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    Celian
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Ink and Flowers - 12. Finley

Twenty minutes was an estimate; after all, St. Beatrice was not overly big. When the map and route planning had loaded, the GPS said 22 minutes. With a low grumble, I shoved the phone into my pocket and hurried down the last few steps of the house. I would make it in no more than 17 minutes, I told myself, and yanked open the front door. Everything in me urged me to spread my wings and fly, but a fiery red dragon the size of a three-story house was a little too conspicuous, even late at night and knowing that very few people ever looked up.

As a MORRTIMER, I had been in charge of my unit's transportation, and even though that usually meant that I myself was the transport, I could still drive any land-based vehicle the military had available. I didn't necessarily like doing it, but that wasn't the point, while I flouted a whole series of traffic codes, got the occasional indignant honk and could probably even be considered a danger to the general public. The important thing was that I could drive everywhere and in all conditions and fast. And: in the end, I reached the specified location in 13 minutes.

From the shadows of a bus stop, Emmett emerged, ran towards me and literally threw himself into the passenger seat.

I drove off before the door had even closed properly.

"Thank you," he whispered.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him shaking. He wasn't wearing a jacket and his cheeks were glistening suspiciously, the stench of his fear was overwhelming and was accompanied by the strong, strangely fruity-sweet smell. "Are you okay?" Well, actually, the answer was an obvious no, but I wanted to hear him say it anyway.

"At least I'm safe here," he whispered, even more quietly than before, and I locked the car from the inside.

At the next red light, I stopped properly and looked over at him. Besides the missing jacket, he was barefoot and he was clutching his phone like it was a lifeline. "I'll take you home."

A sob shook his body and I had to force myself not to reach out to him. "Tony's not answering. I don't know if he's even there. I don't want to stay home alone."

"Okay." I selected my home address in the navigation system and took a much more orderly approach to the drive back. But a storm was raging inside me. I wanted to take him in my arms, comfort him, protect him and hold the person who had upset him so much to account.

What on earth had happened during his date with Dex?

When I found a parking spot not far from the house, however, Emmett was shaking so badly that I had to help him out of the car, and because he could barely stand on his own, I just picked him up bridal style. You could tell how much he was in shock by the fact that not only did he not protest, he literally clawed into my shirt and buried his face in my shoulder.

I managed to open the front door and apartment door without dropping him, but before I could enter the apartment, he slapped a hand against the door frame. Obviously there had to be time for formalities. "Come in and be my guest," I said, even though the threshold magic was ridiculously weak after only a few weeks of me living here.

"I come as a friend and honor your home," he choked out.

I kicked the door shut with my foot and then set Emmett down on the couch. He immediately curled up into a ball and the sight broke my heart. But I wouldn't ask what had happened until he had calmed down. For now, I examined his feet, but they looked uninjured under the dirt. When I stood up to get water and a washcloth to clean them, he raised his head.

"Don't go away," he whispered tensely.

"Your feet-"

"Don't go away!" he repeated, his blue-violet eyes suddenly appearing huge and releasing new tears.

"I'll get a blanket. Okay?" I said gently. I wasn't sure if he was nodding or just shaking violently. Since I didn't have a fluffy blanket for the couch, I simply took my blanket from the bed out of necessity and wrapped him in it. Then I took off my shoes and sat down on the couch with him.

Immediately, he wriggled halfway out of the blanket and literally climbed onto my lap in his search for shelter. "Don't go away."

Caught off guard, I hesitated for a moment before pulling the blanket over us both and wrapping my arms around him under its protection.

Somewhere on the way to him, I must have lost my shyness, I thought, while his trembling increased again and shortly afterwards culminated in a crying fit.

I stroked his back, his hair, and didn't know what else to do. Wait and keep quiet? Or mumble some soothing nonsense?

In the end, I quietly hummed a nursery rhyme which had popped into my mind, and at some point the sobbing turned into a sniffle and then that too died away. Shortly afterwards I stopped humming and a little later Emmett lifted his head.

I could see how some sort of self-healing removed the traces of the crying fit, apart from the tear tracks and a bit of snot. At least the tears I would have liked to wipe away, but I didn't dare. My shyness had caught up with me after all.

"Are you purring or is that your stomach?"

The sudden question took me by surprise and my face heated up. "It would be news to me that I can purr," I replied sheepishly. Somehow I wouldn't have been surprised if he could sense lies, so I preferred not to take the stomach route. Because what he heard was my fire. Or rather, the bubbling and hissing of the burning liquid I could spit as fire. When the thymus behind the breastbone recedes with the onset of physical puberty, strong dragons grow the so-called fire bladder there.

A faint smile flitted across his face, then he leaned his head heavily against the back of the couch. "Thank you."

I nodded, still embarrassed. In such extreme proximity, he would be able to smell the smoke - not just the cigarettes, but the real smoke. On the one hand, this worried me, but on the other, it was at this moment - and admittedly rather late - that the realization hit me of the need to tell a potential partner they had a dragon in front of them.

Apart from the fact that "potential partner" in relation to Emmett was more illusion than reality, it wouldn't have been the time or place either way.

"I'm serious." Emmett nodded ever so slightly at that. "You didn't even ask what was wrong."

I hesitated, then shrugged. "In the military, you learn quickly not to ask questions." At his strange face, I added, "I saw how much you were looking forward to the date. Then when a call like this comes, something is really FUBAR and then you just don't ask questions. You just go."

"What does FUBAR mean?"

"Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition."

"Ah. Oh. Yeah, I guess you could say that..." Emmett screwed up his face and wrapped his arms around his knees.

"Do you want to tell me what happened?" I asked cautiously after a short pause and saw his face twitch. Disbelief and pain flitted across it and he wiped away another tear, strangely angry.

