Paul was the last to wake up after their nap. The way the sun illuminated the place indicated it was still way to soon for Mommy to come home, so the pup rolled over on the mattress, adjusting his eyes to the light while at the same time catching his surroundings in order to decide what to do for the day.
Flake was the only one in the room with him. The skinny pup was lying on the carpet, near the opposite wall from where Paul was. He pawed at a piece of fabric lazily before biting on it and pulling, vigorously shaking his head. The sound of fabric ripping resonated in the room.
Paul slowly sat up and wondered what Flake had destroyed. A toy? A pillow? Perhaps a piece of clothing. Sometimes Mommy let them play with their old clothes when she found a hole on them and no longer served a good purpose, an old shirt or a sock for example. She would place them on top of Paul's stuffed animals, an indication that they were free to take it. She was going to throw them away anyway, so she let them pretty much decimate it as long as they didn't actually eat it or left pieces all over the house. They knew better than that by now.
Suddenly Paul felt a weird pressure on his chest, not painful, but oddly familiar. His chest jumped and a loud -hic!- was heard.
Flake immediately looked up at him, leaving what now appeared to be one of Richard's old shirts fall from his lips, the striped black and red long sleeves torn and full of Flakes drool. Flake squinted in confusion before another -hic!- came from a startled looking Paul, who sat looking down at himself in confusion as if not knowing what was happening to him.
They were both familiar with the hiccups. In fact, Flake had them not long ago after dinner, Paul had seen it all, but he just hadn't had the chance of experiencing them. At least not that he remembered.
Mommy had suggested Flake hold his breath and counted up to ten for him before he could breathe again, so Flake got up from his place to crawl to poor Paul, joined his forehead with the smaller pup's to calm him and carefully did with him what mommy had done.
Calm down. Breathe in, and hold….
One, seven-ten, four, twirty…. What was after that?
Wait, time was passing and Paul let out another -hic!- despite them holding their breath together. Perhaps if he held his breath for as long as he could manage the hiccups would go away, so they waited, and waited, and waited until Paul couldnt hold it anymore.
Paul inhaled dramatically. Eyes reproaching as if screaming 'are you trying to kill me?!' But Flake smiled and soon Paul realized it. It worked! The hiccups were gone!
They were -hic!-…Fuck.
Flake huffed and moved toward the hallway, stopping at the door to look back at a disappointed looking Paul before crawling out of the bedroom.
Paul followed. Again, a -hic!- made his body jump and he growled in annoyance. He took a moment to join Flake, moving with him through the corridor and stopping around the corner when they found Oli sitting just outside of Till's kennel, his head looking down at what was most likely Till inside.
Moving to crawl into his own kennel, Oli dug on the blankets for a moment to retrieve a carrot shaped squeaky toy. A smiley face was embroidered on it.
It was Oli's favorite and no one could touch it if not for him and Mommy. Mommy had given it to him when he got a bad cold and felt horribly bad a couple of weeks ago, but now he apparently wanted to share the happiness it brought him with a not so happy Till, so he peeked back into his kennel with the toy in his mouth.
Paul and Flake watched as the younger pup got closer, a deep territorial growl came from inside. Oli decided it was best to not come too close, but still, lowering his head in a sign of submission he put his carrot down and pushed it forward, offering it to the larger pup.
Till growled louder, clearly bothered by his company, and in one swift movement Oli's carrot flew out of the kennel and hit him straight on the face. The toy squeaked loudly as it bounced on him and landed on the floor, making him pout. After recovering from the initial shock and disappointment, Oli carefully retrieved his smiley carrot and sadly crawled away in the direction of the living room, whining, clearly hurt.
Ok, maybe approaching Till would not be the best idea. Paul looked up at Flake with a questioning look.
Flake huffed again, determined to help Paul. He lowered his head making his way out of the hallway and in the direction of the kennel, head lowered, followed by an equally as submissive Paul. They did their best attempt at not bothering big angry Till as they curiously looked inside.
Till's head turned to look at them, but he didnt act against them. He simply rolled his eyes when he heard a -hic!- from Paul and got up, circling his blanket for a second and letting himself fall into a ball on the soft fabric with a grunt. It was clear Till would not help them.
Flake and Paul moved away, deciding to leave the grumpy pup alone and followed Oli's way in search of help for Paul's little problem.
In the living room they found Richard and Oli on the sectional, Oli lying on top of the smaller pup while attempting to not crush him, apparently happy to receive all the love he needed after Till's aggressive behavior.
An old black and white movie played in the background while the smaller pup attempted to make the youngest one feel safer, his arms wrapped around Oli without looking away from the screen. It was always the same with him, they didn't understand how Richard could focus so much on the screen and not get bored.
Oli happily chewed on his squeaky carrot on Richard's chest, making Richard eye him with a warning and grumble when it squeaked too loud for his liking. Oli looked at him apologetically and chewed on another area of the carrot that didnt make any noise. Richard resumed watching his movie, not bothered by the weight of the larger pup on him.
