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Rhaegal has never been intrigued by men before they traversed the long puddle of water men call sea and arrived in their new, exciting home. There has been that one time, when the little man who is not a child, a Tyrion man, has been kind enough to pay a visit to him and his sibling in their nest under the mountain. He had been really kind to them and had removed the horrible, always clinging cord from around both their neck. It made playing hide-and-seek that much easier for Viserion and him, now that they would not hear exactly were the other would go to hide, or that they wouldn’t entangle themselves when the cords went too many times around the stone sticks making the ceiling hold over their head. For that alone, Rhaegal will always have a touch of appreciation for the Tyrion man. And then, more so because the Tyrion talks to Mother in a way she likes. He even sometimes makes her laugh, which is a rare thing. Viserion too, likes the Tyrion. The Tyrion hasn’t talked much to them after that one time in the nest under the mountain, but the few times he did, Viserion listened to him eagerly and smelled really happy.

But most other men are not as interesting. Rhaegal, alongside his two siblings Drogon and Viserion, has become used to have around them the small, two-legs men. They liked the old man with white fur on his head, who would protect Mother with his long fang of steel. The woman with the dark bush on her head is always kind to them too, though she doesn’t talk to them. Neither does the man who sweats queerly when he’s close to the bush-hair woman, and helps protect Mother. Most men don’t talk to them at all. But he still remembers the man with gold hair who has always stood close to Mother, ever since they were born. The man he once thought was his man-maker, like Mother, but male. He never talked much to them, but one of the last time Rhaegal saw him, the gold hair man told him to watch over their Mother. As if they were stupid enough to let Mother get hurt. Yet he still misses this weird man who cares so much about Mother.

But apart from these few men and she-men, Rhaegal has never been really fascinated by men. He either supports their presence, or roasts them, depending on if Mother likes them or not.

Yet there comes the day when The Man enters his life. The Man picks his interest instantly. Rhaegal catches a whiff of strange smells in the wind, a combination of animals’ dead skins, musk, something fresh like the white powder over the top of mountains, and then something, something. Something old which has his blood sign in his veins. Rhaegal knows The Man is particularly special when Viserion turns his head and sniffs too, looking at The Man with interest too. And then Drogon, their bigger brother, bothers himself with raising up from the big patch of grass on top of the mountain they use as playground and napping ground and joins them. The three of them look from over their cliff as the bush-head woman and the Tyrion accompanies The Man up the stairs to go meet Mother in her big stone hut.

Of course, Drogon has to be his usual self, an attention seeker. Before Viserion and him can even react, their bigger sibling has dived down from the cliff, and maneuvers himself to go say hi to The Man. Which is unfair because Rhaegal wanted to be the one to do that. The Man seems to know nothing about their way of saying hi, and jumps on his belly to make even more room for their big brother. Who will get it in his head that he’s so much bigger than he actually is, and men expect him to get even bigger and let him have the place to do so. Drogon comes back all satisfied of having said hi first to The Man, and goes back to his nap. Viserion gives him the stink eye, then looks back down, though Rhaegal has a feeling he is watching The Man with as much interest as he is watching the Tyrion.

As for himself, Rhaegal is watching only The Man. There’s something about him which makes him want to get closer to The Man, maybe bump him a little to introduce himself.

- - - - - - - - -

Rhaegal sometimes sees The Man, standing on the top of the mountain, at the cliff, and looking at the horizon with a brooding expression. He tries to emulate the brooding, but it seems to be a talent only The Man has. Maybe he could use some cheer up? Rhaegal decides to achieve two goals with the same move. He will try and get the attention of The Man, and will try to cheer him up. He decides to take a dive from the upper cliff he is standing at, and gives the impression that he will fall while actually he can shift his body up at the last moment and gets low to the ground. He dives with his claws gracing the grass, getting close enough to The Man that he wins his attention. This one steps back a bit, looking startled.

Then Rhaegal goes in the open sky over the beach and the sea, and decides to show him how he can fly like a true champion. Better than his siblings too, seeing as they usually don’t practice their loops like he does. He curves and curves, and then loops and twists his body like he has something stuck on his back and can’t reach it. He keeps twisting and looping and curving his body through all kinds of challenging maneuvers to impress The Man.

