A Fragile New Bond

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It was barely past 3am when Ferdinand finally got back to their shared tent.  

He was oil stained and tired looking, but he seemed... different.  Like he was clearly hiding something that was making him panic a bit, and that something was clearly under his overalls, because he was cradling his chest like he'd injured it somehow, even though he was clearly fine. Cradling his chest, and sneaking around. 

He just...  hoped Nico was there. Was home. Since Nico had kicked up a massive fuss - using his status as a willing participant, an Irrit rider particularly, to their 'cause' - Ferdi had been living there with him. This looming tent in the outskirts of their barracks. Trees hid him in their shade, and scared him with their shadows all the same. A larger, more appropriate living space, with all the danger of being outside the group. But he had Nico, and he had Tulio, and he had his tools and his gadgets, and he was happier. He enjoyed having the space to stretch his legs and settle. It was always unnerving to come home to an empty space, though. If Nico was out. 

He didn't like dwelling on Nico being out. What he might be enduring. If he was safe. If he'd come home-

He tried not to think about Nico not coming home. 

It was always hard to tell if he was there or not from the outside, but as time pressed on, and the certain something he was currently cradling wriggled and coiled weakly against his chest. He really, hoped he was there tonight, at least. 


Nico had been peacefully sleeping - or well, as peacefully as he could sleep in a military camp - in his and Ferdi's shared bed, his Earth bond laying down protectively next to it. 

Typically Tulio would've been outside the tent standing guard, as he typically took up too much space to be in the tent, but considering only Nico was around and had passed around quickly after his last experiment testing, Tulio had happily settled himself down inside; A rarity for the earth mix, but one he cherished. Nico was simply glad that the Militia hadn't wanted to do more with him, but he was starting to catch on with what days they would use his magic more and which other days they didn't. 

They were in a new area, a new field of study, nothing for him to be use of right now. Besides, they couldn't do too many experiments on him since he was a "willing" participant after all. So he was taking the free time he had and getting rest, letting his muscles relax and not focus too much on how much he missed the desert sand under his toes. 

He was still fast asleep when Tulio caught the whiff of Ferdi's familiar oil-stained scent. The dragon sleepily opened his eyes and looked to the entrance of the tent, a simple canvas flap with a secure fastening to keep it closed, before raising his head. He let out a little rumble of greeting, to try to say that he and Nico were inside. His tail giving a soft thump to the ground in soft happiness at knowing his rider's partner was home now, too.


Ferdinand's fear hitched to a second degree as he didn't see Tulio outside like he normally was, their silent sentinel against all dangers of the night, human and otherwise. Then he worried about what could be keeping him - why he still was somehow not home at this hour, the moon hanging pregnant and high in the sky above him, lighting his way where the torches couldn't - But, hearing the telltale rumble, his anxieties were immediately settled down a little bit, and he let out a soft breath through his nose.  

Thanking whatever gods would listen or still cared for him, he slipped into the tent, pale eyes wide as he brought his cloud of stressed energy with him.  

Relatching the door, he took a shakey breath, and started over to their bed. They'd been dating for a few months at this point, and had gotten to know each other well. He could see the exhaustion in his partner's position. Knew his sleep was precious these days. But he- He needed to talk to him, at least. He just prayed he wouldn't think him selfish. 

As he came closer, however, his chest... trilled. Quiet. But not quiet enough not to echo softly around the silent tent, barring Nico's soft breaths and the rustle of canvas in the wind. Ferdinand abjectly ignored it as he foused on his true goal, however. Flicking on the old oil lantern that sat on their small camping table near the wall - one of the perks of being sufficiently hidden, they were able to have a little light in their room past the normal lights out period for the rest of the barracks - he moved over and gently grabbed Nico's ankle, hesitantly starting to shake his leg a little to try and wake him up. 

"N... N-Nico" he whispered. Voice tense. "Nico, wake up"

Tulio tilted his head curiously at the small trill that seemed to come out of the smaller male's chest. He let out another rumble, reaching over to try to bump his snout against his breast pocket, snuffling for a moment, before opening up his mouth to go and give a small tug on the engineer overalls, careful to not be too harsh with the other and accidentally bring him falling to the ground. It wouldn't have been the first time, testing their boundries on what was too strong or not. 

