A dog is supposed to have sharp senses and almost territorial instincts...right? So why didn't this one warn him about his stalker?
Kouji sighed in something akin to annoyance, picking himself off the asphalt and glaring at the dog who had thought it amusing to trip him up for the fourth time in the last hour.
'Do you want me going home with broken limbs?' he growled, prompting the other to whine softly at him. 'Stop doing that or I'm shortening your leash.'
It was a moot threat, which he well recognised. Ichigo was strong enough to force his arms to relent, even when he held the almost useless contraption with both hands and all the force he himself could master...when the other fancied to do so.
It didn't take him long to untangle his ensnared foot from the leash, and he stood...only for Ichigo to stubbornly stay in his place.
Kouji sighed again. 'First you dance around my heels, then you won't budge.' He gave the leash a death glare. 'Stupid thing. Don't know why I bother.'
'Maybe you're the one needing a lead,' a teasing voice interjected his train of thought, accompanied by a happy bark from the dog at his heels.
The younger twin started at the voice. 'Ni-san,' he half-scolded. 'Don't go sneaking up on me.'
Ichigo barked again, before smoothly yanking the leash from the slack grip and trotting over to the elder twin, balancing himself on his hind legs and proffering a paw as he had been trained to do in greeting.
Kouichi laughed gently. 'You're a smart one aren't you?' he said almost rhetorically, bending forward to shake the offered appendage. 'Thank you for slowing him down for me.'
Ichigo barked a third time, before returning to the other boy, his twin in tow. Kouji gave the dog an odd stare, then his brother an even odder one. 'What do you mean?' He asked in a tone that bordered on suspicion.
'You know, you work too fast for someone to catch you in that crowd,' the other returned, referring to the flocks of people that had littered the main streets at this time of day.
His twin stared a him a moment longer, before returning to the dog as his feet. 'Aren't you supposed to warn me when someone's following me, not trip me up?'
Ichigo barked once more, butting his leg.
'Hold on,' he frowned, remembering something. 'You've never met Kouichi.'
A bark of agreement.
'Don't tell me you mixed us up.'
Ichigo growled, before throwing him off balance again, the way he always did to announce his presence.
'So you don't tell me when some stranger is following me?' He raised an eyebrow at the dog who appeared a little too cheerful.
'He didn't tell you when I followed you a week before the Digital World,' Kouichi pointed out.
'Come to think about it, that's when he started this whole 'tripping me up' business.' He mock-glared at the dog, who barked in definite amusement. 'You did that on purpose.'
Another bark, this time accompanied with laughter. Human laughter.
'That's not fully,' he scowled in a well concealed sense of irony. 'You know how many bruises I got? And you-' He glared at Ichigo, who glared back. 'Conspiring against me.'
He closed his eyes and shook his head as if to validate the point, only to open them to find an almost identical set of blue bordering on tearful waters.
'Oh come on,' he said in exasperation and slight agitation. There was just something about that puppy dog look that was irresistible. Hence why Kouichi always teased him with it; it was rather entertaining seeing the younger twin so flustered. 'That's not what I meant.'
'I know it isn't.' And his twin grinned at him, blinking once and then casting the mock facade aside. 'I was just teasing.'
'I know. It just gets to me.'
'That's why I do it/'
Kouji pouted. Something he would do in the presence of very few people. 'Evil. My dog and my twin brother ganging up on me.'
The guardian dog chose that moment to trip up the elder twin.
'See what I mean?'
The younger twin raised an eyebrow at the dog who was seated at his heels again. 'Is there are reason for that?' he asked.
Ichigo barked happily, stubbornly remaining in his chosen spot as the elder twin climbed to his feet.
'Well...' Kouji let his voice trail off. 'I guess I'll-'
The dog snarled at him.
Kouichi laughed. 'I don't think he wants us splitting up.'
A bark of agreement.
'I spoil you, don't I?' Kouji sighed, eyeing Ichigo before turning back to his twin.
'What are you doing here anyway?' he asked.
'I live around here,' he pointed out.
The younger twin paused at that, before glaring at the dog. 'Just how far did you make me walk?'
Ichigo barked innocently.
A/N: Ichigo comes from 'ichi' meaning one and 'go' meaning guardian. Not Ichigo as in strawberry...well, not for this fic I mean.