Gah...I hate September. The restart of school is always a pain.

Anyways, I'm back. And I got a load of fluff, drama and adventure to get back to. Let's do it.


Saphira...

Hold still, I've almost got it.

Auron huffed and lay still as Saphira continued. On the one hand, the feeling of her tongue running over his scales was lovely. But the context... This is ridiculous, he muttered.

You've been laying in the dirt for a week, and you made a mess of that pitiful little pig, she snorted. Now stop grumbling, I'm almost done. With that, the sapphire female went back to her task: bathing her mate.

Despite Auron's protest at the indignity of it, in his weakened state, he was hardly in a position to argue with Saphira. Biting his tongue and rolling onto his side, he allowed the female to continue licking his scales clean, removing the build-up of dirt and the blood from his morning meal. Saphira quickly and expertly cleaned his chest and stomach, humming to herself as she groomed her mate. Part of her couldn't help but chuckle at Auron's mood, but she knew he was just being pridefully childish. Love her mate as she did, in all his mature and muscular glory, right now he was little more than a helpless hatchling as his body tried to recover from its week of malnourishment. And Saphira was taking full advantage of it.

Since coming back into the world of consciousness yesterday, the silver male was only able to stomach the brews and concoctions that Angela had brought him. After having not eaten for a week, his body could not just simply down a cow and sit fine. So, he was forced to be fed the apparently-nutritious fluids the herbalist gave him, even though he cringed at the taste. If Saphira was a tough nurse, Angela was worse. Every swallow and gag was met with a steel glare, and the once proud silver dragon was forced to take his medicine like a youngling under the watchful eyes of the witch and his mate.

Regardless of the complaints in taste, the brews seemed to be working, as Auron started to feel better towards the end of the day. It would still be some time before he was up and eating as normal, but at least his body was getting the nutrients it needed. After another several potions this morning, the young male had felt well enough to trying eating, and immediately, a medium-sized pig was brought to him. Wincing at the blow to his pride as Saphira was forced to kill his meal for him, he nonetheless attempted to eat. Of course, the want and ability to do something are two very different things. But, after nearly an hour of nibbling, waiting for his stomach to settle, and making a decent mess out of it, Auron finally managed to finish his breakfast.

Which is what led to his current predicament.

Muttering something between a sigh of annoyance and a growl of contentment, Auron lay on his side and allowed Saphira to finish her "bath". The sapphire female paid no attention, rather enjoying this impromptu down time with her mate. After laying next to his motionless form for a week, everyt interaction with him was a gift, and she intended to use every moment. Chuckling softly, she rumbled to her mate, Oh, stop acting like you're not enjoying this...

Auron snorted, but his mind rubbed against hers tenderly. Well...it does feel nice...but it's still you giving me a bath. I don't have to explain how embarrassing this is.

Saphira growled softly, and began licking slowly down his belly, drifting towards his hind legs. I could make it more 'enjoyable' for you, she teased.

Another snort, and Auron's tail flicked gently upwards to touch the side of her head. Hey now...not here, he chuckled despite his predicament. That's one side of me the Varden doesn't need to see.

Spoilsport, she hummed, ending her playful bath with a lick along his cheek. Saphira nuzzled her snout along his muzzle warmly as she laid down beside him and snuggled her chest up to his, the male managing to wrap his forelegs around her and hold her to him. I haven't seen it in almost a week either, she whined in mock disappointment, nipping at his jaw. I'm sure it would help you feel better...

The male chuckled, leaning his head down to lick her snout. I'm sure it would, my mate. But right now, I doubt I could stand, much less attempt to be intimate with you.

Again, Saphira's jaws parted in a sly smile. It wouldn't be the first time I did all the work while you were on your back.

Growling amorously, Auron ran his paws up and down her back, rubbing her tenderly, and Saphira snuggled her snout into his neck. She knew Auron was in no shape to mate, but the simple act of playing and teasing one another helped to further douse her dark thoughts that had accumulated over the past days. Her mate was here, alive, and he was holding her in his arms, and that's all Saphira needed right now. Everything else would come in time. How is your stomach, my mate?

