Brother and Sister kept both eyes upon the new dog before them, watching carefully for every move. Their eyes mainly focused upon that smirk. That smarmy little plaster that crawled underneath their skins. It was the first time either had seen a smirk before. Such a new sensation they didn't quite know what to make of it besides fear.
“Who are you?” Sister kept her defensive stance, guarding her brother from harm. Though she could do nothing to stop her paws from shaking.
“Pretty brave front kid.” the dog wasn't fooled.
And it was here something was noticeable within the dog's voice. Brother picked it up first, but Sister missed it completely. It was young. Not as young as they, but still young. Not even a hint of an adult. More like.....a teenager. That's when Brother noticed the dog's body. He was bigger than them no doubt about that, but he wasn't the size of the dogs Sawada had owned. He was getting there, but not for a while.
“You're just a kid.” Brother blurted.
Sister nearly fell over from shock, and embarrassment as she finally noticed what her brother said was true.
“Hey he's right. You are just a kid!” Sister announced her realization.
The dog chuckled. “Guilty. But that doesn't make me any less right. That little move with the cans was pretty dumb.”
Sister went back on defense. “Oh shut up! What do you know?!”
“Sister calm down.” Brother soothed.
The former fear they had felt vanished once they noticed their new acquaintance was around their age. Suddenly a squeak from behind the can, alerted their attention to what lay behind it. Before their eyes, something furry and fat scampered out running at full speed. It wasn't the only thing at full speed. The moment the creature appeared, the strange teenage pup leapt forward, jaws outstretched.
“Look out!” Sister stood in front of Brother, protective sister mode on.
Another squeak rang out, this time pained and drawn out. The thing struggled within the dog's mouth, squirming as teeth pressed against it's rib cage. One final squeak rang out as it fell into death. First it's tail went limp, followed by the rest of its body, leaving the whiskers to droop.
Now that it was still, the two pups could see what it was: a rat.
The dog set the rat down, then turned his attention back to Brother and Sister. “That's how you get food.”
Sister and Brother both eyed the dead rat with wide eyes. That was the first time they had witnessed something being killed. Process wise that is. Sure they had seen their mother catch birds before, but they were dead before she hit the ground.
“That's how you hunt.” said the dog.
Sister blinked as the dog placed a paw atop the rat triumphantly. And she had to admit, “Okay you're good. But still we're fine on our own!” Sister reinstated.
“Don't look like it.” the dog insisted.
“He's got a point.” Brother agreed.
“Hey who's side are you on!?” Sister spat.
Brother shrank back at his sister's outburst. “Well um well.....”
A sudden chuckle interrupted Sister's wrath. “You know you're a little spark you know that kid?”
“Spark?” Sister repeated.
“Yeah, you know. Just bursting with energy. A little fireball. I like ya kid.”
Sister eyed the dog suspiciously. They didn't know him that well yet he said he liked her.
“Just who are you?” she asked.
“Name's Abel.” the dog responded.
Brother mouthed the new name presented to them. Least they wouldn't have to refer to him as “that dog”. Or the stranger.
“Hello Abel.” Brother greeted. “N-n-nice to meet you.” Sister shot him a glare. “Well I don't want to be rude.” he excused. Sister sighed with exasperation. Sometimes she didn't quite understand her sibling.
“Well it's nice to meet your acquaintance too........um? And you're names are?” Abel asked.
Both Brother and Sister frowned. “We don't have names.” Sister answered, almost with a tone of embarrassment.
Abel considered what he had heard for a moment, his face bunching up with uncertainty. Then that uncertainty dissipated into another batch of consideration, a debate within his head. He wrestled with an idea, bobbed it from one side of his brain to another.
“You know what? I think you guys might be what we're looking for.” he said with that smirk, a feature they were certain was a chief trait. “Come on, follow me.” Abel turned around motioning with his head for the pups to do what he just asked.
Sister and Brother stood there, dumbfounded and confused. But most of all, cautious. Sister felt it the most, Brother felt another emotion. That emotion was so strong that he took a few steps forward, his functioning eye wide and full of hope.
