Title: Two Steps Back
Fandom: CW RPS
Word count: 1170
A/N: Cardfic for heartblowswild: Timestamp for Heart of Everything - dragons.
Takes place approximately a year and a half after the original story.
Summary: Jared suffers from some friendly fire. Not quite literally.
At some point in his life, probably during his rather unruly childhood, Jared had been told that it was best to 'let sleeping dragons lie'. It was good advice, Jared could admit, though he thought that perhaps the person who had come up with it should have added a prudent 'if you can' to the end.
The early morning sun was warm on Jared's back as he eased his way through the narrow passage into the temporary cave-turned-home he and Jensen had found for the few dragons they'd managed to rescue in the past year. It was early, almost indecently so, but Jared had always been a morning person and both owning a farm and starting a miniature resistance movement had only encouraged the habit.
The steady whuff of heavy breathing told Jared that everyone was still sleeping, so he took care to move cautiously and quietly as he made his way across the cavern towards the coiled bundle of green scales against the far wall. Jensen tended to trade off between sleeping with his fellow dragons and joining Jared in the little lean-to he'd cobbled together for himself about half a league away. It was perhaps not quite what Jared would have expected from a relationship with the love of his life, but he knew that Jensen and the other dragons needed the reassurance of each other's presence far more than he needed his lover in bed beside him for the entire night.
Gravel and other detritus crunched under Jared's boots, loud in the silence.
He didn't get any warning. One moment he was thinking about how they needed to buy a broom and the next something large and very, very fast was rushing at him out of the dim and Jared was falling backwards before he'd managed to do much more than yelp in sudden, shocked surprise.
The back of his head cracked hard against the floor, but Jared was too preoccupied with the massive dragon snarling in his face to care about the pain. He let himself go limp, despite the fact that every fibre in his body was telling him to struggle, to flee from the massive predator crouched over him. One of them needed to be calm for this.
"Aldis," he said, keeping his voice light and easy but hopefully loud enough for Aldis to hear it through his panic. "I'm Jared, remember? You're not the Guild's prisoner any more. Nobody's going to take your scales. You're safe here."
Aldis didn't give the slightest indication that he'd heard, which was worrying but not especially surprising. They'd found him just over two months ago and he was still more than uneasy in Jared's company. Jared really didn't blame him considering what all the other humans Aldis had ever encountered had done to him, but he didn't much like the idea of getting his head ripped off by association.
Aldis snarled, baring a mouthful of bile-slicked, razor-edged teeth longer than Jared's hand, and Jared braced himself, squeezing his eyes shut.
A blood-curling roar shuddered through the air and Jared nearly got flattened by two dragons instead of one when Jensen slammed bodily into Aldis, rolling him off Jared and into the open floor beyond. Jared hauled himself upwards with a wince, just barely registered the presence of Bethally's slender bulk sliding up behind him, her wings beating anxiously.
Aldis and Jensen grappled on the floor in a furious tangle of wings, claws and tails, snapping and slicing at each other with vicious intent. It was immediately obvious that Jensen was by far the stronger of the two; he was faster, more used to combat and in much better health than Aldis, who was only just beginning to heal the damages done by a lifetime of captivity.
The fight was over in moments. Jensen forced Aldis onto his back and pinned him, jaws stretched wide and threatening around his outstretched neck.
"Jensen," Jared called out, not because he thought Jensen was actually going to kill Aldis, but because he thought they could both do with a reminder of why they were fighting in the first place.
They froze and Jared waited as a moment of silent communication passed between them. Finally, Jensen released his grip on Aldis' neck and eased back onto his haunches so the both of them could fold themselves into their human forms. At his back, Jared felt the shift in the air that signaled Bethally's transformation as well.
Jensen was on his feet and striding towards Jared immediately, protective fury scrawled boldly across his face. "Jared!"
"I'm fine," Jared said. Jensen looked thoroughly unconvinced and Jared held up his hands in surrender. "No damage done, I promise."
Jensen snorted, the tension in his spine easing. "You do realize that you're bleeding, yes?"
Jared blinked at him. "I am?" He touched the back of his head with cautious fingers and was mildly surprised when they came back tipped with red. "Huh, how about that."
Ignoring Jensen's despairing headshake, Jared looked over to where Aldis was struggling to his feet, panting hard but not looking too damaged by the fight. When Aldis saw him looking he hung his head.
"You alright?" Jared asked him. Aldis nodded, looking sheepish, although whether it was because he'd accidentally tried to kill him or because he'd been soundly bested by Jensen, Jared couldn't tell.
"I'm sorry about all that," Jared said, ignoring the way three incredulous pairs of eyes snapped towards him. He offered Aldis an understanding smile. "Bad time of morning for a human to come near you, right? I won't do it again."
Aldis stared at him blankly, and then turned to Jensen with an expression that clearly said 'wherever did you find this strange human?'.
Jensen's answering look was proud, smug and just the faintest bit terrifying. It was very much a 'he's mine, you can't have him' sort of expression.
"Guys," Jared said, and they both swiveled back to him with near-identical serpentine twists of their heads. "Can we save the general amazement at humans who aren't horrible monsters until after I've stopped bleeding?"
Bethally chose that moment to jump in and Jared sighed just a little at the gentle brush of her hands down the sides of his face. Really, it was lucky they had someone around who had a talent for patching people up besides him; he really was embarrassingly easy to hurt in comparison to a trio of dragons.
"Thank you," he said to her, and earned a self-consciously pleased smile that he'd never have seen on her six months ago.
Jensen made a mulish face and grabbed Aldis by the scruff of the neck. "We'll get breakfast," he said over Aldis' protesting growl.
Jared smiled at him too. "Thank you," he said and manfully refrained from snickering at the sight of Jensen hauling Aldis out of the cavern like a mother cat corralling an unruly kitten.
"Are you really alright?" Bethally asked him.
"I couldn't be happier," Jared answered honestly.
It was a nice feeling.