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Old Soldiers and Second Chances

It was almost evening when Harrigan arrived at Shattrath. He started from Auchindoun that morning, figuring the cross-country ride would be good for the elekk that rumbled steadily beneath him. He let Scrap have his head for the most part, which sadly led to exploring every new plant, stream, and defile they passed near. His back regretted his decision and the rest of him was ready to agree.

The elekk made a questioning sound again and Harrigan patted his head. “I told you, I have a surprise for you out here. Try sniffing it out.” It was an old game with them, one Harri used to exercise the animal's mind and keep him entertained. Scrap raised his long trunk and started searching for the treats that must be hidden nearby.

Scrap was beginning to complain about how long it was taking when he suddenly caught a scent that brought back a long-forgotten memory. He snapped his head in the direction it came from with a plaintive whimper. Harri patted his neck. “Follow the scent, boy. It's all right.”

Scrap started hesitantly, but became more and more excited as the trail grew stronger. He was starting to hear angry shouts behind them as the elekk shoved past people, then the beast trumpeted and grabbed the Draenei woman before them in his trunk.

She shrieked as she was lifted in the air. Her companions snapped into offensive stances, some drawing weapons and others gathering energy about them. Scrap trumpeted again, happily.

“Easy! At ease!” Harrigan shouted, first in common, then rapidly switching to Draenic. “Hurt her he will not! At ease be!” Fortunately, the woman had stopped yelling and was laughing as Scrap ran his trunk over her face and through her hair.

“Put her down, Scrap. Put her down.”

The elekk complied, gently setting her on her feet and releasing her waist. He still snuffled around her, making her laugh and smile as she swatted at his trunk.

“Forgiving me I hope you are,” Harri said in broken Draenic. “Not well your language I speaking.”

“Learnink yourz I have be-ink,” she replied. “Ze zounds are deeficult zometimes.”

“You're doing better than me,” he said. “I'm Bennet Harrigan, sergeant in the Silver Dragoons.”

“Zeth'Anz beink called, I am. How are you havink the elekk?”

“I promised a friend I would watch him until they could be together again. His name is Scrap.”

She said a few words to Scrap in Draenic and then laughed in delight as he squeezed her waist, vocalizing happily.

“I've come a long way to find you, Zeth'Anz. I can see I was right.”

“Findink me? Vhy?”

Harrigan slid off Scrap's back and patted his side. “Because of the promise I made to my friend. Her name was Zeth'Anz.” She looked at him curiously. “She was what you became on the other Draenor, the one that was destroyed by the demons.”

Zeth'Anz was quiet for a moment as it sank in. Her hand unconsciously stroked Scrap's trunk. “She vas me, zis ozer Zeth'Anz. And zo you are feelink ve zould be friends?”

“Maybe, in time. But I was more interested in you two becoming friends.”

She started in surprise and looked at the elekk. Scrap was still stroking her affectionately, looking at her almost longingly. “Underzandink I am not.”

“Me and Scrap are friends, but Zeth, -my- Zeth, was his partner. He misses her a lot. And now, thanks to all this insanity, I can give him a second chance. But only if you're willing.”

“You are givink him to me?” She looked astonished.

“I don't think he's anyone's to give. He chose to stay with Zeth. He never listened to anyone but her and me. I think he's choosing you, too.”

Zeth'Anz realized she was still stroking Scrap's trunk. She looked in his eyes and the elekk made a soft rumble. She reached up and scratched behind an ear.

“I... I am not knowink vhat to zay.”

“Think hard about it. He's a real chore. He likes to pick pockets, he doesn't listen very well, and he'll let himself out of the pen whenever he gets bored. Honestly, he's not a very good companion.”

Zeth'Anz seemed only half-listening, her attention focused on Scrap. “I am zinkink I vould be happy to honor your friend in zis vay. Vishink I could meet her, I am.”

“Just look in the mirror, Zeth'Anz. You have the same spirit.”

Harrigan started removing his pack from the animal, and Scrap turned his head to look. He gave a whine and reached for his friend with his trunk.

“The world never gives second-chances like this, Scrap. Take it. We'll meet again, or we won't. The important thing is you two have each other again.”

He patted the trunk and hefted his bag on his shoulder. “Good luck, Zeth'Anz. Feel free to send him back if he's too much.”

She nodded. “Zank you, Bennet Harrigan. Zhe muzt have beink a good friend. May ze Na'rru blesz you.”

He just nodded, turned, and walked off into the crowd.

 

“That was either the kindest or the most selfish thing I've ever seen.”

“Nobody asked you, Val. It's not fair to waste his miracle. He's better off with her. Besides, I always travel light.”

 

{{ Unexpceted follow-up to this: http://www.rp-haven.com/blog/harrigan/old_soldiers_hardest_duty

Comments

Lirriel's picture

((This is sad and sweet all

((This is sad and sweet all at the same time.))