“What are you doing!” Sister brought herself right in front of Brother's face.
“Well I was just-” Brother started to say.
“We don't know this guy.”
“All we have to do is stick together and-”
“Sister!” Brother at last got through to her. “But we're sticking together and nothing good has happened.”
Sister was just about to say something in her defense, when they felt a looming something above them. Turning around they saw the familiar shape of Abel staring down at them.
“Forgot my rat.” he said. “And your Brother's got a point you know. Can't do much at your age.”
If there was ever anything to say to that, Sister wished she knew it. She kept her mouth shut, firmly shut. Although she hated to admit it, Abel did have a point. Ever since they had set out things had gone wrong. First they had waltzed into some bear's lair, Brother's eye, and they couldn't even gain a new owner. Though she was certain this would go against an adult's line of rational thinking, they were vulnerable, and vulnerable creatures didn't last long.
“Fine.” Sister relented. “But if you try anything I swear you'll be sorry!” she snapped her teeth to make her point.
Abel let out a chuckle at that response. “Man Bro is going to love you.” he snapped the rat up in his mouth and gestured for the pups to follow him.
With nothing else to do, they did. Though one question remained in their heads: Who was Bro? Abel led the pair down the alley, through a turn, and out into the open. The urban locale spread before them, large and ever full of awe. Yet, their eyes diverted away from that attention, and towards Abel. All the locations seemed to blend together, a mix of gray concrete and steel pole, only changing ever so slightly. The only thing that remained the same was the sky above. Yet soon that too began to change. It's color was already starting to fade into a darker blue, which would soon turn to black.
“Almost there.” Abel spoke for the first time since they had set out.
Brother and Sister had loyally tagged along, not wanting to loose sight of the potential source of a new home. Home, a concept that still tugged at the two young pups. Something they longed for. Home was where the heart is after all. And their hearts needed one.
The vision altered as Abel slowed. “Right through here.” he said.
Before the them lay a chain link fence. Chain link was something the puppies had never seen before. But Abel just casually strode up to it, going through the dog sized hole made in it. For a moment, Brother hesitated, Sister too. Sister was the first to break out of it. Brother? He still needed another nudge.
“Don't worry.” Sister spoke reassuringly. Walking over to her brother, she prodded him with her nose. “It's going to be fine.”
Brother looked at his sister with utmost belief and trust in his eye. Despite the fact their departure from their previous human had left him with only one eye, he still believed in his sibling. That was one thing that being on their own hadn't taken from him.
And the pair followed Abel through the whole. As they stepped inside, a whole new world greeted them. Metallic objects stretched high into piles. Various bits of junk strewn about in a disorganized fashion. What was noticeable about them was a portion of it was cars. Those strange things they saw humans ride in. Not just that, but trash, just as varied as the metal colors before them.
Then came that oh so familiar sound. It was a sound they had often heard of in the past, back when their family was whole. It was the barks of young puppies. As they neared the center of the area, they were met with a joyous sight: puppies! They were play fighting, about five of them of differing breeds. Some of them may have been mutts, but Brother and Sister didn't care about breed, they were just glad they had dogs their own age. Maybe just a week older, but still in a closer age range than with Abel.
“Hey Bro!” Abel called, towards a lone car in the center, flanked by metal junk. It was a beat up old thing, red paint with bits of rust scattered about. The tires were gone, as were the doors. Despite it's open nature, the inside was shadowed out, obscuring what lay within. At least until the shadows moved. Something inside stirred, first a head lazily looking up then a neck craning to get a better look. Brother and Sister stopped, while Abel continued to walk, only stopping right at the car's open front side.
“Abel!” a voice called from inside. “You're back!”
With a leap a dog emerged, landing with a hard poise.
“Got ya something Bro.” Abel said presenting the rat.
The new dog was an adult. Maybe about two years old; three tops. And just as his name (or nickname probably) implied, he did indeed look very close to Abel. So close one could call them brothers. They both held the same appearance and design. The only difference was that “Bro”, held a different shade scheme than Abel. Darker really. Other than that, it was the same.
