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 Rebuilding

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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:38 pm

Molly's zealous reaction was so startling, Coven jumped back and onto his feet. He couldn't help thinking that even for Molly, that kind of reaction was odd. But almost simultaneously, the male finally put everything together and allowed the knowledge to register: the pups had arrived. He hoped their mother was happy, even though she seemed as stressed out as he was; the new arrivals almost scared him. How was he supposed to keep them alive, protected from not just the wolves that hated him but also from the dangers of living here. Feeling gutted, the wolf immediately realized that of all the places in Silverlight, the mountains had to be the worst for raising pups. The mountains were beautifully advantageous when worried about attacks from the other wolf pack, but more pumas, lynx, and hawks and eagles lived up here than anywhere else. Not to mention the ever-impending risk of rock slides in the summer, avalanches in the winter, and mudslides in the spring...Coven and the pack would have to be vigilant, and the pups had better be intelligent.

After standing in practically terrified silence for a moment, the black wolf leaped back up the boulder to the higher ground level where he'd left the porcupine. He retrieved it and nudged it just inside the small den before loping off to collect what he could. He managed to bring back a cottontail as well as discover that it would probably be a very good idea to develop a taste for lizard up here. After placing the rabbit where he had the porcupine, Coven moved to the side and sat against the rocks a few feet from the den opening. There was a lot of planning he had to do that would pass the time until Molly was up to talking to him.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:02 am

Karbon was a bit surprised when Antero asked him about Coven's 'bad side', making him frown and look towards the caves again. "Unfortunately, I have." He said, remembering the first encounter he had with Coven. But somehow he had managed to slide back onto the older male's good side, and he was doing everything he could to stay there. After all, there was no point in getting his butt kicked again.

Finally his eyes turned back to Antero, tilting his head slightly. "Looks like we'll be on our own around here for a bit. Would you object to joining me on a short patrol of the area? Just to make sure everything is safe." He asked, looking around at the trees before back at the other male. It never hurt to have some backup, especially if the pack decided they were going to come after the small rogue group.


When he got up to leave, Molly began to doze off again. It was frustrating, but she couldn't let herself relax enough to feel safe sleeping right now. The pups were too fragile, too vulnerable. It made her miss the pack. She would have help from the other females if she were still there. She sighed softly, licking each pup tenderly before flinching slightly in surprise as the porcupine slid into the den. It was covered in Coven's scent, which actually calmed her slightly, and she shifted to drag it closer to herself, and then began to eat.

When she finished, she licked her lips, looking up at the entrance and perking her ears, listening for any signs that her mate might still be just outside. "Coven?" She asked softly, her voice laced with exhaustion and stress. It was obvious that he had no intention of hurting the pups, and it made her relax knowing so, but she wanted to be closer to him. She just couldn't bring herself to leave the pups for even a moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:22 am

An ear twitched toward the den as Molly's wearied voice broke the long silence, pulling the black wolf from his thoughts. He'd been trying to figure out what to do about this territory...this pack needed it, needed enough of it to create a buffer between them and the other wolves they'd left behind. How to accomplish that without getting ripped to shreds was still a puzzle. Molly's soft call was a relief for more than one reason.

"Yes?" responded the wolf in a low rumble as he walked over to the entrance and crouched down to peer inside at Molly. The feeling of tension she'd been exuding was much diminished, thankfully. "Are you alright?" he asked, eyes moving from her face to glance briefly at the tiny, partially-concealed bodies nestled into the wolfess' body. Coven flicked an ear back and gazed at Molly with an unsure expression; the sight of the pups filled him once more with that dreadful feeling of impending failure. He'd never been at such a loss for words or direction.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:40 pm

She had to admit, she was rather disappointed when he stayed outside after she called out to him. But when she saw the way he looked at the pups, her ears flicked backwards defensively. She wanted him to be happy that the pups were born, that they were healthy, that he was a father. But instead, he looked unsure and everything but happy. How could he not be happy? She was, and she would be more so if she wasn't so exhausted. She looked up at him with a frown for a few moments before turning her back to him and licking the pups affectionately.

