Within the small restaurant that Samantha seemed to enjoy, seated at a table tucked into a back corner was Sebastian Evansworth. He was waiting on his lovely date to join him while perusing the menu as if he’d actually order from it.

He felt the other enter the area before seeing him and so wasn’t surprised when Sen approached the table. Without looking up Sebastian spoke, “I’m not Kennedy, you don’t have to watch my every step to assure I’m safe. Are you really so bored that you have sought my company out?” The slight lift at the corner of his mouth would tell the dragon that he was teasing and not being serious.

“I didn’t always ghost Gabriel. We happened to be working cases when I was near him so much. And… yes.” Senias took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I no longer have course work and teaching to attend to.  It’s left a hole in my schedule. I thought since finishing up with the errands I had to run, maybe I’d stop and see if you’d heard anything new.”

“Well stop hovering and sit down if you wish to talk. And please not about the case, I’ve heard all I wish to about work for the moment.” Sebastian closed the menu and held it out to Sen, “Order a drink and just enjoy conversation for a change. Samantha will be here soon and we can have a wonderful evening of talk and perhaps even some laughter if I know my sunshine.”

Sen looked at the menu suspiciously before sitting down and sighing while taking a look.

“Do they grill here or fry?” he asked. The answer would let him know which way to go with this menu.

“Grill, she seems to prefer grilled.” Sebastian was relaxed and dressed comfortably in denims and a polo shirt. He preferred comfort as often as possible.

“Samantha won’t be bothered by my presence? She and I haven’t had the best opening.”

“Do you blame her?” Sebastian tapped his chin with one finger as he watched Sen read over the menu. “You haven’t exactly given her a reason to be cordial.

“It’s my natural personality. Asshole. It has kept me safe from intrusion for the most part.” his tongue moved out of his mouth to lick his lips as he considered the hamburger options.

“That isn’t all and you know it. I am an asshole as well and yet she likes me.” Sebastian chuckled as he sipped from his glass of water. He couldn’t abide much human fare but he could at least sip water.

“But she likes you on a different level. Maybe even loves you. So that makes up for the asshole portion. You get a few free passes. Me on the other hand, who knows…”

“What can I get for you gentlemen?” the waitress had come up on them before Sen realized it. He chuckled deeply at his own surprise before opening his mouth to her.

“I’ll have…” the look Sebastian gave him said enough. “Uhhhh, never mind. We’re politely waiting on the lady. Can I get a beer?”

“Don’t sell that kind of alcohol,” she replied, almost bored. “I can get you a wine list?”

“Then water. And no lemon.” he put the menu down in front of the empty seat next to Sebastian.

“You got it,” the waitress turned and walked off again.

“So, if it’s not me being an asshole, what is it?” Senias paused, his eyes on the table, they slowly moved up to Sebastian while narrowing.  “What’d you tell her?”

That had the vampire lifting an eyebrow towards his former lover. “Not that it matters as I’ll tell her any damned thing I wish to. I haven’t told her anything about you. Perhaps it’s your cologne.” He grinned.

Sam smiled brightly when she saw Sebastian across the room from the host stand, but then was puzzled when she saw the one she knew officially as Jean-Michel Raudine across from him at their table. What was Senias doing here? This was supposed to be a date. Between her schedule and Sebastian’s schedule, they rarely got one.  

“Why don’t you ask her?” Sebastian stated before rising to greet his lovely one.

Sam stepped to her vampire and let him kiss the top of her hand. She turned to his guest, who had at the very least stood and bowed his head to acknowledge her.  

“I hope you don’t mind me being here. I’m bored and your… I don’t know…”

“Significant other?” Sam settled in her seat and eyed the man across the table from her.  “Don’t you have one, too? Shouldn’t you be enjoying his company?” She picked up the water and took a few drinks.

“He’s on business.  We escaped from reality last night. I think we’ve settled a few things. Right now, whatever he’s doing? It’s both intriguing to him and worrisome.” The far-away look on Sen’s face would tell the others that he was taking a moment to feel the empathy between himself and his kindred. He came out of it and his gaze went to Samantha, “I can only hope it’s not me that’s the subject. He tends to overthink when I’m the subject.”

“Well, you are rather simple when you break things down,” Sebastian chuckled at the dig.  