“Bro” looked over the rat and grinned. “This I like. He took it and immediately began to gnaw on it. “Mmm good meat, you did good Abel.”
Abel look absolutely proud at that praise. “No prob Bro, just showing my gratitude, and I found some new additions too,”
“Bro” stopped eating. “Additions?”
“Yeah,” replied Abel. “Over there.” he pointed in the direction of Brother and Sister. In fact, he was pointing right at them.
“Bro” eyes directed themselves to the new additions. His expression became blank, but then he raised an eye. Leaving the rat alone, he walked over to the two puppies. “What do we have here?” he asked, his great body looming over the pair casting a shadow over them.
“He-hello sir.” Brother greeted.
“Bro” smirked, the same style as Abel in fact. “Well aren't you the polite one?” Then he noticed Sister. “What about you? No hello?”
Sister just stared up at him, her body tensing up. “Hey.” she at last said.
“Bro” snorted. “So, what're your names?”
“We don't have names.” said Sister. Brother held his head down, ever the more ashamed at that fact.
This time, both of “Bro's” eyes raised. “No names? What? Your Momma didn't have the courtesy to name ya?”
Sister looked away. “What's your name then?”
And then came that smirk again. “Well everyone here calls me “Bro”, but my name's Cain.” He craned his neck back. “You've already met my brother Abel. Well......half-way my brother.”
Cain and Abel. For some reason the names went well together.
“So what to do with you two then?”
“Excuse me?” Sister asked.
“Well if you're going to stay with our little family, you need names.”
“But sir we-” Brother started.
“What? Want to be first kid?” Cain interrupted.
Brother shut his mouth and he waited patiently as the adult dog stared at him. And so Cain began to consider. Just as Abel before him, he bobbed one idea back and forth within his head. It was like he was rattling something, something tiny but crucial. And at last, he stopped.
“That's a wicked looking scar you got there.” said Cain.
Brother didn't like that attention was drawn upon his scar.
“Makes ya look fierce. So I think you need a fierce name to go with it. Something ear grabbing, but short.” Cain considered the possibilities in his head. So many names to choose from, but only one could fit. “Got it!” At last he considered one. “Mao.”
“Mao?” Brother repeated. Even Sister had to mouth it in disbelief.
“Yeah, it's short but fierce, and that whole thing with the one eye, totally fitting.” Cain decided. “You think so Abel?”
The similar looking dog strode to his half-brother's side and concurred, “Perfect Bro. But what about her?”
Indeed, Sister had yet to be named. Not that she was asking for one.
“That's right. Our little miss.”
“I'm not your little miss!” Sister snapped.
“Oh we got a little bite don't we? Good.” Cain said with a smile.
Sister glared upwards at the adult dog, her eyes upon his brown irises. He looked right back down at her. And Sister quickly noticed, he was glaring right back.
“You better watch that look little lady.” Cain warned. “But I think it gives you a perfect name. Something a little sweet, but with bite........” Cain began to consider a possibility, a name best befitting a pup such as Sister. “Mayu.” he tasted the name upon his tongue.
“Mayu?” Sister repeated.
“Yeah just word it out with me! Mayu......Mayu.........Mayu..........you like the sound of it?”
Sister or Mayu now let the name sink in for a moment. Admittedly, it was much better than being called “Sister” all the time. But it was strange being named. That was a duty best reserved for humans, not for dogs.
“It's fine.” Mayu said, not fully wanting to admit she liked the name.
Cain smirked. “Well that's good little May-May. “And what about you little man? You like your name?”
Mao turned away with shyness. “Well it's nice sir.....but it makes me sound mean.”
“Oh you'll get used to it.” Cain waved a paw off. Mao had no choice but to accept it. It was better than having no name. “Yo everyone hey!” Cain suddenly called. All of the playing puppies halted their activity and turned their attention to Cain. Mayu and Mao felt a series of eyes upon them. They were the new additions after all so it made sense for their attention to be focused upon them. “This here is Mayu and Mao. These two will be joining our little family. So treat them as if they were your brother and sister and all that.” Cain recited, his front left paw moving from side to side. “So yadda yadda, play nice and welcome them ect ect.” his recitation took on an almost bored tone.
