My Monday rant with a twist…free fic!

I’m having such a good Monday that today I’ve decided to include some free fic with this rant.

Of course, I don’t have much to rant about today. Things are going fairly well. I’m writing today, one of my two current WIP and I’m happy with what’s being written.

I have been trying to come up with a totally original story that’s not based off any fandom at all, but so far, nothing’s jumping out at me. I’m not worried though. Things have a way of coming at me and biting me to get my attention and once I get going, it’s a one way street until I’m done.

I’ve got a new router, finally. It’s making posting things so much easier. Having your wi-fi go out in the middle of something is enough to make you want to re-boot something out the window.

So, this fic I’m sharing. Some of you will have seen it before. I’ve kind of re-vamped it and stuff but it’s one of my favorites that I’ve ever written, mostly because it’s about dragons. I love dragons…I want one as a pet, but the kids I look after are worried it  might eat my dog. They are so sweet.

This is the first part. I’ll post the rest in the next few days. I hope you enjoy it.

A Mate’s Heart Part 1, copyright by Cindy Sutherland in 2012

Tine watched as the man worked in his garden, grinning as the early fall sun got to be too much for the human and he stripped off his tunic to work only in his britches.

The bunching and stretching of muscles under his skin offered an almost irresistible temptation but he held himself in check. It wasn’t time for them to meet yet, at least not like this. Running and screaming wasn’t the reaction he wanted to invoke in his potential mate and until he could get himself under control, he had to stay hidden.

It was hard though. He’d never felt like this in his 137 years of life and it was unsettling. His urge to mate and join with another was getting too strong to ignore and unless he wanted to join those of his kind who were lost to madness, he was going to have to take the chance soon. This man was the one he’d been looking for and he wanted him desperately. He only had so long left before he’d lose all reason and become one of the hunted; but how best to approach him?

“You could try saying hello.”

The words startled him so much he almost fell from where he was perched high on the roof of the house.

“I didn’t realize that a mere man working in his garden with nary a sword in sight was so scary to a dragon.”

Tine slowly uncurled himself from around the chimney and tilted his head in confusion. How in the hell did the man know what was going on in his head?

“Well, it seems like you’ve gone and found yourself a…mate? Isn’t that how you see it?”

Tine nodded and the other man continued.

“Anyway, you seemed to have found yourself a mate who just happens to be able to hear people’s thoughts…and dragon’s as well, it seems. And I have to tell you, you’re thinking kind of loud.”

While he was talking, the man…Orin he’d heard him called…kept working.

“I’ve known you were hanging around for a while now and I’ll admit it kind of frightened me a little bit.” He paused, looking up unerringly to where Tine sat. “I mean, a dragon? We haven’t seen one around here in a long time. And the ones we have seen in the past? Not so nice.”

Tine shook his big head. No, they were mad…not angry, but out of their minds. They resisted the call of their mates out of arrogance and pride. They were convinced that they didn’t need humans to live their lives and keep their sanity.

Orin nodded thoughtfully. “Apparently they were wrong.” He started working again.

Are you not afraid of me? The dragon was very curious. Any human who had ever spotted him had almost died of fright.

Orin smiled up at him. “No, not really. I can feel that you’re not about hurt me or anything.” He ducked his head and blushed. “Although, I’m not sure how some of the things you want to do with me are supposed to work.”

Tine recalled some of the things he’d been thinking about his mate in the last few weeks, and if were possible for dragons to blush, he would.

This is not my only form.

Orin laughed out loud and the sound was like music to Tine’s heart. He wanted to hear his mate do that a lot.

“I’m glad to hear that.” Orin’s face was still red, but he was looking at Tine again. “I don’t suppose you’d like to come down here so I can talk to you without hurting my neck. I need to finish this weeding.”

You want me to come closer to you? Are you sure about that?

Orin smiled shyly at him. “Unless you aren’t really interested in talking to me?”

It only took a moment for Tine to spread his wings and slip gently to the ground in Orin’s little courtyard.

Up close he should have been terrifying, but Orin didn’t seem to think so. As a dragon, Tine knew he was considered to be fair to his own kind. His copper colored scales reflected the sun and there was a red streak down his back that looked like fire when he was flying.

To Orin, the effect was magical. And when he looked into the dragon’s eyes he couldn’t look away. They were more than one color. Brown and green and blue, with gold flecks that caught the light; it was entrancing.

“What other form do you have?” Orin was working harder at the weeding than Tine thought was warranted. He was nervous, and Tine had to say that the man had many reasons to be. Being the mate of a dragon was probably an overwhelming thing.

I have a human form. Would you like to see it?

Orin stopped and nodded his head warily. Tine took a deep breath and concentrated. There was one quick shudder and he was standing on two legs in front of the other man.

Orin dropped the hoe in shock. “You’re naked…and beautiful.” He walked closer to Tine and reached out his hand, not quite daring to touch. His eyes widened when they met Tine’s.

“Your eyes…they’re the same as before.”

Tine took a small step forward so that Orin’s hand would rest on his bare chest. “Yes. I have human clothes, but as I never intended for you to see me today, I left them behind.” He shivered in pleasure at the warmth Orin’s touch seemed to sweep through him. He could feel their connection drawing them closer all the time.

“And my eyes are the same always. They are the one thing that never changes.”

He held still as Orin’s hand slid up his chest and over his throat. Calloused fingers traced gently over his face, tracing his lips and feathering carefully over his long eyelashes. It felt exquisite, being touch by his mate, like a deep breath after being under water too long.

“This form pleases you then?” He had been worried about that in particular. Most human males seemed to prefer the females of their kind, but he’d never seen any indication of Orin’s preferences.

Orin smiled and stepped a little closer. “This form pleases me greatly.” He rested his hand on Tine’s shoulder, seemingly reluctant to break contact yet. “Do all dragons have human mates?”

