Content notice: This story contains non-explicit sexual themes.
Quenching the Flames
Ember Hill couldn't sleep. She tossed and turned in bed, tying the covers in endless knots, while her incessant thoughts circled around her skull. It had been a week since her battle with Faith, and she, along with Riley and Wes, were currently holed up in the city of St. George, Utah in one of the rogue's numerous safehouse. She'd questioned the sanity of hiding out in a city literally named after her kind's ancient enemy, but the older dragon had assured her that it was safe - It's not like I've got much choice, anyway, she'd told herself. Inwardly, she believed that he'd chosen to set up a safehouse in the city solely for the ironic value of the name.
Her thoughts kept coming back to the deep blue dragon also known as Cobalt. His words on the phone to her a week ago played over and over in her head.
"Ember... I need you."
"I'm done fighting this. From now on, I'll be fighting for both of us."
She pressed the heels of her palms against her eyelids, letting out a frustrated sigh. Whenever she was near him, her dragon smouldered within her, making it crystal clear what she wanted. However, when she was alone... she didn't know what she wanted. She couldn't deny what she felt for him, yet it was too soon after Garret...
She cut off that line of thought with a soft growl. Her physical injuries from that day had healed quickly, however the emotional wounds were still raw. Even if he'd still been the boy she'd met in Crescent Beach, rather than the soldier of Saint George he'd turned out to be, it was absurd to expect a human to spend the rest of his life running around with a pair of dragons. He said he needed to investigate something between the Order and Talon, she thought hopefully, he'll come back. He has to. She wasn't sure if she could stand her last memory of him being that last, desperate kiss on the balcony of the motel.
Blinking away the moisture that had suddenly accumulated in her eyes, she glanced over at her bedside clock, 2:08 am. She let out another sigh, she slowly rolled out of the bed, and padded out of her room, perhaps a midnight snack would help her sleep.
She could hear the sound of the TV playing as she approached the open-plan kitchen/living area. For a moment, she dared hope that it might be Wes up late. Of course, she wasn't that lucky. Riley was slumped on the couch, an open beer can clenched loosely in one hand. He was topless, she noticed, she tore her eyes away and focused on the TV before she could observe what he wore on the lower half of his body.
A CGI animated movie was playing on the screen, it showing a spindly-looking kid trying to befriend a stylised black dragon. The thing looked more like an oversized cross between a kitten and a puppy than a dragon in Ember's opinion, but it was undeniably cute.
"Isn't that a little, uhhh... too close to home to enjoy?" She asked, stepping into the room.
Riley looked over his shoulder at her. "Oh, morning Ember." She ignored the wave of heat she felt at the sound of her name on his lips. "Can't sleep too?"
For a brief moment she allowed herself to entertain the notion that he was unable to sleep because of thoughts of her, and her dragon growled in approval. Then she told herself that she was being childish, he was probably worrying about the fate of his underground network, and the as yet unidentified mole in his organisation.
She nodded. "Figured I'd grab a midnight snack"
"You and your stomach, Firebrand..." Riley muttered, turning back towards the movie.
The quickest way to the kitchen area was to pass in front of him. Perhaps it was a mistake to sneak a glance at his muscular chest as she passed...
Golden eyes met emerald.
They both reach for each other in the same moment.
In a blink of an eye, his arms were around her and his lips possessed hers hungrily. Ember gasped as her dragon surged within her, and her veins were suddenly filled with liquid fire. The instant that her lips parted Cobalt pounced; his tongue slipped into her mouth, entwining with hers. Stars swam in her eye and her dragon pushed against the prison of her skin. If he kept this up much longer her control would shatter completely. She tried to push away from him, but her arms wouldn't obey her, one was wrapped around his waist, crushing their bodies together, while the other entangled itself in his messy black hair.
His skin rippled beneath her hands, and she felt the first hints of scale against her fingertips.
Yesssss... her dragon growled.
With a sudden gasp Riley tore himself away. She staggered backwards, hands clenched over her abdomen like she'd been punched in the gut.
"Don't shift" he growled in a rumbling, dangerous tone.
Ember clamped her eyes shut and clenched her teeth as she fought the urge to change right there and pounce on him, consequences be damned. After several breaths pulled in through gritted teeth she managed to straighten up and blink open her eyes.
"Riley..." she began.
"Get dressed." He grunted, then span around and headed out the front door, snatching his leather jacket from its hook as he passed.
Still trying to process the last few minutes, she stumbled back to her room and pulled out the first clothes she found in her meagre wardrobe. She froze suddenly, What am I doing? she wondered. She knew what Cobalt wanted from her - where else would they be going in the middle of the night? - And there was a part of her that writhed in anticipation at the thought of it. The fire that had exploded in her when he kissed her hadn't gone away; it was still there, a constant burning sensation in her veins and ... other places.