"Dex attacked me. He's tainted."

"He's- wait, what?" I blinked, dumbfounded, then a deep long rumble erupted from my chest. My dragon was pissed. Someone had attacked Emmett. "He's tainted?" I echoed. Everything in me screamed to go and burn this evil out of the world, but before I had even pushed the blanket halfway off, Emmett jumped at me.

"No! Finley! No-no-no!" His fingernails dug into my shoulders and his wide eyes glared down at me. "That's not- I called Dom. They have a druid, okay? The herd, Dex's herd is taking care of him."

Hands on his hips to push him off me, I raised a brow. "And you think peace-loving deer shifters can take down a tainted cop?" My dragon raged inside me.

His fingertips were now touching the skin of my neck. "This is not your business," he said firmly.

Was he calming me down with his magic or was I giving up the idea on my own? I couldn't tell, but I swallowed the 'you are very much my business' remark on the tip of my tongue. My dragon-me seemed content to curl up around Emmett, proverbially and perhaps literally. "Protecting is my job," I said, also firmly.

Now he raised a brow. "And I thought transportation was your job."

Puzzled because the retort sounded very much like teasing, and not even picked up on the fact that I was now sorting bouquets, I blinked before slowly saying, "I transported you. To a safe place."

"That's true." He smiled, very faintly and sadly.

It stung my heart. Still, I pushed him gently away from me. A rather primitive part of me liked having him on my lap, but this was really the wrong time to let him know as much.

Instead, I wrapped him back into the blanket. "Do you want to try for Tony again?"

Emmett nodded and pulled out his phone, but it just rang. "Today of all days..." he mumbled, putting it away. Tears rolled again.

"You're safe here. I'll watch over you." I said, feeling kind of stupid. Should I give him a hug? Was I allowed to do that?

Wiping his face with his sleeve, he leaned against me and I took that as an answer to my inner question. "You're all warm," he murmured as I wrapped my arms around him once again.

"Hmm...", I simply did.


 

And then we just sat there. Eventually Emmett fell asleep, his head on my chest, and I dozed. Nevertheless, I was aware of his every movement, every little sound, and I grimaced when my phone suddenly rang and he flinched.

I hurriedly silenced the call and then swiped it away; thankfully, Emmett didn't move further. It was Uther and I quickly typed the question of what he wanted.

Uther: It's important. Call back as soon as you can.

Me: Some time tomorrow.

Uther: I have bad news.

Absolutely great, it flashed through my mind, but I didn't want to dwell on that. Not now. My subconscious did, though, as questions and theories about "dragons aren't gay" and "what is Emmett?" floated lazily around in there for the umpteenth time.

As for the latter, I got stuck on his fruity-sweet scent. Was it pheromones? As strong as he'd smelled like it, and considering he'd had a date with Dex at Dex's house...

I licked my lips, tasting the air. My idea wasn't really plausible, though, because that fruity-sweetness was still clinging to Emmett and it had given me much more of a warning, especially at first.

Targeted pheromones? No, Emmett was definitely not a shifter like Dex.

I'm a dragon, an elemental guardian, representing fire. A warning I could get from water species, but they didn't smell fruity...

Faeries. The fae folks tend to smell fruity.

At the same moment this thought occurred to me, Emmett sighed softly in his sleep and wrapped an arm around me. Suddenly I didn't care about anything else, except for that very fact.

Copyright © 2024 Celian; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

Finley picked up a distraught Emmett and took him bare foot to his home to rest. He learned  Dex attacked him and was tainted. Emmett already called the herd leader and a druid is helping Dex recover. Finley had to be held back when he heard the news.  Even so scared, Emmett found a way to help his tainted friend.

Finley realizes he really enjoys being close to Emmett--who ever he is.

I hope the morning is much better. Finley has to call his brother to get some bad news. I wonder what trouble he is revealing?

 

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Yay puzzle pieces. So many questions though. I'm half tempted to cry torture and unfair. Definitely an enjoyable and well paced chapter. 

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Finley is Emmet’s knight in shining armor… or Dragon Savior.   At least they are getting closer.

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Well, I bet that was a fun conversation between Emmet and Dom, Hi, oh by the way, your brother is tainted with evil.  Let's do lunch soon.  Later.

Finley is feeling mighty protective of Emmet, and yes, I think he needs to be upfront and honest about everything if he really thinks anything is going to happen.  Will he, probably not, but I can then say, I told you so.

Emmet knows instinctively that he can trust Finley, what other feelings are there might be open to interpretation, but he knew that Finley would be there for him and help him.

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5 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Well, I bet that was a fun conversation between Emmet and Dom, Hi, oh by the way, your brother is tainted with evil.  Let's do lunch soon.  Later.

Finley is feeling mighty protective of Emmet, and yes, I think he needs to be upfront and honest about everything if he really thinks anything is going to happen.  Will he, probably not, but I can then say, I told you so.

Emmet knows instinctively that he can trust Finley, what other feelings are there might be open to interpretation, but he knew that Finley would be there for him and help him.

Thanks for the nice laugh on a rainy morning :D

Since Finley is not one to talk much, no matter the topic/issue, this sort of happening is unlikely, yes. But maybe hearing from Uther will help putting in order his own messy thoughts and feelings first.

Right now Emmett's biggest problem is his problematic choice of boyfriends. And as long as this will hang in the air around him, he won't open up for anything else. Though yes, his instincts on Finley are right.

Thank you!

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6 hours ago, nonni15 said:

Any chance for a new chapter soon?🙏🙏🙏

I'm writing on it! Unfortunately I don't have as much time as I would like - so if I get 200 words down a day that's already a big win. Don't take it as promise, but this week sound achievable...

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