Isn't It Only Silver?
So what happens to a werewolf when he or she is 'killed' by something other than silver? Set during the end of Men at Arms. One-shot.
Disclaimer: All characters copyright to Terry and Lynn Pratchett.
…She stopped thinking with her head and let her body take over. Wolf muscle powered her forward and up into a leap, water droplets flying from her mane, her eyes fixed on Cruces' neck.
The gonne fired, four times. It didn't miss once.
Surprisingly, it didn't hurt. Angua felt the crunching impact as the first shot hit, but she'd felt worse having a stone thrown at her. Then another shot, and a third, and a fourth; her vision began to blur and she tasted blood at the back of her throat.
She hit the man heavily, knocking him backwards.
Only dimly aware of the impact, she felt them crash into the mud; heard what might have been Cruces swear as he heaved her off to one side and scrambled up; thought she heard Vimes shout something. It didn't really matter any more. Everything had gone dark and she couldn't breathe in past the blood bubbling up in her throat. Her final coherent thought was, Well, that makes things a lot simpler.
The blackness faded. Possibly quickly, possibly slowly, she had no way of knowing. But when she was aware of her surroundings once more, the sewers seemed misty and there was a faint octarine haze in the air. She looked around and noted the shadowy image of Carrot kneeling by… Ah. Wolves are much quicker on the uptake than humans. She looked in the other direction.
"I've had better." Absently she noticed that here she was in human form, even as she watched the indistinct forms of Vimes and, finally, Carrot run off in pursuit of Dr. Cruces. "So what happens now?"
DON'T YOU KNOW?
"Well, no. I wondered occasionally. If it's just fire and silver, what happens when something else delivers a fatal wound? I figured we just healed it, slowly, but I appear to be dead."
YOU ARE. TEMPORARILY.
"Ah. So what do I do while I'm waiting?" The absurdity of it struck her. Life Restored While-U-Wait.
THAT IS UP TO YOU. ALTHOUGH YOU WILL NEED TO REMAIN NEAR YOUR BODY.
She considered this for… about half a second, before moving after the Assassin and the watchmen, wanting to see what was happening. Death watched her leave impassively before sighing as he looked down at the dead wolf.
I DO FIND THE UNDEAD IRRITATING AT TIMES. THEY CREATE SO MUCH EXTRA WORK.
Angua arrived with the others just in time to watch Vimes fighting the gonne. In this… dimension, or whatever it was, she could watch the forces battling inside him. Hearing Carrot trying to argue, distantly, she turned slightly so that she could watch them both.
"He killed Angua. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
"Yes. But personal is not the same as important."
She considered this. Being dead, even if only temporarily, gave you crystal clear insight and prevented you lying to yourself. She was all set to feel hurt or angry or something, but she could see that there was a battle raging inside Carrot every bit as fierce as the one Vimes was fighting. Vimes fought with stubbornness, Carrot with morals. Frankly, it was fascinating to watch.
Vimes dropped the gonne, and Cruces began to babble almost hysterically to Carrot. She drifted closer and listened, and blinked in surprise. Carrot, king? Actually, that does explain a lot… And in just a few days, she'd learned enough about how Carrot thought that she was probably the only one present who wasn't surprised when he looked up, dropped the paper he'd been reading and stepped forward with his sword drawn.
It was probably narrativium at work, she decided. Such a neat and practical solution that satisfied everyone – Well, except Cruces, anyway – wasn't possible without some sort of intervention. She looked at the dead Assassin dispassionately. The first shot fired had killed her; the second would have made sure she couldn't bite as she died. There had been no need to waste the last of his ammunition… Unless… Unless it hadn't been him. She was sure she'd heard the gonne speak.
Angua's thoughts were interrupted when the two watchmen walked off, and she followed to find them both looking down at her body. It was definitely creepy to be looking down at your own corpse, she decided.
"We'll bury her up at Small Gods, how about that?"
If she'd been able to, she'd have laughed. I'd prefer you didn't bury me at all, actually. Even so, it felt oddly pleasant to think that for all his prejudice and sheer hatred of her kind – one day she'd find out what had happened to him to make him loathe the undead so much – Vimes was prepared to treat her the same as any other watchman. I must be delirious or something.
It would have been amusing to follow Vimes and watch him get married. She didn't know him well after such a short time, but she'd seen enough to know that such an event would be extremely funny. But she stayed with her body, dying – in a manner of speaking – to see what Carrot was going to do.
