Dark Cloud Rising
by Dyna Dee
Duo struggled to keep his eyes focused on Howard as the older man took a defensive stance and narrowed his eyes, warning him that Finn would soon be upon them. His eyes shifted slightly and widened after seeing the attacking man was close enough to see murder blazing in his eyes as he raised his sword above his head, preparing to deliver a killing blow. Bringing his own sword up, Howard readied himself for the fight of his life. Then from behind them came the sound of dragon wings. Howard reacted immediately by raising his sword even higher, above his head in a pose that was not defensive, but matching the identical pose he'd placed Duo in with the order not to move.
With Finn approaching and Wu Fei's growing excitement and instinct to mate coursing through him, Duo couldn't think clear enough to figure out what he should be doing to help. He was alert enough, however, to hear a dragon's snort coming from behind and below his position and felt its hot breath against his neck just before a menacing shadow rose above him. A blink of an eye later he was roughly snatched up by a large taloned foot, which tightened around his body. Instinctively, his arms fell to grasp the leathery talon as he was jerked upward and lifted from the ground, the air forcefully pushed from his lungs.
Everything happened quickly after that. Gasping for breath, he heard Finn's strangled cry of pain as Rayer's tail hit him soundly in the chest and knocked the man into the distant wall of tree trunks. The silver dragon pivoted in the air on his downward wing and dove sharply over the edge of the mountain from whence he'd come, plunging towards the valley below. Watching the ground rushing up to meet them and with the rush of wind assaulting him from their fast fall, Duo's head reeled as he gasped for a breath of air.
The silver dragon continued to dive rapidly towards the valley floor, his wings tucked in for greater speed. Duo closed his eyes for only a moment before he heard and felt the snap and jerk of Rayer's wings as they unfolded. The dragon drew in his legs, bringing them close to his belly as he pulled up sharply from the dive to straighten out and fly low and parallel to the valley floor.
There was a moment of elation when Duo realized he was well and truly free of Cordith. He glanced to his left and was further relieved after seeing Howard, apparently unharmed by Finn, being carried safely in Rayer's other taloned foot. His former mentor's hood had fallen back and his long gray hair was flying wildly around his head. "Thank you, Rayer," the older man shouted up to the silver dragon with a broad smile lighting his face. "Just like the old days, isn't it?" Of course there was no verbal reply from the silver dragon, but the rumbling that came from the dragon's breast told them that Rayer was enjoying the excitement as well.
They flew closer to the ground than a dragon normally would, except when hunting for its meal. Because of this, and the fact that he was held beneath Rayer's body, Duo couldn't see anything of what was happening in the sky above them, so he could only wonder whether or not they were being pursued. He thought they must be for the air was filled with the continued bellows of loss from the female dragons, having been cheated of their only potential mate, and the anger of the other dragons. Their outrage gave him only a brief moment of sympathy for their unhappiness, yet that moment of empathy passed quickly as he breathed in the cool morning air rushing against his face and reminded himself that he was free. For the first time in a long while a true smile stretched across his face.
As a distraction to the multitude of sensations welling up inside him, he watched the ground as it passed quickly beneath him as Rayer flew over the greening valley. Yet the ache of his manhood once again began to dominate all other thoughts and he sensed that Wufei had caught Relena. Unable to move within the tight clasp that held him, the base desire to mate grew stronger, the urge to put his aching member into a receptive body was almost unbearable. Yet all he could do at the moment was moan, endure, and wonder if Howard really did say that Heero was nearby or if he had only imagined his rescuer had said the very thing he'd hoped for.