But then, he is reminded of all the fishes he ate in the morning. It doesn’t settle in his belly as good as some of the four-legs meat the men use to ride. Oh no, he thinks he is going to regurgitate it all now. Like when he spits great lines of fire, but this time it would be his fish meal. Somehow he has this feeling The Man would not be all that impressed by that, wouldn’t he?

Rhaegal flies out of sight of The Man, feeling green with nausea. He’s already emptying his belly, when he realises that he’s back on their napping site. On Drogon’s spot. Damn! Drogon doesn’t like when Viserion and him touch his things. Not knowing what to do, Rhaegal throws fire on the spot, reducing to ashes his whole mess. Maybe he can pretend that he was trying to make the spot more comfy for their big brother? Yes, if asked, he will go for that one.

- - - - - - - - -

He hates Drogon. This one looks at him wickedly, watching his reaction as Rhaegal discovers that His spot as been torched too. After Drogon relieved himself on it. Fire might be cleansing, but he can still smell the remnants of Drogon’s release there. Eugh! Not cool!

Viserion looks at the both of them like they’re both so stupid, then curls away on his napping spot, his head away from them. Yep, they might have to change place for their napping now. Rhaegal moves away from his spot, and moves on the other side of Viserion. The ground is not as comfortable here, his indent in it still needing to be made. How annoying!

But then he smells The Man. He gets closer to the edge of their part on the mountain. And there he is, The Man, standing again on his brooding cliff. Rhaegal decides to go see him again. He will show him he can fly that much better, and without getting sick too. He runs to the cliff and dives down, before taking flight and heading towards The Man.

But then, so does Viserion, his little brother. The brat, what is he doing? While Rhaegal moves in more curves and executes some twists of his body, Viserion heads straight to the mountain, where Rhaegal can see the Tyrion approach The Man. Ah, of course. Viserion makes a curve over the two men to say hi, before turning back and crossing path with Rhaegal. Damn, he can’t look like a fool and just fly in front of them like a mad reptile. Not after the calm but graceful way Viserion greeted them. So he goes for flying over their head too, and screams hello eagerly. His cry echoes through the whole bay, and Rhaegal sees that The Man is now leaving towards the path leading to Mother’s big stone hut. He doesn’t even say hello back to him. How rude!

Rhaegal feels disappointed as he goes back to the napping ground he shares with his siblings. He really wants for The Man to say hi to him.

Viserion sighs when Rhaegal slouches on his spot. His little brother is there to rub his head on Rhaegal’s neck and comfort him, before they fall asleep, tucked together.

- - - - - - - - -

For the next few days, Rhaegal goes fly over The Man’s head each time he sees him out of the castle. He shouts hello a few times, but The Man always seem in a rush to leave after hearing him. Rhaegal finds himself confused by it. Viserion, such a good brother that he is, often joins him, keeping his flight straight and boring so that Rhaegal can show off his great agilities. He does some loops from time to time, mindful of not getting himself sick again. Damn it, why won’t Mother let them feed on the four-legs meat men ride? It’s his favorite, and there’s so many times they can eat fish! But The Man seems oblivious to all his efforts. He never says anything. Just looks at him with curious eyes. Maybe he doesn’t know what Rhaegal is doing. Maybe he needs more to understand that he’s supposed to say hello to him?

One time, Rhaegal sees him on the cliff again, doing his Standing-while-looking-at-the-horizon-brooding pastime. Rhaegal decides to do something else to attract The Man’s attention, and possibly obtain a greeting in return. He flies and crosses the water around their island to go chase himself a cow on the other earth. Mother doesn’t like when they do this, wanting them to stay hidden so as to not scare too much the other men. But Rhaegal remains discreet, and snatches himself a pretty cow. He makes sure to seize it just the right way and flies back with it to go join The Man on the cliff.