Nico mumbled sleepily at feeling his ankle be shaken in the meantime, and he tried jerking his leg back under the covers, not used to the sudden touches. In his tired-riddled mind, he had assumed it was Tulio trying to get attention, but that dream was broken by the soft, hushed voice that followed it. But so deep in his sleep as he was, it all blurred in his ears still. Not rousing him much more then that.  

Tulio huffed at the lack of action, and with his shoulder, he shoved it up against the ratchet bed, causing it to shake and jolt Nico if not fully awake, then at least not completely asleep. A soft grumble escaped from him, but before he could really turn to huff at his dragon, his tired eyes found their way to Ferdi and he furrowed his eyebrows at him.

"F-Ferdi?" He asked, but his words were soon interrupted by a wide, jaw cracking yawn.

Ferdi half fell onto the bed a little bit as Nico jerked his leg away, not having the foresight to let go, distracted by the snuffles and the chirps from his own overalls, only Tulio's grip on them keeping him up really in the end with how things turned out.  But that grip itself made him a little worried - the bundle he carried was fragile, and new, and Tulio's teeth were so, so big. 

The thing inside his overalls didn't share his sentiment, though, and seemed to try and poke back at the tug questioningly enough that it made the material crease from the inside out in little pockets. Like someone poking their finger through blanket to tease a pet to pounce and play. 

Ferdi relaxed a tiny bit as Nico spoke though, when he finally woke up, and he turned back to face him, swallowing a little thickly. 

"I-I...  I have a problem" he whispered.

Another rumble escaped Tulio at seeing the thing try to poke back at him, and he tilted his head curiously at the little thing that seemed to be hiding inside Ferdi. He gave another poke back with his big nose, minding his teeth now, and giving a quick sniff as his tail thumped the ground once more at the idea of another dragon being around. Scenting it was one of his kind, even if not of his elements.

Nico shot a tired glance over at him, before his gaze wandered to where his dragon's snout was pressed up against. 

He was used to seeing Tulio sniff Ferdi or nuzzle against him, the dragon being more dog than dinosaur with the gray-haired man, but Ferdi's words brought some concern - now more alert, Nico sat up properly, trying to wiped away sleep from his eyes in the process, before leaning forward to look at his boyfriend better.

"What happened?" He softly asked, reaching out and carefully grasping Ferdi's arm. Rubbing it a bit as his eyebrows furrowed further in his concern.


Ferdi looked a little paranoid at Tulio's sniffing still, and it only proved his worries right when they drew another soft squeak from his overalls, making the pokes come a bit faster. Excited, almost, it seemed. Whatever it was.  

If both males didn't know any better, didn't know Ferdi, it wouldn't be a particularly far stretch of logic to think he'd stolen a chicken or a ferret, sneaking them under his overalls as some kind of pet for them - or in the chicken's case, possibly illegal extra rations.

"I..." He started, mouth working to form words that never came. He frowned, and looked down. 

He didn't really know how to tell him. To explain something he found truly insane and more then anything, kind of scary. With a quiet, tiny whine, he bit his lip, raised his hands, and - slowly - he moved to unzip his overalls. 

The second there was a tiny opening in the temporary cloth cage, a little whiskered face peeped out from the neck hole. Its eyes were a soft blue-purple, feathers a downy, fur-like brown with tan accents. A crown of feathers perked up at the back of its head, fanning out like a little cockatiel as it looked towards what had been sniffing at it.  It was raptor like.  

Raptor like, and so, so clearly a baby dragon.


Nico raised his eyebrow at Ferdi moving to unzip his overalls, shoulders tensing up at the idea of seeing ugly bruises all over his love. It wasn't helped by the fact he had whined, clearly hesitant at showing what was underneath his overalls, too nervous to be able to articulate what exactly his problem was. 

What Nico hadn't expected - which in hindsight, and if he had been more awake, wouldn't have been nearly as surprising for him - was seeing a sudden little baby dragon poke its head out, its feathers fanning up and curious eyes looking all over. 

Tulio's rumbling became excited, moving to bump his larger snout against the baby's smaller one, tilting his head curiously at it. Nico on the other hand, furrowed his eyebrows once more at the baby dragon, his expression having relaxed with the shock of it all for a moment, before moving so he could actually get a better look at the little thing. His gaze flicking between his boyfriend and the infant dragon peaking its snout and paws - hands? - from his oil stained overalls.