And with Cain's words finished, he returned back to his car den, and Abel followed. Mayu and Mao suddenly felt naked for their host had left them. That just left them with the pups. The assorted mixture of puppies. All of them mixed breeds, mutts with assorted designs and colors, but most of them were discernible. Save for one who looked remarkably like a Golden Retriever. And that very retriever look alike was the first to stride up to the pair.
“So you're the new guys eh?” the pup asked.
Mayu didn't answer, instead staying where she was. Brother on the other paw. “Hello there! Wow! I didn't expect there would be other puppies like us!” Brother's words were hopeful, eager as he was ready to play with his new peers.
The mixed retriever pup. Walked over to Mao who had broken away from his sister's position. He sniffed him once and then......
“Man that's gross!”
“Hey guys check out One Eye!”
Mao blinked again, “One Eye?” he repeated.
“Yeah having trouble seeing us One Eye?!” the other pups began to laugh, well minus one that is.
“I bet he can't even walk straight” another pup said.
Mao shrank back even more so as the pups sniggered.
“Look One Eye, you should know that Bro likes us better. Alright?”
“Well what makes you so special?” Sister asked, at last finding the need to speak.
The retriever pup grinned nastily. “Well we aren't one eyed freaks. Or a girl.”
The sniggering resumed and Mao held his head down low keeping his face hidden. Especially his eye.
Mayu wasn't hiding from anyone though. “Hey jerks!” she snapped. “Leave my brother alone!” her teeth bared, her fur bristled, and her tail stood erect.
The retriever mix was slightly taken aback from the outburst. “Awww wooking out for your widdle One Eye? That's real sweet!”
Mayu growled which spurred the pup as well. He began to share Mayu's demeanor. “Why don't you run on home like a good girl should? Everyone knows that females aint good for anything.” the retriever pup stated.
That was enough for Mayu. “That's it!” she leapt towards the pup biting as they spiraled together, teeth and flaying claws. They rolled in a circle, biting and clawing, before Mayu broke free as did the mixed pup. Despite the fact their physical activity had ended the two continued to stare each other down.
“Whatever.” the pup scoffed. “Come on boys we have better things to do than play with the babies.” and that was that. He and the group dispersed. All save for one puppy.
“Wow!” the pup exclaimed hobbling over to Mayu and Mao. Yes, hobbling for there was something peculiar about this dog. He had only three legs. His front left leg was missing to be precise. “I've never seen anyone stand up to Ichiro like that!”
Mayu and Mao stared at the new dog, well mostly Mayu, Mao was still affected by the “One Eye” moniker. The missing leg was the first thing Mayu noticed, she didn't really take much notice in the rest of his appearance. Overall he looked like an average jack Russel Terrier mix. The mix part obviously would give him a greater height than his other half would bestow.
“My name's Reggie by the way.” The dog greeted.
Mayu did nothing but give the dog a cold glare while Mao continued to sulk.
“Umm not much for talking are ya?” If this were an anime, Reggie would have sweat dropped right about now. For a moment he felt mighty foolish. But this was not a cartoon, and dogs didn't have sweat glands.
All the while, two pairs of eyes watched from afar.
“You sure about those two Bro?” Abel asked.
From within his car throne, Cain yawned. “I think they got potential. Don't you?”
Abel observed the new additions. “Well maybe, but that kid's crippled and the girl's got an attitude on her.”
An attitude? That got Cain's attention. Even now he could see the newly christened Mayu standing there, her body illustrating a lack of concern or care for what this place offered. But there was something else, a stance, a protective barrier that only centered upon the wounded pup beside her.
“Well, we'll see if we can improve that at the initiation tomorrow.” said Cain, and then he smirked. As did Abel. It was the one thing that their brotherly bond shared.
Initiation was tomorrow. Then they would see if Mayu and Mao would make the cut. After all. A family had to be strong, and they needed to weed out those who would make it.