"I'm exhausted, Coven. My whole body aches and I can barely keep my eyes open." She said softly, fighting to keep her head from sinking to the cave floor and her eyes from shutting completely. There was no way she could take care of these pups all on her own, even if Coven was too unsure and scared to do anything about it. She didn't have the strength or energy to be a single parent to four pups. Especially with three males as large and energetic as these. She was scared, and although she had helped wolves give birth before, she had never been in this position herself. She was terrified, and she didn't know what to do next. Hell, they didn't even have names yet! All she could think about, though, was the look in Coven's eyes and how tired she was.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:07 pm

He closed his eyes and sighed noiselessly as Molly adjusted her position to shut him out. What it looked like to him was that she had called him over here just to tell him she needed to sleep...because surely, surely she hadn't already gotten frustrated with him here. After a second, the wolf's yellow eyes opened into slits and just watched Molly's back for a brief moment as he decided what to do. Coven sincerely wanted to just get up, tell the female to try to sleep, and then leave to find Karbon and Antero. His world and responsibilities extended far beyond just this small hole in the rocks, but of course Molly expected him to handle everything - including the arrival of these pups - in an impossibly ideal way, and every time he fell short was practically an affront to her.

In the end, the black wolf got up and decided that, if Molly would allow him near her and the pups she was shielding from him, he'd be able to help her out for just a bit. With the hope that she'd just go to sleep and not talk to him, Coven poked his head into the den, put in a paw, and slipped in through the small hole. Coming in here had never been his original intention, and he moved hesitantly with his eyes warily flicking to the mother, but Molly's comment about exhaustion was the stubbornly silent, though completely real, cry of help that the white wolf was prone to giving. Stepping over his mate, Coven got himself to the small space between the back wall and the pups and lay down. Molly's back was to the den entrance, and Coven could see both the entrance and maneuver the pups from his spot, so both looking out for intruders and being able to watch the pups were covered. "I'll watch them for a while; just sleep."
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:41 am

She wished that he didn't seem so hesitant to be with her, to be with the pups. It almost seemed like he didn't want them, like he couldn't wait to get away from all of it. It upset her terribly, but she didn't have the energy to argue right now. She couldn't help but stare over at him with an upset frown for a few moments before sighing sadly and lowering her head to her paws slowly. Her eyes slowly closed, and she was asleep in a matter of moments, snoring softly and relaxing almost instantly.

It had been a long day for her, and even though he seemed like watching the pups was the absolute last thing he wanted to do in the world, she was glad that he was there. It helped her relax, knowing that the pups had someone to watch over them while their exhausted mother took the rare chance to sleep. There was no way that she'd be able to take care and nourish them otherwise.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:37 am

Coven didn't keep eye contact with Molly long and instead chose to look behind her and out the den, as if it was critical that he keep his eyes on it at all times. Molly's expression said too much and he didn't want to answer right now, not if she had already jumped to conclusions about what he was thinking.

It didn't take long for the white female to fall asleep, and at the sound of her deep sleep breathing, the male lowered his eyes to the pups laying inches away from him. It was astonishing how tiny they were, and the wolf involuntarily tilted his head to the side and reached toward the little white one in fascinated curiosity. The largest pup - which was still so, so small - had finished nursing and was twitching in its sleep while the two other males seemed ready to doze off. The little female seemed to sense this opportunity to feed without competition and worked her paws furiously into her mother's side as she gorged herself. Coven smiled a little at how alive these deaf and blind bundles of fur were. The fact that they were actual beings was what freaked him out as well, because living things always had to die...His own family had, and what tortuously slow deaths they were; how was he supposed to keep that from happening to this new family? Well, he couldn't. How does a wolf stop the snow, the floods? War was a hard one for him. All the wolf knew how to do was detach himself and walk away from situations requiring emotional investment. But after failing with Molly, it was probably best to just suck it up and let himself fall for these guys, too...eventually.