Having been privy to the plans made weeks before, Howard was aware of where Rayer was headed when the silver dragon banked sharply once they reached the eastern rim of the valley and proceeded to fly south along the line of hills and mountains. The silver dragon flew low and as close to the greening mountainside in an attempt to avoid detection by the northern dragons, who were, hopefully, being kept occupied. After securing Duo, the next part of their plan was to distract the northern dragons by confronting them with Amulah's dragons, giving them a chance to make good their escape. Without his own dragon, Howard had volunteered to be the one to go inside the home of the northerners and retrieve the boy. His ascent up the back side of Cordith had been the most dangerous aspect of the rescue, but having been raised in a mountain village, he'd learned how to scale steep mountainsides as a child, before he became a dragon rider. He was glad that those skills had not been lost over the many years since then.
The silver dragon suddenly turned again, this time ducking into a crevice that separated the two larger hills and followed the path between them, repeatedly tilting from one side to the other in order to avoid hillside and tall trees. Howard found he couldn't keep from smiling, despite the lingering danger. He was thoroughly enjoying the breathtaking ride.
Rayer slowed as they reached the other side of the crevice, which opened onto a small dip between the hills. Standing close by on the ground were two people awaiting the arrival. Howard glanced to his right to see Duo's reaction, but with his mind and body caught up in the dragon's lust, the fledgling didn't seem to recognize those waiting for him. Rayer hovered above the ground a moment before loosening his hold on Howard, who dropped to the ground and collapsed onto his knees. Though his arms and legs ached terribly from the long climb up the side of Cordith, the older man got to his feet and put his arms up, just in time to catch Duo when he was released.
The two riders stumbled to the ground together with Howard cushioning the boy's fall. Struggling to his feet once more, Howard pulled the dazed lad to his feet before pausing to look up at the sky. Even from a distance, he could see a good number of his old friends up there, riding on the backs of their dragons while engaging in battle with the pursuing dragons in order to give the mating dragons and their riders time to do what needed to be done. He would not let their efforts be for naught. Firmly gripping Duo's elbow, the older rider ignored his aching body and pulled the lad towards the other boy, standing not ten feet away. One glance at Heero and it was easy to see that he was as equally affected by his dragon's need to take a mate, his eyes seemed glazed and he swayed slightly. Howard had little doubt that the young man would fall on his face if he weren't being steadied by Garron's hand on his shoulder.
As Rayer settled to the ground behind them, Howard took note of the blanket that had been laid out on the slightly dew-topped grass with an open jar of ointment and a cloth resting on one corner and a small satchel sat on another. Heero stood before the blanket, wrapped in a warm cloak with only his head and bare toes exposed to the cool morning air. The older boy's blue eyes remained unfocused, his breathing appeared fast and a slight sheen of moisture dampened his upper lip.
Having guided many young riders to their mates before, neither of the older men exchanged words of greeting as Howard reached forward and began to unlace the front of Duo's pants, knowing the boy couldn't do it for himself at this stage of the dragon's lust. Garron leaned forward to whisper into Heero's ear and the boy blinked in response, his eyes becoming a bit more focused as he gazed upon the braided boy standing before him, finally recognizing him.
"Duo," Heero whispered, his voice sounding both relieved and strained. His eyes became a bit more focused as he took an unsteady step forward and raised his hands to cup the face he'd only been able to dream of during the long days and nights of winter. "Duo," he said again, with more clarity this time, and smiled at seeing a look of wonder come into the other boy's eyes. "Will you take me as your mate?" Heero asked, getting the formality out of the way.
"Really?" Duo asked, wide eyed with disbelief.
Heero decided the look of surprise mixed with disbelief was too hard to resist and he moved his head close enough to kiss the other rider. He wanted, no, needed Duo's touch so badly that he felt he would expire if he didn't get it. His advance towards Duo's mouth, however, was halted before he reached his goal.
"Wait for his answer," Garron warned, his hand gripping Heero shoulder once again.
Heero frowned. He didn't want to wait any longer. It had been pure torture waiting for Duo to arrive and he wanted to be kissed and touched now. "Say it, Duo," he urged with effort, gritting his teeth together in desperation. "Will you have me? Say yes. Quickly. Say yes."
