This is my first fanfic, so please read and leave a review.
John walked contentedly down the path. He had taken an unfamiliar route today; a little change of scenery couldn't hurt. The morning air was warm and dry. It was relatively silent save for the sound of a few twittering birds and the uneven clop clop of John's cloven hooves. Early morning sunlight filtered in through the trees to pool on the dirt path and soak into his sandy wool. As the ram walked, he started to bum. It was so relaxing to be away from the pasture and the flock. John didn't have much in common with his fellow sheep and even less after his injuries. There was always polite small talk, but not much else in the way of communication. It was nice to be away from their gossipy whispers about his scars.
John's musings were interrupted by his stomach rumbling. He thought he heard the sound of rushing water. There must be a stream nearby. He could stop and eat there and get some water. The ram nodded to himself and was just about to turn off the path in the direction of the stream when something caught his attention. John froze. His ears twitched, listening carefully. There it was again. A little ways up the path John saw the bushes rustling. The bush emitted a fairly loud noise of distress that was somewhere in between a yip, a howl, and a whine.
"Hello?" John called.
The bush stilled. John sniffed the air. Yes, there was definitely something there. A predator. John got ready to run away - if the predator wasn't already aware of his presence, it most definitely was now that he had practically announced himself - when the bushes rustled again and out stepped a wolf. Wonderful.
The wolf was much closer that he initially thought. It was really only a few paces in front of him. Running away now would only slow the inevitable. Time for plan B. John started to back up keeping his eyes on the threat in front of him. The wolf tilted its head curiously. John ran at it, powerful hooves beating against the ground, head down and horns barred. The wolf gave a surprised sort of squeak and leaped out of the way, barely avoiding the collision John was hoping for. Skidding to a stop, John turned on his hooves to face the wolf and got back into a charging stance. The wolf took a few careful steps back, but otherwise didn't move. It didn't circle him or try to snap at him or even bare its teeth. The wolf just stood there, staring. It didn't seem like the wolf was sizing him up, though. It was more like when the shepherd would have someone come check the lambs' health, looking critically but still with some interest. Piercing blue eyes stared into John's own rusty gray ones before flitting to the rest of him, taking in John's tawny fleece and eyeing his horns warily. It was quite unsettling being under such scrutiny and John found himself shifting uncomfortably.
The wolf gave a satisfied hum then sat back in its haunches. It was a rather large beast, but very slender. Its black fur was matted with twigs and leaves.
The wolf opened its mouth to speak and said in a baritone voice, "What happened to your leg?"
John blinked and straightened in surprise. "Wh-what?"
The wolf shuffled its paws and wagged its tail a little. "What happened to your leg? You have a limp. There are scars from claw marks on your front leg. How did you get them?"
Was the wolf just trying to distract him and take him off guard? It did seem really curious.
"Um… There were three dogs. Strays or maybe some hunting dogs that had gotten loose. I managed to fight them off until the sheepdog and the shepherd came, but one of them got a good swipe at my leg before running away, cut right down to the bone," the ram answered.
"What about your back leg?" the wolf asked, pointing its nose in the direction of John's leg. Its tail wagged in anticipation.
"What? Nothing happened to my back leg," John said, turning his head to look at his leg. It didn't look any different than it normally did.
"There's a tremor in it, but you didn't say that you suffered injury to your hind leg. It can't be that you're afraid because you would have run away by now and when you were charging at me there was nothing wrong with your back leg. It must be fake then! Psychosomatic, maybe. Being attacked by three dogs could definitely cause stress…" The wolf was muttering and seemed to be talking to itself now.
John shifted his weight from side to side. The wolf didn't seem like it was going to stop talking anytime soon. John cleared his throat, an awkward mix between a grunt and a bleat. The wolf turned its attention to the ram, ears perked and pointed forward.
"Um… Are...are you going to eat me?" John asked uncertainly. It was an odd question to ask, but a sheep could never be too cautious. The wolf before him was rather unusual, but a predator was still a predator.
The wolf tilted its head to the side. "Why would I eat you?" It asked, sounding genuinely confused.
John snorted. "Because you're a wolf and wolves like to snack on sheep."
