“Well, okay,” I say to Sensei Domino, “you get some dogs after all.”

Standing in front of us, neatly lined up, are six smiling faces next to six equally happy doggy grins. One of them barks. (A dog. Not a kid.)

Anyway, at this point, I have to mention that Pulis are my favorite breed of dog. Which is not to say that I don’t love all other dogs, because I do, but just mentioning that it’s the dog that’s my favorite; I’m not playing favorites with my students. I mean not that anyone could do anything about it if I were, but still, it’s not really the kind of environment you want to foster, is it?

The point: FiendPuncher has a Puli.

We race toward each other in excitement, meeting in the middle, and I get many licks on my hand as I try to engage in headpats. The kids laugh at me. I super don’t care. I mean, it seems good-natured enough, anyway – but I have more important concerns. (It’s a Puli.)

No, the incredible thing is that every single dog seems to have a power that corresponds to the student. I have to wonder which of them trained their dogs into it, and who picked out dogs who could do the exact same thing they could.

Well, no, Enigma Machine’s Dalmatian doesn’t seem to have any powers at all, other than knowing not to lick electronics, which I have to assume isn’t actually a power. I mean, service dogs know way better tricks than that? And show dogs can stand still for hours or something getting their picture taken, so that’s weird. Anyway, yes, Bran doesn’t have powers. Probably. Or at least they aren’t very good if they are.

Oh, yeah, the Puli, a very dark brown with a sort of lightish brown nose (not very light, really, just a little bit lighter) is named Horseradish, which is an adorable name for a dog.

Horseradish can float. And is floating, right now. What a good dog.

Caffeine has…a dog. I don’t know. I’ll figure out what kind once they stop running around the gym, this is – couldn’t he have waited until the end of roll call even, I don’t?

Psybeam has – oh my god I was looking at this dog a second ago – I turn back to the dog, who tilts curiously to examine me, tail happily thumping against the ground. A Puggle. It looks like a Puggle, anyway. I look away for a second, promptly lose track, and have to stare at the puppy continuously before the name stops blanking out in my head: Poffin. The effect is extremely pervasive and a lot stronger than Psybeam’s – or I’m just used to him, maybe. I don’t know.

Gatling, however, has given his dog a terrible name. Or maybe his parents have. I don’t know; I don’t know how you tell the difference. Sausage. I mean, not that it isn’t a terrible name in general (probably worse for a pig, I’d think), but particularly for a Dachshund, that’s not great, right? I might be overreacting. The little guy’s captivating, though; with every bark, a percussive sound wave slams against me, and I think if they could be aimed they could do a lot of damage.

Okay, I’m aware that’s not actually the same power as Gatling’s, but it’s surprisingly close for, you know, a dog.

Jailbait has a squat little bulldog radiating affection and a need for scritchies, which I know is not just how much I love this dog, but some sort of extranormal aura, because goddamn is that stronger than my usual feelings towards dogs, which are always affectionate as hell. Her name is Pecan Sandy, and both the humans and the other dogs gravitate toward her unconsciously. Her ears perk up and her tongue lolls out every time she greets someone. Proud mom Jailbait keeps feeding her crackers.

Horseradish floats to a stop in front of me, apparently jealous. I oblige with many ridiculous puppy-talk noises, and at least one kiss on the nose, which there’s no way any of the class missed, but they’re polite enough not to say anything.

Caffeine and company finally come to a halt. The dog is smaller than I expected – I thought I caught a glimpse of a medium to large sized dog – and sits patiently, white except for the curly brown fur around the eyes and ears, apparently not at all tired from their run. Caffeine grins, informing me the dog is named Ginger, which seems a fitting enough name for a Cav. I didn’t think they were usually about running, but, hey, a lot of dogs like to run, probably not this much, but some.

After the initial moments of stunned silence, Sensei Domino rushes over to the dogs, too, and I don’t think we’re handling chaperoning all that well. I mean, we’re supposed to be the responsible adults in this situation, right? Having…authority…and teaching…and stuff. Not – playing with everyone’s dogs, I don’t know, everyone actually seems to be getting along for once, and what do you do with dogs during a lesson?

Do they go sit in the corner? Do you set up a pen or a play area, or something? Do they need some sort of Dog Whispering teacher to help them use their powers? Or are we just keeping them next to each individual, or whoever’s lap they end up on, and letting them distract everyone for the whole class so nothing gets done, like we do in the meetings?

Because that last one definitely seems like the direction we’re going in.

And I think the dogs might be about to use their powers on each other.

With a sigh, I resign myself to giving them a half-listened-to lecture while they ignore me in favor of telling endearing tales of their dogs’ adventures, and Sensei Domino is absolutely no help, because I’m pretty sure he likes dogs even more than I do. Also, if I don’t step in, he might try to teach them karate, which, while hilarious, would probably not end well.

I launch into a discussion of how dogs manifest, and what kind of extranormal distribution you get there, and why it’s different from humans. No one bothers to tell me where any of the dogs got their powers, even though that’s the one dog story that would actually be relevant to the lesson. Horseradish senses my frustration, though, and repeatedly licks my hand while I talk.

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