"Yes," Duo answered before throwing himself at the object of all his desires. Garron quickly stepped aside as both boys came together and fell onto the blanket set behind Heero with a soft thud and two grunts. The jarring move had cause Heero's cape to fall open, revealing that he was naked beneath the folds of cloth.
Amongst moans and loud kissing, Garron grabbed Howard's arm and the two men turned and hurried away to give the boys the privacy they deserved. Together the two old friends walked around the crouching dragon and sat on the damp grass with their backs to the dragon's side. Howard groaned as he settled on the ground, suddenly feeling the ache and pains of every strained muscle from his long climb now that the rush of the rescue was over. "I'm too old for this," he moaned.
"But it livens the blood, doesn't it?" Garron said with an amused smile. "This reminds me of our younger years, when we were full of adventure and daring. I sometimes miss those days."
Howard could only nod in response. The memory of Garron in his youth and how he'd fallen in love with his best friend was a painful as well a happy remembrance. To distract himself, he began to hum a tune, which also helped to keep him from hearing exactly what was going on behind Rayer, and both men turned their eyes upward to the sky, occasionally catching sight of dragons engaged in battle
Falling with a grunt onto the blanket and completely oblivious of the two men turning and quickly walking away from them, the two young riders were completely caught up in their dragons' lust and each other.
Duo could hardly believe this was happening. He had just enough coherent thought to be awed by the fact that Heero had come all the way from the Halls of Dornan to offer himself and his dragon as mates to he and Wufei. They had saved them from the harsh life that living in Cordith promised. He knew for a certainty that he would spend the rest of his days trying to show Heero just how grateful he truly was for this gift.
His lips immediately began their eager exploration of Heero's willing mouth while his hands moved of their own accord. Discovering bare flesh beneath Heero's cloak was as much of a surprise as it was thrilling. As his chilled hands wandered over the warm and enticing flesh of the older boy beneath him, Heero did not remain passive. His own insistent hands tugged at the waist of Duo's pants, pushing the coarse fabric down to his thighs. The two shifted until their lower bodies rested intimately against each other, and Duo had to fight the instinct to push his himself into Heero, quickly claiming him as his mate. As he pressed against Heero's equally affected sex with his own, he moaned his pleasure while the other boy gasped at the titillating touch.
"Hurry," Heero whispered urgently, pressing his hips upward.
Duo wanted nothing more than to grant his request, but he felt a stronger need to tell Heero something important. With great effort he raised himself up on his elbows to look down on the flushed face of the dark haired rider. "Heero?" he whispered in as tender a voice as he could manage at the moment. "Open your eyes."
Slowly, the long and dark-lashed eyelids fluttered open and the deep blue color he'd remembered reappeared. "I want... to tell you something."
"Now?" Heero asked, clearly exasperated. He thrust his hips up against Duo once again, trying to entice the other rider to action.
"I want you to know that this is more than just dragon's lust." He paused only to take in a shaky breath. "I've wanted this, wanted you for a long time."
"Me too," Heero said, his voice a husky whisper that was filled with need. "Hurry. I'm ready. Just take out the preparation tool."
Duo didn't know what Heero was talking about but he was acutely aware of the other boy lifting one of his legs and laying it to the side. The braided rider had to shift to his left as Heero took hold of his right hand and guided it to a place between his legs. His fingers fell upon something, a wooden ring that was protruding out from Heero's opening.
"Pull it out," Heero urged and arched his back, trying once again to get Duo to move more quickly.
Looping two fingers around the narrow ring, Duo pulled and easily removed the long, smooth wooden object that had been inside Heero's body. With only a brief, curious glance at the oiled object, he tossed it aside and resumed his place on top of his soon-to-be mate.
"Coat yourself," Heero moaned, flinging his hand out towards the jar at the corner of the blanket.
Duo knew from the lectures on mating he'd received that he needed to moisten his sex before entering a male's body. He then caught sight of the open jar, not far from Heero's head. Quickly scooping up a generous handful of the cool oil, he quickly slathered it over his rigid length, moaning at the pain and pleasure the touch brought.