Shifting slightly, Auron sighed. Better. Despite their horrid taste, I think Angela's brews are doing their job; I feel the strength returning to my body. Another day, and I might feel up to walking around. Seeing the gleam in her eyes, he tried not to laugh to hard. Only walking, my lustful mate.

I'll get you soon enough, Saphira growled, nibbling on his neck. You have a week to make up. She rubbed her chest against his, curling he tail up around his hindquarters, and Auron shivered at the implied meanings of her actions.

That's not fair, he muttered, subconsciously stoking her flanks. His paws traced over her sleek frame, tenderly massaging her lean muscles. Saphira purred at his ministrations, but allowed Auron to examine her body. As she had gorged herself for days before when she thought she was gravid, Saphira did not need to eat the entire time she stood vigil over Auron's fallen form. Because of this, her body processed and digested all the stores of food she had ingested, and before long, the sapphire female had regained her lean, sleek form from before.

What's not fair? she asked innocently, running her tail down his hind legs and along the underside of his tail. Feeling her mate blush, and the warmth that spread slowly across her belly from between their entwined legs, she grinned widely, wriggling against him. I can't help it if your body doesn't agree with your mind.

Maybe, Auron huffed. But that part of me always agrees with you.

Growling again, she licked up his neck and purred, nuzzling against his scales. Mmm...I suppose I could wait a few more days. After all...they say anticipation makes it all the better...

Okay, not helping, Auron snorted, pushing the female away playfully and rolling onto his belly. Just thinking about it is making me fatigued. He turned away to make sure no one was looking at them, then gave a short yelp of surprise as Saphira jumped gently on his back, snuggling her mate from behind.

Oh, I'm only teasing you, she chided, nibbling on his neck. I watched over your still form for a week. Forgive me for relishing in talking with you again.

Auron craned his head back, only to bring his maw to meet hers as she lay on his back. I missed you too, he rumbled. The soft contact gave way to something deeper, and the male growled happily as he felt Saphira's tongue caress his as they danced between their joined mouths. The two dragons purred and rumbled amorously to each other, continuing the action until a gentle cough brought them out of their little trance.

Nice to see some things never change, Eragon joked as he walked up, giving both dragons a warm rub on the neck. How are you feeling, Auron?

The silver male laid his head down atop his paws, as Saphira rested her head on his. Better, he sighed. Not ready to go flying or anything, but better at least.

Good, Eragon said, sitting next to his proud head, Saphira's snout brushing the top of her Rider's scalp. I was speaking with Arya earlier, and she asked a interesting question.

Oh?

Eragon reached up to stroke Saphira's snout as he looked at the electric blue eyes of his friend. Have you tried changing back to your human body yet?

The silver dragon chuckled, despite himself. No, and I'm not about to just yet. I can barely stomach the thought of standing, let alone shifting to human or any other magic. Auron thought for a moment. At best, it will be a day or two before I feel up to something so demanding.

Indeed, Saphira rumbled, biting the back of his broad neck affectionately. I'll not have you attempting such foolish actions until your strength is back fully.

Yes, Mother, Auron grumbled playfully, swishing his tail with hers.

Saphira brought her head down so her eyes could look directly into his. I mean it, Auron, she growled. Both you and Eragon have a predisposition towards doing things you are not prepared for...especially when it comes to any form of magic. Her Rider started to raise his voice in protest, but another short growl silence both males. I am no longer going to sit back and let your foolish male pride endanger your lives any longer. Her sapphire eyes softened, and both Eragon and Auron felt a pang of guilt as they saw the moisture build up in her eyes. You two are my whole world, she said in a sad voice. If anything happened to you...no. No more shall I be silent. From now on, if I disagree with any actions you two intend to take, I will do everything in my power to prevent it.

A shudder ran the length of her frame, and Auron whimpered softly, trying to reach up and comfort her. I am not losing either of you again, she whispered.

Finally willing his body to move, Auron rolled over underneath Saphira, and managed to get his chest to hers. His forearms slide around her lithe frame, and he pulled her close, nuzzling her neck as she lay atop him. Hey...none of that talk again, he crooned. The dragoness snuffled slightly, rubbing her snout into his neck and chest. I'm right here, my mate. We both are. That's all that matters.