It was slightly disturbing to find out that the Watch House had its own morgue. This didn't exactly bode well for a career in law enforcement. She watched as her body was laid on the slab, noting with mild disgust that it was already stiffening with rigor. Ew. Then she drifted closer to watch what Carrot was doing. He was washing her fur.
She stared. Faced with the animal corpse of the woman he'd spent the night with, he was taking the time to clean her fur and arrange her body neatly.
It was quite possibly the soppiest thing she'd ever seen.
She tried to follow him when he finally left and found to her displeasure that she couldn't. The compulsion to stay near her body was getting stronger; she was, however, gratified to see him stop in the doorway and look back before he closed the door behind him. Then, sighing, Angua settled down for a long and boring wait beside her corpse.
Every so often she leaned forward and checked the wounds. Although she couldn't see them closing, each time she looked they were shallower. Despite this, death was extremely unattractive. She got to watch the full progress of rigor mortis and the undignified and frankly disgusting bloating of the corpse, which to her relief soon wore off. At least there aren't any flies in here. After a while, she was so bored she'd have welcomed anything as a diversion, even another conversation with Death if necessary.
When it finally began to grow dark outside she sighed with relief. The rigor had faded and the wounds were small enough now that her fur hid them, preventing her seeing how healed they were. Her body now did actually look as if it was only sleeping, the way corpses never did unless you were incredibly deluded or had never seen a dead body before. The shadowy world she existed in was growing fainter; she'd lost her sense of hearing some time before, and now even what she could see was growing fuzzy.
Angua felt the moon beginning to rise outside at the same moment that everything went dark.
The first thing she was aware of was a soft, regular thudding. It took a moment to recognise the sound of her heartbeat. Her eyes opened, and she inhaled with a gasp, the air burning the whole way down. When the pain subsided, she focused as her senses gradually returned and sat up stiffly. The ever-practical wolf took over, and she spent the next few minutes pacing the room to get her muscles working again before settling onto her haunches and finishing cleaning her fur.
Feeling more like herself, she moved away from the moonlight shining through the window and Changed; she needed to do some serious thinking, and for that a human brain was easier.
The question was, what did she do now? She still remembered Carrot's reaction to learning what she was, but Gaspode – against all expectations – had actually had a point. She couldn't really blame him. He couldn't have found out in worse circumstances, really; she couldn't quite stop herself smiling. When you looked at it, it had actually been pretty funny. Certainly Carrot seemed to have accepted it, a little, if his careful treatment of her corpse was anything to go by.
Of course, there was the slight problem of everyone believing that she was dead. That was the first thing to deal with, then.
She walked across the room, carefully skirting around the patch of moonlight, and opened the door, intending to head down to the locker room and try to find something to wear.
Her uniform was in a neatly folded pile outside the door.
Angua stared down at the pile of clothes and armour silently for a moment. He worked it out. I'll be damned. Well, that solved one problem, although it did create quite a few more. She dressed quickly and carefully carried the rest of her uniform into the locker room. The Watch House was silent; everyone must be at the wedding reception still, except Carrot. She sat down against the lockers for some serious thinking.
In the end, she concluded that the full uniform – as opposed to the shirt and trousers that was all she actually needed at the moment – was an indication that Carrot at least wasn't opposed to her staying in the Watch. Vimes… Wait, wasn't he supposed to be retiring now? At least that meant she didn't need to worry about what he thought. Biting her lip, she eventually decided to go and talk to Carrot and see his reaction for herself before deciding what to do. Getting up, and pointedly ignoring the voice inside her that was telling her the real reason she was doing so, she began to climb the stairs.
It's only the dead that cannot lie to themselves. The living have no problem doing so.
When she opened the door, Carrot was sitting at his desk, writing. I wonder if he'll tell his parents about this. That'd be an interesting letter. Resisting the urge to laugh hysterically, she watched apprehensively as he turned and saw her. He smiled, and she felt the tension dissolve and vanish as he spoke.
"I wasn't certain. But I thought, well, isn't it only silver that kills them? I just had to hope."
After a moment's hesitation, she smiled and stepped inside, and closed the door behind her.
I've wondered what happened to Angua after being shot ever since the first time I read Men at Arms. It seemed fitting to finally write my version of it as the first story on this account. I didn't have the book with me when I wrote this, so the quotes are from memory and may not be accurate. Review and tell me what you think of it.