Bramble

© Rosina

Not Rated

 

~~~~

Bramble, being a dog, would be the first to admit that he doesnít understand all the nuances of human expression, but heís pretty sure Alex gives him a smug look as he returns to snatch his trousers up from the floor, where he had hurriedly and conveniently discarded them, and drape them over the chair.  Bramble is rather fond of a challenge though, and manages, once Alex is on the bed and distracted by Lucas, to get a good three quarters of his body on to the chair, which leaves one hind leg and a tail dangling but so what?  By judicious placement of his toes on the floor, itís helping him to keep his balance and maintain his stronghold on the chair.  Bramble wriggles contentedly to deposit maximum hair and add to the creases so neatly pressed in to the legs of the trousers by Alexís manservant.  Bramble looks up at Cat, perched serenely on the back of the chair and prodding at the crotch of Alexís trousers, and just avoids a claw swipe to his nose.  It's a shame that, in the backlash, the drool misses Cat and ends up splattered across the crotch of his favourite guestís clothing.  Bramble really hadn't meant to do that.

The shout and flailing of arms and legs, windmill fashion, as Alex descends from bed to floor alerts Bramble and Cat that a new form of entertainment has begun.  Cat, now that Alex has so thoughtfully vacated it, reclaims her rightful place on the bed next to Lucas.  Alex, on the floor next to the bed, is taking a moment to check his injuries and complain about his wounded arse, and Bramble absolutely cannot afford to let an opportunity like this pass.  Not too fast, because it really wouldn't do to let them know how quickly he can move when the incentive is right, he gallops across the floor to his human cushion.  Just in time it occurs to Bramble that it wouldn't do to lay on Alex if he really has broken his arse.  Bramble spreads his paws in an attempt to brake, slides in rather an elegant fashion even if he does say so himself, and succeeds in stopping just as he comes face to face with Alex.  Unfortunately, due to The Law of Inertia which Bramble doesnít understand at all, the ribbons of drool decorating his mouth continue on their path.  Bramble really hadn't meant to do that.

 The drool hangs there, swaying gently, forming a glistening bond between hunter and prey.  Bramble hesitates and . . .  damn, he's lost the advantage of surprise.  Alex is batting at the drool, stringing it out nicely so that now it looks like they are playing catís cradle, then heís up off the floor with such speed it reminds Bramble of Cat leaping out of Lucas's bath that one time when she fell in. That wasn't Bramble's fault, really it wasnít.  She would insist on perching on the side of the bath when Lucas was in it.  What?  Does she think she has to protect him from drowning or something? That's Brambleís job and he just popped his head up from his place on the floor beside the bath to tell her so.  If heíd known she enjoyed a game of ĎBooí so much, heíd have played it with her long ago.  And anyway, sheís always flaunting her perfect balance, how could he know she would slip and take the skin of Lucasís shoulder with her?   Still, it had been fun to see her airborne as she exited the water, even if she did have small particles of his master in her claws.

Heh, Bramble supposes they're quits again now though.  He really should remember that Cat is smaller than he is and so much more skilful in the use of whiskers at high speed.  It had been most demeaning to watch Cat exit from the end of the bramble patch into which she had lured him during the chase, then circle back and sit in front of him, calmly cleaning said whiskers while he had to wait for Lucas to come get him out.  Again.  And who do you think came with Lucas?  Why Alex, of course!   On that occasion Bramble was thankful for being a dog, or he would have been excruciatingly embarrassed.

And Alex is on his feet now, shouting something at Lucas about being judged in an arse-licking contest.  Bramble would shrug if he could.  Lucas is saying that at least now they know Bramble loves Alex for himself and not for his sartorial elegance, as if there was ever any question of that!  In Bramble's opinion Lucas is the best dressed man he's ever met.  Bramble appreciates the rumpled style and has done his level best to teach it to Alex.  But now that they are back on the matter of clothing, Bramble really thinks itís time for Alex to put his trousers on because Alex is eyeballing Cat in a rather challenging manner and Cat is flexing her claws, and Bramble doesnít know much about clothes and the necessity for them, but heís pretty sure that Alex needs the protection of his trousers.  Right now!