The Man startles when he hears Rhaegal arrive just a few leagues from him. His prey is still screaming in fear, all lively as Rhaegal plays with it a little to show the man how good he is at transporting his food still alive and fresh. The Man doesn’t seem to know what to say to that, and freezes on the spot, looking between him and the cow. Rhaegal spits fire on the cow, and this one turns a perfect black crisp instantly. Mother usually likes seeing her children do this. She likes their fire. Has loved it since they were barely out of the egg. Rhaegal hopes The Man likes it too. The Man still watches him, looking unsure. So Rhaegal takes the burnt meat in his mouth, throws it in the air with greet dexterity, then opens his mouth wide so that it will fall straight in his mouth. He swallows it in one gulp, before looking down at The Man with a pleased grin. See how it’s done? I’m good at it, isn’t it? I too can show off!

But then the man seems even more uneasy, backing down from him so very slowly. Rhaegal watches him distance himself with confusion. Hey, why are you going. Aren’t we having fun here?

But then he realises that The Man must be hungry too. He is so small, he obviously needs to eat if he wants to become as big as some men Mother’s surrounds herself with. And Rhaegal just ate a whole meal before him, without sharing one bit with him. The Man must be leaving to get his own meal. Maybe he should give some food to The Man? Oh yes, that seems like a good idea.

- - - - - - - - -

Before Rhaegal can bring his plan into actions, Mother comes back with Drogon from their killing-flight on the other earth. Rhaegal still feels resentful that Mother would only take their big brother, and leave Viserion and him there. They could have helped too. Rhaegal would have been glad to fly over the men with small fangs of steel and roast them alive for Mother. But then, he got to watch The Man while Drogon was away! His big brother was not there to steal his fun.

Rhaegal watches all happy as Mother flies back home, and then lands with Drogon just where The man is standing, Rhaegal having been watching him closely from his spot on the napping ground. His happiness turns to annoyance and jealousy as he sees his big brother get closer and closer to The Man, like he is going to bump into him and play with him. And then The Man does the thing Rhaegal wanted to be the first one the have. He extends his hand towards Drogon’s nose, and lets big brother sniff him, before he touches the side of his nose and caresses him here.

That’s so unfair! Why is it that Drogon always has the best things? He now even has The Man touching him, while Rhaegal has been the one striving and striving to get his attention.

Viserion bumps in his side to get his attention, and watches him with tender eyes, before taking flight and urging him to do the same. Mother is climbing down Drogon’s back, and while Drogon was the first one to be touched by The Man, they can still make it so that he looks at them too, now that greetings have been exchanged. Besides, their Mother and The Man are looking at each other which has Mother and him sweat in that weird way men and she-men often do when they want to wrap themselves against each other.

Somehow, with Mother and The Man, and then the three of them flying together over them, it feels like something was missing that starts to fill a hole they didn’t notice was there in the first place. He hopes The Man stays.

- - - - - - - - -

While Viserion keeps looking with a close eye between The Man and Mother, to make sure that everything goes well between them, Rhaegal keeps trying to get The Man’s attention for himself. How annoying that Drogon got to have The Man’s touch, but The Man still won’t look at him and greet him, and even less come close to rub Rhaegal’s nose like he did to his big brother.

He decides to fly across the water again, to get to the other earth. There, Rhaegal hunts for something special to give to his man. A sheep seems too small. Maybe a cow? But isn’t there something a little bit better to give him? He finds that thing when he crosses a few tree patches and sees the four-legs creature with branches on each side of their head running through a field. Perfect. He dives low and pick two in each claw, before flying back up with a cry of victory.

Viserion looks at him with exasperation when he sees Rhaegal fly back with his prices. Drogon barely opens a lazy eye to look at it, before going back to sleep. Too bad for them. Rhaegal burns the two pieces of meat to a crisp, just like he likes. The meat is just perfect on his tongue when he eats his. Oh yes, The Man will like it! He waits for the man to walk back onto the beach. It should be just a few moments now if Rhaegal’s calculations are right, which is perfect seeing as his meat will have the time to cool for the human to be able to eat.

When The Man walks on the beach after exiting the cave below the mountain, Rhaegal flies to him, all eager to present his gift. He sees some men following The Man running back inside the hole under the mountain. But The Man doesn’t run, though he seems tense. Rhaegal dumps the charred meat just in front of him, before shouting hello to The Man. The only man remaining with The Man, a man with white fur on his head and chin, takes the arm of The Man, and the both of them run back inside the passage leading to under the mountain. Which is unfair, because Rhaegal is too big to follow him there!

