Rare Pearl – Chapter 22

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Her neckline didn’t rattle like Accark’s. He wasn’t sure why this was so important, but he left her do her work and returned to the bedroom with amazingly aromatic soups. He set them down near the bed, far enough that he wouldn’t be able to turn them over if he stretched and climbed on the bed to check on the sleeper.

Accark’s nose moved as he took in the new scents coming off his clothes.

“Are you hungry?” He asked, leaning close to his ear. Accark nodded, but only vaguely. “Time to get up then.”

He didn’t help him this time, waiting him to get over his grogginess himself. He doubted he’d felt such joy to see anyone waking up as he was at this moment, watching Accark groaning and moaning as he tried to make light in the order of things that had happened or trying to figure out if it even had been true or had he simply imagined it. He might have decided it had been a dream and stretched, realized his entire body was one big bruise and lay back down, grabbing more pillows beneath him for softer sleeping.

He bolted from where he had been crouching through this entire show and grabbed after his shoulder, supporting him while he struggled to gain his balance. He let out surprised shout and clasped his wings up fast to block away the attacker, but Gale was faster and so the impact had only half of the strength it would have had otherwise. He pushed forward, locking his hands around his body from behind and pressing his arms and chest together until he had time to come back from the the half-sleep he was still in. He watched the dragon test his mouth to say something, but he released his hold instead.

“You need to eat.” He pat him on his back and was gone from his side before the dragon could concentrate on anything. He fell backwards, obviously expecting somebody to be there and lay there, eying him curiously. “Your neck is still hurt, so spare yourself for now, alright? Eat!” He took his bowl from the floor and watched how the big dragon gracefully curled over to his stomach. The pain stopped him half way over and he hid his face into the pillows groaning into them loud.

“Those will hurt for a while too.” He added, the sudden jittery feeling in his heart calming as he watched him get hold of himself. “I won’t feed you.” He added, hoping the teasing would get him worked up enough to come after it. Soon enough, Accark took the bowl carefully, swirled his tail around himself, with the clattering of his scales that warmed Gale from the bottom of his toes to ends of his wings, and sat there, looking at it curiously.

He swooped up few spoonfuls and slurped them down, winching with each and one of them, but he ate for a while and Gale used the moment of peace to eat as well, peppered with unwavering staring from the dragon. But he didn’t mind the light golden stare at all.

“In my dream, you claimed me.” Accark wanted to whisper after he’d finished about half of his soup and set the bowl down. The question was burning in his eyes, but instead he kept his mouth shut, lowered his eyes sadly and pushed the bowl away further before climbing back into his nest and curling sadly on his side, the back towards him.

He set his own bowl next to Accark’s and climbed after him, carefully avoiding his laid down wings before settling his hands on either side of his neck and nuzzled his neckline where the bandage ran around his neck. He regretted putting them there for they stopped him from checking if the wound stayed or was already healing.

“I-it wasn’t a dream?” Accark stiffened suddenly, his eyes wide open and full of color.

“No.” He shook his head, digging one of his fingers underneath the edge of the bandage and plucked it open.

“I don’t remember it.” He sounded sad, husky from the missing voice, but Gale shook his head, amused, letting him blabber away while he removed the bandage. “Only feeling sad, and sad, and more sad until it changed. I don’t know what changed, but something did?”

He was getting anxious by the time he got half of it off – aside where his teeth had gone through the skin, there was almost no visible mark left. Except the big red bruise right above his Adam’s apple which would regrettably disappear over time too. He frowned, the heat from the failure digging through him. He wanted to scream from the disappointment, but he knew there was nothing he could do if it didn’t work like so.

He pulled away, busying himself with folding the bandage and rose to his feet. It wasn’t necessary, but he had to do something to avoid looking into his peering eyes.

Accark touched his neck, assessing the damage with his trembling fingers.

“Who claimed me?” He asked, confused. “No, I don’t feel claimed. But how did…” He stopped, pulled himself up enough to slide around on the pile and reached out for the shiny surfaced box and pulled it in. He adjusted his sitting position and moved the shiner enough to use it as a mirror. “Shouldn’t I feel it then? Why…” He checked his wounds once again. He looked both horrified and relieved as his fingers went over it again, stopping on the bite marks before gulping hard and watching how the bruise moved with his muscles.

He let the box fall in his lap and Accark turned around.

Gale wasn’t sure what to do. Until now deep inside he’d thought Accark had accepted his offer and the wounds would stay as a marker, but the way they were healing, he knew they would all disappear like the rest of them on his body, leaving almost unnoticeable memory.

He turned his attention back at Accark, when the silence started to bug him. Accark was busy curling up in his nest again, in the same tight knot he’d been in before. He could see his shoulders shivering and few muffled sobs came through his fur, but it was clear he wanted to be alone.

He left him be for the time being. He needed to think.

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