I know, she sighed, leaning over to lick Eragon upon his cheek. But this has not been an easy week. Forgive me if my thoughts are still...unsettled.

Not hesitating, Eragon wrapped his arms around her snout, hugging her tightly. He didn't have the words, knowing full well they wouldn't really help anyways. Instead, he entwined his mind with that of Saphira and Auron, letting the love and concern they had for each other wash over them, letting the actions and emotions speak louder than words ever could. The three of them stayed like that for minutes, until pulling away gently. Do not dwell on what has happened, or what may or may not be, Saphira, Eragon said gently. It will only cause you anxiety and pain. He ran a hand warmly along her cheek, rubbing the scales softly. Embrace what we have, here and now. Let that give you strength.

The dragoness blinked, and a wave of amusement rebounded over their link. Why little one, I believe you just said something wise. Eragon's cheeks flushed as the two dragons chuckled, and he tried not to mumble. Despite her teasing, the warmth and gratitude for her Rider's comforting words radiated from Saphira, making Eragon's own uneasiness abate.

The three of them sat together for a time, before Eragon was called away again to Nasuada's pavilion, leaving Auron and Saphira to remain cuddling in the small clearing. The silver male continually rubbed his nose up and down Saphira's neck in a calming gesture, causing her to sigh and purr happily. He's right you know, Auron murmured. We cannot worry ourselves sick over every bump in the road ahead of us. To do so will only paralyze us with uncertainty.

I know, Saphira sniffed, snuggling into her mate's chest. But I cannot help it sometimes. Especially considering what just happened.

You're not getting rid of me that easy, he chuckled, trying to cheer her up. Despite herself, the dragoness rumbled in amusement along with him, simply enjoying the contact with her mate. To take her mind off such nonsensical musings, Auron abruptly changed the subject. I can't remember if I told you – I may have been mostly asleep at the time – but I rather like some of those names you came up with.

Really? Saphira lifted her head to look down at him, her jaws parted in a soft smile.

Auron rumbled and rubbed their snouts together. Yes. They are good names. Strong names. I would be a proud father to any one of those.

Saphira hummed happily, and trailed the tip of her tail up the underside of Auron's silver one delicately. Then perhaps we should practice up...?

The male rolled his eyes, trying to ignore the playful teasing of his mate. Again, his body wavered in fatigue at the simple thought of mating, even though he knew she was just teasing. Evidently, that week had strained more than just her concern for him...


Six different sets of eyes were upon Auron as he took a steadying breath, and steeled himself. Slowly, ignoring the slight shake in his limbs, he willed his body to obey. At first he was unsure that it would follow his commands, but sure enough, amid some shakiness, his left paw moved forward...and he took his first step.

Grinning like a hatchling, he eagerly stepped forward again, only to growl happily as he took another step, and another. Before he knew it, he had managed to make his way – albeit on shaky legs - to his joyfully crooning mate, as she sat waiting several yards away. As soon as he reached her, Saphira began licking and nuzzling her silver mate proudly. Wonderful, Auron, she purred, rubbing her head against his.

"Damn good to see," Angela laughed, slapping her leg in satisfaction, and hurried up to the silver dragon's side as he sat back down on his haunches. Eragon, Orianna and Nasuada were already at his side, giving their own praise as Arya simply looked on, her stoic face betrayed by the shining in her eyes as Auron came closer and closer to a full recovery.

It was now the third day after he had awoken, and the silver male had been able to eat two full-sized pigs for breakfast, as well as the last of Angela's prescribed potions. Feeling the strength return to his weary body, the male had insisted on trying to get up and walk. Although both Saphira and Eragon voiced their concerns, the proud dragon nevertheless managed to convince them he was ready. So, after some coaxing from his mate, and encouragement from those gathered, Auron was able to take his first steps since his fall over a week ago.

I'm so proud of you, Saphira whispered as she nibbled on his jaw. You're getting better and stronger every moment.