Panting with the great need to claim the body beneath him, Duo acted more upon instinct than forethought and suddenly found himself engulfed in a smooth, tight heat. Heero's panting and quiet moans in his ear urged him on and they began to move together in an rhythm that was as frantic as their beating hearts. Neither of the two could last long, their need was too great for any thought of making this moment last. Heero was the first to cry out his completion, his seed spilling onto their stomachs. Duo followed a moment later, releasing his desire into Heero's willing body, consummating the spoken bond that was meant to last a lifetime.
Duo collapsed on top of his mate, his heart still beating rapidly while he kissed any part of Heero's face and neck that he could reach. It took a moment for him to realize that the temporary madness of the dragon's lust was fading.
"Duo." The braided rider reluctantly lifted his head to look questioningly at Heero. "We have to go. The fighting will continue until we're well away from here. We'll have plenty of time to continue bonding once we reach our lair."
"I missed you," Duo said, bringing a hand up to tenderly touch Heero's face. "I thought of you every day."
"As I did you," Heero said softly as he put his hand over the one resting on his cheek. "Now help me up so I can dress."
Duo leaned over to place a soft kiss on the lips that now belonged solely to him, then rolled off his mate and climbed to his feet. Turning, he held out his hand to help Heero off the blanket. Once the older boy had gained his feet, he fumbled to dress himself as quickly as possible while Duo pulled up his pants and secured the laces with fingers that were still clumbsy; both of them were still feeling somewhat affected by their dragons.
Once properly clothed, Heero quickly moved to retrieve the object that had come out of his body. "What is that?" Duo asked.
"I was instructed beforehand to prepare myself for you," his mate answered as he placed the object inside the satchel. "Garron said we wouldn't have time to prepare properly when the dragon's lust was upon us, so this tool kept me stretched and ready for our coupling." Then with a curious gleam in his eyes he added. "The next time we share our bodies with each other I'll show you how the preparation is done."
Duo gave Heero a shy smile, then clasped his hand in his own and called out to Howard. A sense of contentment that had eluded him for most of his life now filled the boy who had once been a dark cloud. A strong feeling of rightness settled in his heart, telling him that this was his path in life, to be mated with Heero. He turned his head and gazed into the deep blue eyes regarding him as well. The smile Heero wore was one of happiness, and the sight of it gave Duo a rare feeling of pure, unspeakable joy. It was a moment and a feeling he vowed to always remember. For most of his life he'd known so little happiness, though his life as a dark cloud had taken a happier road when Wu Fei became his dragon and Howard took on the role as his mentor. Against all odds he'd been able to rise above his lowly state and was now blessed with the good fortune to have Heero as his life-long companion. He breathed in deeply, and let the feelings of freedom and happiness swelled within his chest. He was sure that he was the most fortunate person to have ever lived.
When at last the sounds coming from the two bonding young riders ceased, the older men waiting on the other side of Rayer stood and allowed the newly-mated a few minutes more. They shared triumphant grins when Duo called out for them, signaling he and Heero were ready to leave. Their rescue of the kidnaped boy was nearly complete.
Walking around Rayer, Howard was pleased to see both riders were dressed, standing with their hands clasped together and gazing into each other's eyes with true affection and possibly love. It warmed the older man's heart to see the boy who had such a lowly beginning, and who'd had no doubt a very difficult winter, find such happiness. It was a good match, he concluded happily. A very good match indeed.
"We need to leave here as quickly as possible," Garron stated, breaking the silence and gaining the attention of the two, who blushed with embarrassment that wasn't unusual after a mating.
Duo looked at Rayer dubiously. "But there's only one dragon."
"Call your dragons," Garron said to the both of them.
