as if in scolding. That was one expression Thoth could always recognise instantly. Thoth pinned his ears to the back of his head and snorted again. Now what was she being told off for? He put a spurt on and lumbered back over to the pair of them, dragging the coat along, which he promptly deposited at Cypress’s feet before giving Danny a pointed glare.

photo by Patrick Lewis at flickr.com


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