Leaving the gunman where he lay, the wolf padded across the glade.
A saddled horse started at the wolf's approach and cantered to the safety of the nearby copse of trees. This was where it had retreated after the loud noise spooked it and it lost its human. As it had no other companion, and being that horses are sociable creatures, it soon wandered back to its downed human. It warily returned a second time, keeping an eye on the predator, but as the wolf was alone, the horse would have the upper hand, or hoof, in a fight.
The wolf snorted in amusement and sniffed the man who had been shot. There was something familiar about him, nothing he could place, nothing from his personal experience, but familiar nonetheless. He settled down beside the man to wait. He knew a dead body when he saw it, but there was something about this man that felt off.
It wasn't long before the dead man stirred back to life. He sat up, putting a hand to his chest where the bullet had exited. It was one of those things you never got used to, knowing you would survive a bullet through the heart, didn't make it any less painful. Definitely an experience to be avoided if possible.
He looked up, and spotting his horse, called it over, surprised that the usually biddable animal was ignoring him. A soft wuffle from behind him alerted him to the presence of the wolf.
It was a large animal, although perhaps that was subjective, as he was almost nose to nose with the beast. Its tongue was lolling out in wolfish humour at his scrutiny, but as Methos looked into its eyes he recognised something familiar and relaxed. Wolves didn't have bright green eyes, but he knew someone who did and he didn't think it was a coincidence to meet a second green-eyed wolf.
"You'll be Declán, Wolf's brother." The wolf dropped his head slightly in acknowledgement, then stood and walked away, looking over his shoulder to encourage Methos to follow.
They made an odd procession. A large grey wolf, followed by man with a bloodstained shirt and a horse that was trying to get closer to the man but further from the wolf at the same time.
The wolf sat by the corpse of the shooter and pawed as its chest. Methos knelt on the other side of the body, noticing the bruising on the throat where the windpipe had been crushed without breaking the skin. An impressive effort when performed with a mouthful of large teeth. He started rifling through the dead man's pockets and found an envelope of documents.
"What are they?"
Methos was startled by the voice and looked up from the papers to see a man shrugging on a long coat where the wolf had previously been sitting. While he knew Declán was a werewolf, it was still a strange concept to wrap your head around. Regardless of their current form, it was easy to forget the alternate side of their nature. "Looks like he was a bounty hunter, but I don't seem to be his intended target."
Declán nodded. "That makes sense. I got sent out to bring him in, after his last few jobs ended up with the wrong men dead." He lifted the man's eyelids with a thumb and gave the eyes a cursory examination. "The start of cataracts. The silly bastard has been running about in the field shooting people from a distance instead of adapting his skills to his failing eyesight."
"The inability to admit one's failing is one of the curses of testosterone," Methos agreed. "You'll need proof of a kill?"
"Well, I'm not dragging his sorry arse overland for days." He produced a large knife and with a loud snap of bone detached the ex-bounty hunter's right hand. "Easier to carry and it's not like he'll miss it." With a few swift slices he cut away the man's clothes and started to disarticulate the body.
"Leaving him to the scavengers. Nice way of destroying the evidence." Methos was surprised at how quickly Declán butchered the body. Quick, clean, efficient movements, no motion was wasted as the body was reduced to its component parts.
"I've seen his file, no one will miss him. Instructions were that if I caught him making another bad call he wasn't to be brought back alive." He bundled the body parts into the remains of the man's clothes so he could disperse them more widely.
"You work for interesting people."
"Perhaps. But it still doesn't make me feel any better that I wasn't quick enough to get him before he shot you. If he hadn't mistaken you for..." He read the name of the bounty hunter's documents. "...Harold Black and had followed some other innocent party, I wouldn't have been able to do anything to stop him in time."
"Hey," Methos put a hand on Declán's shoulder and shook him gently. "You can't do anything about what could have beens."
Smiling lopsidedly, Declán raised his head. "Yeah, Wolf says the same thing."
"You should listen to her, she's right on that score." He stood up and brushed his trousers off. "Which way are you headed?"
"Same. There's a town about a day's ride away, got their own brewery. Last time I came through this way I recall the beer was pretty good."
Smiling at the much older man, Declán couldn't help but laugh. "Sounds like a plan. I'll ditch laughing boy as we go." He removed his coat, folded and stashed in his backpack before changing back into a wolf. Picking up a length of torn clothing in his mouth, he headed off, the bundled remains of the dead man trailing behind him.
Methos mounted his horse and followed behind. A good beer in more civilised surroundings would be just the thing to wash the dust from his throat. The chance to catch up on an old friend, albeit second hand, would be even better.
moonbeamsfanfic — Declán and Methos
Part of the Wolf&Declán!verse