Hello friends * waves shyly *
As some of you know, life has been pretty rough for me this last five months. I only barely was able to finish my Big Bang because of health issues, and then reading much of anything became too much of a challenge and writing a no-go. There has been so much I've missed, but I'm finally starting to feel more myself and this is the first thing I've been able to work on in forever. I feel a little rusty, but it's good to be writing (at least in a small way), I hope you enjoy.
Title: Dragon Heart
Fandom: Supernatural RPF
Summary: The strange new world they had awoken in had turned suddenly cold.
Warnings: crackish, angsty, fairytale, MPREG – sort of, dystopian world
A/N: Inspired by a photo fufaraw found and sent me from tumblr
* * *
It was late fall, and in the morning when the sky finally lightened there was no hint of sun, the horizon a dark and menacing grey. The previous night had been brutal, the third day in a row that the temperatures had plummeted mercilessly at sunset, and Jensen knew that many of their ranks would not have survived the night.
Even now in the grey dawn gloom the wind whipped mercilessly through the trees, cold and bitter. Sick to death of huddling helpless and cold through the night, in a fit of madness, Jensen rose to his full height and, laughing defiantly, turned to face directly into the howling wind. It tore at him, icy fingers catching at his body, trying to pull him from his high perch but, stubbornly, he gritted his teeth and leaned into the buffeting gusts. His eyes watered as he squinted into the winds.
“Ha, ha, ha, try to knock me down, will you?” he shouted, a fierce grin spreading across his face.
And as if rising to his challenge, icy rain picked up, joining the wind to lash at him, needle sharp spray digging into his tender flesh as fierce gusts buffeted his body and tore at his footing. Jensen held on, clinging tightly to his branch. He could barely see, but by the snap and groan of tree limbs all around him, he knew for certain that there were many of those who might have made it through the night, only to perish this dawn.
Immediately his thoughts turned to Jared and he glanced up at his friend’s familiar post, a branch higher and over from his own. Concerned and worried, he yelled, “Is this something or what, Jay? Hang on buddy, they can’t keep this up forever. We’re almost clear, the warm weather needs to come back soon. Just hang on.” He couldn't make Jared out through the driving rain, and could only hope he’d been heard through the din. Jensen refused to even imagine that his friend had not made it through the night. Jared’s reply could easily have been snatched away by the wind.
Pinned down as he was, Jensen was helpless to do anything but send up a prayer for his friend's safety as he snarled into the wind, vowing revenge on all the elements if his friend was hurt, and cursing this sudden change of climes. Ever since they had awakened alone and naked in this new world, the temperature had been balmy, growing ever warmer as they played and twirled amid the mighty trees’ branches, only to now turn cold and bitter. Worriedly, Jensen gazed out at the barren branches and wondered who among them would even be left when the sun returned.
After what felt like forever, straining to hang on against the storm, a sudden break in the wind had him swaying and grappling for balance.
The sun in all her glory made a sudden radiant appearance, beating back the biting wind for a time. Surprised, Jensen laughed, giddy with relief as the sun warmed his chilled flesh. Grateful for the respite however short, he unhunched his shoulders and let himself relax for the first time in hours. Squinting into the sudden brightness, he glanced around, anxious to discover the toll this latest storm had taken.
He could only stare gap mouthed in astonishment at the devastation.
Where before they had numbered in the millions upon millions, frolicking in the great heights of their mighty tree, their ranks had fallen victim to the cold. And along with the cold a sickness of some kind, a horrid blight had raced through their ranks, causing millions of their troops to sicken and waste away. Jensen couldn’t understand it, where once a proud army had stood their numbers had quickly been whittled to thousands. Looking around him in the morning light, he gulped in surprise as only hundreds remained.
Jared! Anxious, he spun round, glanced upwards, scanning the limb for Jared’s familiar form. His gut clenched and twisted sickeningly when he couldn’t spot his friend. Frantic, he scanned back and forth along Jared’s normal post, practically willing him to appear. Finally, coughing and a ragged moan were heard, and then the hunched figure of his friend appeared behind a fork in a branch. Jensen’s heart beat triple time at the sight of his beloved friend rising from where he had taken refuge against the wind.
“Jared! Jared, you okay?” he cried, joy and relief spiraling through him.
“Yeah, m’good. Thought that last gust was going to take me out, though. Wow! They never warned us about stuff like this when we woke up. Of course, they didn’t warn us about much at all, did they?” Jared shook his shaggy head in disbelief as he too looked around. An astonished gasp slipped from his lips as he shivered in the light. “My God, Jensen, do you see this? It looks like we’re the only ones left here. Everyone else is simply gone.”