With a deep sigh, breathing in the scent of the pups, Coven lifted his head again and leaned back against the wall to wait until Molly woke up.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:50 am

She slept soundly as the little female suckled and the males dozed. It was a huge relief to not have to worry about watching and protecting them, and she was soon dreaming peacefully as her mate inspected his new family. She hoped he would warm up to them, and soon. She knew he had a lot to worry about right now, but she wanted to be near him. There wasn't much she could do, and it wasn't like she could force him to be a father. She just had to trust that he cared. Hope that he cared.

The little white female continued to suckle from her mother greedily, as her brother snoozed on alongside them. When she finally finished her meal, she scrambled backwards, tripping over her brother's leg and landing against Coven's side with a surprised squeak. She had no idea where she was or what was happening, only that she was pressed up against a soft, warm body, to which she soon snuggled and dozed off beside, nestled into his dark fur.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:06 am

Pricking his ears in alarm and surprise, the male looked down at the little figure that had tumbled into him and now had decided not to move. Shaking his head and frowning , Coven began to lecture sternly, though very quietly, "Don't get used to that, pup. I'll let you off this one time because it's your first day here, but next time, you stick to your mother, alright?" Already these puppies were trying to thwart his efforts of near stolidity. He'd warned Molly long ago that he'd be bad at this and had just now decided that it was never to early to start telling the puppies...whoever they were.

Their namelessness perhaps could get settled before he left again. He'd mentioned the idea of coming up with names once to Molly, but they'd never gone back to it again. Perhaps she had, but this was the first time he'd seriously considered what he'd name them if it were up to him. It didn't take long to discover that Molly would probably end up naming most, if not all of them, as he had no clue what to name them. After a moment of glancing from them to their surroundings in the den, Coven decided that Rock, Pebble, Granite, and Slate would be good enough names for him.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:19 am

The tiny white figure curled up against her father, oblivious to his lecture as he spoke to her silently. Instead, she was sleeping peacefully, snuggling into his fur and snoring softly. Her brother's didn't even notice her absence, and cuddled up against their mother silently as the family slept under their father's watchful eye. It was warm and comfortable in the den, and with Antero and Karbon not too far away, the little family was safe, even if Coven wasn't outside to patrol the dens or caves or whatever they were calling them now.

--------

It seemed like only a short period of time that she managed to sleep, but in reality it had been at least a few hours. She woke slowly from her sleep, blinking slowly and yawning softly as she lifted her head and spotted Coven, still there - to her surprise. She had expected him to disappear while she had been sleeping. And the more surprising thing was, that the little white female pup was curled up against him, and he hadn't moved her away.

She couldn't help but smile lightly, looking up at him with a look that said 'You're not as tough and aloof as you try to pretend', but said nothing. Instead she shifted slightly, licking the little males that cuddled against her and stretched slowly. "Hey." She said, her voice a lot more relaxed and her body a lot more energized.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:37 am

"Hey," he responded, ignoring her little look. It was a genuine relief to see that just those few hours of sleep had done Molly a world of good. The male's attention turned to the pups as they started to whine and roll around as best they could, blindly searching for food. The cries of the boys woke up the little girl, too, who began nuzzling into Coven as if he had something to offer her. Barely restraining his small smile at her antics, the black male nosed her over to her mother. Though one of the boys was scrabbling over her now, she'd gotten a good spot and could not be detached, which was a good thing, as it looked like she needed all the nourishment she could get into her fragile body. Definitely her mother's daughter.

Angling his ears forward, Coven watched Molly as she tended to the pups, grateful that she seemed able to manage this. She was eating, at a healthy body weight finally, had figured out how to get her sleep, and hadn't had nightmares pop up after all the chaos. It was almost unreal to think that a year ago she had been halfway into her grave.

