Story follows Selendrile's thoughts after Alys left him in the clearing in the woods, bound with iron, as she ran to get help at her village. Dragons aren't quite as cold and unfeeling as it would seem, especially when they're going slowly insane from iron.

Disclaimer: It's not mine. Don't sue.

Please excuse the crap formatting.

It hurts.

I'm dying.

I'm lying here in the middle of the road, with the sky growing that hateful palest pink in the east and the iron is burning through the skin and it hurts and I'm dying.

I had to leave the clearing. It wasn't because the sight of the body disturbed me- I've seen my share of death. I've contributed my share of it. Maybe more than my share, but what is that to a dragon?

I took the road because that was where she went and I couldn't think of anything else to do but follow her.

I limped after Alys for maybe a half a mile before I collapsed here. I've been calling her name for half an hour. I didn't expect her to answer. To be honest, I don't expect her to return, either.

It's not because she warned me not to trust her. Clearly she was bluffing, just as she was with the knife in the cottage, which I'd known she'd had the whole time. She just doesn't understand that a dragon, in any shape, senses so much more than what a human does.

I don't expect her to return because she has no reason to.

Because when it gets right down to it, I am a dragon, and she is a human, no matter what form either may take, no matter how trustworthy either may think the other is.

I've known enough humans- as it were- to know that the aversion to us, us creatures, us fey, is that primal fear of the unknown.

And she doesn't know me enough to care. She can't.

I haven't let her.

I've seen it in her face every time I delayed an answer or twisted a response. She knows I have the upper hand, I always have, and probably always will, and she knows what I am capable of when I am angry or threatened.

Except now.

And now is her opportunity. To escape me, the trouble I've gotten her in, and the guessing games I've played with her to make her dependent on me.

What she doesn't know, though, is one thing she could never guess.

I'm scared.

Dragons feel fear, too. And regret. And love.

The thought of her leaving me to die alone here, in this fragile human form- that terrifies me. Trapped in this skin that is mine, but not my own.

That is why I have been screaming her name. It is the only release available to me, to this pale injured form lying prone on a lonely dirt path in the woods, sealed by iron and humanity, each one intended for Alys.

I will die with her name ringing on my lips, because it is the only thing of value that I have.

I don't want to die.

She's not coming back.

It hurts so much.

I stopped screaming an hour ago.

It hurts.

I'm dying.

I'm sorry, Alys.

I'm sorry you didn't know.

I'm sorry I didn't tell you


And then I hear it. Distant, faint, a whisper of wings through clouds-

'Selendrile. I'm coming.'

And I am not alone.