I had good caretakers, Auron chuckled, licking her cheek as his tail gave Angela a playful flick. The witch spoke to Nasuada about acquiring a few more batches of ingredients, so as to prepare just a few more brews to ensure the silver dragon stayed on his feet now. Auron rolled his eyes at the thought of stomaching more 'medicine', and Eragon had to cover his mouth to hide a smile.

"Now I know you're feeling rather pleased with yourself," the herbalist said, poking the silver male's flank. "But walking around and fighting a war are two very different things. I'll expect you to take it slow for the rest of the week."

Sheesh, when did I get so many mothers? Auron whined in a mock tone, earning a light smack from Angela, Nasuada, his real mother Orianna, and finally a nip from Saphira. I get it, I get it...no over exerting myself. He lowered his head to look Angela squarely in the face. Can I at least attempt a little flying later?

The herbalist narrowed her eyes, thinking on the matter. As awkward as it was for the nine month old, silver dragon to be asking permission to do things from the short, curly haired woman, everyone present knew that Angela had the most experience in a patient's recovery from such a predicament. "Fine," she eventually huffed, but raised her voice on the giddy looks of anticipation that crossed Saphira and Auron's faces. "But only a short one. I don't need to hear about you smacking into the ground again."

I'll keep an eye on him, Saphira pledged, although her jaw was parted in a wide smile at the thought of flying with her mate once more.

With a curt nod, the herbalist accompanied Nasuada as they went to speak to Du Vragnr Gata about the ingredients for her potions. Arya and Orianna departed a few moments later, as their duties beckoned. Just be safe, my love, the golden-haired woman said softly, giving the silver dragon that was her son a kiss on his brow. Don't push yourself.

I won't, he promised, and watched as they walked away.

Saphira had leaned, nuzzling Eragon's shoulder affectionately. Would you join us, little one?

Gladly, Eragon beamed, and eagerly bounded onto Saphira's back. As it was doubtful they would be flying for very long, they didn't see the need for the saddle. Looking over at her mate, Saphira growled warmly and happily as she watched him stand once again, and walk slowly alongside her as the made their way to the edge of the encampment. Her joy was infectious, as Eragon could barely keep his own wide smile under control. When do you think you'll be ready to change? he asked his friend.

Auron thought for a moment as he focused on keeping his pace and legs steady. My strength is returning quickly – faster than even Angela predicted. I highly doubt any serious magic will be within my grasp anytime soon. But as for changing between dragon and human form...well, for me, its the easiest magic of all to do. It is what I am. He tilted his head in thought. Perhaps tomorrow...after a good night's rest that is, he added quickly, noticing the look he got from Saphira.

Good, Eragon nodded. Arya and I wish to evaluate your abilities as a human – your magic and fighting skills – to ensure you are still as capable as you were before all this happened.

The silver dragon bowed his head. I thank you, Eragon. Admittedly, I am apprehensive about finding out just how...handicapped...I may be from this. It took me how long to hone my skills, and now I may have to do it all over again. I do not relish that fact.

Well, if you cannot fight effectively as a human any more, perhaps you should just stay a dragon permanently, Saphira said simply. I certainly would not complain. It would be better for us.

Auron slowed, and looked up at her. Do you really mean that, Saphira?

The dragoness stopped, and met her mate's eyes. For a moment, they stared at each other, having an unspoken conversation. A part of me does, yes, she admitted. I love you for everything you are, Auron. But I cannot deny what some of my instincts tell me, and they think it would be better for you to remain a dragon. You are my mate, and I cannot raise a family alone.

You wouldn't be alone -

You know what I meant, she said softly, leaning over to nuzzle his neck. I would never think to ask you to give up your human side, Auron. In fact, I do not believe it to be right at all. I simply wanted to tell you how part of me feels. She purred and bit his scaled neck gently, showing her affection. As long as I have you – whatever form – I will be happy. I love you.

And I you, my mate, he rumbled, licking along her muzzle tenderly.

