Author's Note: this is very, very much an Elseworlds
story. (A story in which the characters of the series
are placed in a completely different situation than
the one that they're originally in in the series. Er.
feedback: it's good for the soul. just don't give me heartburn.
The Game of Six
part two: a night in jail
I have realized that perhaps I hadn't delved into my history with Harris Xander far enough. He is, after all, an extremely interesting character, especially in this particular narrative. It all started a few months back, when I was looking after my aunt's son for a few hours as she went to market. The little brat most definitely did not enjoy being tickled.
A few days later, I found myself in a strange new situation. I went immediately, like a good middle-ager, to my local vicar. He sympathized with my predicament in the proper religious fashion, by locking me in the cellar. And it wasn't even the proper time of the month. He informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I was dammed forever, and a danger to my fellow peasant.
And so I found myself chained to the wall, where I remained for a very long time before Harris Xander was brought into my life.
His proper title is Harris Xander of the Harrisburg Xanders, but it isn't one he ever uses. Mostly because he has quit his prestigeous, albeit disfunctional, family in order to become what his drunken father despises most, a common theif. Which explains how he happened to end up being locked in the same cellar as I was on the evening in question.
The evening in question was bound to be one he wouldn't soon forget. I'd say the same for myself, but for the fact that I don't quite remember it anyway. It's a side effect of being a werewolf.
He was brought into my cell just before sundown on the night before the full moon. I happen to be in the unique position to say with certainty that, contrary to popular belief, the moon does not have to be completely full for the transformation into a werewolf to take place. Which goes to explain why I woke up the next morning naked, only to see the poor boy cowering in the very corner of the cell, as far away from where I was chained as he could get. I immediately set about apologizing profusely.
"Sorry," I told him. Hey, it's about as profuse as I get when I'm not on duty.
"S'okay," he squeaked, his voice hoarse from screaming all night. "Not your fault...."
I snorted eloquently. "Try telling the priest that."
He nodded understanding. An hour later, once he'd managed to move about an inch away from his corner, the priest came down with our breakfast. Which looked remarkably similar to the same breakfast I'd been receiving for nearly a month. Same size too. But that's the dark-ages for you. Once the tray had been set down, the priest turned to my companion.
"So, young Harris, are you ready to repent yet?"
"If I say yes, will I get out of here?"
"Only if you mean it."
"Yes." Harris said solemnly and with great conviction. "I'm very sorry, and I'll never do it, ever again."
The priest frowned, then snarled. "You mock my faith! For that, you remain here! May the Creator have mercy upon your soul!"
And he left us once more alone. Harris and I exchanged a long look. I smiled at him.
He shrank immediately back into his corner and didn't move from it for the next two days.
It wasn't until the end of my three day cycle that he was able to unwrap himself from his fetal position. The instant the threat of mutilation by werewolf was gone, he was actually rather cheerful.
"So!" He said, pacing the floor in order to work the kinks out of his legs. "Whatcha in for?"
I'm fairly certain I raised an eyebrow. "Lycanthropy."
"Right." He shuddered. "Beyond that, though, you're totally kosher?"
"Cool." There was a long silence. He then spun on his heel and marched towards the door. "Let's go."
"Yeah. You know, somewhere other than here?"
Harris didn't answer for a long moment. He was too busy leaning as far as he could out of our cell. There was a weird clicking noise, and the door suddenly swung open. "I was thinking through the door."
"You're thief." I stated.
"And you're very observant, Wolf-Boy." He walked out in the hall. "You coming?"
The eyebrow rose again.
"Right. Chains. Forgot about those the instant you were no longer lunging for my throat."
A moment later, we were on our way to freedom. Well, sort of.
"Damn barred windows. No locks! What's with that?"
"Security comes to mind."
"Yeah, but if we don't get out of here, how are you going to write a story about the exploits of the amazing Harris Xander, king of thieves?" He pondered aloud, then spun once more on his heel, and nearly fell over from a cramp. "Right," he said, staring at the door at the end of the narrow basement hall. "I have a plan."
Harris gave me a look. "Aren't you going to make some snide comment about how frightening it is that I have a plan?"
"No." I replied. "Should I?"
"Not at all. But everyone else seems to." He frowned for a moment, and then walked back into our cell, gesturing for me to follow. "Right, here's what we're going to do...."
A few hours and three unconscious monks later, we were back out on the streets. I fully expected Harris to head off on his own at this point, but he seemed bent on following me. He still seemed to think that I was going to write my first great bardic work on the wonderful Harris Xander. He even offered to dictate it for me. I declined his offer, but he seemed to think I would rethink it.
Which is why, other than a certain three days of the month in which he was nowhere to be found, Harris Xander and I were almost literally joined at the hip. Especially when there was someone the likes of Dame Buffy around for him to "scope out."