Duo felt much calmer now, though his body still craved Heero's touch. He tightened his hold on the other rider's hand and hoped Wu Fei could hear him now. //Wu Fei. Come and find me. We need to get out of here.//
//You've found your mate?// questioned his dragon. The anxiousness that had come from Wu Fei for the last few days was gone. In its place was a feeling of contentment that matched what his rider was experiencing.
//Yes, just as you've found yours.//
//Where are you?//
Duo turned to the older men. "Where are we?"
Rayer rose to his feet and after a couple of lumbering leaps and a stretch of his wings he leapt up into the air. "Tell Wu Fei to follow Relena to the western hills. Look for Rayer to guide you to our location."
Duo passed the message on to his dragon. //We're coming,// was Wu Fei's reply.
"Relena's on her way with Wu Fei," Heero confirmed, leaning against Duo's shoulder in order to increase their physical contact.
Garron moved behind the newly mated riders and bent to pick up and cover the jar on the blanket and return it to the satchel. He then picked up the blanket and shook it out before folding and turning it over to Heero. "It's tradition to keep the bedding used during your first time together. Place it on your bed once we're back in Amulah to remind you of this day."
Heero accepted the blanket and pressed it to his chest, nodding his thanks to the older rider. Turning, he looked again at his new mate with a pleased smile on his lips.
As for Duo, the warm memory of what they had just done on that nondescript, blue-woven blanket made it difficult for him not give into the strong urge to have Heero on that very blanket once again. After suffering though the long winter months listening to the sound of Alec and Dorothy's intimacy, hoping for a rescue or a means of escape, and slowly coming to a belief that he'd never see Heero again, all he wanted was to grab hold of his mate and forget everything else. With the others present he knew it wasn't going to be possible to share more than a smile with Heero.
The sound of their dragons approaching and Rayer landing on the ground once more heralded their arrival. Relena appeared from the over the mountain first with Wu Fei right behind her, flying close to the ground with their blue and black scales gleaming brightly in the morning sun. She landed gently ten feet from where they stood, and Wu Fei settled down beside her.
Duo's grip on Heero's hand tightened, knowing that they were about to separate for the return flight to Amulah. Though he'd dreamt all winter of riding his dragon again, he was reluctant to be apart from the other rider. A part of him still couldn't quite believe everything that had happened was real. He was afraid that if he let go of Heero now he'd wake up on the straw bed only to find this had been yet another wonderful dream that would torment his waking hours. "Ride with me, Heero. Please."
Heero looked from the pleading eyes to the older men for permission.
"Howard and I will ride together," Garron informed the two. "Since Relena has flown for most of the night, the both of you can ride together on Wu Fei's back until he tires. We'll land when that happens so that our dragons can rest and you can switch to riding Relena. With luck we'll return to Amulah by nightfall."
With the assurance that they wouldn't be separated, Duo released Heero's hand and moved towards the dragons. For the first time in months he greeted his dragon under the bright sun and blue sky. He placed his body against his dragon's long and scaled nose and tightly embraced his face. "Can you believe we're free, Wu Fei? That we're finally going home where we belong?"
//You are happy,// his dragon purred. //I am content for the both of us.// A nudge at his side alerted Duo that Relena was wanting his attention. He looked at the blue dragon and felt a deep sense of gratitude towards her. Releasing Wu Fei, he embraced the blue dragon's muzzle, pressing his lips to her scaly face. "Thank you, Relena. You've made Wu Fei and I very, very happy," he said. A rumbling purr and a roll of her jeweled eyes was her gracious reply.
The newly mated riders conversed with their dragons for only a few moments more before they Garron put the straps onto the black dragon and the two climbed atop Wu Fei to begin the long flight home. The three dragons and four riders rose in the sky once more, all of them anxious to see the stone walls of the Halls of Dornan once more. As they climbed above the hills they were treated to the rare sight of a sky filled with dragons of many colors, twisting, turning and diving as they attacked, defended and distracted the northerners from the flight of the newly mated dragons and riders could make their escape.