Fun surprise fan art of Victor by the generous Gritou who has captured the hockey hunk in his most natural shape here! Don't forget to go around his profile to see the original art and give Gritou some love for this! Merci beaucoup mon orque!
Hehhey, and welcome to the Hockey Hunk!
Fifteen minutes late, I'm sorry, but you won't regret it!
We're gearing up towards the season finale, but that doesn't mean the drama is over yet! Rory & Co are about to experience some major turns in their daily plots before we're through with season 3...and just imagine what it'll mean for season 4 :) I shall be giving you a fair warning once the season finale is imminent - but before that, I'm going to be writing long enough to do all the things I want to do with season 3 before it's time.
Until that, folks, enjoy the story for all it's worth, leave comments, vote, fave and watch, and keep being awesome!
Have a nice read!
"You should think more and know less, I think," Victor snorted. "And most of all, I think you should apologize Rory right now. I'm not the only one who's gotten hurt here, Cobb."
Cobb turned his ears and his black-shaded eyes in my direction, and I froze. I might not have been able to see what must've been remarkably bloodshot eyes staring back to me, but the angle of his neck and those ears told me more than enough. He was not happy with what Victor had just told him, and obviously not particularly pleased to see me, either. Having Peter there probably didn't help at all, but when Peter insisted on coming with us, I did not have the heart to tell him no.
Truth be told, I appreciated the backup. It might have been me, Victor and Peter versus Cobb, but I felt a certain amount of comfort from knowing that I had someone to join forces with me against the two Holdens, just in case. Morbid thinking, perhaps.
I swallowed deeply, clutched my crutches tight, and lifted my head high. I had spent an hour or so thinking about this last night, listening to Victor's breathing and trying to decide on ways to make sure that the inevitable discomfort would not get the best out of me. I knew what I wanted, I wanted to sort things out, I wanted to be polite, and steady, and determined. Basically, just grown-ups talking to each other.
I still felt like I was going to throw up.
"Hello, Cobb," I said in my best voice and tried not to hiss between my teeth.
Cobb grunted and shook his head and kept glaring at me, arms folded over his chest.
"Why did you do that, Rory?" the Dobie muttered slowly, his voice morose and rumbled. "Why did you have to mess things up for my brother again?"
The furs on the back of my neck spiked up with the roll of tension going through my body. My stomach churned in the all too familiar feeling of nerves fluttering down there, but I held my ground.
I must've been holding it a bit too well, indeed, because Victor cleared his throat and rumbled his brother's name in a warning tone.
I snorted to get Victor's attention with a soft sound rather than with any visual cues, and got his eyes on me. I gave him a little nod and flicked my ears before I faced the Cobb again, now that Victor was quiet again. My momentary speechlessness was now to be over, since Cobb had just offered me the perfect bridge to the heart of this issue.
"I think you're wrong there, Cobb," I said, quietly wondering just how much bark I could survive before things would turn into biting instead.
The Dobie bared his teeth, and I could see Victor mimicking the gesture, directed at his threatening brother. I snuffled loudly again, making rounds over our ears.
"I know, Cobb, that I have messed things up with your brother, but at no point have I tried to mess things up for him," I said. "And that's because everything that has happened is between your brother and me and nobody else."
"Humph", Cobb humph'd.
I took a deep breath, mostly to show my genuine remorse, and to call myself down, before I continued.
"But I know that it has affected our families, too. I had made you feel really bad, hasn't it?"
"It sure did make me feel bad," Peter mused, from his diagonal sentry posture behind me.
Cobb's ears lurched forward and he grumbled in Peter's direction, but stood still for now. Having him snarl at my cougar would not have gone down well on me.
"Hell yeah I feel bad when someone's stabbing my brother in the back!" Cobb muttered.
I did my best not to flinch but my ears betrayed my nerves and Cobb's resulting loud huff told me that he had not missed the gesture.
"Yeah," I said, "I felt like that, too. I felt so bad over something that happened to me that I couldn't live with it. I told Victor about it, because I felt it was the right thing to do, and we argued because of it."
I took another deep breath and went on before Cobb could shoot my arguments down.
"And the accident happened too and we were hurt, both physically and emotionally and scared, Cobb, and we didn't know how we could deal with our argument," I said, "In fact, we argued and argued until we realized that we weren't really arguing at all. We realized..."
Victor was looking at me now, his big, usually warm eyes heavy on me. I just hoped that he would understand, too, as much as I wished that his brother would get it before he'd manage to convince himself otherwise. I swallowed and went on.
"...we realized that by wallowing in self-pity and not really taking about what was wrong with us was really killing us."
"So maybe you shouldn't have gone messing around with someone behind my brother's back in the first place and could have spared us all, huh?" the brother Dobie snorted.
"Oh for the love of, Cobb, I told you that Rory didn't cheat on me!" the big Dobie growled.
