Startracer, Starchild - Tale 11--> Parting

Author's Note: As I noted last time, there are instances in this Tale that deal with premarital sex. If you aren't completely comfortable with that, there may be parts of this Tale you wish to skip. Like the beginning of it.

You were warned.

Recap of Tale 10 . . .

He called to her--called her `Omega'--and begged her to
live. He was, unbelievably, weeping over her. She eventually
died in his arms and he held her body, rocking back and
forth, for the rest of the night.

Then, as morning began to show, he rose and addressed
both my army as well as Gil-Galad's, the woman still in his
arms. "This will not be forgotten," he shouted to us. "You
have slain that which is the epitome of what you supposedly
represent and that is a crime that cannot be forgiven."

Frightened, one of my men loosed a new arrow at him. We
tried to save him from death, but failed ultimately. His last
words were a chilling promise to us.

"For her I will have my revenge upon this world."

Tale 11

He stirred awake, moving leisurely from the fog of sleep to consciousness. Deliciously comfortable, he loathed the idea of rising but knew that he must. His mother was expecting him home within the day and he had already stretched her patience by leaving to get this house without returning home to pack a toothbrush. Despite that he was going to be the death of the human race and the one who would reveal Valinor, he had to maintain appearances until it was finally required that he show himself to the world.

Then he would have his revenge--on Men and Elves.

Rolling to his side, he came face to face with his beautiful Omega. She slept peacefully, her expression unstressed, and just looking at her made him feel like returning to the dreamscape.

"So beautiful," he murmured, leaning forward to kiss her.

A loud ringing behind him startled him and he jumped, cursing softly. She stirred and frowned in her sleep--he desperately stroked her hair to keep her asleep as he fumbled for his cellphone. Finally, he got a hold of it. "What?" he hissed dangerously. He had told everyone not to call him until he was back home.

"Hey, Jonathan! What do you say to a day of roller coasters?"

Rob.

He let out an annoyed breath and twisted to look at his watch. "Rob, do you know what time it is?"

"Sure I do! It's ten a.m.!"

"Do you know what that means?"

". . . That it's ten a.m.?"

He rolled his eyes and propped himself on his elbow, using his free hand to caress his lover's smooth stomach. "No. I'm in South Dakota, Rob, well within the Mountain time zone. That means that it's eight a.m. here."

". . . Oh . . . Sorry. I thought you were home."

"Hardly."

"Sorry. I guess I'll let you go, then. But hey, why are you whispering?"

At that moment, his love yawned delicately and opened her eyes. She looked up at him with a near-invisible smile and he couldn't resist leaning down to bestow the kiss that Rob's call had interrupted.

"Are you with a girl?!" Rob cried mutely.

He smiled and confirmed as she drifted back to sleep, "The most beautiful, most wonderful girl in all the universe."

"Well bring her back! You know your mother's going to want to meet her!"

"Don't tell her and she won't know!"

"What's wrong with bringing her home?"

"I already asked. She has her own schedule."

"So you're just going to let her go?!"

"No. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'll think of something."

"Well---"

"Rob, you're running up my bill."

"Sorry. I'll talk to you when you get back."

"All right. See you then."

He hung up and turned the phone off as he placed it back on the nightstand, flinging the covers over his shoulder as he put his arms around his dear Omega and rested his head near hers to hear her breathe. The soft noise soon lulled him to sleep, but it was hardly enough, for his watch beeped loudly an hour later.

Though it was only once, he quickly stuffed the offending piece of jewelry beneath his pillow to silence it. Letting out a soft groan of aggravation, he laid in bed beside his love for a moment longer. He did not want to leave the confines of the sheets, wishing only to stay in this paradise and cherish the short life that had been granted him.

Eventually, however, he routed himself from bed and dressed, finding that he was gazing longingly at the still-warm sheets and the exquisite being he had shared them with. But looking at her made him remember what Rob had said. Was he just simply going to let her go now?

. . . No.

