“So… you’re leaving tomorrow?” Flame questioned.
Umber nodded, taking some of his favourite graphicolls from Flame’s shelves.
“I’ll be okay without you, if you’re wondering,” the red dragon added, hoping to break the silence.
Umber was usually very talkative, but right now he was very focused in making sure he had everything he wanted to take with him.
“I know you will, Flame,” the MudWing smiled up at him, making the other melt.
There was more silence before Umber buttoned up his satchel and tossed it beside his bed. To be honest, Flame was going to miss him. I mean, it was pretty obvious to his other friends, but still. Umber told him he’d be gone for a week with Sora and their siblings, which was fine, because Umber would be happy. That, and if he were happy, so was Flame.
“Don’t try and get in any trouble while I’m gone, please?” Umber joked.
Flame stifled a snort, “of course, Mud-Muffin.”
Umber hid his face in his talons, “I can’t believe you still call me that,” he mumbled.
Flame barked a laugh, wrapping his silky wing around his boyfriend. Umber rested his head on the red dragons’ shoulder, his eyes fluttering. Flame leaned against his shelves, closing his eyes as well. While a bed might be more comfortable, he had Umber in his arms, which was pretty great in his opinion.
The ruby-red dragon woke up with Umber flinging his bag over his shoulders. He groaned, cracking his back as he got up. The brown dragon ran over to Flame, enveloping him in a tight hug. Flame wheezed, pressing his snout against Umber’s.
“I’ll see you in a week, Flame,” Umber murmured.
He let go of his boyfriend and collected his bag again.
“See ya,” Flame nuzzled Umber’s cheek before he left.
Afterwards, he passed right out again.
It had been a few days and he was doing pretty okay. Cooking was fun, even though he was cooking alone. He looked out of the window, scratching the bridge of his snout. Flame talked to Jet when he got restless, and sometimes even Stonemover. His claws itched to go outside, but he had dinner to prepare. Flame tossed in some spices before serving the meals. He glanced outside again, exhaling.
Yes, he was allowed outside, but he had been busy with volunteering. Recently, he’d wanted to be more helpful around the center, well, that and try to make more friends. If Flame tried to suggest this to himself about a year ago, 8 year old Flame would’ve laughed in his FACE.
Skipping dinner, Flame took to the sky, the setting sun turning it into shades of pinks, oranges and purples. He smiled to himself, his mind drifting off as he glided. Umber would think this would be stunning. Stonemover might want to try and paint this once his talons recovered too.
Oh yeah, Stonemover. He was trying his hardest to recover, even if his hardest was very little. Well, it was very little compared to Flame, but he assumed it was difficult for the old NightWing.
Flame dipped down, taking a break on a nearby peak. He laid down, resting his chin on his forearms. He should get back to the center soon, but for now he wanted to enjoy this. He let his mind drift off again. It was nice. He was nice. That dragon over there didn’t though- wait what.
He spotted a dark red SkyWing below him, far away enough that they couldn’t see him, but Flame could see them. He squinted at the dragon, who was visibly limping. They had scars all over their body, definitely a damaged war vet. Flame licked his lips in anticipation. He wasn’t filled with anger like he once was, but he’s still always wanted to be an assassin.
He leapt from edge to edge, until he reached a hidden point where he could observe the stranger more closely. Dark orange eyes, just like him. Pointed jaw, just like him too. Flame couldn’t help but wonder, was that dragon possibly a distant relative? Of some sort? Well, Flame loved Avalanche, Shrimp, Chromis, and especially Umber, then there were his siblings, and he honestly wouldn’t be that surprised if this were his uncle or something. At this point, Flame had a pretty extended family.
He then noticed the battle scarred dragon looking directly at him.
“Hello?” the SkyWing croaked.
Flame gulped, “uh, hello?”
The SkyWing limped closer to him. Oh no, now he was in trouble.
“Do you know any SkyWings that live around here?”
He wasn’t expecting that question.
“I’m looking for someone in particular,” they continued, their voice hoarse.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t exactly know you.” Flame interrupted nervously, his stomach doing flips.
The dragon’s eyes widened, “I- I’m sorry! Excuse me, my name’s Wildfire.”
Wildfire… what a cool-sounding name for a cool-looking dragon…
“I’m-” Flame wondered if he should lie about his name, in case this was a bad dragon, but he decided against it after seeing the dragon’s pleading eyes, “I’m Flame.”
The closer he was to Wildfire, the more Flame realized how much he resembled him. Wildfire took notice to this as well.
“Do you know any SkyWing named Avalanche?” Is this my father? “I’m, uh, I haven’t seen her in a few years, so I was just wondering-”
“Dad?” By the moons, why did I just say that out loud.
Wildfire’s wings twitched as Flame looked down at his claws. He had a happy family, so why did it matter who his bio-something-cal father was.
“Are you Avalanche’s son?” Wildfire asked.
If this Wildfire character found out his old girlfriend had a whole family, that wouldn't be very good. But if I lie, then…
“Are you my son?” The SkyWing repeated, louder this time.
