Rare Pearl – Chapter 21

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Accark didn’t wake the entire time he spent on his wings. It was long past midnight when he finally tossed the bowl out and tentatively brought back the pillows he’d sent flying. At first he thought he’d make another bed aside Accark’s, but after he’d piled them up three different ways, he pushed them all by Accark’s side, climbed over him to the other side so he would be facing him and lay down on the make-shift bed. Accark always had extra room, he remembered from the first night they’d spent here. He hugged himself, watching the dragon and all his bandaged places as he snored, dead to the world.

He woke some time later, feeling hot. He frowned, searching for the source with his hand. It stopped on a very hot nose. The fog from his mind was swept away and he opened his eyes, listening the change in Accark’s breathing. He was panting, hard. His eyes were searching something behind his closed eyelids and he let out a row of clicks and snorts that sounded like growling through closed mouth. Gale reached out his hand and touched his cheeks before moving to his collarbones and massaging the soft spot between the collarbones.

“Accark? Hey, buddy,” he tried to get his attention, and it seemed he got it as the dragon frowned a little. “calm your breathing.” He ordered huskily. “You’re in your nest.”

Ten sharp nails dig into his arm and he had to bite down his lower lip to stop himself from screaming. Moment later the nails pulled back and he was rewarded with a silky nose rubbing against it, like begging to be petted on his head. He did, ignoring the pain. He could concentrate on that later. Accark continued fixing his position and before he knew it, he found himself cuddled, half of the dragon curled up in his lap while his legs had been raised above the lower half and the tail curled around his legs like snake, blanketing them both. Accark let out a loud satisfied sigh and succumbed under better dream, leaving Gale frozen and too hot to even think. The dragon hadn’t woken and he couldn’t help but think if perhaps he was being used as the replacement for the pearl.

“Huh,” he snickered, letting his body relax in the awkward position, figuring he wouldn’t get out of it in anytime soon, “so much of being his alpha.”

The sound Accark sent flying the moment he’d said it out loud could be translated as pained cry and Gale regretted he’d said it.

He slid lower, so he could pull Accark’s head higher. He curled his fingers around his neck and gave it enough pressure to remind him the fresh wounds he still carried around his neck, feeling the bobbing of his Adam’s apple against it.

It didn’t seem to do the trick this time.

He slid the other hand beneath his jaw and pulled it higher, knowing he was pressing Accark’s neck in a bad position, but he didn’t let it go. He’d use his pheromones, he decided, and pressed his lips down against Accark’s.

Immediately, the body curled around him relaxed as he hungrily pressed upwards for more. Accark let him go and uncurled from his side, opening himself up, laying on his back, pushing his wings aside as much as he could in the cramped up space and spread his legs, exposing his underbelly.

Gale let out a loud gasp, realizing the only thing keeping his dragon from being completely exposed was the same blanket he’d placed on him earlier. But he wouldn’t touch him before he could be certain that Accark was…

The hell was he thinking? No need to add to his awkwardness!

“Soon,” he offered quickly, not caring if it would be the truth or not, “first you need to heal, alright?”

Gale reached over him, took hold of his hand and pulled him back against his body, resting his head back on his chest. Accark let out a loud sigh and curled up in the same position he had been a minute ago.

So he was never to mention that again, he wondered. Or perhaps it was just Accark being stuck somewhere between slumber and reality.

He kept stroking his forehead, the head and the scaly mane until he felt himself falling asleep again.
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He woke the next morning feeling stiff. He’d hoped Accark would be awake by the time he’d get his eyes open, but instead he found him still deep in sleep, aside the fact that he’d apparently dug himself half way into the pillows at some point in the night so Gale found himself not sleeping on his side, but sleeping literally on top of him. Oddly, he liked the idea.

He tried to be as quiet as he could when he untangled himself from the pile and carefully removed most of his covering too, for the heat raising from the nest was shockingly high. He wasn’t sure how normal that would be, considering he was supposedly dealing with northern creature. His heart rate wouldn’t say he was happy with the heat though, so Gale tossed most of the pillows aside, leaving only those that surrounded him like a wall and the ones stuck beneath his large frame. He listened his breathing ease and checking his heartbeats told him he’d made the right decision.

He went to fetch them some food. The fruits Salone had brought earlier were too hard for his throat now and he doubted he’d get them through even if he chewed the entire lot for him.