Tine nodded. “Yes. We need to balance the power we carry with human compassion and understanding. It’s why we go mad without our mates. There is nothing there otherwise to stop us from forgetting we are protectors, not rulers.”

“We should find you something to wear…”

Tine shrugged. “Why? You like me this way.” Tine wasn’t being arrogant; he could just feel the man’s appreciation of his body.

Orin’s gaze swept over Tine’s body again before meeting those unusual eyes once more. “Because some besides me might see you.”

Tine took note of how Orin’s sea blue eyes darkened at that possibility. “You live far from anyone Orin.” Tine’s hand slowly crept up to touch Orin’s chest. He placed his palm flat over the human’s heart, feeling how fast it was beating. “Why do you live alone, so far from others of your kind?”

He was happy when Orin didn’t move away from the contact. Tine smiled a little as the other man raised his free hand and tapped his temple.

“I have a hard time keeping other peoples thoughts out of my head. It gets to be too much after a while.” Orin closed his eyes and tried to catch his breath. “Dragons aren’t the only ones who can go mad.”

Tine nodded in understanding. “So you don’t mind being out here alone? You don’t crave the company of others?”

Orin’s eyes clouded with sadness and Tine couldn’t help but reach up and cup his hand around Orin’s cheek. It wasn’t a look he liked on his mate.

Orin leaned into the touch and covered Tine’s hand with his own. “I get lonely sometimes, but it’s too hard to try and be friends with people when you might accidentally blurt something out that they didn’t tell you…and didn’t want you to know.”

Tine’s other hand came up, framing Orin’s face in his hands. “I don’t mind that you can hear my thoughts. I’m not much of a talker, especially in my dragon form.”

Orin moved so that he was just a hairs breath away from the dragon. “I don’t mind hearing your thoughts; especially when they’re about me.”

Tine could feel the connection they shared flowing through them and wondered if Orin could feel it too.

“Yes, I can. It’s like the closer I get to you, the warmer I am and the safer I feel. Feels like right here with you is where I’m supposed to be.” Orin moved his hands to Tine’s hips.

Tine closed the last bit of space between them, pressing himself up against Orin from chest to knee. The feeling of skin on skin made them both moan and then Tine was pulling Orin down to press their lips together in a kiss that was almost chaste.
He pulled back and looked at Orin, trying to make sure that he wasn’t overwhelming the man. There was still more things he needed to tell him and he didn’t want to scare him away.

“I think Orin, that you must be the one who is beautiful. I can feel the kindness and love that lives in your soul.” Tine nuzzled into Orin’s neck, breathing in the human’s smell. “I am proud to have you as my mate.”

He could feel Orin smile into his hair. He pulled back and looked up at him. “I think you are taking this rather well. Most of your kind would not be so calm about being the mate of a dragon.”

“Most of my kind can’t see what’s in your heart and soul.”

Tine wrapped his arms around Orin’s neck and held tight. In his human form, he was a little shorter than his mate. “And what do you see there, when you look into my heart?” He gave into the temptation he’d had for weeks to lick the sweat off of Orin’s neck and discovered he’d been right. He tasted good.

Orin’s breath caught in his throat before he answered. He clutched at Tine’s hips, pulling him closer. “I see love…mmm…hope…ngh…and happiness.” Orin pulled away a little so he could see Tine’s face. “You’re happy because of me?”

Tine nodded. “I am. Any dragon would be happy to have you, and I’m the lucky one who does…if you want me.” He looked down, unsure for the first time.

“I won’t force you Orin. If I’m not something you can live with, you don’t have to. I will fly away and never come back. The connection will be broken and you will be free to live your life.”

“And what about you and the madness?” Orin tipped Tine’s face up and forced their eyes to meet.

It will never come to that. I won’t be one of the hunted. He held Orin’s gaze and let him see his fate. There was a mountain in the distance that spewed smoke and fire. It would be over quickly and it wasn’t a bad ending for a dragon.

Orin started shaking and pulled Tine tight against him. “No…that will never happen.” Tine could feel warm wetness dripping on his shoulder and pulled back to see tears falling from Orin’s eyes.

He reached up and caught one on his thumb, looking at it carefully before sucking into his mouth to taste. “Is this for me and my fate?”

Orin shook his head. “That isn’t your fate. You’re mine to keep now. There will be no fire for you; that I promise.” His arms tightened around Tine again, making the dragons heart soar.

“There is more you need to know.” Tine knew he couldn’t put it off. It was better for both of them to know now instead of later, when the connection was stronger.

“Will you come inside and sit with me? I’d like to see you in my house.” Orin looked so hopeful that Tine couldn’t deny him, although he was a little wary of being inside.

He didn’t have a house, just a cave not too far from Orin’s house at the base of the mountains. The entrance was small and hard to find but it was large inside, big enough for Tine’s dragon form and warm and dry. It was the perfect nest.

“I will.” He looked around at the yard. “But what of the work I interrupted?”

“This is more important I think…and maybe you can help me later?” Tine nodded and allowed Orin to lead him into the house.

It was cozy and clean. The furnishings were few and roughly made, but when he sat on the bench in the common room, the cushion was soft and comfortable. There was a little fire burning in the grate and a small pot of something that smelled wonderful was being kept warm on the hearth.

There was a large bed off to one side of the room, the blankets and furs pulled over it neatly. There seemed to be a larger amount of pillows than seemed necessary and when Orin saw him looking, he blushed.

“I like a comfortable bed. It’s my one real indulgence.”

“The place you rest should be comfortable. I think I might like to test that comfort for myself.” Tine’s voice was a low rumble and he could see Orin react to it.

“Now, I need to tell you the rest. You have to know this before you can make your decision.”

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