Sen chuckled while he kept his gaze on the glass he had in his hand.

“If he’s like me, he adores you, but he’s very confused about what to think of …this.” Sam moved her fingers, pointing between the two men at her table.  The waiter came back to them to take the order, before anything more could be said on the subject. But it allowed the two a moment to think about what she had just said.  

After the draconic man ordered his food, the waiter left them and Senias looked up from his drink in time for another set of questions.

“You lost your accent. Is that not real either? The French?”

“I can argue a whore about her price in Paris, lady. I think I can be considered French enough to speak it. But, you’re right. I don’t have to. It’s not something that’s natural off my tongue. So, I’m speaking a bit of proper American English. It’s nice and lazy. I like nice and lazy. An since I’m around friends, I don’t see the point of keeping up a charade.” He took a drink. Then he looked between them both. “That is, if you will be my friends.”

“I don’t know. Will you stop hurting the man I love? Stop putting him in danger?” Sam was very direct and fierce when it came to Sebastian. She couldn’t help herself.

Senias paused, giving the vampire a moment to answer. At least he hoped Sebastian would answer. He didn’t want to step on the other one’s toes too much in this.  So he took another drink.

Taking a deep breath, Sebastian smiled and lifted Samantha’s hand to place a kiss in the center of her upturned palm.

“So fierce and beautiful at the same time. I am grateful for the concern, Sunshine, but danger isn’t always because of him. I tend to garner enemies on my own. As to hurting me, I think we have done quite enough of that both ways and aren’t looking to do so any further anytime soon. Being friends is the safest route for us these days I’d say.” He chuckled and remained relaxed as he sipped his water.

Sam turned to face Senias.  

The man grinned. He put down his glass and leaned forward on the table using his elbows. It seemed she wanted something from him more than Sebastian, so he’d oblige. It was helpful that his ex-lover had supplied the foundation.

“I don’t think either of us meant to hurt one another or put one another in danger. At least, not in this day and age. But, for you, Mademoiselle,  I swear on my own claws that I will do my utmost best in the future not to drag his arse down with me. How’s that?”

“Better.”

“Now, I can’t guarantee he won’t leap. He’s known to do that just out of boredom.” At that, Sen was pleased to see he got an impish grin out of the good doctor.  “And he can be a bullheaded idiot for a good thrill.”

“I can imagine that,” she glanced in sidelong fashion at her Chosen. She’d not said such, yet. Not out loud. And not with company, no. This was just one of several questions still left to ask before she would officially accept that title – no matter what her heart told her.

“At our age boredom is a struggle frequently faced. Samantha keeps me very distracted and very busy so I don’t think I’ll be leaping into anything any time soon. Not unless she is leaping with me.” He grinned for her and winked as he cast that same wicked gaze at Sen that showed just a hint of fang.

Sen sat back and thought about what Sebastian was saying. It dawned on him that he felt the same way. This past small mission that had gotten them into so much shit? That had been him and Gabriel. And to be honest, he’d enjoyed it.  It wasn’t normally what Gabe did, but his lover was stepping out there and finding a new life with him. Sure he was the brains of their duo, but it fit properly. And Sen had loved it; had loved seeing Gabriel in that new light.

“Same. Only with Gabriel.” Senias looked over at Sebastian, the sparkle back in his eyes. He refilled his glass and held it out for Sam to clatter with her own – water though it was.  “Friends?”

Sam nodded and the tinkling sound of glasses touching filled the air. “Friends.”

“Now. Onto more important things. Like embarrassing our children. Whom, as you may know or not – are a full on set. Something I was only recently made aware of… my fault…my fault..” Sen held a hand up to be sure he took responsibility before anyone could say anything. “What’d you think of that one, Bastian?”  

“To be honest at first I wasn’t very thrilled about it. But over the past few years Starrfire has gone above and beyond to prove himself worthy of Raven. I think they are very well suited. Starr keeps Raven grounded and in return reaps the benefits from her appreciation and love. They are still working on their limits and balances but as I told them, it takes time.” There was a deep throaty laugh, “As a matter of fact the first time I caught them together I wanted to throttle him, but my daughter was very quick to jump between us in his defense.”

“And what do you think of the couple?” Sebastian asked since Sen had only recently found out about them.

