In the Doghouse by Brigantine

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Story notes: Post Novice Chronicles: Rattle and Roll, Biding Time, If the Dog Doesn't Like You, Modern Alchemy, In the Doghouse, Cascade, Glamour, A Brief History of Bread, Anatomically Correct, Sheffield Roulette, Spur of the Moment.
Viggo is in one of his Tigger moods. Ordinarily, while these episodes can be draining, Sean finds them nevertheless amusing. Today, it's a problem. Sean's got work he needs to finish for an important event at the museum on Tuesday, but with Viggo careening around the house it's been impossible to concentrate on the damn job.

"Sean! Sean!"

"Wot??" Sean's train of thought de-rails, and he accidentally deletes, when he meant to hit Control/Copy. "Shit!" He's hoping for salvation from the Undo Typing option when Viggo bounces into his study.

"Look what we found!" Viggo is dripping wet. It's raining outside, but Viggo is so full of bounce that even a house the size of Sean's can't contain him.

Sean bites back a reprimand, deliberately tones down his voice. "Viggo, luv, you're drippin' all over the carpet - a very old carpet. How about you take whatever that is into the kitchen, dry off, and I'll come and see it a bit later?"

Viggo peers down at the wet patch he's creating on the beautiful old Morris rug. "Oop. Sorry!" He ducks back into the hallway and Sean can hear him bounding toward the kitchen, his bare, wet feet slapping smartly on the smooth wood. The sounds of dog bodies bumping into each other and toenails skittering on old farmhouse planking accompany him.

A horrifiying thought occurs to Sean. Hoping he's wrong, he bolts out of his study, snarls "Christ!" when he sees he's right, and he lunges toward the kitchen, hoping to head off any further disaster.

There are muddy, grassy pawprints and bare footprints everywhere. Marilyn is hiding in the dining room, peering at the sodden melee from around the corner. Viggo is busily washing whatever it is he found outside in the kitchen sink, while the dogs surge about, reeking wetly and wandering back and forth between the kitchen's breakfast nook and the dining room, tails slashing happily. Sean catches Ophelia's attention, and motions her back into the kitchen. She canters joyfully past him, pausing just long enough to shake muddy water and dog hair all over the wall and his track pants. Sean's teeth click together.

Viggo glances up, his grin fading as he notices Sean's thunderous expression. "Um."

Sean watches comprehension dawn as Viggo looks from the muddy, puddly kitchen floor back along the filthy trails weaving into the hallway in the one direction, and through the dining room in the other.

He grimaces apologetically at Sean. "Oh. Shit, I'm sorry, Sean! We were adventuring, and the rain is hardly even cold, and we found this little critter skull out there in the north corner past the big Monterey pine, I think it's a fox..." Viggo holds out the washed white bones, more of a peace offering than an excuse.

Sean takes a deep breath. He does not want to shout at Viggo. Well, yes, he <em>does</em> want to shout at Viggo, and there are in fact several very specific things he might shout at Viggo, but he'll feel a right bastard afterward if he does, and it's of no use anyroad, so instead he takes a second deep breath, and he says, quite rationally he thinks, "We need to dry off the dogs and clean up this mess, yeah?"

Viggo nods guiltily. He sets the fox skull on the counter, which would not have been Sean's first choice of places to put the thing before it's been bleached, but he lets that go for now. "Stay," he orders the general ranks, and then he walks very calmly back into the mud-spattered hall to retrieve some dog-drying towels from a linen cupboard.


At last the dogs have been dried off, de-leafed, de-grassed, mostly de-mudded, and have collapsed in exhausted post-adventure heaps, Phee and Jim on the living room rug, and Mycroft snuggled and dozing in his giant doggy bed. While Viggo finishes mopping up the kitchen floor Sean starts a fire in the big fireplace. He watches the kindling catch while rain streams down the windows and a low rumble of thunder rolls down from the mountains, and over the house toward the sea, and he contemplates What To Do About Viggo. There's no point in getting after Viggo for being eccentric and easily distracted. Still, Vig's a grown man, and he ought to know better than to let three sopping wet dogs go charging about the house, never even thinking to bring them in through the mud room and dry them off first. He glances at Jim rolled over on his back, watching Sean from upside down with sleepy brown eyes. Silly fellow...

Wait, now...

The tip of Sean's tongue plays thoughtfully along his lower lip. Could be an unpleasant memory trigger, what he's thinking. There are details he doesn't know about Viggo's past, things Vig prefers not to dredge up, and Sean respects that, but there are moments, such as now, when dark possibilities make him hesitate, and he wishes to hell he could know for sure what he's dealing with. Finally he comes to his decision, and indulges in a wicked little grin. It has to be tried. <em>Go easy,</em> he thinks. <em>Give the lad the out. Make sure he knows it's in fun, and he'll be champion.</em>

"Now perhaps," Sean says, as he crouches on one knee in front of Viggo, "I can get this project finished, and then we'll have the rest of the weekend for proper muckin' about. I should like very much to see whatever gruesome little treasure you lot discovered out in the yard, and to hear all about the big back yard adventure, but later, when what needs doin' has been done, and I can give you me full attention." He runs a gentle, but firm hand through Viggo's damp hair, then gets to his feet and raises an eyebrow at him. "Understood?"

Viggo pouts up at Sean from his spot in front of the going fire. "Understood."

Sean gives a sharp nod and makes his way purposefully back into his study. Though Viggo initially gaped a bit at Sean's suggestion as to how he ought to be disciplined for such a rousing fuck-up, once the concept had fully sunk in it appeared for a moment as though Vig might outright start giggling. Tch. He's supposed to be in trouble, the smart-arse. Sean grins to himself, determines not to let himself be distracted by colorful and related plans for the future, and re-settles dutifully in front of his computer.

Viggo sits cross-legged and nude before the fireplace, picking at the dog hair on the Belgian carpet and enduring the openly curious stares of Mycroft, Jim and Ophelia. Marilyn watches bemusedly from the back of the sofa, the tip of her tail curled about her front paws. Viggo understands that he screwed up, letting the dogs rampage through half the house, making a god-awful mess. Once he'd realized the magnitude of it, he wondered why Sean hadn't started yelling. Lord knows, he had every right. Instead, Sean got that 'I dare you' look in his eyes, and suggested something else entirely to help Viggo remember the protocol for next time.

Viggo could easily get loose, of course. Lift the big leather wing chair and pull the leash off of that front leg. Unbuckle Mycroft's old puppy-collar, complete with vaccination tags and an expired license, from around his neck and make his escape, but Viggo and Sean both know he won't do that. Of course Sean knows he won't, because Sean is rapidly figuring out all of the quickest routes to Viggo's down-space, the bastard. Viggo's not anywhere near deep under, but that's not the point. The point is that Viggo is sitting here naked on the carpet with the dogs, and leashed to a chair. He is learning his lesson, and he's liking the way of it, a fact that was made physically very obvious the second Sean put the worn leather collar around his neck and the cold metal tags touched Viggo's skin. A tad embarrassing that was, since he's supposed to be in trouble and full of contrition, but Sean chose not to razz him about it—which is not to say that he won't bring it up later.

Viggo reaches over to scritch Phee behind one damp ear. The sleek hound grunts appreciatively and leans into the gesture, stretching her paws into the room. Viggo will remember Sean's admonition made in this manner more clearly than he would have if Sean had simply lost his temper and started shouting. More to Sean's intent, he will be much gladder to recall it. Viggo grins and snickers to himself. At least Sean didn't rap him on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

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