Shiro was bored. It was an average day for him. He had no work to do at the moment. There were no new patients yet after one of the younger cadets got out for a broken wrist. Shiro decided that he could go out into the forest for a while, perhaps bring back some herbs or even some dinner. He may be a doctor, but he wasn't completely against taking lives if it meant getting food.
Walking through the thick forest, he brushed his dark bangs out of his face as he moved forward. Avoiding the crunchy debris of leaves and sticks, he settled down as he saw a root. Digging in, it took a few minutes to pull it out all the way. Ginger.
Thrusting his hands back into the fresh brown earth, he just felt another root when a loud howl rang through the air, sounding a bit to the south of his location. Quickly placing the plants into his small pouch on his belt, he grabbed up his curved sword he always took with him. He never truly needed it, but it was better safe than sorry.
Stalking forward, Shiro listened for a few moments before wandering on. The forest grew darker as he went on. Snarls echoed across the cool air as he gripped his weapon harder, ready for an attack at any second. The branches on the trees swayed eerily as Shiro swore he heard a whisper of laughter. Questioning going back - everyone knew the rumors of witches and monsters in the forest, after all - he froze as he heard a loud snap followed by a hoarse scream of pain. It sounded pretty human to Shiro.
Putting aside his fears, Shiro rushed forward. If someone was hurt, he had to help. Not just as a healer, but as a human being. He rounded tree after tree as he whipped towards the sound. Something was struggling if the small whimpers were to go by.
Turning one last time, Shiro brushed away the branches obscuring his vision. Entering the small clearing, he was surprised to see what he did.
There was a man curled up by a tree, completely naked. His back was to Shiro who could see bruises of light purple and red on his shoulder blades. His side was torn open in two vertical lines that dripped scarlet blood. Stepping closer, Shiro could tell they were from arrows that had nicked him, luckily not hitting anything major. Looking downward, Shiro saw that the man couldn't move his left leg as it was caught on something. Moving forest debris aside, he almost gasped as he saw a wolf trap stuck on his ankle. The dark black trap was clamped down on soft skin, breaking flesh. The wound was covered in blood and dirt, leaving behind a big cluster of slowly drying blood. A heavy chain connected it to the tree, holding the wounded man in place. Said man let out a whine of agony as Shiro twisted back to him.
Moving to the other's upper body, he peeled the man's shoulder back to take in his appearance. He knew exactly who the man was as soon as the pale, clammy face tilted to the side.
It was the outcast of the village. It was the one everyone knew of. Keith. He was banned from the small town because he was a werewolf. One of the biggest rules of Shiro's home was to never interact with the man. That they weren't to help him.
Shiro couldn't do it though. As he looked down upon the bleeding man, he knew he had to help. He didn't care that Keith was a werewolf, he needed a hand. The older couldn't just leave him to die or get hurt by the hunter who had shot him.
Running a hand over the younger's forehead, he nearly hissed at the heat that burned his appendage. Keith was burning up with fever, so his leg must have been infected already. He glanced back down at the open wound on his side only to see the skin inflamed and swollen bright red.
“Shit,” Shiro cursed, knowing that the arrows had to have been poisoned. Keith wouldn't be able to survive both the poison and infection. Keith's face scrunched in pain as he groaned, moving his head forward. Shiro felt his heart break a little more as he whimpered again, leg tugging at the chain. Soothing Keith with a calming hand through his hair, he watched as Keith settled down. Looking at the sharp teeth clenched to Keith's leg, he started to figure a way to unlatch it when a shout rang through the air.
“This way!” A loud voice yelled as the barks of hunting dogs overtook the man, “The werewolf scum couldn't have gotten far! When I get ahold of that beast, I'll kill it as slowly as I can just like his species did to my wife!”
Keith trembled as Shiro gently hushed him, grabbing his sword. Hazy violet eyes slowly opened as the hunting hounds howls grew louder. Keith looked at him weakly through ebony bangs, eyes alight with frightened flames. The chain rattled as he struggled to move away from the older man, obviously thinking the other was going to hurt him. Maybe he thought Shiro was part of the group after him.
Swinging his sword down at an angle, he saw Keith flinch deeply before tilting his head tiredly. The chain split in two, freeing the injured man from the tree. Shiro placed the weapon into it's custom sheath on his back.
“Shhhh,” Shiro hummed as he gently laid his dark brown leather jacket over the naked man's middle, hoping to help warm the other up, “I've got you, buddy. I'm not letting them get you.”
Keith seemed to understand him as he took in a deep sniff before letting out a breath that caught in his chest for a moment. Letting out a soft cough, he relaxed as Shiro laid his arms below his knees and back. Picking him up, he adjusted to the man's weight before starting back home. Ducking behind a tree, he held his breath just as the sound of the hunters reached his ears.
“Over here!” Another hunter, a woman this time, shouted as Shiro heard the chain clink as it was moved, “It broke the chain!”
“But that means it got caught in a trap,” the man from before chuckled darkly as Shiro shuddered, “It can't have gone far. These traps are capable of breaking bones. The arrows we shot him with are filled with silver. We'll find him and keep him as a pet.”
Shiro growled as he glared off to the side. Not on his watch. He barely knew Keith, but he had no doubts that Keith had done nothing wrong. It pained him that humans could be so cruel to other beings. Wrapping the other up in his arms, he rushed away silently from the scene. When he was fair enough away, he dropped to the ground with the other resting against his chest. Grabbing a bandage from his pouch, he rested his hands to the metal. Gazing over the device biting into Keith, he carefully pinned the smaller man down before pushing the trap's spring down. Getting ready for the next part, Shiro quickly ripped the teeth out and flung the device into the bushes.
Keith reacted right away, thrashing and kicking and crying out as sharp claws dug into Shiro's side, stinging. Tiny growls left the other's throat as Shiro held him to his chest still, pinning him so he couldn't hurt himself more. Feeling Keith trying to kick him with his wounded leg, he used both legs to hold it. He didn't want more dirt getting into it. He waited patiently for the younger to calm down.
It didn't take but less than a minute and Keith stopped struggling, too exhausted from both blood loss and fever. Shiro rolled out from under the other before pulling out the bandage and some water he had with him.
“Sorry,” he apologized as he rubbed the man's cool leg, “This is going to hurt, but I need to clean your wound out some.”
Not waiting for the other's consent, Shiro braced Keith's leg between his as he held his bottle above the newly gushing injury. Pouring it on there, he cleaned the dirt off enough to see that the trap hadn't damaged the bone. But the muscles all around the leg were snapped off enough that Keith wouldn't be walking anywhere for awhile, regardless of the fever and poisoning.
With most of the dirt out, Shiro quickly bandaged the wound before slipping a mostly unconscious Keith back into his arms. Knowing they were following them, he backtracked to about halfway and hid. Soon enough, the dogs raced by, following the rich and unique scent of the werewolf's blood. The hunters rushed after with weapons in hand, a total of eight of them. Shiro quickly took off into the other direction.