The Dragon Prince owns my soul. When I finally decided to check it out a few months back, I ended up binging seasons one and two in a single weekend. It was literally impossible for me to stop until I was done. When season three aired, I watched both seasons again before binging the third in one night.
Holy crap. I mean, I already expect quality from this show, but this season was so freaking good! And I was not expecting to be fed this much Rayllum! I was fully expecting this to be a slowburn romance, but I'm actually happy to be wrong. Their development throughout the season was believable and ridiculously adorable. Also, it means we'll get more development concerning their now-established relationship in the seasons to come. You can definitely expect plenty of Rayllum fics from me in the near future.
For this first one, I decided to do a specialty of mine: a cuddle scene! Enjoy!
Sleep continued to elude Rayla, despite the perfect circumstances that should have paved the way for it: She had just completed a very exhausting, dangerous day (one of many, in fact!). The battle was finally over, meaning she could actually relax without worrying about another ambush. It was night, and everyone else was safe and asleep. She, Callum, Ezran, Soren, and Bait were in a special guest room in the Storm Spire that was bedded with spongy moss and equipped with many warm, soft blankets and puffy pillows. Any sane person would have been thoroughly out of it within minutes of lying down.
Instead, Rayla was wide awake in her corner of the room, her skin tingling, her blood singing, and her mind floating on a series of imaginary air currents. It was like she was still in the sky, her arms looped around Callum's shoulders and neck, being swept through the clouds as he kissed her.
"Cause I love you, Rayla. I really do."
She bunched her blanket in her fist, holding it against her chest. She felt cold, even though the inside of the Spire was actually quite warm. Her arms felt incredibly bereft, and the covers were a poor substitute for what she needed.
She could hear Callum nearby. His breaths were uneven and restless. He wasn't any more asleep than she was.
Rayla opened her mouth to call out to him just as a rustle of movement signaled that he was already getting up. She rolled over to face him, watching as he brought his blankets and pillow over to her spot. "Evening," she whispered, hoping she wouldn't wake the others, who were snoring nearby.
Callum's face was burning as he knelt beside her, and his smile was slightly tinged with his special brand of awkward nervousness. "Hey," he replied in an even quieter voice. One hand rested on his bundle of blankets. "Um, I was wondering…" He trailed off.
Rayla sat up slightly. "What is it?" She tried to keep her voice gentle, the way Callum's always was during the many, many times he encouraged her to open up.
"Uh," Callum glanced from his blanket to Rayla's face, still a little unsure. "I couldn't sleep. After everything that happened, I can't calm down, you know?"
"I understand." Rayla took Callum's hand in hers, running her thumb over the familiar callouses on his palm. "Any nightmares?"
Callum shook his head, his face instinctively softening at Rayla's touch. "Not yet." He rubbed at the back of his neck with his free hand. "Um, I was wondering. I mean, it's a little cold tonight and we're both a bit stressed so, uh…" It isn't actually cold. That was a total lie!
He swallowed before continuing. "C-Can we, um, cuddle? Here? Till we fall asleep?"
Why. Is. He. So. Cute?! Rayla smiled playfully. "Can't keep away from me, can you?" she gently teased, as if she hadn't been spending the past few minutes craving the exact same thing. She scooted a little closer, squeezing his hand.
"Yeah," Callum replied, relaxing a bit in response to Rayla's easygoing response. "After what happened, I want to just hold you, you know? I want to know you're breathing and alive after… after…" His throat suddenly tightened, making it harder to continue.
"Callum." Rayla's joking grin faded as she lifted her blanket for him. "Come here."
When Callum slid under the covers and into Rayla's waiting arms, they both let out a sigh. Their muscles relaxed. They could breathe a little better. Callum reached for his own blanket, pulling it on top of Rayla's, cocooning them more completely. The moss shaped itself to their bodies perfectly, pressing them closer together, as if they couldn't handle that part on their own. They shared a quick, chaste kiss before settling into a more relaxing position.
Rayla touched Callum's face, wiping a few stray tears with her thumb, kissing away the wet trails with careful lips. He was shaking a little. She drew him closer, rubbing his back tenderly, hoping to chase away his lingering fear.
Callum nestled readily against Rayla's front, returning her snug embrace as he blinked away the last of those few tears that had managed to escape. Their foreheads were touching, their breaths caressing each other's lips like little ghost-kisses. Each breath reassured Callum that Rayla was truly alive.
He tried to push aside images that horrifying moment when she had gone over the edge with Viren, when he had almost lost her forever. It was hard, though. That moment she had disappeared seemed to be branded on his brain, burning harshly as it reminded Callum of just how fragile her life truly was.