“Couple?” Senias tried to hide his smile. Seemed his friend wasn’t the one who knew it all this time. He snuckled through his nose. “You mean, trio, don’t you?”

“Trio?” Sebastian was confused. “Who?”

“Russell Weylyn.”

“Devon and Eva’s son?” Sam asked. There were a lot of Weylyn kids to keep track of.

“Your daughter has two Chosen. Claw to Hell. From the limited amount of time I’ve spent with them, I’d say Starr and Russ are devout friends, both very protective of Raven.”

“But most lycan I’ve met… they’re a very monogamous set… am I right or wrong?” Sam looked between the more experienced men at her table.  

Sebastian wasn’t sure how he felt about that. “Are you certain it’s serious enough for that title? Raven’s pretty devoted to Starr. I just can’t imagine her with the lycan, too.” Looking towards Sam, Sebastian nodded slowly, “Yes they are monogamous which is why it seems odd, but then Russell was never of the normal set was he?”

“Well, it’s serious enough to have Russ stand up to his father about it. And it’s serious enough that Starrfire has no trouble with Russell being close to his kindred and including him. Which is definitely not the norm. I can’t see the markings. You know that. But all other signs are pointing to it.” Senias let that sink in.

“Maybe it works for them.” Sam shrugged and took another drink of her water. Her pose mimicked Sen’s pose, since they were all conspirators of information here tonight. She was all in on gossip of any kind – especially when she learned so much from it.  

“Maybe it does indeed. I suppose time will tell, but if Sen is correct then they will be the first trio of their kind.” He hoped that their children knew what they were getting into. “After this what are you intending to do since your own love interest is busy or are you going to go and rudely interrupt? Could always give him one of those phone calls of yours.” Sebastian chuckled as he watched his old friends reaction.

“You know about those?” Senias smirked.  

“The phone calls,” Samantha giggled and sipped her water. Both men turned to look at her. “What? He’s my best friend. I know about those phone calls.”  She put a finger to her mouth and “Shhhhh,” as the waiter came back to bring their first course and the wine she had ordered.

Sen looked over at Sebastian, brows raised. How much did these two know?

“Well, you know he’s had a crush on you for years and he’s never let you know that until, I suppose maybe now. And you’d call him late at night to aggravate him, but to be honest, he kinda liked it,” Sam took one of the hors d’oeuvres and  placed it on her pink lips before sucking the creamy filling out of it and laughing at Sen’s expression.

“I guess my nasty little secrets are everybody’s fun, then?” He looked to Sebastian expectantly. “You’ve never pretended to like Gabriel. At least not in front of me. So how’d you know?”  

“I don’t pretend to know the in’s and out’s of those calls. I do know that after them he’d be quite pissy at times. He’d bluster about you all night to the point that I’d tell him to shut up or have you arrested if you’re such a terrible Tasker.” Sebastian grinned, “You’re still a Tasker so I’m sure you know which choice he’d make.”

“How could he not? You were his phone porn,” Sam giggled and leaned  over to shoulder Sebastian. The Tasker actually blushed.

“I didn’t talk about such things …”

To see Sen blush was quite the treat indeed. Reaching for the wine Sebastian filled his lover’s glass. She was taking the conversation over and he was quite fine with that. 

“Did I mention he had a crush on you for years? It was your voice. Your accent. Sometimes, that’s all a girl… or guy… needs. Do I need to take you through my no-nonsense sex-ed course, Sen?” Samantha whispered a thank you to Sebastian, who had been pouring her wine.  She then took her first taste. “Mmm…”

Senias took a deep breath. He could accept that. Gabriel had admitted as much.

“Is that, that thing you call sexting? Or is there another word for that and I’m getting all of that technological stuff mixed up?” Sebastian didn’t even pretend to know everything there was to know about the century they were currently in. He had spent a large chunk of if it in a cell and then the rest he had spent between his lair, his lab and the Chamber until recently when he’d met Samantha and started spending time at the clinic with her. So he was still learning the in’s and out’s of it all.

“No, phone sex is when people call and talk dirty to each other. I don’t think that was happening much here. And sexting is when people use the little keyboards on their phone and text sexual things to one another.” Sam didn’t miss a beat by adding, “I’ll have to show you in more detail sometime.”  