Padding along for a few more feet, the two dragons and Rider came to the edge of the encampment, and Saphira looked on expectantly as Auron unfurled his wings in an experimental stretch. Both she and Eragon watched silently as the silver male gave a few, short flaps, growling happily when his wings responded to command. Auron took a few steadying breaths, then pumped his massive wings hard, urging his body to take flight. Saphira tensed and coiled, ready to pounce. She did not open her wings however, instead she watched her mate carefully, and readied herself should she need to leap to his aid. With powerful strokes, the silver dragon slowly willed his body into the air, and before long, he had risen off the ground to circle around his beaming mate. Saphira gave a happy roar, then jumped into the air to join him, and the pair of dragons rose steadily higher, circling around one another.

Auron could feel the strain on his wings, the muscles not having been used in over a week, and he knew this flight would be drastically short. But all that mattered at the moment was the joy of being in the air again. For the first time in a week, he felt like a true dragon again, able to dance with his sapphire mate above the ground in their element. Saphira roared again, joy radiating off her in waves as she twirled around him happily, Eragon giving a whoop of excitement.

The flight was short but sweet, and after no more than a half hour had passed, Auron dropped onto the ground again, his still slightly shaky legs wobbling as they took his weight once more. Saphira alighted on the ground next to him, humming and purring as she nuzzled her mate. He could feel the sense of pride coming from her, as she watched her silver partner slowly recover to the dragon he once was. Eragon slid off Saphira's shoulders, a wide grin on his own face both from the flying and the sight of Auron moving around once more. Before you know it, you'll be racing each other through the sky like old times, the young Rider joked.

I'd be happy with just less wobble, Auron grumbled, as he sat on his haunches to give his legs a rest. I feel as if I've had too much mead – my balance is all off.

Saphira licked his muzzle, growling warmly. One thing at a time, Auron. You're doing just fine.

Says the dragoness with one specific thing on her mind.

The sapphire female grinned widely, her tail teasing his once more. Auron chuckled at her playfulness, knowing full well that would have to be one of the first things to accomplish once his was fully recovered. Although, to say it was not firmly in his mind as well would be a lie.

Eragon stretched his arms above his head as he watched the afternoon sun begin its descent. I believe a good meal, and early to bed sounds like a good plan, don't you? he asked the dragons beside him.

Running her snout along Auron's jaw, Saphira hummed pleasantly. Sounds good to me, little one. Auron rolled his eyes playfully.

As long as you don't try to force food down my gullet, fine, he teased, nibbling the back of her neck, earning a gurgle of delight from her. Together, the three companions made their way to the cook-tents, and as Eragon disappeared inside to round up his own meal, Saphira and Auron selected their catch. Although it was still a blow to his pride having to get his food this way, Auron knew he was unlikely even to catch a wounded deer in his state. One more day of easy meals, he reminded himself.

After taking their chosen prey – a full-grown cow for Saphira and a large pig for Auron – into their maws, the two dragons followed Eragon back to their tent when they all sat down to enjoy their dinner. Saphira was pleased to see Auron easily down his meal, thankful her mate could ingest food properly now. To ensure he got enough food for his belly, the dragoness even tore off a large hunk of her cow's flank, offering it to the silver male. At first he protested, but the determined look from his mate caused him to accept, and tried to hide his growl of contentment as he ate it too. With a pleasantly full belly, Auron rolled onto his side and stretched, feeling far better than he had after first coming back into conciseness. A warm purr, and Saphira snuggled into his side, the male draping a wing around her as she licked his muzzle. Eragon lit a small fire, before laying back against Saphira's exposed flank. The peaceful serenity of the little campsite embraced them, and all three let out a content sigh.

Auron's eyelids began to droop, the welcoming embrace of sleep calling to him, inviting his fatigued body to rest. Curling a foreleg around Saphira, he cuddled her close as she laid her head atop his, the deep purring of the dragoness soothing Auron as he drifted off to sleep. After a while, Eragon laid back against his dragon, using the gentle rhythm of Saphira's breathing to lull him into his own state of dreamless sleep. The gentle swish of two entwined tails echoed alongside the crackling of the fire, creating a calming lullaby to guide them through the night.


With a sharp twist to the left, Auron tried to dodge the pointed tip of the sword aimed at his ribs, but let out a frustrated growl as the cool metal touched his side, and he bit back a sharp retort. "Hit," Eragon said evenly, returning to a relaxed stance. He was half-prepared to dodge a thrown object by the look of his friend's face.