Guilt grasped a hold onto Flame’s chest. He choked up a puff of smoke. He couldn’t possibly lie now, well, he definitely could’ve a year ago if he really wanted to, but that wasn’t him now. He took a breath and straightened his posture, hoping he didn’t look too weird in front of his… father…
A year ago, he would’ve taken this old husk as a parent and ditch the Healing Center to live out his life with someone who cared more about him than anyone else, but now… now that he has friends and a loving birth mother… he didn’t exactly want to deal with this right now…
“I’m sorry I left her,” Wildfire interrupted his train of thought, “but if you tell me where your mother is, I’ll-”
“Sorry, but you only told me your name. You didn’t say why you want to see this ‘Avalanche’, or why you think I’m your son, or why you're still in front of me!” Flame snapped.
“I’ll tell you who I am if you’ll just listen-”
“Tell me what you want with MY mother THIS INSTANT!” He blasted flames at the rocks behind Wildfire, instantly regretting his decision.
“So you are my son…”
“I said tell me!” Flame hissed, spewing flames in a different direction.
“Well, I guess I can tell you this… I had a fling with one of Ex-Queen Scarlet’s top guards, then she had an egg, then she left me, then I left everything else. I’d say that’s vague enough for you to ask more about me!” Wildfire bit the inside of his mouth, flaring his nostrils.
Flame bit his tongue.
But Avalanche said you died, so where have you been… where have you been for the worst seven years of my life…
“So what happened to you?” He questioned him, smushing his anger in his talons, figuratively, he meant. He was too curious for his own good sometimes.
“You’re gonna have to tell me where Avalanche is first then, Flame.”
Oh no… now he had to make a decision, and quick…
He was going to have to lie. To his birth father of all dragons. There’s absolutely no possible way this could go wrong. At all.
Wildfire looked down at him, waiting. He was at least twice Flame’s height, scaring him more than he wanted to admit. He could always tell him she was up north, or that she was dead or something. Maybe he could say she moved, tried to move, dying while moving-
Flame’s breath hitched. Riiight, I should probably say something right about now…
“I haven’t seen her in a while. Last I heard, she moved to the Sea Kingdom with…” say it, say their names, drag them down, “...Nautilus and Squid.” He felt Wildfire relax. “I don’t know why she would do that, I mean they aren’t very nice to be around.”
The larger dragon tensed up again. By the moons, why did I keep talking!
“She lives with the SeaWings now?” Wildfire rumbled. Flame nodded, his tail twitching. “Alright, I’ll go there tomorrow. You better not have lied to me, uh, what was your name again?”
“Flame… very fitting… we are very alike, son. We even have matching scars!” He exclaimed. The smaller SkyWing flinched.
This was it, he could finally learn about where his birth father went, but after this he wasn’t so sure anymore. He inhaled.
“Do you want to hear about how I got this scar?” Wildfire pointed at the near identical scar stretched across his snout. Flame choked. It was a topic of interest, or however Starflight would put it, he supposed. He nodded again.
Wildfire sat down and opened his wings to present nearly all of his scars. There were at least twelve that Flame counted. How was he still alive…?
He answered as if he could read Flame’s mind, “I got most of these scars fighting SandWings and IceWings, never really saw any SeaWings. Those claws those pieces of scales had… damn…” Wildfire trailed off.
“How aren’t you dead then?” He sputtered, “SandWings hurt a lot, and I can only imagine IceWings, s-so-!”
“I don’t know, honestly.” Wildfire looked blank. That must’ve struck a chord, oop.
“It all started when I was apart of the guard,”
Oh here we go...
“I was one of Scarlet’s top guards, alongside Avalanche and Osprey. We confronted that monster and her wretched waste of scales mother years ago, just before she left me…”
“Avalanche thought I didn’t notice you. I saw where she hid you, but that was it. She left me and took you with her.” Wildfire dug his claws into the rock, his nostrils smoking. “I stayed alive to see her again, I would do anything for her.”
Okay, so lying was definitely the best decision. Maybe this salamander-brain can drown somewhere away from my family.
“I- I see…”
“If she’s not in the Sea Kingdom, I’m coming back for you. I need you in my life…” he begged, dropping to his forearms.
That’s weird that’s weird that’s weird-
THIS WAS A BAD IDEA!
“I’d die for her…”
Flame held his tongue. Suddenly, the shadow of another dragon appeared above him.
The dragon landed in between the two, spreading her wings. She snarled at Wildfire. Flame’s talons were glued to the ground.
“Go back to the center or you’ll be late, Flame.”
Avalanche blasted fire at Wildfire, striking him in the side of his face. She turned back to face Flame, “I said go!”
Flame turned on his heels and took off. His heart was pounding. Avalanche was right, if he didn’t leave now, he would definitely get in trouble. He flew away like his life depended on it, like it might’ve. He didn’t know. He glanced back at his birth parents fighting, maybe at some point his mom would tell him who won.
He crashed into his room, knocking over most of his graphicolls. He sighed, putting them back up and crawling into bed.