Jarod watched his best friend pound the shit out of a new recruit but couldn’t work up the energy to cheer. He had stayed up all night trying to figure out what to get his mate, Milcah, for her birthday. She claimed she had everything she needed but he wanted to make this a birthday to remember. Over a quarter century of living and she didn't have one memory of a birthday, that was going to change this year. Air rushed past his face as the recruit when sailing past and the roar of those gathered forced him away from his thoughts. Michael, a very large and intimidating male, waved at the crowed and made his way to Jarod's side.
"Still worried about a gift for your mate?"
"Yes, did you ask Marcus?"
Marcus was Milcah's brother and Michael's mate.
"She told him the same thing. She has everything she needs already."
Jarod scratched his head. "I wish she was like other females when it came to this. Heck I hear males complaining because they get a list of things their mates want. Me? Nothing."
"Didn't she have a dog in the human realm?"
"Yes, but her friend Mary had it last I heard."
"Have our scouts been successful in finding Mary?"
"Well get her a dog."
A smile tugged at the corners of Jarod's mouth and he gave his friend a one arm hug. "I think I just might do that. I'll see you later."
Jarod left Michael to the admiration of his fans and took off for the Huntsmen dorm. As he past the king's garden, he spied his mate talking to her brother. Maybe he should take her with him to see about a pup but wouldn't that ruin the surprise? He released a sigh of relief when she didn't look up. He hated sneaking around but he wouldn't have to if she would just tell him what she wanted.
As he rounded the corner he could smell the multitude of dogs and the barking made his ears twitch. Maybe he could get the quietest pup.
"General, it's a pleasure to see you," the kennel master face lite up as he wiped his hands on a towel. "It's something I never expected."
"Greetings Owen. I haven’t been here since I was a hatchling but my mate is very fond of dogs and I was wondering if you have any pups not spoken for."
"You are in luck," Owen waved for Jarod to follow. "One of my bitches have two pups ready to find homes."
Jarod followed Owen past a few cages where pregnant females lounged in comfort. Some looked up at him but mostly they seem to be sleeping and paying him no attention. When they reached the last row Owen stopped and pointed to a female who looked tired and harassed. Two black pups tumbled around knocking into her and causing a growl. When Owen opened the gate and walked in the female immediately hid behind him. He laughed and squatted, catching both pups as they launched themselves at him.
"Are you bothering your mother again?" They licked his face in response. "Jarod, these two are breed from our best hunters. They will require a lot of attention and training but will be loyal to their masters. They can also be trained to be guard dogs."
"Guard dogs?" Jarod looked at the pups in a new light. He couldn’t always be there for his mate but if she had two dogs to protect her, he would be happy. "I'll take both of them."
Owen stood and walked out the pen, closing the gate. "Are you sure? They can be a handful and two is more than many experience dog owners take on."
Jarod shrugged. "I'm pretty sure we can handle it."
After filling out some paperwork and listening to the basic instructions, Jarod left with the two pups on leashes. He had promised to return when they named them so it could be recorded but for now he wanted to show his mate.
He found her still talking to her brother. She saw him coming and jumped up smiling. "Oh Jarod, who are these handsome devils?"
"Happy birthday love," Jarod laughed as he was ignored as she knelt down and received puppy kisses.
"I see you found a present for her," Marcus remarked as he watched his sister. "She has been missing her dog."
"Actually it was Michael who suggested I get her a dog but I couldn’t just get one."
"He is a smart male," he smiled as one of the pups knocked his sister to her back. "I will leave you guys alone and go see what my mate is up to."
"Goddess go with you."
"And with you. Thanks for making my sister happy."
Jarod watched as Marcus gave one of the pups a pat before heading toward the training area. A giggle and bark turned his attention back to his mate and he squatted. "We still need to name them."
"How about Thing One and Thing Two?" she giggled.
Jarod frowned. "Do you think - "
"I was joking, mate of mine. We have time to think of names. Right now I want to enjoy your gift."
Jarod sat cross-legged and smiled as he watched his mate. They still had the fight of their lives ahead of them but today that faded into the background as they celebrated life.
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