Bramble is a gun dog.  Apparently he has a nice soft mouth with a firm but gentle grip, whatever that means because in Brambleís opinion his teeth are big and sharp and scary, and to remind himself just how scary he bares them at that horrid Parry bloke whenever he gets him alone.  Bramble supposes, on reflection, he should have thought about the fact that partridge are smaller than trousers and definitely have shorter legs.  Partridge fit compactly into a soft mouth; they certainly don't trail and get caught underfoot.  Bramble is a gun dog, not a trouser dog.  He really should remember his limitations.  At least the ripping sound has drawn Alex's attention away from Cat and that has to be a good thing. The down side is that three pairs of eyes are now on Bramble.  The feline pair are all too smug for Bramble's liking but he canít think about that now, he needs to help Lucas who seems to be crying and . . oh no . . . is Lucas choking?   Bramble is . . .  what is that phrase?  Paralyzed with fear?   Frozen in time?  Probably in a rather nice gun-dog-pointer-pose, but Bramble canít think about that either because there is the rather more pressing matter of a strange noise coming from Alex.  Now Bramble would be the first to admit that heís no hero (but not to Cat, of course) and that, gun dog aside, his favourite role is posing as a comfy footstool in front of the fire, but even with his limited experience of the great outdoors Bramble recognises that sound.  Itís the bone chilling growl a wounded animal makes when it comes out of its corner and fights to protect its young.  Or, in the case of the trousers, avenge its young.  Hmmm. 

Discreetly as he can with three pairs of eyes on him, Bramble drops the trousers delicately to the floor and backs towards the door.  For an awful moment the trousers seem to be following him but thankfully the thread of drool stretches and snaps, releasing the victim from the perpetrator once and for all.  Cat, it seems, has also heard Alexís animal sound before. In an act of nonchalance that Bramble would applaud if he could stand on his hind legs and clap, cat slinks off the bed as though she had been intending, all along, to leave at this precise moment in time.  She saunters over to Brambleís side, probably hiding behind him, bloody coward, and makes for the door in his shadow.  But Bramble, for once, has an advantage over Cat.  By dint of exiting backwards Bramble sees Alex grab the heavy book from its ever-present place on Lucasís bedside table and heft it at the door.  Bramble might be big but thereís nothing wrong with his reflexes and amidst a slithering and scraping of claws on polished floor heís managed an about-turn and made his exit before the book hits the door, forcing it to swing shut.  In truth, Bramble canít be sure if itís the door coming into contact with Catís backside that makes her jump, or if itís the force of the contact itself that propels her, but for the second time in their acquaintance Cat is airborne in a gloriously undignified manner and now Bramble really wishes he could clap.  And laugh, and dance back and forth pointing at Cat, and even fit in some jazz hands somewhere and hi-five the door, because honestly, Bramble is going to dine out on this one forever, just see if he doesnít.  Bramble settles for a bit of woofing and frivolous jumping to and fro in front of Cat before heís distracted by a loud kerfuffle from the bedroom.  He pauses by the door considering.  He canít get back in so heíll have to trust Alex to help Lucas with his seizure, though judging by the shrill screams, something about a priceless and irreplaceable book borrowed from the Queenís Library, Lucas must at least be able to breathe again. 

Excluded from the entertainment in Lucasís bedroom, Bramble surveys the adjacent library.  Heís not looking for mischief exactly, but he is hoping to find Cat so he can gloat some more and maybe take advantage of her ragged nerves and get a repeat performance by sneaking up behind.  Sadly it seems Cat has gone into hiding to lick her wounded street cred, but, oh heaven look, there is that lovely rug in front of the library fire, all snug and warm and just the right size for Bramble to stretch out on.  And with Cat gone he doesnít have to share, itís vacant and deliciously available.  Vacant, that is, except for a pair of Alex's shoes . . .

 Bramble would waggle his eyebrows if he could, but, he decides, a deep, contented sigh will do well enough.

 

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