Haunted eyes turned towards him and Jensen could only nod.
“Why us? Why take them and leave us?” Jared’s voice was raw with guilt.
“I don’t know, but it’s not your fault, Jay, we just fought harder and got lucky. There’s nothing we could have done for any of them. At least the Nubbin is safe, isn’t he?” Jensen worked to keep his tone positive, but it was hard to do as Jared straightened and he could see how much his dear friend had failed in the last few days.
In silent shock he took in his friend’s diminished frame. Jared’s deepest green colouring with shots of gold at his center was now gone, wasted away to a pale, almost translucent colour. Like so many Jensen had borne witness to in the last few weeks, Jared was now a mere shadow of himself. Gone were his robust leaf lines, and even from here Jensen could see tiny tears in his now brittle flesh.
Heartsick, Jensen bit his lip, glancing quickly away to hide the emotions he was sure would show on his face. He knew Jared wouldn’t want his pity, and Jensen was helpless to do anything for his friend. He himself had gone from a rich verdant green to an almost golden colour. His skin was paper thin, its luster gone. Blustery talk was fine, but Jensen was realist enough to know that one more storm like this last one and they would both be done.
He wouldn’t go down easy though, he promised himself. He’d be the last leaf standing.
“Yeah at least I still have my Nubbin.” Dimples flashed, half heartedly as Jared hoisted Nubbin on his hip, but Jared’s smile was a pale shadow of its normal brilliance.
“We have to do what we can to look after that little guy.” Jensen grinned as he nodded toward the little acorn that had grown from Jared’s stem late in the summer. A bird attack had broken the little out of his protective tough shell and only Jared’s quick action had saved him from certain death. Jared had babied him fiercely ever since and was immensely proud of his little Nubbin, as he called him. And he had cradled the growing acorn in his arms through the fall, hiding it from marauding squirrels and swooping birds. Now the little nut was the only one of them that didn’t look the worse for wear, its hard shell still shiny and bright, miraculously immune to the changes that had decimated Jared's and Jensen’s world.
Jared smiled down fondly, patting the shiny shell, his face alight with pride. “Yeah, I think he’s easily going to outlast all of us.” Jared glanced away guiltily, and when he looked back at Jensen, his expression was bleak. “I gotta tell you Jensen, that last gust took out my stem. It’s cracked, one good blow and I’m done for.”
“Don’t you talk like that, don’t you ever let me hear you talking like that!” Jensen roared. “We’re gonna beat this thing. The two of us. And we’ll keep the Nubbin safe while we’re at it.”
Jared shook his head sadly. “You know me, man, I’ll always keep fighting. But this, maybe this time, Jensen, we’re just not gonna win this one.”
Jensen growled, glancing away hurriedly so Jared wouldn’t see the sick worry in his eyes. “We’ll beat this thing, man.” Jensen muttered. “Trust me.”
“You know I do, Jensen, more than anything.” Jared’s softly whispered reply was a balm to Jensen’s aching heart.
Worn down from their struggles during the storm, both eventually nodded off, lulled by the unexpected warmth as the sun continued to shine.
A crack of branches and a faint wail woke Jensen from his exhausted sleep.
Jensen glanced up to see a large red squirrel with the Nubbin clamped firmly between its teeth, sprinting away through the branches, Jared trailing behind like a kite, still linked by the sturdy stem.
“Jared! Noooooo!” Eyes wide, Jensen could only stand there helpless, rooted in place as his friend was spirited away. But the red squirrel’s escape was suddenly halted by the arrival of newcomer, a bigger brown squirrel who jumped onto the tree limb in front of him, stopping his getaway.
Jensen watched in horrified fascination as the two squirrels began to fight over possession of Nubbin. Jared’s body was pulled back and forth like a waving flag as one squirrel after the other gained possession. The fighting became particularly fierce, and then Nubbin was batted out of the red squirrel’s mouth to go flying up and out into space. Caught up in the fray, the two squirrels continued to squabble. Unencumbered by Nubbin, they dashed from limb to limb in an epic sky battle, as Jared tumbled to the ground.
Jensen froze in fear as he watched Jared fall. On his own Jared might have been fine, drifting on the soft breeze, but with Nubbin’s extra weight, they were heading straight to the ground at an unsurvivable speed directly to the road below.
Worse, was Jared’s terrified gaze glued to Jensen as he fell. Desperate, Jensen glanced around, looking for anything that might save his friend. It came in the form of the mound of their fallen brothers and sisters that had heaped up by the thousands at the base of their tree. If only Jared could control his fall just a little.