"Do you need anything?" asked the wolf, looking from his mate to the pups to the den entrance. If she didn't need him, it was probably time to go see what Karbon and Antero were up to.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:49 am

She had assumed he would ignore her look, but by the way he relaxed as his eyes scanned over her form, she knew he was glad she was in better shape. She was too. She had been pretty far gone for a while there. She wouldn't have been able to get herself back if it hadn't been for him. But she knew there was no point in thanking him or being overly grateful and such for it. She let her eyes wander from his face back to the pups, who were suckling eagerly at her belly as she smiled down at them. They were beautiful. Healthy and strong, and just as spirited as their parents.

When Coven spoke again, she frowned and sighed. "No. I guess I'll be fine on my own. Go on, you're free." She said, doing her best to bite back the frustration at the feeling that all he wanted to do was ditch her and the pups. But she knew there was no way she could make him stay, and she wasn't going to try. If he wanted to leave, she wasn't going to beg him to stay.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:00 am

The tone in Molly's voice was unmistakable, and her choice of words made it even more clear that she felt he didn't want to be here. 'You're free' - yeah, that was the last thing the male thought he was, either in here or out there. Not going to let this get any further, the large wolf did not get up to leave and instead inclined his head to look at Molly squarely. "Ok, what is the matter with you, Molly? You've been mad at me all day, and I'm done with that. Quit trying to guess what I'm thinking and just ask me. Then at least you can be angry at me for something real." He had not forgotten to keep his voice soft, but there was an irritated hiss in the words. She did this all the time, but now - when they were on their own and needed each other's understanding more than ever - was not the time to think they could continue to get away with their sucky communication skills.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:06 am

Molly's ears flicked back defensively at his sharp hiss when he reprimanded her, again. Yes, she had been expecting it, but that didn't mean she was happy with it. She glared at him for a moment, doing her best to be stubborn, but then the little female squeal because the twins were ganging up on her, making their mother refocus her attention on them to soon the littlest pup and guide her to another spot. She kept her focus on the little one for a few moments, feeling the stress and frustration melt away slowly before she looked back up at Coven with a sigh.

"I'm sorry. It just seems like you don't want..." She let the words fall into the air, frowning as she found herself unsure of what to say. She searched for the words, still coming up short as she looked back up at him. "I...it just seems like you're not happy. Like....you don't want these pups." She said, looking away from him before she could get more upset and looking down at the pups instead.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:21 am

Ok, so she wasn't completely off. He still wished she would tell him that she was upset about...whatever it happened to be for the day, instead of just sulking and glaring. "I don't want these pups to die, Molly. It has not escaped me that this is my family, too. Just the opposite. I screwed up once already and have put their lives and ours in jeopardy, and now I'm trying to do all I can to give them and you the best chance for survival. That unfortunately involves being paranoid, aggressive, and extremely busy at the moment while I try to sort out what to do up here." He huffed a long breath from his nose and shook his head slightly, glancing down at the pups as well. "You know that if I didn't want them or you I could have kept walking up this mountain and out of Silverlight, right? Our jobs are just different right now, Molly, sorry about that, but I'm doing what I can." There was no reason to mention the emotionally paralyzing fear that all the pups were going to be dead soon regardless of all this effort. Molly would just love that - the fact that he was so pessimistic and the fact that it really could be true. Coven had vented out enough for now, and it seemed hardly likely to make Molly hate him less anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:32 am

She felt her maternal instinct flare up as he mentioned the pups dying. Even as he continued to talk, she couldn't stifle the growl that rumbled in her throat. "These pups will NOT die. I would die before I let ANYTHING happen to them." She said, taking a deep breath to calm and silence her growl before looking back up at him. "You do what you need to do, Coven." She said softly, letting her head sink slowly to her paws as she curled around the four tiny pups. No, they would not die under her watch, no matter how pessimistic their father was about their chances.