She sighed, running her fingers through her tangled hair. They might not understand what was happening between them, but it was stupid to deny that they both wanted - no, needed - this. Plus, she reasoned, things were only going to get more dangerous for them, so it was better they got this out of their systems now, rather than when a distraction might prove fatal.
Her mind made up, she pulled on her clothes and hurried outside to meet Riley. He was leaning smugly against the side of their van, his jacket open over his bare chest.
"I almost thought you'd chickened out, Firebrand" he said as she walked up.
"Please," she shot back "I've battled Saint George and fought Vipers, why would I be scared of you?" She winked at him as she clambered into the passenger side of the van.
He let out a sound somewhere between a chuckle and a growl - one that sent shivers down her spine - and walked around to the driver's door. Without a word, he started the engine and pulled out of their driveway onto the road.
Ember tried to pay attention to where they were going, but her eyes kept drifting back to him, and the stripe of his chest visible through his open jacket. His time as a Basilisk, and over a decade on the run had given him well defined muscles, although she could see that he hadn't come through it all unscathed; a narrow scar ran diagonally across his chest, right over his heart. She wondered whether it was shrapnel from a Saint George explosive or a Viper's claw that had given it to him.
"Do you mind? I'm having enough trouble keeping my eyes on the road as it is, Firebrand."
His words startled her from her thoughts, with a flush of embarrassment she realised she'd been making a low noise in the back of her throat that translated as the human equivalent of a draconic purr.
She tore her eyes away from him and stared outwards, they'd left the city behind a while ago, and the desert was pitch black on either side of the road. "Where are we going, anyway?"
"Somewhere quiet and secluded where we can be ourselves" he answered huskily.
Ten minutes later, they turned off the highway and began to wind up sideroads into the mountains, eventually they left the road completely and bounced their way down a rough track to the base of a small cliff. "This is it," Riley grunted, killing the engine.
Ember opened her door and hopped down the rough gravel-strewn ground. She slowly turned in a circle, on three sides they were surrounded by pristine wilderness; aside from the track they'd came down there was no sign that mankind had ever touched this little corner of the world. On the fourth side was the cliff, now that they'd stopped moving she could see that the cliff was split by a tapering crack that created a cave large enough to shelter a pair of dragons, provided they didn't care much for personal space. She blinked and studied the scree underfoot, there was a fairly recent looking path worn between where she stood and the cave. Was this where Riley had been coming for the last week, leaving her and Wes in the safe house without a word?
A sense of anticipation building in her chest, she climbed the slight incline to the gap in the cliffs, and froze in shock. The floor of the cave was carpeted with leaves and grasses. Aside from the fact that all the leaves were green, to a human mind it would almost look like the natural buildup of windblown detritus, if slightly unusually ordered. However, there was an ancient, primitive part of Ember's mind that knew exactly what it was: a nest.
"Do you like it?" Ember spun around as Riley padded up behind her. "It's not the velvet cushion you'd get in Talon, but It's the best I could manage on a Rogue's salary."
"I..." she didn't know what to say.
He placed his hands on her shoulder's, an intense expression on his face. "Ember," he began, "We don't have to do this now, just say the word and I'll take you home. I care about you too much to screw this up because I let my desires get the better of me."
"I... I'm nervous," she admitted. "Have you...?"
"No, Talon kept me busy, and you don't see many friendly faces in this line of work." he replied.
"You'd be my first," he confirmed in a hushed whisper.
For some reason she couldn't understand, that reassured her. "I want this" she breathed, "I want you."
"I was hoping you'd say that." With that, he grabbed her and pulled her roughly against him, crushing their lips together. Immediately the fire in her veins surged, scorching her from within, and her dragon leapt to the surface, begging to be set free. Instinctively she resisted the urge to shift and tried to push away from him, but his arms held her firm while his tongue stoked the flames within her. She didn't know how long he held her on the edge of shifting, but then she felt him growl softly against her lips, and her control snapped.
With a roar she exploded out into her dragon form, shredding her clothes in the process. Riley staggered back a few steps and hastily pulled off his jacket before shifting. The air shimmered for an instant, and then Cobalt was stood before her, his golden eyes burning.
For several seconds they stared at eachother, both breathing heavily. Then Ember stepped back into the nest - her nest - and circled a few times, before growling her approval to the male. Then, in a ritual that predated all of human civilisation, Cobalt lowered his head to the ground and growled deeply, signaling his desire to mate. Ember didn't even think before she purred her acceptance. His hindquarters twitched slightly and he pounced, bowling her over and ending up atop her in the centre of the nest. Their hips ground together instinctively, and-
The fire in her veins sang.
