"If I'm going to stay with you, we need some rules." Alys pointed out, trudging wearily up an overgrown path leading into the mountains. They had already existed in harmony for a few days, and in the brief time she had discovered he had an inner sense of cruelty. He preferred walking to flying, as he had never seen the beauty of the land from this angle, and this way she could walk beside him. Ok, so it wasn't exactly cruel, but Selendrile had been dragging her around the countryside for three nights now, trying to get somewhere he likely could have reached in an hour. She knew he was trying to adapt his life to hers, but it was making her feel like a nuisance.
"Rules?" He questioned, voice sounding infuriatingly amused through the darkness. The night was cool, and Alys was not only shivering, she was bone weary, and yet he sounded as energetic as he had when they started out.
"No eating humans," she blurted out, automatically realizing she had unfairly generalized him as a regular dragon. Surely, a dragon who would eat humans would not become a companion to one. Great, now she had probably offended him. She'd be lucky if he didn't eat HER.
Laughter bubbled out of his throat, floating through the crisp air, and surrounded her with its infectious mirth. "I'll try not to," he chuckled.
Alys had to firmly press her lips together to keep from giggling along with him. This was a serious subject, she reminded herself. She knew he was capable of murder. It would be nothing for him to go eat a few babies. She frowned, growing angry at the blasé way he was treating her demand. Why shouldn't she ensure the safety of her people? She opened her mouth, getting ready to shout at him. Luckily, at that moment, she fell over a root sticking out of the ground and landed with a jarred "Oooomph."
"Alys?" Selendrile was kneeling at her side almost instantly. If he was that quick, why didn't he catch her? "Are you ok?"
She moaned and rolled over. He had to scramble back slightly in order to avoid her torso landing on his feet. On her back, she stared into the foliage of the trees overhead. Barely, she could make out a few stars. His head completely obliterated any twinkles in the sky as he leaned over her.
"Where does it hurt?" He poked at her arm.
She swatted away his fingers, content to just lie there for a while longer.
"Ok, so your arms aren't broken. Move your feet." He glanced at her legs expectantly.
She shuffled her feet against the pebbly grass. Hopefully he'd just leave her alone now.
"I think you're fine, but I don't know a lot about human physiology." He tried to help her to her feet.
"Leave me alone!" She snapped, pushing his hand away again. Immediately she regretted yelling at him for just trying to be helpful. Quickly, in a more gentle voice, she amended, "I just need a few moments to rest."
He moved from a crouched position to sitting beside her.
"I'm sorry," she murmured, feeling as if she had let him down in some way. She wasn't strong or tireless like he was. Selendrile picked at a leaf from the ground and began twirling it between his fingers. She turned her head to the side in order to watch him. He effortlessly looked human now, his back curved as he hunched over the object in his hand. Her heart wanted to break. It was as if she had domesticated a beautiful wild animal, and in doing so had made it exactly like the rest.
"I'll make a deal with you." He leaned closer, as if this was the latest conspiracy in the game of revenge they had been playing. "I promise not to eat humans if you promise to tell me when something is wrong. I want to know if you're tired, or hungry, or cold, or hurt, or if you need to go to the latrine."
She shook her head at the last one. Relieving herself was one of the things they shouldn't talk about.
"I mean it Alys," Selendrile warned. "I don't want you suffering in silence anymore just because you don't want to displease me."
"But I…" She tried to protest, knowing it didn't matter because he had already won the argument.
"Are you ready to leave yet?" He interrupted, trying not to sound impatient.
She knew he wasn't impatient with her, but because the sun was going to rise soon. She was about to reply 'yes', but then realized it wasn't the truth, only what she thought he wanted to hear. "Give me a few more minutes," she replied, showing that she was accepting his deal. She fell asleep shortly after.
An hour later, she woke up in an abandoned barn with a slumbering dragon taking up a good deal of space. Sunlight was poking its way through cracks in the wood and the interior seemed even colder than it had outdoors. She couldn't remember getting here. It was impossible for Selendrile to turn into a dragon and then pick her up without jarring her awake, and yet he had somehow gotten the two of them under a shelter. Alys wondered if he had carried her in human form. Her blanket was spread over her shoulders, and she knew he could only do that as a man. With bleary eyes, she stared at the dragon and wondered why he hadn't woken her. It would have been far easier for him. She grabbed her blanket and crawled towards him, snuggling against his warm side. Hopefully he wouldn't move and accidentally crush her.
If he asked, she could just tell him she had rolled over in her sleep.
This fic is dedicated to all those people who have asked me to write a Dragon's Bait fanfiction over the years. I just received the book for Christmas, and almost immediately, this fanfiction popped to mind.Should I continue it?
Give me a shout, everyone. I would love to hear from you.