"No, really, he's my dog." Duo grinned, grabbing a solid handful of Heero's ruff, pulled him against his leg, and hoped very hard that the sheriff wouldn't ask to see his papers.
"...Well... That's a fucking huge dog, boy."
Duo grinned some more, and petted Heero's back, which was level with his waist. "Eh, yeah. He's a good boy though. Aren't you a good boy?"
Heero gave him a long, unimpressed look, and after a second, added a thoroughly underwhelming wag of his tail. Duo ruffled the longer tufts of fur along his back innocently.
"There a collar under all that fur, kid?" the sheriff asked, frowning in a way that implied that there better be one.
"Well, there was supposed to be one at some point, but damned if I can find it again." Duo dug his fingers straight down to demonstrate; they disappeared in the messy mass almost up to his palm.
"Hah! Maybe it's time for a good trim." The man stepped forward, cautiously gave out his hand to the beast, palm up. Duo worried, for a moment -- but Heero didn't miss the opening, stretching his neck to sniff at his fingers politely. The American bit the inside of his cheek to refrain from laughing. It figured that he'd be more polite as a wolf than as a human.
"So you don't keep him on a leash, eh."
Duo winced and scratched his hair, giving the sheriff a guilty smile. "Well... I figure there are woods all around, so it's all right to let him run a bit. It isn't as if I can keep up. Maybe if I had rollers..."
The man relaxed enough to chuckle. "You'd end up flat on your face. He's got the instinct to pull?"
"Huh, not a Husky, then, or not a lot. With his blue eyes, though..."
"Heh. We got him a little by accident, found him on a pier, so we don't even know what the mother was. He's a mystery dog."
Heero snorted. Duo patted his side. Yes, yes, stop the bullshit, hurry up and let's go, he got it. But if he cut the chatter short, the sheriff would be suspicious.
"He comes when you call?"
"Oh yeah. He's very obedient. He sits and gives his paw and plays dead and all that, too. He plays dead real well." From the corner of his eye, Duo saw Heero give him a long, suspicious look. He was pretty sure it meant something along the lines of, 'don't you fucking dare demonstrate.' Duo was feeling merciful -- that and he didn't trust Heero to do it right, or not to get his revenge later -- so he didn't. "Dad said a huge dog like this better be very obedient, or else he wouldn't keep it." ... Well, he could have said it, at least.
"Your dad's a wise man." The sheriff scratched Heero's head. Heero's eyelid twitched. Duo felt the muscles of his back tense under his hand, and dug his fingers along the wolf's spine as a warning.
"You chain him up at night, I hope? Because if he wanders a bit, we've got a few farmers with itchy trigger fingers around the area."
"He sleeps in my room."
The man grinned. "A huge thing like that, in your room? Hope he doesn't sleep in your bed, too."
"Hah! No, his fat ass would break the frame."
Heero snorted and gave him a baleful look. Duo scritched him behind the ears again.
"No wandering, then? Good. It would be a shame to see him get shot."
"Oh, it wouldn't be the first time," Duo muttered. The sheriff arched an eyebrow at him. Oops. "It was a while ago. He, err. Scared someone. They thought he was gonna bite that girl, but he was just... saying hello. The bullets just grazed him, though."
"I see. Still, we've got good shots around here, and they wouldn't like him around their prize bitches. He still whole?"
Duo bit the inside of his cheek. Hard. "Er. Yeah." Snerk.
"You should see about getting him neutered, then."
Heero's ears flattened on his skull. Duo tried very, very hard not to laugh. "Oh no! I've got lots of friends and they all want him to stud for them. Who wouldn't want giant puppies, really?"
The man laughed with him. "Indeed. Alright, son, you can get going, but you better keep him on a leash if you go anywhere near people."
"Will do, sir! Come on, stud, let's go. Heel! Yeah, that's a good boy..."
Heero obediently kept close to Duo's side until they were well out of sight of the man.
Then Duo called him "stud" again.
When they arrived to the campsite, Heero's fur was tangled and full of mud
and brambles, but not as bad, by far, as Duo's clothes and braid.