“That sounds promising, I look forward to that lesson.” Sebastian winked at her and smiled.

Senias chuckled and took the wine bottle to look at the label. He wondered if he might like it.  

“Gabriel got hot and bothered because he had a crush on Senias. When Gabriel gets like that and there’s nothing he can do about it, he comes off snippy and like you described. I’ve seen it happen, too. But I don’t dare mention it to him unless he’s snippy with me.  Most times I just let him go through it. Like when he’s mad or frustrated he starts cleaning. It’s just his tick.” Sam sipped again before continuing. “But since he’s not here, I guess we should get off that subject. Doesn’t feel right.”

“Agreed,” Senias looked to the waiter and motioned for another bottle and a glass.  “As I recall, you wanted to know my plans for after this? Going home and crashing. Or something. I’m not sure. But I appreciate the company I have right now.”

“So, where do you two stand? What are your plans?” Senias asked.

“What do you mean?” Sebastian was confused. “Our plan is to eat and enjoy the evening together.”

“No, I meant… between the two of you. The fireworks are in the air.”   

Raising a brow towards Sen, the vampire cleared his throat and reached for Samantha’s hand again, “I’ve already told Samantha my intentions towards her. I want her as my chosen, but when is her choice. I won’t force anything on her and I’ll not allow anyone else to do so either. Her humanity and mortality are her own and I respect her decision to enjoy them as long as she chooses to do so.”

“There are so many things to think about. Things I want to enjoy as much as possible before… you know.” Sam looked over at Sebastian, eyes lit up with excitement.  “But in case you didn’t know for sure, I definitely want to be your Chosen. And I want to be turned by you. Just, I have a list to accomplish first.” She hadn’t actually told him that. But since it came up? Why not now?  

“You’ll have to share your list so that we can accomplish it together.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips over Samantha’s in a way that promised a great deal more later. “And when the time comes I’ll make it one to remember for eternity.”

The sentiment was almost too much to deal with. Sen was glad there was someone else there to break him from his own awkward third-wheel moment. The waiter brought out the spare bottle and glass. Sen took it all from the man and shooed him off.

“I have this.” He easily got the wine opened and poured a glass for each of them. Then he raised his for a toast. “To love, then?”

“To love,” Sam toasted and looked to Sebastian.   

“To love.” Sebastian even took a bit of the wine to join the toast and as he sipped it he watched Sen. “I know you say he’s busy, but you should go and enjoy the rest of this evening with that bottle and your own love. I don’t think he’d mind in the least.”

Sen pursed his lips, his mischievous eyes on Sebastian. “Well, who can throw off a task from his Councilor?” He grabbed the bottle while standing and putting down the glass. “I shall bid you both adieu and call me when you need me.”

“Goodnight, Jean,” Sam’s voice followed his exit. Since it was loud, she used his alias. He looked over his shoulder and then walked toward the door to pay for his wine and then make his way out the door.  

“Good job,” Samantha scooted closer to Sebastian on the booth seat and cuddled to him while they waited on their food.  “Now… about that list.”

Senias had paid for his food and told them to give it to the bum outside. He’d take some of the small tortes and chocolate dipped strawberries instead, so that he could perhaps tempt his kindred. Once he was in a safe enough place, he made a portal so he could find Gabriel – not realizing what he’d be walking into.  

*********

Still seated in the patio chair, a quite drunk Gabriel Kennedy was staring out at the pool as his mind sluggishly worked through the many thoughts regarding his kindragon. He wasn’t even sure whether Seamus and Largros had left or was just quiet. Right then it really didn’t matter as his mind wasn’t on them.

“I thought you might need some of this, but, maybe I was wrong?” Sen’s deep voice came from his side, but the man soon enough was stepping around to be in front of his lover.  “I’ve been tasked with bringing you goodies and spending the night with you.”

Seamus jerked on Largros’ sleeve to get the boy’s attention. He motioned for the nearly drunk dragon to follow him away from the other two. The older man moved around and helped the welp up to minimize the intrusion. They needed to become scarce.  

After blinking a few times Gabriel realized he wasn’t hallucinating. Senias was really there. Seeing the bottle in his hand he gave a partial smile to his dragon.