Paul observed them for just a moment longer along with Flake, contemplating if asking for help was the right move. Oli nuzzled on Richard's shoulder with a whine. Richard smirked and wrapped his arms around him a little tighter, nuzzling on his cheek in return.
Two pairs of wide eyes found Paul's apologetic ones when he and Flake approached the other pups. Rolling his eyes Richard detangled himself from Oli to grab the remote and pause his movie before looking back at Paul with annoyed eyes. Oli tilted his head with a confused expression on his face, Mr. Carrot still hanging from his mouth.
Flake grunted and huffed at them. Paul whined and pawed at them.
Richard raised an eyebrow while Oli put his toy down and moved his head closer to sniff Paul before moving away startled by the loud -hic!- that came from him. Richard smiled, amused by Oli's reaction.
The youngest pup pushed Paul to the floor and with careful hands grabbed his ankles.
Paul let out a yelp that was interrupted by yet another -hic!-. He widened his eyes when Oli moved to stand on two legs, holding Paul by his ankles, raising his arms as high as he could, suspending the smallest pup upside down. His face quickly turning red as the blood in his body followed gravity, arms hanging down along too.
Richard and Flake barked, their eyes wide with a mixture of surprise and worry while Paul cried louder, clearly uncomfortable. The soft feeling of nausea started to creep up, or rather down, from his stomach.
Oli shook Paul slightly and finally lowered him back to the floor before sitting next to him and tilting his head.
Did it work?
The pups waited for a moment. Paul smiled, yipping in excitement. He was cured! The hicups were -hic!-
Oli and Paul pouted in defeat, but Richard's smile grew wider. He had also had the hiccups before, and only one thing helped him every time. He jumped off to the floor with a questioning look from Flake and crawled over to their water bowl where he filled his mouth with as much water as he could before trotting back, his cheeks inflated with the amount of water he was carrying. He jumped on the edge of the sectional and let the upper half of his body fall so he was hanging upside down, only held by his legs.
With yet another -hic!-, Paul watched him take a deep breath he held for a couple seconds and then swallowed the big amount of water in his mouth at once with a loud ~gulp~ before breathing again and climbing upward to sit back like he normally did and look at Paul with a smile, licking his lips proudly.
Now you try.
Oli and Flake tilted their heads but still watched how Paul imitated Richard on the other side of the sectional, except as he was swallowing the water another -hic!- interrupted him, causing him to choke, cough and spit the water everywhere.
Richard groaned and shook his body, trying to get rid of all the water and spit that had landed on him. Paul whined yet again.
The noise of Paul coughing and Richards barking must've been too much for Till as he was soon crawling their way, catching the attention of the other four in the living room.
Time seemed to stop for everyone. They all fell quiet and sat cautiously watching Till get closer and closer to them. He did not look happy as he stared at Paul with a cold expression and growled, the smaller pup lowered his head.
Schneider watched the screen intrigued by the pups' actions of the day. One of her arms resting on her lap while the other one held her resting head on the desk, a curious yet cautious squint on her face. Watching them interacting, attempting to help one another to solve a problem. Yes, Till had been in a bad mood, but he hadn't hurt anyone yet which was progress. Up until now she felt proud of all of them for it. From Oli, who attempted to make Till feel better, or Richard who comforted Oli when he came to him, to Flake, who'd tried asking for help for Paul's problem even after trying to help himself. But now what in the world was Till doing?
She stared at the screen, watching how Paul became as small as possible in presence of Till while Oli and Flake froze for a moment, both keeping an eye on Richard when he started shaking and barked at Till in a threatening way to avoid any physical confrontation. Schneider lowered the volume watching how Till ignored him, he continued to come closer to Paul with deep growls in his throat until he was pretty much hovering over the smaller one, she did not like it. If Till hurt Paul, Richard would attack and the end of the fight would not be a pretty one.
Enough. She would go home and hoped they wouldn't all kill each other before she arrived. She turned around on her office chair to grab her purse from the other side of her desk and just when she put a hand on it heard Paul yelp loudly, as if being hit by a car or something equally as painful, the sound muffled by the low volume of her computer but still made her look back at the screen as fast as her body allowed, expecting to see blood and Richard on top of Till.
Instead Till had joined his forehead with Paul's and appeared to share an Eskimo kiss with him before pushing himself back with a grunt, he planted a kiss on top of Paul's head, turned around, and crawled away back in the direction of the kennels. The other pups sat noticeably confused.
Paul looked back at his friends for a moment before Oli howled softly, Paul looked down at his chest. Schneider smiled as what had just happened clicked in her mind. Why didnt she think about it? She scared the hiccups out of Till once, so Till had done the same for Paul now.
Paul jumped in excitement realizing the hiccups were really gone, his body wiggling in joy.
With one click, she enlarged the image of the camera facing the kennels, the image of Till carefully getting into his and burying himself comfortably in his blanket made her smile, her red lips moving as she sat back on her chair for a little longer whispering something she was sure would have to repeat in presence of the boys while she rewarded them, especially Till.