Before he could leave, she lifted her head, sighing softly. "Would it kill you to at least pretend to be happy? Coven, you're a father. It's bad enough that I had to give birth all alone, but now you won't even be happy that both I and the pups survived, let alone are healthy and strong just because you're scared that we'll fail." She said softly, looking down before looking up at him again. She made sure to not say 'you'll fail' instead of 'we'll fail'. They were in this together, and she would never expect him to do everything, or hold all of the responsibility for keeping these pups safe and healthy.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:00 am

Molly's growl brought out a defensive one in Coven as he flicked his ears back. Any loving mother would say what the white wolf had just said, but it really meant nothing. Coven just kept his mouth shut on that one, though; he'd made Molly angry enough and there was no use keeping this fight alive.

He was just about to get up to his feet when Molly's question stopped him. Narrowing his eyes at her, the male growled in pure frustration, "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to smile and pretend that everything's ok. Of course I'm glad you're alright, and the pups, but that doesn't mean that I can be ecstatic right now." 'Pretend' to be happy? Was she serious? And he wasn't just 'scared' that they'd fail. They had set themselves up for major trouble here, and it had to be fixed as soon as possible. He could be happy later. "Please quit demanding that I react to everything exactly like you want, Molly. I'm still trying to get over the fact that I killed our alpha and that his brother has sworn revenge in front of the entire world. I can't eat and am honestly terrified that any second that ridiculously huge pack is going to run up here and kill you, then the pups, then me. I've been in a war before, and that's how it works. I cannot be pretend anything right now."
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:08 am

Molly wanted nothing more than to fight and argue with him, but as the pups cuddled up next to her as a result of their father's growling and their mother's tension, she forced herself to relax and instead submit to her mate for once. She slowly let her head sink to the floor and her ears flatten, her expression admitting defeat as she laid there and took his lecture without a word. Yes, she had plenty to say to him, plenty of harsh and painful retaliations, but she couldn't bring herself to say any of them. Instead she laid there silently, her ears flattened and her body curled defensively around the pups while she waited for him to calm himself down.

There was nothing she could do or say that would make him think any differently, and she knew that. So instead, she fell back on the wolf she used to be, before she had come to Silverlight. She fell back to the gentle, quiet female that she was as a youngster, trying her hardest to simply make everyone else happy. But right now, she knew that words from her mouth would only piss him off more, and not help at all. She expected him to storm out of the cave any moment, to leave her alone with the pups again, as if Antero and Karbon weren't capable of taking care of themselves. But that wasn't her call, and by the way she submitted to his words and his growls, it was clear that she understood that he was in charge, even if she was alpha female now. There was nothing she could do about it, either. She couldn't control Coven any more than she could control the wind, and she knew it.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:19 am

Molly would never understand the immense feeling of reprieve her silence granted the male. Though it was obvious that she was in no way mollified, Coven couldn't even care about that at the moment. The talking was over for now, and that was almost a joy after all the growling.

The wolf sat up and rolled his shoulders, sick of being so tense but having no other way to relieve it right now. The usually restless wolf was even more jittery with worries and now the need to get a break from Molly, but he stayed for a second longer. Since he was here, he might as well ask. "What are you going to name them?" Coven looked down at the pups as he spoke, interested in what they'd be called and dreading the addition of something else to solidify their existence and his attachment to them. But they really couldn't be nameless forever.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:29 am

She wasn't happy with the way he reacted to her silence, but she wasn'ta t all surprised about it either. When he sat up and stretched, she glanced up at him, her ear flicking in his direction as he asked her what they'd be named. She lifted her head slowly, looking down at the pups and sighing softly. If she were to be completely honest, she had no idea what to name them. She hadn't even had time to think about it. After thinking for a few moments, she sighed softly, frowning. "I don't know." She said softly, looking back down at the pups once more.

There were four pups, each of which she knew would have a distinct personality and would cause her and Coven grief in their own way. She wanted to be able to just name them and get it over with, but she didn't think she'd be able to get the right names or anything like that. But as she looked up at Coven, she could tell that it was up to her. Her had enough on his mind. "I'll think about it." She said softly, her voice barely audible as she looked back down at the pups, doing her best to begin brainstorming.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:45 am

The wolf glanced over at her, squinting slightly as he tried to figure out if she was going to think about it for minutes or days...hey, maybe the pups could be nameless for a few years. For some reason, Coven found that idea intriguing. It'd probably never get to that point, though. If they didn't figure it out sometime relatively soon, he'd end up calling them Rock, Pebble, whatever anyway. It was kind of nice to know that he and Molly were one the same page in at least one thing: they had no clue what to name these guys. He probably should have just got going, but trying to come up with names was kind of stress relieving. It worked his brain without pressure. If he couldn't come up with anything that Molly liked, she'd just substitute her own name, and that was fine with him.