“Do they have to go in that particular order?” His words were slurring and he couldn’t help that. He glanced towards the bar as if just recalling that he had guests to attend. Seeing no one there, he assumed the two had gone back to the lairs.

“We can go in any order you like,” Sen wasn’t going to be arguing that point.  

“What goodies did you bring me to go with our night together?” He chuckled a little and sat forward in the chair so that he could put his hands on Sen’s hips to pull him closer.

He put the wine down on the table along with the box of goodies in time to be caught by his kindred.

“Little cakes and strawberries. Could enjoy at least one.” He knew Gabriel to be strict about his diet, but he wanted to do things with that food. He loved feeding the man. He was considering that when he realized he had stopped moving, nothing was being taken off, and Gabriel was quiet.

He was staring at his lover’s stomach as if contemplating something very important and didn’t realize he had gone quiet.

Senias slipped a hand beneath Gabriel’s chin and lifted it just enough that he could see his face.

“What’s happening in that mind of yours?”

“I was just wondering whether you’d taste better with cake or strawberry.” Gabriel had almost said something else but didn’t want to ruin the moment. He wasn’t stupid drunk, he just had a pleasant buzz going on. His hands slid beneath Sen’s shirt to rest on his stomach and his thumbs drew circle on the warm skin.

“Heh…wait, what?” Sen’s eyes were drawn into a surprised expression.

“Too much clothing.. We need to fix that..” Gabriel was still grinning as his fingers were fumbling with Sen’s pants trying to get them open.

The draconic man easily grabbed away Gabriel’s hands into his own and tugged him up to stand face to face with him. His greenish blue eyes were searching Gabriel’s drunken gaze, for they were mere inches apart.

“Did you… did you just lie to me?”

Swaying on his feet just a little as the world took a spin, Gabriel closed his eyes and took a slow, deep breath through his nose and out his mouth a few times.

“No I didn’t lie to you. I really was thinking that. I just didn’t finish the other thought because I didn’t want to ruin the moment. Which seems to be happening anyways…”

“It felt different… off. I didn’t like it; that feeling,” Senias didn’t get angry. But he needed to know what Gabriel had been so intensely debating in his mind. It had apparently been important, right?  His fingers moved over his lover’s cheek and through his hair, while his other hand steadied the man.

As he opened his eyes again, Gabriel found himself almost face to face with his dragon, “Just something that I was asked this evening. It really isn’t important Sen, I’d rather go back to thinking of how you taste with the strawberries.”

“I’ll let you find out what I taste like with strawberries, but what were you asked that had you so very deeply concerned?” 

There was a huge sigh from him as it was obvious Sen wasn’t going to let it drop. Whatever amorous thoughts he’d been having were dying away as the playful side of himself tucked back away for the serious side to come forward. Why couldn’t they just enjoy each other? Because his mind got in their way as always. He needed to figure out how to shut the damned thing down and stop over thinking things.

Faced with silence once again, the dragon thought of several ways this situation could go. However, his mind went back to Sebastian and Samantha. His thoughts drifted over last night and then back to Paris.

“Gabriel, how are we to bond further if you don’t ask the questions of me that bother your mind?”  Sen picked up the box with his free hand and tucked it beneath his arm before then grabbing the bottle of wine. He moved the hand with the bottle around Gabe’s waist before opening a portal beneath them and letting gravity help them fall through. They were on the floor in his lair and the torches came on all around them, along with an odd crackling fireplace on one side that would be unfamiliar to Gabriel. The warmth was building all around them so that they would soon be comfortable. Sen placed the wine and then the box on the table they were nearest, before helping Gabriel take a seat on the side of a bed. He knelt in front of the man and placed a forearm on each of his knees, so he was looking up into Gabriel’s eyes.

“Ask. Talk. Get it out. I’m not leaving.” This was their next level, wasn’t it?   

“I…” Gabriel lifted a hand to rub at the bridge of his nose as he tried to get his thoughts straight enough to put into words. This was why he didn’t get drunk often. He was used to his mind being crystal clear and on point. “Monogamous… I was asked how I’d react if you found another that you wanted as kindred, too.” Just the thought felt like lead settling in his stomach. Gabriel’s gaze couldn’t quite meet Sen’s. “And then I was asked how I felt about you working with Sebastian, you know,  knowing your history with him. I… I know I can’t be everything to you. You’re a dragon and I’m human. I get those needs I’ll never be able to meet, but I don’t know that I could be okay with another being part of our lives. And then the question about Evansworth had me wondering if you’d ever want him like you want me…again? Will working with him remind you how much you enjoyed time with him? Time – time?”