Salone was in the kitchen preparing the meal already and smiled to him when she saw him stiffly making his way down the corridor, stretching his wings as wide as the space allowed. He wanted to go flying, not be stuck in this cave like castle, but he didn’t want to go far.

“He’s still asleep.” He explained after a quick greeting.

“That’s good, sleep is the best remedy.”

He leaned on the door, watching her work in the small lamp lights she’d lit. She was tossing fresh herbs into divinely scented miracle bubbling up on the stove and busied herself with washing up the knives she’d used. He felt humbled how easily she’d taken over the household since she arrived and admired her speed on making it all seem to feel more like a home and less like an empty castle. Just like Accark had done. Maybe it was in their blood, or maybe he’d grown up as the only boy among dozen sisters and had to accompany them to their classes.

“I wanted to thank you,” he said quietly while she dried the knives, “for helping us.”

She gave him a small smile. “It’s nothing.”

“If it puts you at odds with your family, it is hardly a small favor!” He protested, but she pinched him instead.

“I told you – I am no longer under my Father’s rule! Besides, I’m sure he’d be pleased if our entire brood was swiped off Hatangy!” He must have looked confused, because she shook her head, dismissing his fears entirely and sank against the kitchen table. “Our Mother was a stubborn dragon with tender heart to anyone, who needed help. Our Father, as you already saw, is hardly interested in anything but power and money. I doubt he knows how many children he has! I was lucky Kalebos took me after one meeting or I’d be probably stuck there too like my sisters. Lucky Kalebos is wealthy enough that Father accepts him and that he keeps away from us!”

“He sounds like a dream.” He commented, giving her a half-smile.

“Oh, don’t you dare – of course I sing him praises, he is my moon and my stars, my sunshine and my rain!”

Gale didn’t mind it at all. He was genuinely intrigued by that dragon Accark and Salone so greatly loved.

“He bought this castle too?” He asked, hoping to pry out more information.

“He did. I was worried for Accark – he was often eyesore to Father and he blamed Mother for it. Kalebos wanted me to be happy, so one day he left without speaking to me, and returned with Accark. He’d bought him a house.” The memory wasn’t as rosy as she tried to make it sound, but Gale considered buying anyone a house without speaking first with their second half would be bad. “I know what it sounds like, but in long term, it calmed me down to know my brother was no longer in danger. He got him work as apprentice for the local accountant office and,” she sighed, “when he’d spent few years learning the business, he asked Berta to give him a job as far away from Father as she could make it.”

“Your Father believes it was his doing he got the job?”

“My husband is a banker, gargoyle, it’s what he does – he makes the clients believe they made the decisions when he has already fixed it for them.” She smiled. “I have yet to meet his client, who is not happy with their decision. Sometimes they don’t see the solution themselves before someone points it out.” She informed him, forestalling his next question if his fortune was made by scoundrelly.

Her eyes turned back on the pot on the stove and she checked if it was ready.

He received one bowl of soup with freshly grounded uncooked minced meat and another of the same soup with big junks of cooked meat.

“Wake him up, I’ll bring you new water.” Her eyes fell on the bowls in his hands. “Don’t cleanse that, he’ll need his nourishment.”

He huffed and realized he really liked the dragon lady.

“You can return to your clan, if you like.” He offered. “You must be missed.”

“I already called in and explained them that I’m here and will be for couple more days. Kalebos is kind, his second companion will be home until I return.”

“Second companion?”

“Yes, his…” her eyes fixed in his for a moment, like searching words how to explain it, “our alphas often have several mates.”

That little news sent shivers down his spine. He hadn’t thought about it at all, nor could he imagine Accark going in jealous rage over the possibility, which he could clearly see happen.

“It’s not as bad as it sounds!” She gasped, probably seeing his oddly screwed face. “It is set so no female is left without home or forced to survive on their own. You know it’s not considered proper for our females to have property, but that does not mean we aren’t cared for if something goes wrong. You have no obligations to follow our ways and I know Accark has never liked the traditional ways, so I doubt that would even come up.” The smile on her face faded. “Unless you are interested in courting another female of your own species?”

“No, I am not.” And even if he would think about expanding his newly founded nest pack, it would never be the way it was with Accark.

“Make sure he eats.” Salone smirked and turned back to the stove, dismissing him.

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