When Ember became aware of her surroundings again, she was lying on her side in the nest. Cobalt was behind her, his chest at her back and a wing draped protectively over her.
She felt him start to move, pulling away from her, and she turned her head, gently licking up the length of his neck and at the same time coiling her tail around his. She purred softly.
Cobalt chuckled softly, "Okay Firebrand, five more minutes."
Purring louder, she lowered her head back to the nest, and felt him lie down again behind her. She nuzzled backwards against him, feeling her eyelids begin to droop. Lulled by his comfortable warmth behind her, and the pleasurable heat lingering in her belly she was asleep within seconds.
Wakefulness was slow to return to Ember. It had been several years since she'd last slept in dragon form, and she relished the opportunity to simply relax in her true form, and to luxuriate in the feeling of Cobalt's larger body curled around hers.
Unfortunately the blue male had other ideas. "Come on Firebrand, I know you're not asleep anymore, it's time to get up."
She slowly cracked open her eyes and twisted her neck to glare at him. "Rnesh karr slithis," she growled.
"And I love you too," he shot back, untangling himself from her and padding out of the cave.
Ember lay there for a moment, savoring the memories of his warmth on her scales. With a reluctant sigh, she clambered to her feet and followed Cobalt out of the cave. She stopped just past the mouth of the cave and yawned. Outside, the first rays of dawn were beginning to tint the sky.
Shaking the tiredness from her limbs, she followed Cobalt down the rough slope towards the van. She paused as as she stepped over a loose pile of torn rags. "Slight problem," she said.
"I kind of destroyed my clothes when I shifted last night."
Cobalt snorted in amusement. "I had a feeling this might happen, One moment." With that, he shifted back to human form and disappeared into the back of the van. A short time later he reemerged clad in a ratty pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. "I stashed some clothes in the van while you were busy making your mind up last night," he explained, tossing a bundle of clothes at her. "I won't look," he promised, stalking back up the slope to recover his jacket from where it had been hastily discarded.
Several lines of pain made their presence known as she shifted back to human form. Glancing down, she saw several lines of red running along her chest and arms; The mating of dragons was not a gentle affair.
Worth it, she thought, smiling.
Wes was waiting for them when they finally made it back to the safehouse. "Where the hell have you two..." He trailed off as he saw their clasped hands, and the scratches along their exposed arms. "Oh lord, you did it didn't you?"
Ember felt her face heat up and she stared resolutely at the floor.
"Just shut up and get the first aid kit would you?" Riley growled.
Wes sighed and shuffled off to fetch the kit. "Patching up hormonal teenage dragons" he muttered, "What the hell did I do wrong in a previous life?"
As soon as they were alone, Riley turned to face her, clasping her other hand. "Where does this leave us, Firebrand?"
"I..." Ember took a deep breath, "I still don't know what I feel about Garret, but..." she hesitated. "I won't be fighting this anymore."
"I can live with that," he replied, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against him.
"Me too," she whispered into his chest.
"I wanna see you
Burn with me.
I'm just an empty shell,
Transformed to someone else.
Take your seat,
I cast a spell,
So you'll be less like you
And more like someone else."
-"Burn With Me" by Amaranthe
Rnesh karr slithis - Draconic equivalent of "Go screw yourself" (Literally: "Eat your own tail")
Eurgh, this thing took way too long to write, but I read the Talon Saga and had this crazy idea of what things might be like if Ember and Riley/Cobalt decided to get together, and this was the result. ~2,600 words of pointless shipper fantasy, I hope that you at found this at least somewhat entertaining.
To my regular readers: Never fear, now that I've got this out of my system, work on the next chapter of 'Shadow of the Night' will begin shortly!
The city of St. George, Utah is actually a real place, about 120 miles from Las Vegas, I was looking at a map of the area around Vegas for some inspiration for the setting of this story, when I came across the city. The name was just too perfect to not include in this story.
Also, As this series is set in our modern-day world I couldn't resist the urge to throw in that little nod to 'How To Train Your Dragon' when Riley was watching TV :P.
It has become a tradition of mine that whenever I post a new story or chapter, I give a recommendation of another fanfic to read. As the Talon Saga section of this site is somewhat lacking, instead I'll recommend one of my all-time favourite fanfics, which may have somewhat inspired my portrayal of Ember and Cobalt's mating; the tragically unfinished "The Uncertain Future" by "DragonKnight".
Finally, as always, thank you for reading and please let me know what you thought of the story in a review! Until next time,
P.S: Cover image is "Ice Dragon vs Fire Dragon" by "Michellescribbles"