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Nightmares

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“TEMERAIRE!!” Laurence screamed. He tried to move, to reach his dragon but his limbs didn’t obey his commands. Salt water washed over him again, flooding the rocking deck and stinging his eyes.

“LAURENCE!” Temeraire roared furiously, fighting off the very chains that should have kept him safe on the deck but which were now bent on pulling him down with them, into the wrath of the waves below.

Laurence tried to move, to think, to do something; but his body refused him, feeling like a weight trapping him to the deck.

Laurence could see Temeraire struggling, scratching deep grooves into the deck, but the chains were starting to win, dragging the exhausted dragon slowly down with them.
And Laurence could not do anything but watch him, watch his dragon tire himself out, watch him fight a losing battle while high above their heads thunder and lighting ruled the dark skies.

Temeraire roared again, desperate and exhausted. Suddenly the world was only a bright white light and a loud roaring that made the wood under Laurence’s feet shudder. When the world regained its colour, the sight before him made Laurence’s blood run cold.

The lightning had hit the mainmast, setting it alight and slowly it was falling over with terrifying grace. And Laurence still couldn’t do anything but scream as the mast made it’s way right towards Temeraire, the sound of his voice was lost in a rolling clap of thunder.

Laurence jolted upright, breathing heavily and drenched in sweat, the picture of the falling mast and the struggling Temeraire still burned on his eyelids. He lay back down in his bed, blinking up to the rough ceiling of his room in the Dover covert.

He wouldn’t say he had no experience with nightmares, he had them more often than not, they were a part of the life of a soldier, but he couldn’t claim to get used to them.
He felt suddenly restless, touched by the urge to see if his dragon was well regardless of the sensible side of him insisting all was well.

He got up and dressed quickly, stepping quietly out of his room and letting his feet take him on the familiar route over the grounds.

Finally he came upon Temeraire’s clearing, and even though he knew it was a nightmare, relief still washed over him when he found the dragon alive and well and, surprisingly, still awake.

“Oh, hello Laurence” Temeraire said surprised, “I thought you were sleeping.” Laurence smiled fondly at him.

“Hello my dear,” he said “I was just a bit restless, that is all” he added walking over and putting a hand on the dragon’s snout. Temeraire nudged him back affectionately, and Laurence let himself lean against the dragon, closing his eyes and focusing on the warmth of the dragon’s scaly hide beneath his fingers.

“Laurence? Are you alright?” Temeraire asked suddenly anxious and nosing at him.

“I am alright,” Laurence said, “We are alright.”