The wolf scrunched up its long snout like John had greatly offended him with his response. "No, eating such a large animal would dull my mind and slow my thinking. Then I'd be just as stupid as the rest of my kind. Besides-", the wolf's tail resumed its wagging, "you're far too interesting to eat."
John wasn't sure how he felt about that last statement, but at least he wasn't being made a meal of.
"Ah, thanks…" The wolf nodded. "Well, if you won't be attacking me, then I'll just be on my way."
The wagging stopped. "Oh, well, okay then," the wolf said disappointedly. The wolf laid down on the path plopping its great black head mopily on top of its paws. As John trotted away a dejected sigh sounded from behind him. The ram paused, contemplating. No. He continued, shaking his head at the absurdity of his thoughts. Another sigh, much louder this time and managing to sound pained.
Of course, John thought, the first wolf that he meets that doesn't have any interest in devouring him, has to be a total drama queen.
John turned around giving a long-suffering bleat.
"...I heard a stream nearby and I was going to rest there. You could come with me if you'd like."
The wolf perked up immediately, ears standing at attention. "Are you sure?" the wolf asked in a hopeful baritone. Its tail gave an excited twitch.
John sighed, shuffling, stirring up the dirt with his large brown hooves. He hoped he wasn't making a terrible mistake.
"No, but come on anyway."
The wolf gracefully leapt to its feet and trotted over to John's side, tail wagging, pink tongue lolling out of its mouth. John waited for the wolf to catch up to him before tilting his head to listen out for running water, wooly ears swiveling towards the sound. He set out in the direction of the stream, the wolf padding along beside the ram, keeping John's relaxed pace.
"My name is John. What's your name?"
"Sherlock," the wolf answered.
"That's a rather odd name for a wolf."
"John is a rather mundane name for a sheep," Sherlock countered. He gives the sheep a sharp-toothed smirk. John smiled. "I suppose you're right."
"Of course I am," Sherlock said haughtily, turning his snout up. John rolled his eyes. The conversation stopped as they continued through the trees and finally reached the stream. John's hunger returned with renewed vigor at the sight of the luscious green grass by the water. Sherlock looked on with an amused expression as John munched enthusiastically. When he was full, John carefully laid down by the water's edge. Sherlock took a drink from the stream then delicately dropped down next to the sheep. They sat in companionable silence before a thought occurred to John.
"If you weren't planning on attacking me, why were you hiding in the bushes," he asked.
"I wasn't hiding," Sherlock said defensively. "I was observing. I got bored, so I started tracking the route of a squirrel. I think it had a disease..."
Sherlock pawed and the ground, looking slightly embarrassed. "... I found the squirrel. It wasn't very happy to see me. It bit my nose..."
John gave a loud bleating laugh. "You were beaten up by a squirrel!" Sherlock snorted and rolled his eyes. John's laugh was interrupted by a frantic bark. He looked up to see a grey furred hunting dog bounding towards them. Sherlock ran to meet it. "Lestrade. What is it?"
The dog, Lestrade, waited before answering, taking a moment to gulp down a few panting breaths. "It was another one. A goat this time."
Sherlock nodded, shuffling his paws in anticipation, tail swishing back and forth. He turned and trotted back over to John.
"John, there's been a murder-"
"Possibly!" Lestrade cut in.
"WRONG!" Sherlock called over his shoulder. He turned back to John. "There's been a murder and Lestrade has called me to solve it."
"You solve animal murders?"
"Yes," Sherlock said with a resolute nod.
"Can I come?"
Sherlock frowned, tilting his head to the side.
John continued, "Well, I spent some time at the veterinary hospital after I was attacked and I had to go back multiple times for problems with my leg. A lot of different animals came and went and I listen to the doctor so, I know a bit about animal ailments. I could be of some use if what Lestrade says is true-"
"-about them not being murders."
"You can diagnose animal ailments?"
"It could be dangerous. Possibly too much for a sheep."
"Okay," John nodded decisively.
Sherlock considered John for a moment, searching for any signs of uncertainty. Then he turned and padded back over to Lestrade. Without looking back he called, "Come along, John."
John trotted after him.
I'm going to try to get chapter 2 up within the next week, before I have to go back to school. If not, probably sometime soon after.