"This is infuriating," Auron growled, kicking the dirt with a boot. "I feel like a novice again."

Eragon sighed, and tried to think of some words to comfort his partner, as he could definitely relate to the feeling. Earlier that morning, Auron had risen to find a quick breakfast, then attempted to change into is human form. Despite a small protest from Saphira, the young male had insisted. Although it had ended up taking much more concentration and time than before, after a few moments, the silver dragon had managed to shift into his human body. Auron was surprised at how much more effort and concentration it had taken when compared to other times, but he knew his was still nowhere near back to full strength.

Following a slightly disapproving look from Saphira, Auron had dressed and accompanied Eragon to where Arya awaited, so that the elf and Rider could test his skills after his ordeal. The outcome was less than satisfying.

The day had started with Arya evaluating Auron's attempt at magic, and the elven woman tried to hide a small frown as he struggled with some of the most basic spells. It reminded Eragon of his first lessons with Brom all those months ago; the sheer determination on Auron's face as he struggled to manipulate a fist-sized stone. More than once, the young Rider felt the urge to meld his mind with his friend's, to lend him the strength, but he reluctantly restrained himself. If Auron was to properly recover his abilities, he had to do it on his own.

After hours of trying different spells and methods, Arya finally called the session to an end. Auron was dumbfounded at how weak his magic had become. Aside from changing his form – which was as natural to him as walking or flying – even the most basic of magic was a struggle. Simple spells like brisingr or risa left him panting and unsteady. But the fact that he knew he had been able to do it before was more frustrating. "I can see it in my mind!" he spat. "I know how to do all this!" However, knowing and doing were very different aspects, and the young Knight was finally forced to accept that his magic would need longer to recover than his body.

From there, they had changed approach and Eragon began to duel with Auron, so as to ascertain his physical skills. Much to his dismay, Auron quickly found out his swordplay was just as diminished as his magic. He barely managed to fend Eragon off for more than a half-dozen blows before being touched upon the ribs, the shoulder, or the leg, each time the blonde youth feeling like he wanted to throw something. To feel so outmatched – so inadequate – was like a sick, ongoing joke. Before, he had been able to stand toe-to-toe with Eragon, in both combat and magic. Now, he felt like a helpless whelp, and it made his blood boil.

Eragon came up and placed a gentle hand on his seething friend's shoulder. "I can understand how frustrating this is, Auron. I too would not like to be reminded of what it is like to start all over again." He offered a half-smile. "At least you know you will get better in time. Of that much, you can take at least some comfort."

"I know," Auron said, sighing heavily as his shoulders slumped. "Still doesn't lessen the sting though. Makes me feel...I don't know...weak."

"Never weak, my friend," Eragon encouraged. "I know soon enough, you will be back to your old self."

Auron offered a small smile. "Perhaps I should take Saphira's advice and just stay a dragon. Might be less of a blow to my pride."

I certainly would support it, the dragoness hummed as she padded up to the two youths. She leaned down and gave her human mate a lick along his neck. But I agree with Eragon; you will get better soon enough. Give it time, my mate. Auron gave her neck a warm rub, thanking her for her feelings of support. Although it wounded his pride to do so, he finally accepted the fact that he still had a great deal of recovering to do.

A messenger ran up then, informing Eragon that Nasuada wished to speak with him. With a short farewell to his two companions, the Rider hurried off towards the red command pavilion. Lately, Nasuada had been discussing potential plans of action for the Varden, considering their state after the battle with the Empire, and the more recent destructive raid by Murtagh and his band. Although their choices were less than inspiring, both Eragon and Nasuada, as well as the others, knew that a full-on offensive was out of the question. Reports of the Empire forces reinforcing several cities and towns near the border with Surda was troubling, and Nasuada was under no illusion that to try and take one of them now would be costly...perhaps too costly.

As Eragon entered the large pavilion, she waved him over. "Jormundur, King Orrin and I believe we have a plan," she said. "But I don't think you are going to like it."