"Where did you find it?" He finally asked, rubbing his eyes once more to wipe the sleep away and so he could think more about their current situation. "i thought you were working on the piping system today?"

The baby dragon squealed excitedly at the bump, reaching out his little fingered hands to try and grab onto Tulio's nose, only to half slip out the opening at the shift in his centre of gravity and miss Tulio entirely. Completely misjudging the gap. Tumbling, he squeaked in fear as he fell. 

Ferdi's hands shot out immediately and caught it, though. A bit too quickly. 

Like it was instinct.  

Now the dragon was completely out of his overalls though, the glimmering baby scales that poked out of his fur were more visible, as well as his tiny little leathery wings, as bright and vibrant against his darker fur as a butterfly. The little male looked pretty distressed at his fall though, moving to grab onto Ferdi's fingers and curl up against his palm, cooing, upset. Ferdi swallowed shakily and half covered him with his other hand, stroking between his wings with his middle finger. 

It would be gracious to compare him to the size of a small ferret - To a rat, even. He was newly hatched after all, and he even still had his egg tooth at the end of his scaly, plated looking nose. 

"M-My rock" Ferdinand breathed, finally. Getting hold of himself. 

"My lucky rock, it... it wasn't a rock, Nico."


Tulio let out a whine when the little dragon fell, moving forward to try to bump it back up, but luckily, Ferdi had reached the small one quickly. A sight that Nico, who was a bit more awake and aware f the world and all its nuances and creatures, noticed in an instant this time. His heart giving a jump at the sight.  

Oh shit... 

Nico tiredly ran his hand over his face, giving a stroke to his short beard - which was becoming more scraggly as the weeks passed with him being worked to the bone and his magic being drained - and looked back and forth between his boyfriend and the tiny dragon. Newly hatched, must've been recent and clearly, it decided to latch itself onto Ferdi. Or well, their bond formed, which may be why... 

"...That's why you picked it up. The rock, I mean. It was calling for you," Nico finished, nodding his head. The rock, it made so much... He should've realized it wasn't a rock, he's seen plenty of dragon eggs before. But it looked small and he wasn't going to go and tell Ferdi to not have it, because what if it was an actual rock? He'd sound paranoid.

"How long ago did it hatch? We have to keep it warm and let your two's bond form fully."


"Maybe about twenty minutes, I had to come all the way back from..." Ferdi trailed off, taking in what he'd said properly. Slowly absorbing it, as he stared at him for a long moment. Before a fear entered his mind, white hot in its intensity and rolled over him in one large, stinging wave.  He held the little dragon closer on instinct. 

The baby dragon just tried to curl around his hand even tighter then before, tiny wings flapping a bit as it squeaked in distress at such a strong feeling prickled over it, too. A new, stronger feeling then he'd ever felt so far in his short little life.

"This... this is magic. Nico this is magic, I can't have magic!" he hissed, eyes wide and piercing.

"You take him."


Nico swore under his breath as he noticed the immediate fear that popped up in Ferdi's eyes. Fuck, of course, he had never been around dragons before... 

The distressed squeak coming from the little hatchling wasn't helping either, his heart breaking at seeing the absolute fear in his love's eyes and how it seemed to be pouring into the little dragon.

"Ferdi, Ferdi," He hushed, bringing his hands up slowly so he could see them before gently placing them on his shoulders, giving them a gentle squeeze. Slowly he explained, voice slow and soft, "This... this isn't magic. This is a dragon bond... You and the hatchling have formed a bond between each other and it cannot be broken. I can't take him even if I wanted to. He would only come back to you."

The touch helped. His touches always helped.  He'd never had a full-blown meltdown like the first time they'd met, since the first time they'd met. Having Nico to lean on helped him more then he could ever really put into words, and he hoped he knew that.  

The baby dragon flapped his wings a little bit again and it squeaked a second time, coiling up and looking around it warily. It looked terrified too - Ferdi had absolutely no idea he was the one making it scared, though. It was clear that with time... that dragon was going to be a thorn in Ferdi's side, in the way of secrecy. It was far easier to read then Ferdi himself and a good tool for establishing what he was feeling when he hid it under layer upon layer of guarded armour, like usual. 