“Jared! Jared,” he cried. “Try to angle to the left, angle to the left!!!”
Jensen watched with bated breath as Jared tried to shift his body and control his plummeting trajectory. Slowly, oh so painfully slowly, he was able to angle himself so he and Nubbin were headed toward the fallen leaves. Jensen wasn’t sure what was worse: to see Jared splattered on the blacktop, or to watch helpless as he shot like a bullet, too fast, far too fast, into the mound of leaves below, and disappear from view.
Forgetting how to breathe, Jensen waited long minutes, very long minutes, for any sign of his friend. What leaf could have survived such a rapid descent? Tears pricking at the corners of his eyes, Jensen bowed his head in despair.
Then suddenly there were rustling, grating sounds as dry dead leaves shifted against each other and crackled in the chill light. Heart beating wildly, Jensen watched for signs of life. He staggered back, gasping when in an eruption of leaves, Nubbin was shoved up through the surface. More shifting and crackling, and Jared’s arm soon followed as he pushed his way through the moldering stack of leaves, shoving Nubbin higher.
Finally Jensen was treated to the sight of a familiar floppy top as Jared’s face came into view, and he couldn’t contain his whoop of delight as his friend’s familiar form pushed its way to the top of the mound.
Breathing out a sigh of relief and sending up a prayer to the great tree, Jensen leaned over his branch and hollered down.
“Jay, Jay-man, you okay?”
“Unbelievably, yes, I think I am, yes! And Nubbin is safe, too.”
Jensen found himself grinning like a loon. “You sure do know how to make a spectacular entrance.”
“Well thanks to you, otherwise…” Jared glanced out at the hard black surface of the road, “I’d be history.” Biting his lip Jared peered up at Jensen, “I don’t mean to complain about surviving or anything, but what now? I’ve never been on the ground before. What should I do?”
Jensen scanned the area, suddenly unsure as well. He didn’t know of a world without Jared over his shoulder. They’d grown together from sprouts in the spring. Together they’d watched and learned all they could about this new world they’d found themselves in. They’d seen humans and cars and watched as the people disappeared into the neat little houses lining the street where their giant oak grew. There had never been a Jared without a Jensen. He could only stand there helpless as his friend gazed up at him. Now they were separated by this vast distance and Jensen had no idea how to proceed, how to ensure Jared’s survival without Jensen by his side.
A sudden chittering interrupted his thoughts as the red squirrel, triumphant in his battle against the brown, started to scrabble down the trunk of the tree. The intent in his cold beady eyes was clear as he made a bee line right toward where Jared and Nubbin lay in the mound.
“Run Jared, run!” Jensen yelled, but he knew from the speed the squirrel was moving that there was no way Jared could outdistance him.
There was only one thing Jensen could do and with a sharp jerk, he snapped his brittle stem, all that still held him to his one and only home, and launched himself off the side of his branch. He had no idea what he was going to do once he got to the ground, but he couldn’t simply stand by and watch his friend savaged before his eyes.
Jensen curled his edges in tighter to increase his speed. Teeth gritted, he tried to gauge where he could intersect the red squirrel’s path, and aimed his body with careful precision.
Right on schedule, the red squirrel came scrambling off the tree trunk and turned, claws clicking on the concrete curb in a single minded race toward Nubbin, cradled in Jared’s arms. Jensen could see Jared steeling himself for the attack. He glared at his foe and shifted Nubbin behind his body protectively.
Jensen’s heart swelled with pride, and grimly he tucked his edges in tighter around his body and sent up a small prayer to the great tree as he bore down like a juggernaut toward his adversary. But the squirrel was moving faster than Jensen ever could have imagined, and a quick calculation in his head told him he would land just short of his prey.
Jensen’s heart sank.
At least he had done his best by his friend.
Maybe it was the whistle of his leaf in the wind, maybe it was the great tree taking pity on him, but somehow, miraculously at the last minute, the squirrel paused, arched it’s head, and swung around, mid rush. That single moment of hesitation combined with the change in direction put Jensen in the perfect position and he slammed into the side of the squirrel, sending it tumbling tail over tea kettle across the grass.
Dazed, Jensen tried to sit up. He knew the squirrel would only be distracted for a few moments. He had never really expected this to succeed as well as it did, but now he needed a new game plan to distract his enemy.
As he'd predicted, it only took seconds for the squirrel to roll and dust itself off. And this time it launched itself at what it perceived to be its greatest threat: Jensen.