Senias watched Gabriel closely. He listened. He didn’t say a word.

Rubbing both his hands roughly over his face, Gabe groaned in his own frustrated way.

“It’s all stupid I know that. And maybe it was just the company and who was asking that has me questioning such things now.” Gabriel would have fallen back onto the bed but knew that Sen wouldn’t appreciate such a move.

“An experienced kindred and an inexperienced dragon?” Senias’ voice was a low whisper.

Gabriel nodded. “How…?”

“Yeah, I smelled them. They left us,” Senias took a deep breath before asking, “What is it you can’t provide me, Gabriel? Why would there ever be another that’s part of our lives? I’m assuming, you mean permanently?” He wanted to get all of the questioning before he tried with answers. His body moved so that he was on his knees between Gabriel’s feet and his hands could be on each of his kindred’s hips.  

“I can’t be your dragon mate, I can’t shift and fill those needs for you.. But you have Inea as your dragoness and I’m really okay with that.” Gabriel drew in a deep breath after the answer and finally let their gazes meet.

“Good to know,” Sen whispered, his fingers and thumbs caressing Gabriel’s hips.

“I’m no warrior, or… or reckless adventuring type that… that can rush into missions with you and fight right beside you. I can’t enjoy the memories with you that he can and I can’t…” Gabriel shrugged his shoulders, “I’m a businessman; a Councilor that has his nose in books more than anything.” His voice softened, “I’m afraid, in time you’ll get bored with me. I’m going to age. Will he be appealing when this newness with me wears off? I’m mortal. I break easily and don’t rebound as fast.” His thoughts were all over the place but he couldn’t help how his mind was functioning at the moment.

“I’ve had warriors. They’re hard and cynical and usually haunted by things that I can never cure them of. I like to be needed now and again, you know? And to have someone as courageous as you are, and yet my opposite when it comes to research and investigation – Gabriel, we make a great team, you and I. Why would I want a warrior, when I can have you?”

Gabe felt like a silly schoolboy when he shrugged his shoulder, his eyes trying to find any thing but Sen’s beautiful pools to look into. He heard Sen take a deep breath. 

“What I had with Sebastian can never be recaptured. We are wholly different people now than we were back then. Will we always have this light bond? Probably. I didn’t even know it was still there until recently. But that also may still be there because I’ve not bonded to you strongly enough. On his side of the fence, he has not taken Samantha as his Chosen, yet. They both want it, but their bond gets stronger with time and connection and feeding – something I don’t think he’s tried with her. Once he and I are each focused on the significant others in our separate love lives, our minds and our souls will no longer have that need. At least, theoretically speaking, anyway.  We will always be loyal friends. I am lucky to have many of those. He just happens to have also been my lover at one time. Our bond grew stronger because part of that was allowing him to feed from me.”

“You’re probably right. You were together a lot longer and you’ve been through a lot together.” Gabriel watched Sen, now. He just couldn’t shake the idea that somehow when he died Sebastian Evansworth would happily jump into his place with his dragon. 

“We’re both mortal, Gabriel. I’m just longer lived. And you could be, if you wanted it,” Senias whispered. “I…I don’t mean by your gifts.”

Gabriel’s brown eyes were searching those almost emerald pools, now. He needed to know more. What was Senias talking about?

“Seamus was born in in the year 32AD. He should have died in 70AD. That would have given him a long life for the historic time-frame. Instead, he took a fatal stab wound while protecting Inea from a bunch of scoundrels. He had no idea what she was. She saved him. She took him to her lair and healed him and took care of him and accidentally fell in love with the grizzled bastard. He looks what? 47? So how is it that you think you’re going to age so quickly?  Not if you’re my kindred, you won’t. Not if you’re bonded to me fully. Sure, you can still be broken, but so can I. I may seem immortal, but if someone were to find this place and my true body while it’s here and I’m in this form, they could kill me.”

“This place? Your true..” Gabriel looked around.

