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Today We Have Naming

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"Oh my God," Ray moaned, looking in despair from the stack of the forms to Navi, who lay there looking proud of herself with her five week-old pups curled up against her belly. "How is it physically possible for you to be this much of a bitch?"

Navi grinned. Natural talent.

"You can't name them all beer," Ray insisted, putting his head down on the page as he did. "Don't do this to your Ray-Ray, Navi."

Navi pushed his own name--sweet coffee gone cold and anticipation-sweat--at him, an affectionate smack of a smell. She followed it with the scent-name of the smallest of the pups.

"No," Ray said without picking his head up. "It's not better if one of them is malt liquor."

Ray didn't have to look at her--and barely even needed their bond--to be made aware of how much he was not the boss of Navi on this or pretty much anything.

"Fucking fine," Ray said, picking up the forms and finding Number Three Pup's, then scooting across the floor to pick up Number Three Pup, who was blue like Navi and barely overflowed Ray's hand. "Fine. Give it to me again."

Navi didn't know the fucking name of the malt liquor Number Three Pup's name smelled like, of course. She had associations--who she'd smelled it on, where--and once Ray got past the fact that she was making him desperately want a drink he was not going to be able to get away with having for probably months, it wasn't hard to work out.

Cool bottle of Colt 45.

Cold can of Natural Light.

Cold can of Milwaukee's Best.

Cold PBR in a cup, still fizzing.

Corona with lime.

Ray snorted as he wrote the last one down, and though Corona's eyes weren't open yet, the tiny pup turned his head toward the sound. Ray grinned. That one definitely had his mama's ears.

Navi's ears twitched, though she'd heard that through the bond, not through her ears, and she pushed up on her front legs, twisting around to nuzzle Corona. Ray's breath caught as he sensed the spark from Corona pushing back without moving--his first attempt to connect to the pack-sense.

"Fuck yeah, Recon," Ray breathed, suddenly aware that this blind handful of fur was going to grow up to be a wolf--somebody's brother, a Recon Marine's brother if there was any justice in the world. Ray leaned over and pressed his cheek to Navi's forehead.

"Okay, yeah, you got his name right. Brad's gonna love him."