Cobb hissed at his brother and gave him some bared teeth again before he outright pointed at me.
"You were pretty damn upset when you said that he had fooled around with someone alright," the Dobie declared.
"I damn right was, but I refused to believe it for what it was," Victor snapped back.
"He's right, Cobb," I said, "Something stupid happened but I did not cheat on Victor."
"Is this the part where you say that it was okay to do it because it didn't mean anything?" the Dobie stated. "Just like - "
"COBB!" Victor's voice grew in his chest and reached new heights, surely loudly enough to cross the pond and probably catch a few ears to turn into our direction. I felt a reflex-like need to check around me, to see whether anyone was staring, but the only fur nearby was a Kirk City Park Service rat in the process of picking up some litter from near some bushes, and he didn't seem to mind our impromptu gay drama.
"What?" Cobb snorted and stared down at his brother, head tilted into a dangerous angle.
"If you drag Ismail into this conversation once more, I'm going to toss you into Taft Water, you got that?" Victor growled. "Even if I 'm gonna break the rest of my ribs while doing it but you're gonna get dunked into that lake if you don't just shut the hell up!"
Victor barked out.
"Jesus Christ, Cobb, it almost sounds like YOU got screwed up by that guy and not ME!" the Dobie's voice lowered down into a dangerous base tone after the earlier burst of baritone.
My Dobie rubbed his paw over his face and made snarling sounds against his knuckles. It was painful to listen to it, because Victor sounded so pained.
"You really don't want to go there, Jacob," Peter murmured. "I think I can see some shit floating in there, and you don't really want to reenact Duck Hunt there, anyway."
Cobb's head snapped in the direction of the pond and his ears flicked so rapidly that his sunglasses almost fell off.
Well, couldn't blame him, really. I, too, turned to look at Peter and his bemused face, and when he saw me staring, he just winked and flicked a cheerful ear at me.
"Could you just listen for Rory for one second without making a scene, Cobb?" Victor huffed.
Cobb's ears stabilized a little, but his teeth were still bared as he looked at the three of us standing there. Victor looked into me, and I could almost feel the hot breaths coming out of his muzzle, touching my whiskers. My paws were starting to feel clammy against the crutch handles, too. My tail wouldn't stop jumping.
"Cobb, I did not want to hurt Victor, but it happened, and I think everyone has suffered enough," I said, "We've all learned a lesson, and I hope, and Victor hopes, that you can understand it, too."
Cobb waved a dismissive paw at me.
"You just keep sweet-talking and - "
"Shut up," Victor snorted. "Just shut up."
"Don't you -"
"Cobb, the Taft Water!" Victor's paw twisted and his thumb pointed at the pond. Cobb's eyes followed the sharp movement and his ears drooped. I let out a gasp, almost expecting Cobb to jump into the murky water at any moment.
Cobb simply huffed, flexing his paws by his hips nervously. Attack posture, almost, I realized, and tensed a little myself.
"Cobb..." Victor shook his head slowly, "Could you for once believe me when I tell you that I am really handling this situation, and that you don't have to act like this? Seriously, Cobb, please, please believe Rory when he tells you that he's sorry about what happened. I believe him, and so should you."
Cobb snuffled and let out a deep rumble, laced with an almost pained growl.
"And how about the next time he screws you up? Will you believe him then?" Cobb stated, teeth fully visible now.
Victor gave me a long look, and I could see the hurt in his eyes, as much as in his ears, too, flat as they were, even his bandaged one, too. I hoped it didn't cause him too much pain, now that there was definitely another kind of pain going on, deep in his aching heart. He was still looking at me when he spoke again.
"I just have to trust him not to," Victor spoke, facing me but obviously addressing Cobb, "And if either of us screws up, then we'll talk about it and not just act like a couple of kids."
Victor's eyes left mine, and I felt the difference.
"And that's what you have to know, too, Cobb," he said, "That Rory and I are going to be seeing each other, when the time is right. And I really would appreciate that you accept that, because we're going to do it."
I seriously wanted to hug my Dobie right there. Victor wasn't done yet, though.
"And it hurts my goddamn guts to see you like this, Cobb," Victor waved his paw at his brother's direction and huffed, "it's not right. I don't want it, Cobb. I need you to be there for me, even now. I still need help around home and so does Rory, so we can't exactly take care of each other, huh? I need you, Cobb."
Victor let out a deep breath and fell silent.
Cobb was breathing heavily now, too, ears flat, paws pressed into fists against his hips. His head was hung down.
"Oh you damn fool..." Victor muttered and stepped forward.
For a small moment, I wondered whether he was going to show Cobb the way to the pond, but instead of that, he simply put his arms around his brother and pulled him close. Cobb's paws soon appeared on Victor's sides, clutching onto him firmly while he buried his muzzle against his brother's shoulder.