He pressed one of his hands flat against her back, hoping to feel her heartbeat. There was a gentle thrum, but it wasn't enough. He started to move his head downward, but paused. "Is it okay if I listen for a minute? I'm not trying to do anything, I promise!"
Rayla tilted her head. Listen? What does he-? She saw that Callum was looking at her chest, particularly her left ribcage. A warm, melting sensation filled her for probably the sixtieth time that day. "Go ahead," she assured him.
Callum pressed himself closer, nuzzling against the crook of her neck before moving downward to listen to the life-giving thudding of her heart. He shut his eyes as he heard it against his ear and felt it against his cheek.
"There you are," he murmured.
Rayla slipped her fingers through his hair as she rested her cheek on top of his head. The newer smell of moonberry shampoo mingled with the familiar scents of paper, pencil lead, and something that reminded her of the air before a storm. As she held him against her, she felt another slight tremor. She pet his hair softly, hoping it would soothe him a little.
"Are you okay?" she whispered.
"Yeah," he replied, his breaths slowing down as he tried to sync them with Rayla's heartbeat. "Just…really glad you're here."
Rayla kissed the top of his head. "I'm sorry I scared you."
Callum shook his head. "You did it for Zym. I would've done the same thing." He managed to crack a smile as he moved back slightly to look up at her. "Though, I would've preferred to learn the wing spell under less stressful circumstances."
Rayla laughed quietly. "I wouldn't mind going for a less life-threatening flight tomorrow."
Callum's grin widened. "It's a date!"
Glad that the mood was lightening a bit, Rayla traced a finger down Callum's bare arm where the runes still remained, despite his recent and much-needed bath. "I do like those wings, you know. Your feathers are nice and soft." Callum had hugged her for several minutes after they landed back on the Spire, and she had gladly buried herself in the warm, downy comfort they provided.
Callum blushed. "I guess I'll have to start wearing sleeveless shirts from now on, so I don't rip a bunch of jackets."
Rayla continued to stroke Callum's arm, meeting his gaze with a quick wink. "I don't see a downside to that," she purred, smirking when this caused Callum's face to flush an adorable shade of maroon.
"Hey, lovebirds!" Soren called from his spot. "Could you whisper your sweet nothings a bit quieter? I'm trying to sleep!"
"You don't have to listen!" Callum called over.
"I think it's nice," Ezran commented. "Why'd you have to interrupt, Soren?"
Bait growled sullenly from his spot under Ezran's arm.
Rayla groaned, scooting back from Callum so she could cover her head with the blanket. How long have they been awake?
"You're just jealous that I have a ridiculously-gorgeous hero for a girlfriend," Callum said, sticking out his tongue.
"Ha! Please." Soren stretched out luxuriously. "It's only a matter of time before someone falls for Soren, the Freer of Kings! Soren, the Chain-Breaker! Soren, the Incredibly Buff and Attractive!"
"I mean, I'll give you ten points for confidence," Callum allowed.
Rayla rolled her eyes. "Okay, let's all sleep now."
She glanced at Callum, who returned her gaze with a sweet smile that was more than a little shadowed with fatigue. She brushed his bangs to the side, noticing the way his eyes were flitting around. He's still too high-strung to sleep, she realized.
Kissing his cheek, she whispered: "Lie down with your back to me."
Callum obeyed, unsure of why Rayla didn't want him facing her. His answer came when he felt her entire body pressing against his; her chest against his back, her legs tangling with his, her arm draping over his middle and coming to a rest over his chest. She kissed the back of his neck, then nuzzled her face into his hair.
"I'm here," Rayla whispered, holding Callum tightly against her. She could feel him finally starting to relax in her arms.
Callum sighed softly, his muscles beginning to loosen as he felt Rayla all around him. He wished he could stretch this one moment into infinity, and just remain in this safe place, surrounded by her forever. "I love you," he said, smiling at how right and true the words felt on his tongue.
Rayla's heart fluttered like a moon moth in her chest. She didn't think she'd ever get used to hearing Callum say that. I hope I never get used to it!
"I love you too," she replied, pressing one last kiss to his head before relaxing at last. She felt one of Callum's larger hands covering hers just as she started to drift off.
They finally fell into a peaceful sleep, unaware that Soren, Ezran, and Bait were smiling softly as they followed suit.
I couldn't resist having Soren interject here. He is my son, and I am so freaking proud of him!
It feels good to finally be posting again. I've been in an ongoing slump for a long time, and this new season is the first ray of light I've seen since Age of Resistance. Hopefully, inspiration will only increase, and I can start posting more fics while also getting some work done on my original stuff.
Stay tuned, my friends. Channel Solora will be airing more TDP goodness in the not-so-distant future. You can be sure of that.