"How is this not magic...?" he breathed, forcing himself to try and calm down, putting all his focus into Nico. "H-How is this not magic, Nico...? Dragons are made of magic and this one, this one is- its trying to attach itself to me"


Thank gods that the touch seemed to be calming Ferdi down, but the little squeak and flapping of the hatchling's wings made it painfully aware for Nico that they weren't out of the woods quite yet. It seemed that the little thing would be good for Nico to figure out when it was time to calm Ferdi, at least; And at least he wasn't going have a meltdown. He didn't want to see his love break down like that again, especially now that he knew more about the smaller man. 

Another sigh escaped from Nico, him squeezing Ferdi's shoulders once more. How was he going to explain this to him? Dragon bonds were... complicated to say the least and it seemed they varied from bond to bond.

"Yes, yes dragons are magic," He agreed, humming softly. "But, that doesn't mean you're magic... and they don't transfer their magic over to you. Ferdi, look how many dragons there are at this camp. Most of the riders are not magic and believe me, they aren't being used for it. I'd know. Dragons are... difficult to control, ontop of that."

"Difficult to control... great..." Ferdi whined, eventually moving to just slump next to him and Tulio. Exhausted, and his head still spinning. But calmer.  

The hatchling hesitated, before it slowly started to climb it's way up his arm, using it's long tail and little wings for balance, the flicker of two halos just about visible along the length of it.  They seemed to stay hear his tail, but often moved around as he did, so as not to get in the way. Reaching his shoulder, he settled there, feeling safer closer to Ferdi's face.

"It gets better... sometimes." Nico tried to soothe. It seemed Tulio wanted to prove him wrong, though, considering he popped his head up to rest it on the bed, getting in-between the two men. With a huff, he gave a soft shove against Tulio's snout, but the dragon simply huffed up at him. Not wanting to get huffy with his stubborn dragon, Nico focused more on the hatchling. He wondered how big they would get, the little dragon already looking quite small. 

Then again, dragon sizes were often to accommodate their rider and this one clearly knew that Ferdi couldn't handle a large hatchling yet... 

"What's his name?" He asked, curling his arm around Ferdi's hip.

Ferdi still looked a little unnerved by the creature settling itself on his shoulder. He was definitely a good size for him; A size he could hide, a size that was easy to protect. One that could wiggle into whatever gap was needed to help him if needed with his electrical work, without Ferdi even realizing it.  For a paranoid engineer, he was a perfect dragon - and at least one element was kind of clear with him; Thunder. Everything else looked like he could be anything from Wind to Storm, maybe even Dark with the tiny bone plates covering his soft body.

"I-I didn't give it a name..." he stammered softly, folding his arms to try and settle himself as the dragon tried to tug gently at his hair, curious about the colour and the feel of it. He chirped and happily tried to stick its whiskered nose into the grey locks, scenting.  

Tuilio's shoving didn't bother Ferdi much. He was comfortable with Nico's dragons, even comforted *by* them. He understood them by now. But one finding him? That was a whole new ballpark


Nico almost snorted at seeing the look on Ferdi's face when the dragon perched itself on his shoulder. Now with the hatchling closer, he could see him better, noting his leathery wings and dark, velvet scales with bone plates poking out. A trail of flowers threatening to bloom on its body, it was an interesting little thing. Its second element seemed hard to figure out, however. Nico made a mental note to later figure out exactly what type of mix they were - the more he knew about them, the better he could help Ferdi understand it himself. 

"Maybe ask him... sometimes dragons pick their own names. Some need more guidance, though." He replied, a little chuckle slipping out as he watched the dragon tug on Ferdi's silver hair. He gently rubbed his hip through his overalls, humming softly, glad Ferdi was at least slowly calming down by now.


"How do you just... ask him?" he frowned, looking towards the hatchling. "Its a dragon, it doesn't speak... and I don't speak dragon, either." Ferdi looked genuinely confused about the whole situation, but the baby didn't really seem to care at all, snuffling into his hair and playing around with it, coiling its fluffy body in the stands and using his rider's much sturdier shoulder to balance on

Nico opened his mouth to respond before pausing. He didn't know if he could tell Ferdi about mental communication without making him anxious again - and he doubted his boyfriend wanted someone poking around in his thoughts and knowing how he felt to begin with anyway. 