- - - - - - - - -

 

Some would say that Rhaegal becomes desperate to get The Man’s attention afterward. He knows it is pitiful. Even Viserion sometimes looks at him with a mix of pity and compassion, before watching over the interactions between Mother and The Man. But Rhaegal feels the need to do something so that The Man will acknowledge him, touch him even.

Seeing as The Man didn’t touch the charred meal, Rhaegal thinks on how else to give him his food. Mother doesn’t like her food black as her children like. Instead, she wants it just a little bit roasted, with the center all juicy and still red. So Rhaegal tries a few times to give The Man meat, but roasted like Mother likes. It takes him half a dozen tries before he realises that he needs to just blow warm air on the meat a few times before it is cooked the way Mother likes.

Then he starts bringing his catches to The Man, going as far as to wait for him a few times, a day. Sometimes he gives the food once The Man gets out of the hole in the mountain, making him jump in surprise. Another time it’s when The Man is on his brooding cliff, where it is becoming rarer and rarer to see him. But The Man, who has learnt to stop jumping from fright after seeing him, just looks at it with a point of disgust.

Maybe fish then. Rhaegal barely likes the wriggling things, but hey, he won’t judge others for their taste. So he flies a few hours to try and catch his favorite one. A big, juicy fish with a pointy nose which jumped straight in his claws. They are so dumb these dauphins!

Rhaegal lands on a part of Mother’s stone hut, the place where he can see The man come from every morning before he descends the stairs to go to the hole leading under the mountains. He waits for him there for a small while, all impatient to give him his gift. Maybe this time The man will be all pleased. He will want to call him by his name, and then extend his hand to touch him. How he hopes it will come to this.

The Man finally walks out, and Rhaegal dumps the fish from his place higher over his head. The big fish lands just in front of The Man with a loud squishy sound, and parts of it fly in every direction. Some of it land on The Man, who freezes in shock.

Oh no! That’s not at all what Rhaegal wanted to happen. He tenses with guilt, head back and trying to make himself seem small.

“Rhaegal!” Mother says with indignation.

Rhaegal flies away, too ashamed to face Mother and The Man. As he flies away, he turns his head back, only to see Mother take hold of The Man and bring him back inside, looking all ashamed. The Man raises his head once, looking at Rhaegal with a curious look. Then he smiles at Mother, and laugh.

Rhaegal is confused by this.

- - - - - - - - -

Later that day, The Man and many other men go on the beach, Mother and bush-head woman with them. There’s even the Tyrion. And the gold hair man who has just come back from moons of absence. Rhaegal approaches them, feeling a certain sense of dread.

When he sees the small men climb on small wood fishes to get to their big wood floater, he understands right away that The Man is leaving. Mother seems sad, though she hides it well. So does the Tyrion, though he seems to be staying with them. He too will miss The Man. Guilt and sadness gnaw at him. Is The Man leaving because of him? Is it because he found Rhaegal too annoying to remain with Mother. Was he a bad child?

Rhaegal comes on the beach to tell The Man how sorry he is. He will be good now. Please stay! The man looks at him with strange eyes, before looking back at Mother a last time. Then he turns his back, and runs in the water with the other men, before climbing on the small wooden fish. He flies over them to try to tell him to turn back, but Mother calls him back, concerned. He looks down and sees that the wooden ship is tangling in weird ways because of the waves, and that the men on it might fall in the water.

Rhaegal flies away with a sad cry. Viserion is there to bump head with him in comfort when he lands, crooning at him with sympathy. It surprises Rhaegal when later that day, Mother comes to their napping ground, and walks to him. She calls his name, and he looks at her. She looks sad, even more so when she comes close to him, and touches his nose.

“So you like him too, son?”

Rhaegal moves his head in this weird way men use when they want to indicated they agree without using any sound. He’s not sure if it worked well enough with his big head, and him laying on the ground. But it doesn’t matter. Mother always understands anyway. She smiles a sad smile at him.

“Don’t worry son, Jon Snow will be back. If he doesn’t, we will go fly after him ourselves, like dragons do!” Mothers says with her chin high and a small smile on her lips.

