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Exiled to the Couch
Omake Fic: You Just Had To Go And Jinx It.
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Omake Fic: You Just Had To Go And Jinx It.
Fuyu no Sora
“Dan, I’m telling ya that this is a bad idear.” Theodore Portman complained to his partner. “Somethin’ tells me that this ain’t gonna pan out the way ya think it will.”
Daniels ‘Dan’ Jackson (so christened thanks to a drunken father) simply ignored the complaint he’d heard for the fiftieth time that morning and kept on his merry way.
“Ya really don’t care ‘bout gettin’ the rope so long as ya get them coins, huh?”
The other man rolled his eyes and prayed for patience.
“Quit yer whinin’, won’tcha Theo? If we can score ‘em sheep an’ get ‘em to Wise Budd and Stella’s in time, we’ll be set for the next six months. Thought ya said ya wanted ta get yer girl a ring?”
“I said that, but I don’t wanna face the rope fer it, thanks!”
“There ain’t gonna be a rope! We’re gonna get there, get ‘em sheep to follow us all placid, an’ get ‘em out in no time. Sure, them folks might’ve smarten up and gotten a better dog than that ol’ joke they had last time, but it’s no prob fer a couple o’ experienced rascals like us, huh?”
Theo looked at his partner warily, though he kept shadowing him. “Somethin’ in my gut tells me this ain’t gonna be good, an’ my gut’s ne’er been wrong ‘till now. I’m tellin’ ya, there’s somethin’ no good waitin’ fer us. An’ a ‘joke’ he might’ve been to ya, that ol’ one had ‘em mean tricks up ‘is paws and caused me no end o’ trouble. Can’t help but think theys might’ve gotten devils on guard this time.”
Dan rolled his eyes again and kept walking toward their goal, wondering how much more chicken Theo could get. “Hell, if I’d a known he’d be whinin’ all the way, I’d a brought a woman instead.” He muttered to himself.
Half an hour more of walk got the two to their final destination: Madison County, which had a reputation for breeding the finest cattle in the kingdom. The farmers knew this and were pretty smug about it, too.
Dan and Theo’s mission was to rustle the fifty finest sheep they could find and get them back to their employer as soon as possible. The sooner they got back, the bigger the pay, so they had a vested interest in being quick.
The men lurked about slowly, examining their potential merchandise and pointing out the ones they liked best. Nonetheless, they kept moving, knowing that it was best to explore all options before selecting their pick.
Suddenly, Theo’s face lit up.
“Hey, Dan! Lookit ‘em beauties o’er there.”
The blond turned to where Theo was pointing and his eyes gleamed at what he was seeing. The sheep at the top of the small hill were some of the most beautiful he’d ever seen in his life: Even at first glance their wool was top notch, the sheep themselves clean, well-fed and well cared for. These were the ones they’d been looking for. They lurked about the hill, watching for guards and laughed silently when they saw that same old dog that had been there last time, but sleeping happily under the sun.
Nodding to each other in understanding, they went about their respective tasks, the job being one that they’d done for so long that it was almost second nature to the thieves, every step executed perfectly. There was always some idiot or other that figured that their flocks would be safe if they just prayed to God and asked Him to watch over them. Well, unlucky them.
They were herding the first group slowly away when they first heard it. It was distant and faint, almost as if it were coming out of a dream, but it was there: A long, soul-chilling howl that rattled both men, making them stop on their tracks.
“Dan…ya hearin’ whut I’m hearin’?”
Dan stayed silent for a couple of moments, listening intently before relaxing somewhat. “’S prolly the wind playin’ tricks on us. This’s yer fault ta be sure; yer whinin’ on havin’ a so-called gut feelin’s ta blame fer this.”
“Now, why y’always gotta blame me fer stuff?”
“Tha’s ‘cuz you nag worse’n woman!”
He was about to get a sharp reply in kind when it came again: It was the same long, soul-chilling howl, but this time much, much nearer.
“Oh, that ain’t no wind. Let’s get outta here while we’s got our skin!” Theo started moving as soon as the words left his mouth.
Later on, the men wouldn’t have been able to tell just what exactly had happened. All they knew was that as soon as they were down the hill, a tree branch hit Theo on the head, making him curse and throw it somewhere in the direction of an old tree. The next moment they were drowning under a sea of black.
“Shuck!” Cressidor Blan-Virgine huffed and puffed as she went running after her pet. They’d been playing fetch in the back of the Blan farm with a fallen tree branch (the actual metal rod with which they usually played being much too heavy and cumbersome to take on a trip) without realizing that they’d been getting farther and farther away from the house. It was only after the last throw, one that had gone much farther than she could usually manage, that she had noticed she was rather far away from the Blan’s. Now she found herself chasing after the black dog so they could go back to her grandparents’ house before her mothers noticed she was missing and thought something might have happened to her.
She was surprised to find her dog sniffing two men that were knocked out cold, looking as pale as sheets, as if they’d seen a devil. Cress looked at Shuck, Shuck looked back at his mistress and they both tipped their heads to the side at the same time in identical ‘I’ve no idea what’s going on here’ poses. Then Shuck remembered the stick and went off to find it again.