"Well, you two have formed a bond," He started, his brain running to try to find a way to gently tell him about how they could communicate. "And that means you guys are connected, yes? Have you ever wondered why Tulio knows when to find me or what to do without me saying anything?" 

Nico gave a look at Tulio, a silent 'at times' ending that sentence. Tulio simply flicked his tongue to give a lick to Nico's arm. Playing up his innocence, or just truly existing in blissful ignorance. Nico couldn't quite tell.


"I... I guess but I didn't think you were actually talking to each other" Ferdi offered, frowning a little at Tulio, blinking as he thought back to what memories he did have of their silent communication. He looked worried, but... not quite as freaked out as he had been, considering the reminder that the generals also had dragons. If they had dragons too, then it couldn't be the type of magic they wanted to study and use anyway. 


"It's somewhat like talking..." Nico admits, as Tulio blinked up at the other male and bumped his hip with his snout, a little rumble escaping from him. 

Nico was honestly glad that Ferdi was looking less freaked out as he previously been, but still, the topic of mental communication was a bit weird - even to him. 

"There's a mental bond between us... It allows us to know what the other needs and we can talk through that. Not every bond does that, sometimes it depends on how strong it is - but generally... it's so we know what the other needs. Including what we feel. Some dragons can speak our language, but... they're rare"


"What.... what we feel?" Ferdi breathed, worry pinching his brows and looking back to his own dragon. 

Honestly... that made him feel kind of bad for it.


"Yeah... it's like a mild version of it, at least when they're grown. It's so we can help each other, especially if we're in danger," Nico continued to explain, giving Ferdi a gentle squeeze as he saw the worry flash on his face. "After awhile, they learn how to tune out if necessary. Or at least... be able to differentiate ours from theirs."

"Is that why it was so scared...?" Ferdi asked, his frown deepening. With a small sigh, he shakily reached up and took the dragon from his shoulder. 

The hatchling trilled softly again, and coiled around his palm, stretching out small wings as he looked up to him, whiskers feeling curiously over his palm.  He didn't seem to be able to talk to him just yet. But Ferdi would be lying, if he said  he didn't feel... something, in his head. An empty corner of his mind that wasn't there before, sapping up his anxiety and his worries like a sponge.  

It seemed pretty happy that Ferdi was finally looking him in the eye though, and he cocked his head in a bird-like manner, watching him. Waiting for what he was going to do.  The intelligence in the little dragons face was... strange. Everything about this dragon was strange to Ferdi. He'd never seen a dragon before, up to when the Milita took over their town completely anyway. But now, he was surrounded with them. Had one, too, even.  

He looked to Tulio and reached out with a hesitant hand to pet his snout. An action he'd often caved and done whether he'd noticed his habit, or not, in the end. When he was half asleep with a book on a day off, or falling asleep on his feet. He'd been a comforting presence... Juno was too. 

He paused at that.  

Juno.  

That wasn't the first time the name had filtered into his head, now he thought about it. Nico's earlier question stuck with him. What's his name?

"Juno..." he answered quietly. Even if the question had long since passed, he still answered it as he stroked Juno's side with his thumb. "His name's Juno, I think..."

Juno seemed overjoyed that Ferdi had finally said his chosen name allowed, his halo's shooting from his tail to above his head and spinning like a cathrine wheel as he bent in ways he really shouldn't have been able to bend as he flopped and skittered around in his hands.

"He really looks like a ferret..." he murmured. A slight little twitch of a smile on his face, an upturned corner of his mouth. 

Ferdi wasn't one to smile often - and if he did, it was usually because of Nico or Tulio. It was a moment that was so small, but. Seemed so important, to someone looking in. This was a moment when a dragon and a rider's bond fully solidified.

 

Nico smiled too. 

"Juno..."

A Fragile New Bond
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In Prestige, Jobs, and Classes ・ By Frights-and-Nights

'Show your Rider raising their first hatchling. Dragons can be quite finnicky, even before their first shed--is your Rider up to the task?'

Prestiege unlock for Companion 


Submitted By Zincwolf
Submitted: 1 month agoLast Updated: 1 month ago

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