A/N: So, for those of you who've asked (or had unasked questions) (Thanks for the question/review, hogwartsmockingjaysilvertong ue!), I figured out that this is kind of an AU Eragon timeline, where the Varden and elves lost a battle, I'm not yet sure which one, but Eragon and Saphira are now in hiding, Firnen's egg was stolen, and (as referenced in the previous chapter) there is a price on the head of any dragon not under Galbatorix's command. Also, I own nothing but my minions and the voices in my head!
In Which Certain Things are Decided
John recognized the arcing flight of an arrow just as Sherlock fell out of the sky. Without looking for the archer or grabbing his walking stick, John was running through the field towards where the dragon would have fallen.
I'm all right, Jawn. Sherlock's voice was shaky but present. John sighed slightly as he ran, almost tripping over a relatively-unharmed Sherlock.
"You're okay? The arrow missed?"
John knelt down and pulled the little dragon into a hug.
Jawn, Sherlock complained, I'm fine.
John let go. "This time." He looked behind him, switching to telepathy for fear he'd been followed. Whoever tried to shoot you will be looking for the body soon, he said. We'll need to either hide you or explain why you shouldn't be killed.
Let's go explain, then.
And Sherlock was trotting through the crushed path John had made, in the general direction the arrow had come from.
Let me go first, John said, seeing a small, dangerous-looking crowd around his house. They'll be less likely to shoot me.
John approached the Captain of the Guard, who had brought several armed soldiers along.
"John. Something was seen flying over your land, just minutes ago. Do you have any idea what it was?"
"Hello to you too, Lestrade. Yes, I do have an idea what it is, but you can't hurt him."
Lestrade ran a hand through his gray-flecked hair. "Look. You know as well as I that the king of Alagaesia is offering a price for... Certain creatures, ever since the war he fought." He turned. "Search the forest," he called to the guards. They left. "Let's settle this without a big show. Don't protect the beast-"
"There's nothing that says we have to collect the price," John broke in, almost begging.
"No. There isn't. But dragons are dangerous creatures. Even if you feel sorry for it, or even if we didn't turn it over, we couldn't have it running about town!"
I would not 'run about town'!
John's mouth twitched in a half-smile.
"What?" Lestrade asked.
"Well, there's someone you should meet, I think. But you have to listen to him."
"John, what is this about?"
Sherlock, come here. Slowly, please? If you could?
Sherlock stepped out of the field.
Lestrade swore and reached for his sword.
"No! No, that's Sherlock," John placed a restraining hand on the soldier's arm.
"That's the dragon, John," Lestrade said. "You better have a really good explanation for why you're defending a wanted beast. I thought you'd just seen it around?"
I am not a beast.
"Wha- it talks?!"
"He's a he, not an it."
And I'd appreciate you referring to me as such.
Lestrade swore again. "Here I thought we had a rogue dragon, that we could collect a price on, but no! We've got a Rider too!" He laughed without humor. "John, this should be sorted out soon. As in, what are we going to do? I can't exactly throw a member of a legendary order into jail, can I? At least, not without being torn to shreds," he added, nodding to Sherlock.
Shreds would be a merciful end for such an attempt, Sherlock assured him.
Lestrade gulped and continued. "So how do we do this, John? I'm not willing to tip off the spies. You probably know that. But I'm Captain of the Guard, it's my job to keep the city safe. If your dragon stirs up trouble, he'll have to go- you may have to go with him." The gray-haired guard shook his head. "You tell me, John."
John locked eyes with Sherlock, communicating silently for a minute before he spoke.
"I've lived here since I came back from the war."
"I've never caused trouble, in fact been useful as a medic in a couple situations?"
"The outbreak of moss fever a few years back, I remember."
"I can convince Sherlock to stay out of trouble if you convince your guards to ignore him."
Lestrade considered. "Well, I'm not going to turn him in, and I'm not going to kill him, so I suppose that's fair." He sighed. "I can't believe I'm agreeing to this. Anderson! Donovan! Let's get back to the Keep, there's something we need to discuss."
Anderson and Donovan? Like the chickens? Sherlock asked in surprise.
Yeah, but don't tell them that, John grinned.