The people sharing their table included a couple whose marriage was teetering on the edge of a messy public disintegration. The wife was a stunningly beautiful woman, with a voice that could cut glass and tongue as a vicious as a snake. Her husband was a quiet man, who the Doctor suspected would one day snap and strangle his wife in her sleep. Sometimes marriage was best seen as a spectator sport and, in this case, one that was viewed from a distance.
Wolf was happier with their other dining companions. Hammell, her new military friend, had managed to wangle a seat at their table, allowing them to continue their discussion of weapons and tactics. Hammell's attaché, a young, sharp faced man named Jenner, was his companion for the evening and he took every opportunity to glare daggers at Wolf. She briefly wondered if she was committing some social faux pas by using the wrong fork or had spinach in her teeth, but found she really didn't care.
The Doctor was amused to note that Wolf was surreptitiously sniffing the food before eating it. She couldn't break the habit. He knew she had a nose for discovering what was safe to eat, but she also had an interesting sense of curiosity. Her recent decision to mix two alien alcohols had proven both delicious and seen their top layer of skin turn a bright blue for three weeks. He made sure to keep any strange beverages out of her reach during dinner.
As the final course was cleared, a band started up and people either took to the dance floor or excused themselves to continue their pre-dinner conversations. Apparently the music was also the signal for the hunt to start. A gaggle of young women prowled the dining room, searching out anyone who had caught their fancy during dining. The group had set their sights on Jenner and were descending en masse when Wolf came to his rescue and dragged him onto the dance floor.
The women then turned their attention to the Doctor, losing interest when he told them that he own no land or businesses. He chuckled as they drifted on to their next mark and returned to watching Wolf dance. She was competent dancer, but she should have been so much better. He seen her fight and spar and train; she was graceful, all movements flowing from one to the next, but that elegance did not translate to her dance moves.
Hammell had taken over from Jenner and, as the song wound down, the Doctor took the opportunity to cut in.
"You looked to be getting on with young Jenner." The Doctor nodded behind them, where Hammell and Jenner had returned to the table.
"He thought I was horning in on Hammell."
"Fancies him, does he?"
Wolf grinned. "Thought they should have a chat. Clear the air."
The Doctor sucked air through his teeth. "That could get messy." He could see the men were talking to each other and it hadn't come to blows yet, so that had to be a good thing. Of course, they could just be discussing sports scores.
"Nah. I reckon they'll be fine. They're good people."
The Doctor had to agree. It hadn't escaped his notice that Hammell had been keeping Wolf well away from the elderly lech who'd expressed an interest in buying her.
"Looks like you're finding your feet at last." Wolf was noticeably less awkward on her feet.
She shrugged. "Must be the company."
"You could be right. I am good." He smiled as Wolf made a rude noise.
The music ended and they returned to their table, just as their combustible married dining companions stormed off in opposite directions. Hammell and Jenner shrugged their ignorance when the Doctor raised a questioning eyebrow. Nobody was terribly surprised.
An older, florid man took the opportunity to take one of the vacated seats and made loud throat clearing noises.
Recognising the man, the Doctor laid a warning hand on Wolf's thigh. She squeezed his hand and turned to her attention to Hammell, whose jaw had tensed at the newcomer's intrusion.
When his unsubtle signals and attempts at talking over Hammell were ignored, he slouched back in his chair and stretched out.
Feeling a foot run up the inside of her thigh, Wolf threw back her chair, grabbed the foot, yanked the man under the table and knelt on his chest. She ran her tongue over her right canine, then her left, before smiling widely as she pushed a parfait spoon into the skin below his eye, neatly popping it out of its socket. She felt Hammell take her elbow and gently draw her to her feet.
The screaming of the man on the floor added a nice counterpoint to the jaunty beat of the current musical number. The Doctor flashed Wolf a sympathetic smile as he knelt beside the thrashing man and, using the same spoon, deftly reseated the eye in its proper orbit. The pitch of the man's screams quickly changed from fear to bloody murder and he demanded justice for the attack.
As the château guards headed over to settle the dispute, Hammell moved to intercept them. He may have just met Wolf, but he had enough of an idea that if she'd meant permanent damage she would have caused it. This was a playful warning shot, a fact unfortunately lost on her slow-witted victim.
With Hammell talking to the guards on Wolf's behalf, the Doctor took the opportunity of his distraction to press something small into her hand.
Deferring to Hammell's rank, the guards stepped aside to allow him to escort Wolf from the dining room. With the commotion and excited voices fading behind them, Wolf removed the tiny object from between her fingers and surreptitiously pressed the device into her ear. She heard the Doctor's amused chuckle. "Didn't I mention something about inappropriate comments and the sheep-shagging second cousin? Try not to kill anyone while I sort this out, yeah."
15minuteficlets — word #123: jubilant
pheral — challenge: whumping
Part of the Exile!verse and the Wolf&Declán!verse