Flame growled as he heard the sounds of young dragonets echoing through the stone passageway. He'd forgotten: Turtle's noisy brothers were visiting today.

He stomped through the antechamber of Jade Mountain Academy, hoping to avoid notice from the gaggle of SeaWings. However, he couldn't help but overhear. "Whoa, who's that?"

"That's Flame," said Turtle. "Don't bother him, now. Hey — Bubbles!"

"Hello Mr. Flame," said a SeaWing dragonet, no more than one year old, popping up in front of Flame. "Your scar is super cool!"

Another dragonet jumped at him, his tail swishing in excitement. "Did you get it in a battle?!"

Flame grimaced. "Get out of my way, brats!"

He made to push past the SeaWings, but he was stopped by the crushed expression on the young dragonets' faces. In the corner of his eye, he caught Turtle's concerned look.

"...Sorry," Flame muttered. "Or whatever. I got it in a fight with a SandWing, okay?" Then he stomped on down the corridor.

The echoing sounds of SeaWing gossip accompanied him all the way to his room.

Turtle's brothers were leaving. Flame poked his head outside, curious.

"Fear me!" announced one of the small SeaWings. "I am here to defeat the evil Flame!"

"No SandWing is a match for me!" announced Bubbles, leaping on his brother. "Taste my fire!" The dragonets laughed as they scuffled.

Flame watched with narrowed eyes. They were acting as if he was some sort of supervillain from a graphicoll.

"Die, die, die!" cried Bubbles, finally vanquishing his giggly foe. "That's what you get for challenging the awesome Flame!"

Flame had to admit that it was oddly... flattering. No one had ever called him awesome before. He noticed Turtle looking toward him, and quickly retreated from the entrance. He had to go to class anyway.

The SeaWings' antics echoed through his head as he entered the classroom. He started to head for his usual seat — against the wall, where no one could look at the bad side of his face — but hesitated. Why did he even bother? Everyone was used to his hideous visage by now.

Flame slumped down in a seat in the front row. Dragons were already staring, he knew it. He could almost hear them thinking: What is the grumpy SkyWing up to now? Why isn't he hiding in the shadows where he belonged?

Let them stare. See if he cared.

Author's Note

Hi, FF net!

I originally wrote these ficlets as daily writing exercises on Tumblr. The first one I ever wrote was about the SeaWing that gets hit with a flying shield during Anemone's animus training. (That's a real character, check the book!) Eventually, I ended up with a diverse collection of stories about a huge cast of characters, major and minor. In The Brightest Night, Sunny says something about how "every dragon has a story." I hope I captured that spirit, at least a little.

A year later, I decided to collect, revise, and re-upload all of my stories in one place. That's what you have in front of you now. If you happen to be one of the people who read my writing on Tumblr, I'd like to give you a big virtual hug. Even if we never spoke, seeing you in the notes made me happy every time. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy this new, improved edition.

A note for this particular ficlet: The version of Flame that appears throughout my stories, the one that likes cooking and graphic novels, is based entirely on Sandshadow9's amazing story Healed, which you can find on this site. She also came up with the word "graphicoll." Credit where it's due!