“Whoa, what’s that you got there, little lady?”
Cress turned in time to see Joe Moonshine, a friend of her grandfather’s, dismounting and coming to her. She had met him a day after the family arrived to the farm. He’d been there on business and had taken a liking to Cress, calling her ‘little lady’ and giving her a tour of the little town on his horse. Cress liked him because he was a kind, outspoken man, and his smile was frank and friendly.
“I don’t really know, Mr. Joe. I was playing fetch with Shuck and I didn’t notice I’d gotten far away from home, but when I did notice I’d already thrown the stick and I had to come chasing after him, and when I got here these men were like this already.”
The man frowned and put his glasses on, taking a good look at the unconscious before letting out a curse that made Cress wince. “These be rustlers alright. They come an’ go, stealin’ some of our finest stock for some no-good people up north.” He took the glasses off his nose and put them back in his breast pocket. “You say you was playin’ fetch with your dog? ‘Cause I didn’t see no one but yourself over here, which is why I stopped by. I’ve half a mind that he’s the reason my sheep ain’t halfway across the county by now and I’d like to thank him.”
“Oh, yes. He must have gone back to looking for the stick. Shuck? Come here, boy!”
The five-and-a-half feet tall barghest immediately bounded up to his mistress, laying the stick at her feet and wagging his tail, giving the little girl a happy doggy grin at what he thought was a job well done. His tongue was lolling out from his massive jaws, flickering flames dancing along it. And though the dog himself looked friendly, his eyes were a vivid, burning red.
Joe Moonshine whistled, impressed. “That’s your dog?”
Cress grinned up at the man. “Yep! Some people say he’s scary-looking, but he’s a really friendly puppy!”
The farmer’s eyes went back and forth between the small child and the humongous beast that she called a
. Cress began to pet the creature and he whimpered happily, thumping his tail against the grass and licking the little girl’s hand. Despite Shuck’s admittedly ferocious appearance, he seemed as much a dog as his faithful Mack. A grin found itself spreading across his lips.
“You said you’d gotten far away from your grandpa’s place, right? I’ll walk with you there. I was goin’ to Goodwife Molson’s place, but that can wait. Tarnation, I’ll hafta axe that sneaky ol’ Sauvi where I can get some o’ these.” He also pet Shuck gently on the head, scratching behind the ears. “I don’t care if I hafta cart ‘em over from hell, I’m orderin’ a dozen!”
A/N: Since the game's characters are named after liquors, I thought it would be appropriate to continue the tradition in this omake. Theodore Portman is named after Port, his friend 'Daniels' Jackson is a reference to Jack Daniels (also, guess what his father was drinking when he named him?), and Joe Moonshine is, well, Moonshine.
While I was already grinning at the earlier antics...I cracked up laughing as soon as I saw the word "fetch" and never really stopped, to the point where Tarma had to ask me what the heck was going on.
Very, very cute! Shuck's antics were fun (plus, it was a nice bonus to read
), Cress was cute, and she must seem so happy to have found someone else who likes Shuck! And there's just something inherently amusing about a traditional Black Dog encounter (don't think I missed the howl!
) taking place in
(I'm impressed Shuck hadn't bitten the tree branch in two! The main risk in playing fetch with a stick instead of a ball or something has been, in my experience, the branch tends to get shredded quickly. On the other hand, if it's something Cress can actually
, it makes the joke better, so it works well here...)
A couple of nitpicks/edits/whatever:
--I don't get the joke as to why Daniels was named while drunk; the mere name itself being based on Jack Daniels doesn't qualify since everybody's based on booze, so am I missing something (I mean, obviously his father wasn't trying for the
character and slurred it since
doesn't exist in the setting.)?
a tree branch hit Theo on the head, making him curse and throw somewhere in the direction of an old tree.
--I think you're missing an "it" or some other word after "throw."
I was playing fetch with Shuck and I didn’t notice I’d gotten far away from home, but when I did notice I’d already thrown the stick and I had to come chasing after Shuck,
--You probably should use "him" for the second "Shuck" in the sentence.
but he’s the friendliest of puppies
--"The friendliest of puppies!" seems a little bit of an adult construction for Cress; something like "but he's really (just) a friendly puppy" or that kind of thing might make it sound a little more natural for her.
And to finish on a positive note, the line, "I don’t care if I hafta cart ‘em over from hell" is an, um,
of a finisher!
Fuyu no Sora
I'm glad you liked it!
I wasn't sure it was funny, but I did like the punch line.
As for why Daniels' name is weird, well...his name is Daniels instead of Daniel. His father was drunk and put a 's' that shouldn't have been there.
Also, made the couple of edits you suggested. Thanks for catching them!
Oh I forgot to mention. As for the tree branch, yes, I know they shred fast, so Cress had to instruct Shuck to be careful while picking it up!
Ahh, so he
slur it; the
reference is just a coincidence, then (or an in-joke).
(As a note, I like your (edited) version of Cress's line better then my suggested phrasing.
The author best knows her own work, mayhap! )
Ahaha!! Cress has a good arm
Most sheep I've seen are fairly dirty little critters though hehehe
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