I could only hear the rumbling and see him shake, but I still knew that the poor Dobie was sobbing against Victor's shoulder. My big Dobie rubbed one soothing paw over Cobb's back and was probably murmuring something onto his nearest ear, too, but I wasn't privy to hear that. My cheeks were starting to blush a bit, too, from witnessing the intimacy of the embrace, when all of that pain and hurt was finally released, yes, in public, here in the middle of the park, but that didn't matter for poor Cobb.
I turned to look at Peter, whose brow was quirked in surprise, and found mine mimicking the gesture. I knew from the movement of the green paper covering his muzzle that he was smiling, too.
"You asked for this," Peter whispered and stepped over to me so that he could put an arm over my shoulders and give me a sideways hug of my own, while the Dobies kept theirs up. I smiled, gasped, almost, and nuzzled Peter's neck once he was close enough so that I could leave a little bit of my scent there, just in a friendly gesture of trust and thank-you for him being awesome.
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I'm sorry I..."
"It's alright, Cobb, it's alright..."
"...didn't want to see you hurt ever again, Victor..."
"I know, Cobb, it's alright now..."
"...how can I make up for it...how..."
"You don't have to..."
Victor and Cobb's murmurings went on for a few moments, during which I stayed close to Peter, until Cobb finally extracted himself from Victor and then stood back. His paw went up and removed his sunglasses, and then I finally got a glimpse of the big, burning hot, wet eyes looking at me passionately. His cheeks were lined with tears, and I knew that I must've had one or two on the corners of my own eyes, too. Judging by Victor's hurry to scratch his ear, I had to wonder whether his palm was covering something up as well.
"Ohh Rory..." Cobb moaned.
I barely had the time to steady myself before Cobb pounced me and put his big, warm, expansive Dobie arms around me and pulled me forward onto himself. I let out a small "unf!" upon becoming the figurative fly in the windshield of Cobb's torso. My ears almost felt deafened by Cobb's gasp that sounded much like a pained yelp. He kept on squeezing me for a few moments before he stepped backwards, and I felt a dangerous wobble in my balance before I shifted my crutches and managed to gain my footing before it was too late. He gave me a big, wide-eyed stare, barely an arm's length ahead of me, and drooped his ears.
"I'm sorry..." Cobb moaned.
"It's alright," I hurried to say, if only to make sure that Cobb wouldn't start promising all sorts of apologies to me, most of which I suspected would involve a lot of generosity in his part, and that was not something I was ready for just yet.
"And I'm sorry for you too!"
Cobb lurched forward and caught Peter in the figurative bear hug before my cougar had any time to prepare for it, nor flinch when he was suddenly enveloped in a big blanket of slightly smelly canine all over him. His taller frame blocked Peter all the way from my sights and I felt the urgent desire to recruit Victor to help me pry him away from Peter before my cougar would potentially freak out. I gave Victor a quick look, but he seemed so drained that we simply...looked at one another.
It went on until I saw Peter's paw appear, enclosed in white latex, and pat at Cobb's back.
"It's alright now, big guy...I think," I heard Peter speak, from somewhere beyond The Great Wall of Jacob, and saw the patting intensify.
Cobb finally pulled back, and then turned to face us, red, watery eyes still wild but at least he wasn't actively crying at the moment, it seemed. He breathed heavily, though, and I wondered just what he was planning to do next. Some more hugs seemed like a possibility, but I wasn't sure whether my hip could risk it.
"I'm a fucking mess..." Cobb mumbled, and pushed a paw into his pants pocket to retrieve a crumpled red paper napkin he had obviously gotten from a restaurant. He lifted it up to his muzzle and blew his nose so loudly that a couple of the mallards honked and flew off in distress.
Victor let out an almost choking chuckle.
"Have to agree on that."
Cobb balled the napkin into one of his paws and shook his head rapidly, so that it made his ears flap. To his left, Peter was spraying some alcoholic paw wash onto his glowed paws.
"What a lovely family," Peter murmured.
"I think we better go home now," Victor spoke then, loud enough to make my ears and my tail jump.
I turned to look at him, and our eyes met, and Victor spared me a smile, before he cleared his throat, snorted, and breathed out and spoke again.
"Home?" Cobb muttered, staring at his brother.
"Yeah," Victor replied. "I need to change my clothes, and since you kinda made me flee my home in rage the other day, Cobb, I think it's more than appropriate that I make my return now, don't you think?"
Cobb's ears flattened and by the looks of his lips, I feared that he might sob again. I braced myself.
"Uhhhhh..." he said.
"And Rory and Peter are coming too, because I think that all of us are going to need something to eat and drink after all this. I think it's best that we can do it somewhere in private", he waved a paw to indicate the non-privacy of the park and went on, "And once we're all sorted out, then I'm gonna lay down some new rules for you, little brother."
Cobb made puppy eyes and puppy ears and did a pretty damn good job on that, too,
Thank you for reading my story!
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