He glanced around and felt in his pockets for some token to leave her. He finally found it and pulled the chain over his head. Slipping the ornament into the hand she had flung beyond the bed's edge, he let the chain hang toward the floor. Taking one more moment, he bent down to give her a farewell kiss.

"Good-bye, my sweet Omega. When you wake, go home and forget me. I doubt that we shall meet again outside our orders to kill one another."

And with that, he drew away and left the room. Exiting the house, his eyes fell upon Ghoul curled around Wraith, both sleeping. He approached them quietly but purposefully and woke Ghoul with a light tug on one leathery white ear.

"Wake, my friend. I need your swift wings."

Ghoul hissed and flicked his ears in a disgruntled way, but rose to his feet nonetheless. Giving a powerful shake, he then placed his upper wing joints on the earth, bracing against the ground as he lowered his front end. Jonathan climbed onto the dragon's back and leaned forward to wrap his arms around the snowy white hide until Ghoul had taken off and was on his way.

Sitting up, he turned to take a final look at the possible life he was leaving behind. "I love you, Omega." The words were whipped away from him almost before he had finished saying them. He then gave a soft humph. "I don't even know your real name . . ." An instant later he felt a deep contentment, as though she had heard his lament and was answering, and he asked the air, ". . . Krystine?"

He wished desperately that he had the ability to tell her his name or provide her with some assurance that his abandonment of her was necessary and not wished for, but his realm was of the body, not the mind, and that option was closed to him. So he let his head fall back and closed his eyes, hoping that his next message would reach her as well.

"I pledge all that I am to you . . . I belong only to you."

Back in the house, Krystine had heard his first words in her mind and murmured in her sleep, "I love you too, Alpha. My name is Krystine." Upon hearing the second promise, she drifted into wakefulness and sat up, looking at the empty space beside her, where traces of warmth gave a vague hint as to just how long she had been alone.

She did not bother to get up; he was completely beyond her reach. Sighing heavily and brushing away tears, she decided it was perhaps time to return home. She had no reason to remain here.

Once more dismissing a tear from her cheek, she felt something scrape against her skin and finally realized that she held an object. It was a light silver chain about twenty-six inches long and affixed to it was a high school senior key. The top half was red and held the word `Senior' in capital letters; the bottom half was gold and held the year of graduation--this year. She blinked back fresh tears and flipped it over. His initials were engraved in the back: JGP.

Slipping the chain over her head, she fingered the key for several moments before she realized it was now ten a.m. and she needed to be heading home. She slid from the bed and dressed, then walked out into the yard, where Wraith was lying on the earth, apparently disgruntled at the loss of her mate.

"We'll see them again, I promise," Krystine reassured her, patting her dark muzzle. "Come on, get up. We have to go home. They're probably worried about me--Mom's certainly blamed everything on Papa . . ."

So Wraith shuffled lazily to her feet and stretched her wings, then lowered her front end and used her snout to give Krystine a helpful bump up. The empress dragon spread her wings and shoved off from the earth, heading slowly westward, the sun rising farther into the sky behind them.

~*~

Marie sighed despondently as she watched Haldir twitch viciously while he dreamed. She felt the cloth on his forehead, found it to be warm even though the open window right nearby allowed a cool breeze in, and went to wet it again. When she returned, the bed was empty.

Dropping the cloth, she called to the other Elves as she began to search the rooms. They appeared one by one, drawn by her frantic tone as she started sobbing uncontrollably. "He's gone! He's gone!"

[I wish we could understand her better,] Elrohir sighed.

[She is saying that Haldir is missing,] Dirnees informed him.

The other three looked at him.

[. . . How do you know?] Legolas asked.

Dirnees wordlessly pointed into Haldir's room at the empty bed.

The truth hit all four at once.

[He is . . . going to die . . .?] Elladan murmured in disbelief. Then he shook his head. [He would not do that for a simple mortal.] The others looked at him and he finished with an unsure, [Would he?]

