In England, We Drink Tea
"It's just not right." Wolf glared at the letter from Miss Fieldmouse. "I'm failing my pack. Barry and Simon should be living the lives of true hunters, chasing down their prey on a moonlit night and ripping it to shreds with their razor-sharp teeth - three sugars, please - and devouring it fresh from the bone, dripping with gore. Oh, just one more crumpet, then. I can afford it, I've been working out." He settled the collar of his leather jacket.
Fox took a steadying sip of tea, somewhat distracted by certain mental images which had nothing to do with the cubs. Perhaps he should invite Wolf to accompany him to step class. He could easily manage to lend him some lycra.
He dragged himself back to the present, clearing his throat. "Well, that's all very impressive, my dear. Most ferocious. But the fact remains that your, ah, vicious young hunters were sent home from school because a little girl rabbit made them cry."
"Predators and prey at the same school, against all the laws of nature! It's just not right!" Wolf's fist crashed down on the table, without putting his cup down first. Fox winced at the splash. "Sorry."
"Oh, don't bother to apologise, by all means. It's not as if I needed an antique lace tablecloth, especially not the one which dear Mother spent her last fragile years mending with her own shaking paws."
"Good." Wolf went back to rereading the note from school.
Fox sighed, staring sorrowfully at the creamy fabric turning gently to amber. Wolf's directness had its own crude charm, of course, but there were certain drawbacks. Gulping his tea was the least of it. Then there was his unfortunate tendency to harp on the distinctly tedious subject of his sons, when Fox was looking for far more stimulating social... intercourse.
"If you're so very concerned about their development, why not remove them from the school?" The suggestion came more out of boredom than any genuine desire to help, but Wolf's eyes began to burn in quite a becoming manner.
"You're right! I'll home school them. I'll take my boys out of that school for /food/, and teach them the true joy of killing! I'll devote every second of my life to fatherhood, to nurturing the tender blossoms of violence in their heart." Fox was silent, torn between a certain amount of ecstasy brought on by the display, and the truly appalling picture of Barry and Simon underfoot, sucking up all their adoring father's time while he himself lounged around languishing for lack of attention. "Their mother was right. A true wolf doesn't rely on civilisation and home delivery!"
"Their mother?" Fox straightened a little. When he put the cup down, there was a distinct clatter instead of his usual discreet, barely discernible clink. "Ah. Your good wife." The smooth cream of his voice iced over just a little, as if it had been left at the back of the fridge too long. Not that Fox would have anything quite so horrendously fattening in his own fridge, of course. "Tell me, where is she, again?"
Wolf scowled at him. "You know, I'm almost certain I shared with you all the details of my personal trauma. What were you doing, mentally cataloguing your shoe collection again?"
"My dear Wolf, how could you suggest anything so appalling? I know exactly where all my shoes are at all times."
"Hmmph." Wolf didn't seem quite mollified. Fox hastened to make amends by pretending kindly interest.
"So tell me, what did happen to Simon and Barry's mother? Is she still in Canada?" He left the 'and do you miss her?' unspoken, because it was not as if he was worried. In the faintest.
"She ran off with a timberwolf," Wolf said shortly. "Called Lorraine."
"A she-wolf," Fox repeated thoughtfully. He topped up his cup with boiling water. "How... ironic."
"What's that again?"
"Oh... nothing." Fox smiled, his canines glinting in his well-groomed mouth. He lifted the shining silver teapot. "More tea?"
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