Rhaegal growls in agreement.

“But try to not ply him with food again, my sweet boy. I grow uneasy of the amount of meat my servants have to clean each time. We’ll find another way to tell him.”

Rhaegal feels sheepish at that, but Mother’s fond smile for him is enough to make him feel all happy.

- - - - - - - - -

When finally they land back home, on the island where Mother’s stone hut is, Rhaegal goes right to the napping spot where all three dragons used to nap together. Grass seems somehow more brittle and yellowing. But their smell is still there, permeated in the ground in a way rain cannot fully wash. Rhaegal crawls to Viserion’s spot, where his smell is the strongest, and lay low, his nostrils filled with the smell of his witty brother.

Drogon arrives just a few moments after him, coming just beside him in a way they haven’t done since they were but hatchlings. Drogon and him have grown closer since rescuing The Man and fleeing the frozen man and his dead army. And since losing Viserion.

Rhaegal lifts his head when he catches an unexpected smell. Mother, and The Man. Both their smells merging together in a comforting way. Viserion would have been so glad to see his own plans come to fruition as Mother and The Man finally joined together. Rhaegal feels his brother’s loss in such a painful, sad way.

He doesn’t lift his head from the ground when The Man and Mother come in view. He doesn’t understand why they are coming here in the first place, it is a surprise to actually see them coming here, and together at that. But then Mother gives a small push to The Man, Jon Snow, now that Rhaegal now his name. And then Jon Snow moves forward and comes closer to him. Rhaegal feels anticipation run to him as finally The Man, Jon Snow, touches him.

Rhaegal feels both warm and cold at once, and something makes him vibrate inside. Something in him shifts, like a piece of him having been ajar for so long that he never really realised it, then filling its missing place just the right way. Jon Snow and him both close their eyes in unison as feelings rush through them, and they seem to become one, like they were meant to be. Then they open their eyes in the same time, both feeling pleased to see the other as they were always meant to do. Jon Snow smiles, and laughs a bit, and Rhaegal closes the distance between them until he can bump into his Jon Snow.

This moment becomes one of his most really, really happy moment, as Mother and Jon Snow all laughs with happiness, and Drogon bumps Mother while still remaining in contact with Rhaegal. Later Mother comes on Drogon’s back, and Jon Snow tentatively climbs on his back, before they all go roam the sky together.

- - - - - - - - -

They were already perfect together. Rhaegal doesn’t understand why suddenly there’s that small… thing, looking up at him with red eyes. The Thing is as small as his claws, and has the size of the four-legs beasts men ride. It is as white as the cold powder in the north, like The Thing rolled himself in it and found himself permanently covered in it. And smelling like it.

He wonders how The Thing tastes.

But then he can feel Jon Snow through The Thing, and there is a feeling like The Thing is somehow part of them. So eating The Thing is a big no no. Damn!

What is really annoying is that The Thing can go everywhere Mother and Jon Snow go together. It can go eat in the big stone hut with them, it can walk with Jon Snow where ever he goes. It can even sleep with Mother and Jon Snow. Which makes Rhaegal jealous. He tried a few times to make himself all small and try to fit through the entrance, but Jon Snow and Mother looked panicked and told him to not do that. And here was The Thing, looking up at him with it’s red eyes, never saying a thing to him. Rhaegal even tried once to balance himself on some part of the stone hut and look through the window to the room Mother and Jon Snow share together. But from the look of unease they both had when they saw Rhaegal, and the way they stopped doing that rubbing-humping thing men do to hatch men-babes, Rhaegal understood that he might not be welcome. The Thing might have been in the room, but it clearly understood not to look at them while they were creating their own children.

The Thing surprises him when it comes to him while he is napping on a spot of warm earth surrounded by cold white powder. Drogon looks intrigued for a moment, before leaving them to go fly and chase himself a meal, leaving Rhaegal alone with The Thing. Who so happens to have in his mouth a four-leg creature with branches on it’s head.

The Thing leaves it on the ground in front of Rhaegal, then looks at him expectantly, red eyes all eager.

Rhaegal understands right away that The Thing and him are a perfect fit.