[I do not wish to find out,] Legolas answered, sprinting to the front door and bolting out into the afternoon sun. He stopped short, however, upon catching sight of the dragon that stood in the yard alone, glancing around and sniffing at the earth. [Dragon!] he cried quietly to the others as they came outside.

Its sharp eyes spotted them right away and it opened its mouth slightly, baring its long front fangs as though it was threatening them. They were going to attack it, but then Dirnees broke in with, [It is panting.]

They looked at its flanks and sure enough, short breaths were being taken for such a large beast. And a solid black creature sitting in the sun of a March warm spell would undoubtedly overheat quickly enough.

[Then it has warm blood,] Elrohir concluded. [One that was cold-blooded would not overheat so.]

[It certainly would,] Legolas corrected. [I studied dragons while Smaug inhabited Erebor. A dragon can be cold-blooded and overheat--it is simply that they find shelter before that happens. This dragon, though, is indeed warm-blooded.]

[How would one tell?] Elladan asked in bewilderment.

[I do not know if it holds true for normal lizards--though I do not think that it does--but a cold-blooded dragon has no means of dispelling heat. It can try to pant, though it does not have the instinct for it. It will invariably seek shelter when it overheats; therefore, its inability to control its body temperature is a major weakness in its creation and one that, when exploited properly, is deadly.] He gestured to the dragon that was now sitting in the yard, scratching viciously behind its ear as a hound would, despite that its talons were very long and sharp. [This dragon, having the ability to pant to cool itself down instead of seek shelter, means that it cannot sweat and therefore that it is warm-blooded.]

The dragon stood, gave them a superior look, and walked into the trees, not disturbing a single branch. The whip-like tail waved back and forth as the dragon moved and soon the pyramid-shaped weight was gone from view and there was no hint that the great creature had been there.

[. . . Dragons are like Elves!] Dirnees cried finally.

[Perhaps . . .] Legolas mused.

[That is not possible!] Elladan spat. [Nothing so lacking in intelligence could possibly be like us!]

The dragon's head abruptly reappeared from the shadows within the trees and hissed, its green eyes glinting with annoyance. Stepping from between the trees as though it was a small shadow separating from a larger one, it took three strong strides and grabbed Elrohir's tunic collar before any of them could react to its close proximity, retreating immediately toward the trees again.

[Drop him, worm!] Elladan commanded, brazenly loosing an arrow at the dragon's hock.

No sooner had he spoken then the dragon turned, narrowing its green eyes at the Elves left behind. Its tail was a streak of black and a sharp crack in the air found Elladan's arrow lying on the earth, snapped cleanly in half.

Legolas turned to Elladan and said smugly, [You were saying . . .?]

Elladan snarled and fired another arrow. It joined the first--the only motion that of the last half of the tail's length as the arrow was crushed. The green eyes narrowed even farther into slits and black smoke began trickling from its nostrils and the corners of its mouth.

[That is not instinctual,] Dirnees noted. [It is calculated.]

Elrohir crossed his arms. [Do you wish to enrage it so that it will eat me? If so, get a move on. My favorite tunic is ripping and if I am to be eaten, I would prefer it to be in this.]

[Yes, continue to incite its aggression,] Legolas agreed. [We certainly wish for it to kill us all.]

When Elladan lowered his bow, the dragon turned and reentered the trees, disappearing into the shadows. He gave chase along with Legolas and Dirnees, nearly stopping short in surprise when he saw that Elrohir was now apparently floating on thin air. [Elrohir!]

Annoyed with his twin's naturally rash nature, Elrohir was not kind. [Now what do you want?]

[Where is the dragon?!]

[Are you blind? Right---] He stopped and tried to peer at the spot where the creature should have been. [. . . there?]

Dirnees grinned widely as streaks of sunlight that broke through the canopy lit on the dragon's hide and revealed it as it moved steadily and silently among the trees.

[It is a shadow beast!] he cried in awed delight.

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