With nothing else left to do, Jensen did the only thing he could. Rising up, he was determined to face this menace like a leaf, and he used the last of his breath to roar at the oncoming squirrel.
In the background he could hear Jared crying, “Jensen, noooo.”
And the squirrel stopped, its claws digging into the cold earth in a remarkable effort to stop its thundering advance. Surprised, but with no time to question the squirrel’s sudden change of heart, Jensen let out another mighty roar, and the squirrel practically fell over itself turning and running away in the other direction, racing up the trunk of a neighboring tree and disappearing into the branches.
“What the…?” Dazed Jensen thought he must be hallucinating. Maybe he’d hit the squirrel so hard he’d given himself a concussion and he was imagining this whole thing…
“You did it Jensen, you did it!” Jared cried, working himself out of the leaves and using the wind to shuffle over to where Jensen stood. “You saved us.”
Jared caressed Jensen’s cheek and Jensen stood there in stunned surprise as heat tingled along his skin where Jared had touched him. Maybe a concussion was a good thing?
“Jay?” Jensen was too busy cataloging Jared’s face, the dimples, the shaggy top, the foxy eyes. He reached out, intent on touching this dream Jared in front of him, because surely he was in leaf heaven right now. He could never have survived the squirrel’s attack.
“I always knew you had a warrior’s heart my friend, this only proved it.” Jared grinned and he couldn't seem to stop touching him. It made Jensen’s heart beat faster and suddenly, more than anything, he wanted to know how dream Jensen had defeated the squirrel.
“You going to tell me what I supposedly did, or just tease me?”
“When you rose up the sun was in front of you, catching on the edges of your leaf, and it cast a great shadow— the shadow of a dragon! Just like the one we saw in the picture book when the human children were reading under our tree this summer. Then you let out that magnificent roar. That squirrel never stood a chance!”
Jared grabbed him again and unthinking, kissed him full on the lips like they had seen the older humans do, late in the evening moonlight.
“Ha! He never stood a chance against my dragon heart warrior. And that, my friend, is how you saved us.”
Laughing, Jared spun Jensen around until he was dizzy and there was nothing left but for Jensen to grab Jared by his edges and pull him in tighter for another kiss.
Jensen’s lips were slightly dry and he licked them, then loving the idea of knowing what Jared might taste like, he licked over Jared’s lips. Jared moaned raggedly, and curled Jensen in tighter.
Jensen liked the taste, slightly minty and sweet and he leaned in to do it again and Jared’s eyes fluttered closed as his head fell back. Obviously this licking was a good thing, and with growing boldness Jensen licked a path along Jared’s delicate neck. His friend trembled. “Jen,” Jared moaned. And suddenly Jensen was okay with this dream if he and Jared could be together and this could feel so good.
“Jen, Jen, we need to stop, get somewhere safe.”
Jensen blinked owlishly up into Jared’s face. “Don’t spoil it Jay, if I’m dead I at least want to have a good time.”
“You’re not dead you leaf brain. You’re alive and well, and I want to keep you that way. But we’re out here exposed. We need to find cover.”
Blinking again, Jensen glanced around just as one of the human ‘cars’ roared by.
He’d never been so near one and the noise and stink filled his senses. The rush of the vehicle’s passing threw them both in the air along with a flurrying vortex of dead leaves, tossing them high up in the air and away from the road. When they both finally drifted to the ground, they were a long way from their tree. Jensen could feel Jared’s body trembling with fear and he slipped his hand slipped into Jared’s and squeezed it reassuringly. “It’s okay Jay, we’ll be okay.”
They turned to look and they were on the edge of a whole new group of trees. Both leaves stared around in wonder.
“Wow, I didn’t know the world was so big.” Jensen breathed out as he stared up at the tall black trunks of the hundreds of trees before them.
“Yes, and they are having the same problems here as we did on our tree.” Jared gestured towards the mounds of fallen leaves blanketing the ground under this new forest.
A sudden wind raced through the grove of trees, throwing the millions of leaves up into the air in a whirling, spiraling, hauntingly beautiful dance. Faded red and gold and green leaves caught the last glimmering light of the sun as they were pulled up into air to tumble and spin in the air.
“Which direction should we go?” Jared whispered in the sudden hush as the wind fell and the leaves' magnificent dance of the dead ended and they all floated slowly to the ground.
Jensen shivered as the last of the sun’s heat started to fade as it set. He raked his gaze over the grouping of trees and thought he spotted something.
“Over there, that fallen tree, there’s a snapped off stump. Maybe there will be shelter of some sort. I think we can just make it before we lose the last of the light.”