Turning his attention back to the pups, Coven considered them for a moment as he mused over names. Just random ones he'd heard before. Breeze, Storm, River...those made him think of Inferno, so he didn't mention them to Molly, in case she made the same connection. Todd, Dixie...those ones he mumbled aloud, tilting his head at the sound of them. Eh...Talik, Ajax...as he said them, he lumped them in the category of names like Xerxses. This was getting kind of entertaining.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:53 am

She wanted to think of names, and she wanted to forget about all of the stress, but she just couldn't do it. She frowned, licking the pups silently as her brain ran over random names, probably in a much less organized fashion than her mate was. Finally she sighed, flicking her ear in his direction as she heard him mumbling names. "Ajax?" She asked, looking up at him curiously and then down at the oldest, and largest pup. It seemed fitting for him, but she waited for Coven to speak and confirm that it was what he had said.

Then she looked down at the other pups, smiling as the little female tumbled and went scrambling towards her father again. "Alaska." She said softly, almost automatically, but did nothing to stop the little girl from reaching the black wolf across from her. Now they just had to name the twins. She found herself at a loss once more, frowning as she looked down at the almost identical male pups against her belly, curled up on top of one another.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:08 am

The wolf shrugged, but smiled a little, as Molly asked his opinion on a name. Why not? It was in his category of Xerxses-like names, and Coven still found himself shaking off dregs of jealousy toward the other male at times, but it was nice. And Molly had picked the pup well who'd fit it best. "Sure, Ajax," agreed the male with an approving nod before lowering his head to sniff at the pup, whispering the name in his head as he attached it to his son.

And Alaska was a done deal without Coven's imput, but that was alright with him. Gingerly, he moved the white pup back toward her mother and siblings. She'd be warmer there than scrunched up against his paws. The little girl stayed this time, and Coven pondered the two remaining boys, completely at a loss. "Zeke? he suggested finally, this time having dug up the name from his birth pack, the name of a once and deceased friend.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:14 am

It was a pleasant surprise, and a relief when she saw him smile, which made her smile as well. Her tail even wagged slightly. When he said Zeke, she nodded and tilted her head slightly and nodded. "Zephyr?" She asked with a slight smile and a curious flick of her ear in his direction. "Two A's and two Z's?" She asked, a slight laugh escaping her muzzle as she thought it over. It was cute, but she wasn't sure if Coven would go for it or not. He never really seemed like the kind of wolf that enjoyed 'cute' anyways.

Hoping that the names were finally decided, she slowly let her head sink to her paws once more. She was happy that they finally had names, and that Coven actually seemed like he wasn't afraid they'd spontaneously combust at any moment, but she figured he'd get up and leave now. She closed her eyes slightly, keeping them open just enough to watch the pups lovingly, waiting to hear and feel him get up and leave her all alone in the den with the pups once more.
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PostSubject: Re: Rebuilding   Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:24 am

He nodded, satisfied that the naming had been settled. Ajax, Alaska, Zeke, and Zephyr...it seemed fitting that the biggest/oldest and smallest/youngest had alliterative names, and then that the two middle ones - who looked remarkably similar - were paired as well.

Coven got to his feet and licked Molly's ear, no longer feeling like he was walking on eggshells, regarding both his mate and himself. After a last look at the newly-named pups, the male stepped over Molly once more and squeezed out of the den. His worries had never left him, and now in the daylight and without the distraction of meaningless names, they surfaced quickly. But things were a little clearer, and once he found Antero and Karbon, this world would be on its way to becoming even more stable.
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