"Aww, what a cute puppy!"
Fuu, obviously in love with the flea bitten ball of fluff, picks up the mongrel in front of her as if it were her long lost child. The Ryukyuan looks on curiously, in spite of himself.
I sigh. Oh gods, look what I have been brought down to. That it has come to this. Please, please…don't make me herd a dog around along with the girl and the irritant of a man. I absolutely refuse.
"Fuu, I am sorry but we must hurry. It is almost dark and the inns in this part of town cannot safely stay open late. There is no place for the dog there," I gesture at the setting sun. Oh gods, let her buy that. For the sake of my sanity, let her buy that.
I watch as she regretfully digests my words, being very careful to place the mutt back on its feet. We watch as it halfheartedly wags its tail and scampers away down an alley.
"Too bad, I've always liked dogs, especially when they are so cute," she smiles at us.
The Ryukyuan stretches and tucks his hands behind his head, "Yeah, too bad that we couldn't leave you here and take the mutt. I bet it's a lot less yappy. Probably smells better too."
Again, the two begin their customary teasing. Again, I sigh and look up at the soon-to-be-dark sky. Children.
The next day, as we are walking down the street to continue our journey, we see the same dog one more time. There is a gaggle of unwashed children huddled around the body. They are giggling and seem to be bragging to each other. Some of them are still holding the rocks in their hands.
For the dog it had not been a clean death.
Suddenly she is a screaming and wild, chasing the children away, calling them demons, calling them murderers. The Ryukyuan and I watch, silent. It would be wrong of us to interfere in what is hers. When they have all scattered she drops to her knees in front of the corpse and reaches out to touch the blood-matted fur. She is weeping. Fuu is weeping.
The Ryukyuan goes to her. I bet the he doesn't even know why he suddenly cares about this slip of a girl. I bet he doesn't even know the words for it. Fool, fool. Lovesick fool.
Looking out into the horizon he gruffly clears his throat. "Hey Fuu, it's…just a dog you know. Just a fuckin' mutt. It's not like it belonged to someone. It's probably had been on it's own since it was born. This is just what happens to things like that. So stop acting like it was part of your own god damned family, okay? No reason to waste your tears on it. It's dead."
He finally looks down at her and sees that she is looking at him with a different sort of glimmer in her eyes that cannot be associated with her tears. I almost laugh when I see him flinch a little. Children.
"No, Mugen you're wrong. I cared. I still do. He deserves to be loved. Everything does," her voice is still choked with tears.
After leaving one last kiss on the dog's broken face, Fuu gets up and begins to walk, leaving the strangely silent Mugen behind.