Senias turned his gaze to the side, and the torches blazed brighter there, in one area. He felt Gabriel begin to rise and the man’s surprise. Luckily, before he wound up knocked over, Sen had backed up a bit, still on his knees and then began to stiffly get up himself.

While the torches lit up, Gabriel couldn’t hide his surprise when Sen’s natural form came into view. He had a puzzled look on his face as he carefully stood up. There, in a recessed tunnel leading off of this main part of the lair, was Senias. The dragon looked to be sleeping. He was clean and shimmered in the light of the flames. The scaled body was larger than a bungalow but smaller than the old mansion Gabriel lived in. He was black with maroon to red seal point scaling. The black gave off an iridescence in the light of the magical torches. Senias wondered if Gabriel’s booze addled mind would be able to comprehend where and what this was. It was not either lair the Councilor had been to. This was Sen’s true lair. The draconic man watched. He loved watching Gabriel put together puzzles.

“So this is…” Gabriel was practically breathless as he took in the true depth of where he was. He senses were still a little off but that didn’t staunch his instant excitement as he moved a few steps as if he’d cross the distance to reach his dragon. He stopped himself though and looked back at his kindragons human form. “I hadn’t expected.. I mean.. You actually brought me here.. To you.. Here.. I mean..”

“Yes. You’ve seen my true body before. When I shift, I basically am switching places with it – same as any dragon does. But I can remain here, in what your scientists call a stasis for years at a time. Hence, when I was wounded and needed care, you, uh… had such a mess to deal with.” There was a quiet chuckle. “All better now, thanks to my kindred.” He stepped forward just a bit and continued explaining. “This is my lair, the original lair I had, from before I could shift through magic into the form you first laid eyes upon.” Senias pointed toward the secondary path of aurumn that led to a bed further down from where they were. “Dannae, my first kitling was born and cared for down there. We had human caregivers as well. They saw us as godlike creatures, until about 2000 years ago. But you know the history.” He turned and showed Gabriel the ceiling, a dome of smoothed stone.  “They said the Sidhe and the Tuatha hid from their conquerors beneath fairy mounds, but really, it was the dragons who had to do so.”

Moving to stand beneath the domed ceiling, Gabriel tipped his head back and smiled as he took in everything Sen was telling him and showing him.  As his dragon lifted a hand outward toward the ceiling a ripple of magic moved across, making it seem as if there was a pond of energy up there, moving and sparkling at the dragon’s whim.

“I have not trusted another human to be here, since those times. For anyone in here would have my true form. They could destroy me. As I said before, I’m not immortal. I just seem like it, I suppose.”

His dragon was sharing a great deal more of himself than Gabriel had ever asked him to or expected him to. It was both amazing and special to him in ways that he wasn’t sure Sen yet understood.

“I’ve waited thousands of years for you.” When he spoke, his voice was now strained with emotion.  “Lifetime after human lifetime, learning and living whether alone or surrounded by people, I was still lonely and wanting. I welcomed death around every corner, but it never came. When we were first bonded by magic, I refused to think of you as anything more than another master. But you weren’t born to be my master, Gabriel. You were made for me. Finally. I want you for my partner… my bonded kindred. I want your age to slow so that we can enjoy lifetimes together.”   

That’s when Gabriel realized that Senias of Morias understood very well how much this gesture meant. As his gaze left the ceiling, Gabe slowly turned to face Sen again. He moved to him and slid his arms around his lover’s waist while smiling in that private way that was just for Sen.

“I want that.. I want to be with you and watch the years change. I want to explore so much of the world with you.. I mean you’ve probably been everywhere, but it’d be newly seen for me.” Gabriel chuckled and just held Sen close. He knew it had taken a lot for Sen to share so much with him.

“It doesn’t matter. I saw the world through hate filled eyes. This time, things’ll look different for me. At least I hope they will.”

“As do I.” 

“Now, are your doubts assuaged? All of them? Or are there more?” the larger man asked quietly.

As an answer, Gabriel kissed his kindragon and only made the sound of, “no.” He had no more doubts. Sen had eased his worries. He felt like he was on top of the world, even if they were under the earth. 

 

~ All Rights Reserved Rachel Adams and Dawn McClellan 2018 

(picture is of Sithean Mor “Large Fairy Hill” in Ireland)