Nodding determinedly, Jared started to make his way there. When they started to traverse the mountains of leaves they took turns carrying Nubbin as they helped each other climb over their fallen comrades.
“We’re getting close. There’s definitely a hollow of some kind at the base of the old stump. We should be safe there.”
When they finally slipped inside the little hollow at the juncture of the fallen tree’s base the sun was nearly set. Jensen used the last of the light to help him pull some leaves into the cave for cover and more leaves up over the entrance to their little sanctuary. “Hopefully this will keep the wind out. We should be safe here for the night.” Jensen patted the thick layer of leaves under him and tried not to think too hard about how tenuous their situation was and how very tired the both of them were. Their little sanctuary was cosy and wind tight for the night, maybe they could rest and regain their strength here.
“And then what, Jen? Where do we go after this? I don’t think summer will be coming back anytime soon.”
“Then we’ll stay here until it does. It looks like a good place. Sturdy walls, quiet neighbors. And Nubbin will be safe. We survived falling from our home, a squirrel attack, and a wind storm. What’s a few weeks camping in a cave to us?” Jensen grinned, “We’re dragon hearted warriors, after all. Am I right?”
Jared chuckled and reached over to stroke his hand down Jensen’s face. Jensen's thinning skin crackled under Jared’s careful touch, “My dragon warrior.”
“So now that we’re safe, do you think we could get back to that kissing thing we were doing? I had been enjoying that,” Jensen’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “And there are some other areas I’d like to explore as well.”
Jared chuckled as he pulled Jensen into his arms and rolled them onto the bedding. “C'mere darlin’, and Nubbin, you close your eyes.”
Jensen woke late that night to a cold breeze, far colder than any he had ever felt before. Squinting, he noticed the treacherous wind had blown half their door cover away. His breath misted in the night air as he stared out over the fields beyond.
The moon hung silver and bright in the night sky and Jensen stared in wonder. “Jay. Jay, you need to see this, my love.”
Jared woke groggily, “What? Why is it so cold?”
“Look Jay, look.”
And beyond the homey safety of their hollow the ground was now blanketed in white. From the sky tiny, tiny specks of white fell by the thousands, glittering eerily in moonlight.
“It’s beautiful,” Jared breathed out as he sat up, carefully wrapping Nubbin in some of the leaves Jensen had pulled into the cave before turning to join Jensen. Jared’s hand slipped gently into his.
Shoulder to shoulder, they sat there together for hours, watching in awe as the white flakes continued to fall. They watched until there were so many they nearly blocked the door to their little hollow, as securely as the leaves had done. But the moonlight was still able to sneak through a thin slot at the top of the doorway to shine down over them.
Jared shivered and Jensen pulled him in tight. In the moonlight he could see their skin had grown paper thin, and was almost translucent. Jensen silently wiped away the tear rolling down Jared’s gaunt cheek.
“I was cold at first,” Jared whispered, his tone reverent as his hands once again caressed Jensen’s face. Jensen leaned into the touch, fire and warmth from their connection licking over him. “I was cold, but now I’m warm and sleepy. Come sleep with me, Jensen, hold me through the night.”
Hefting Nubbin in his arms, Jensen carefully placed the little acorn between them as they curled together in the blue chill. Silently their lips met once more in the darkness.
“Do you regret anything?” Jared asked as he nuzzled his head into Jensen’s shoulders, his voice sleepy, distant. “Do you regret leaving your home to save me?”
“How could I regret anything, my love?” Jensen whispered. kissing the floppy top of Jared’s head. “If it weren’t for the squirrel I’d never have had a chance to hold you in my arms. To tell you I love you until the end of time.”
“I love you too, my dragon warrior,” Jared whispered. “Love you more than life itself.”
Outside, the moon started to hum, and lights began to dance in the night sky, green and majestic. “Look Jensen, Look! It’s so beautiful,” Jared gasped. “It’s like the wind carried all our people up into the sky. Do you think the tree god will let us join them?” Jared turned his head and stared searchingly into Jensen’s eyes.
Jensen smiled captured his lover's lips once more, before breathing out, “I’m sure he will, my love. We’ll go there together.”
* * *
In the spring a little sprout poked its curious head out from inside the hollow of an old fallen tree. It had been sheltered through the winter by its parents, who had wrapped their bodies tightly around him to keep him safe through the storms of winter, allowing him to take root. As the little acorn grew into a mighty tree, it looked forward to the fall when the air grew cold and the snow came and the flickering lights filled the night, and he could once again see his parents dancing in the midnight sky.