Saphira sighed and laid her head back into Auron's thick neck, happily inhaling his scent as her snout snuggled behind his jaw. After returning from the practice fields with Arya and Eragon, he had quickly removed his armor and shifted back into his dragon form. They ate together, talking as if they had not for months. When the sun finally began to drift into its evening position, the two dragons curled up for an early night. At least this way, I don't feel so disadvantaged, he joked lightly as he curled up with Saphira.

As long as I have you, I could care less about anything else, Saphira hummed, licking his jaw. Your strength, speed and magic will come with time. Like you told me; all that matters, is right now. To emphasize her point, she twisted around so her chest and belly were mashed to his, and she put her lean forelegs around his broad back. And from where I'm laying...right now is looking rather enjoyable.

Auron growled amorously, and rolled to he was atop her. The dragoness purred loudly at his actions, and revelled in the waves of love that echoed across their link. The silver male gently massaged her shoulders with his large paws, their tails entwining and dancing behind them as they crooned to one another. Letting go, Saphira ran her paws along his muscular chest, pleased to see that he was starting to gain some of his healthy weight back. The actions caused the male to shudder, and both dragons lightly ground their bellies together. Tonight? Saphira asked softly, rubbing his hind legs with hers as they cuddled.

The male sighed, and nuzzled her neck in apology. I wish, my mate, he said gently. I know you desire to be intimate...to wash away the fears from the past week. Auron met her eyes remorsefully. Believe me, if I felt up to it, you know I would give you all you desire.

Enough, she hummed gently, licking his snout. I am not so desperate that I would force you, you know that. We are not mere beasts driven by instinct. Saphira let out a soft croon as she bit his neck affectionately. I simply wish to rekindle this bond; I feel like the world has been trying to tear us apart lately.

The male looked down at her and parted his jaws in a warm smile. You know it would take a sea of fire to keep me away from you for very long. Missions and war aside, I made a promise, Auron growled happily as he returned the affectionate bites along Saphira's neck, causing little gasps and growls of pleasure to leave her. When I flew with you, I vowed to be yours forever. I intend to honor that, no matter what. They laid like that, Auron atop Saphira, for minutes as they stared into the eyes of their mate. Their minds were as entwined as their bodies as each of them sent all the love and passion the could muster to their mate.

Finally, they rolled over again so that Saphira lay atop Auron, the dragoness nibbling his neck and chest happily. I know we still plan to wait, she hummed, purring as he wrapped his forelegs around her. But I still can't help but eagerly await the day we start a family. The more and more we talk of it, the more I wish it could be so.

As do I, Auron thrummed back. He gently traced the underside of Saphira's tail with his. You will make an amazing mother.

And you, a wonderful father, Saphira sighed, laying her head down on his neck as the silver male held her. She closed her eyes in contentment, feeling his steady breathing and heartbeat though their chests. Someday...

Someday soon, Auron echoed, running his paws along her back. Closing his own eyes, he distantly felt the presence of Eragon returning to camp, and settled down with Saphira for the night, knowing the Rider would fill them in on anything important tomorrow.

For now, the male simply wanted to share a dream with Saphira, as the two mates dreamt together of the time when their waiting would come to an end.


Okay...not a great of plot advancement (or was there?), but I wanted a nice easy chapter after all the drama of the previous few. Ease the flow a bit before we take off again in the next coming chapters. Plus, shed some light on Auron's new predicament, and result of his recent injuries. (All you Stu-sayers out there can relax now...)

In a response to one reviewer, I will say this: Blood of a Dragon has not even reached its halfway point yet, so fear not, this tale shall continue on for quite some time. In addition to the main story everyone is expecting (the war against the Empire) it should be clear by now that there will be several other lines of development that are beginning to surface. Yes, the main overarching story will continue much as it is, but it may not happen quite in the order, or speed, you predict.

In other words, don't expect us to rush to Uru'baen anytime soon. The war and the Empire aren't going anywhere, but as you may have picked up from subtle hints in recent chapters, things may be changing in the way this story develops, and in more ways than one. (*wink*)

But no more teasers! If you want to find out, you'll simply have to keep reading!

Until next time!