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John hadn't been happy to hear the news, but neither had he been surprised. Conflicts had been building up as soon as the new lands had been discovered. Dailur, the land of the dragons, would be occupied by the British Army by sunset because apparently, humanity still wasn't any more civilised than in the times of the old colonisation: If it doesn't speak your language, it is scum and you have the right, no, the duty, to enslave it. It made the young soldier sick to his stomach. This wasn't what he had expected to be doing when he joined the army. He wanted to fight enemies who threatened their country, aid allies who were trying to settle conflicts between countries or within countries. Never had he agreed to invading new territory because it was 'mysterious' and 'scientifically valuable'. Dragons hadn't been a threat so far – flying creatures that minded their own business – but of course the human race had to immediately declare the unknown as dangerous. John hoped killing them was the worst they would be ordered to do over there.
“Watson, what's wrong?” asked a grinning mate, Thompson, he recalled. “Doesn't it bother you?” John asked back voice almost too low to be heard over the rattling of the old wagon across the gravelly road. “We don't know anything about dragons and so far they haven't been a problem although they could have been, had they chosen to and yet we're being sent out to hunt them down.”, “Well, all I know is that they are huge mofos with scales as large as a whole fish, firey breath, some badass greed and wings that could blow you like a fuckin' tornado. Just because they haven't attacked yet, doesn't mean they never will! I like to know for sure they won't.” John kept looking at him uncertainly. “Those are details taken from stories. What if they're.. nice or something?” Thompson laughed at that. “Come on, Watson! Since when are you the soft one?!”he teased, but John averted his gaze and ignored him, looking down on the path they'd left behind and then at the area in front of them.

 

Arriving at the base that had already been set up just on the outermost part of the foreign territory, they were handed bag-fulls of material, including tents and the likes, to set up a camp a bit further in. There were constantly five soldiers on watch and still the stressing feeling of possible attack by the unknown was an omnipresence that weighed down on every single man in their group. This wasn't like the encounter with the dwarves, the small aggressive folk that surprised several countries simultaneously by attacking, expecting to win and conquer, but oblivious of the advanced technology the humans were fighting with. They had attacked first, giving armies world-wide the right to act on self-defence. John hadn't liked it, but that had been a situation of 'him or them' and dear god, he wasn't ready to die just yet, at the sweet age of 25.
It was the dwarves, however, who had lead the human race on the path to discover the supernatural, or rather not-so-supernatural, as it seemed. Had the dwarves not attacked, they would never have started looking for any of these creatures, would never have moved through those holes between dimensions, wouldn't be arbitrarily attacking anything that had the potential to be enslaved. John already saw it coming: dragons as the new fashionable pets, with muzzles and leashes, kept in small cages.. It was really sickening.

Luckily, the first day and night remained calm, no sightings of any dragons or other impossibly possible creatures. The next day, John and his team were sent out to explore the east, another team did the same in the west.
Dailur wasn't at all as he had imagined it to be. John had thought to find burnt down trees, ashes of land and rivers of lava to mark the direct environment of dragons, but it wasn't like that at all. Actually, it was more like the landscape of a girly fairytale: Endless meadows of grass, greener than John had ever seen, with exotic and beautiful small flowers growing as far as the eye could see. Petite trees with juicy fruits that bared the smallest of resemblances to their own, and a waterfall only about 15km from their camp; the droplets of water in the air reflecting the sunlight, creating a small rainbow. John felt like he was in one of his sister's drawings from when she was 7, but that couldn't take away the feeling of calm, peace and endless adoration for a world like this. Since his early teens he had felt the most terrible case of wanderlust, the draw to a place he had never seen and no one knew existed. For the first time in his life, he realised that place existed. It was right here. For once, John felt home. For once, John felt lost.

He hadn't realised this. Why hadn't he realised they had stepped into a forest?! He was standing just outside, the change from sunlight to shadows of trees having possibly woken him in his dream. He was alone, but he couldn't shout. They were strictly forbidden to, to not raise attention to their presence. Fuck. Fuck! “Okay,” John told himself, “not into the woods, you'll lose track.” he turned and looked around, his eyes falling on the waterfall and the river to it again. Well, if he was lost, he could just as well drink some water, splash it in his face, get back to himself a little, right? He was armed after all and he had a compass – god knew if that actually worked in this dimension – so he could give it his best shot at finding his way back to camp.

He walked up to the river first, planning to follow it's trail back to the source, but stopped to marvel at the opaque blue colour of it – clear and unnaturally rich, as if drawn on by a pencil. He crouched beside the stream, reaching in with his hand as if to convince himself that it was real, and indeed, it was. Warmed up by the sunny day, the mild temperature and wetness of it confirmed that this was really an existing fluid.
John got back up and continued on his way to where the waterfall pooled in a large pond. Once there, he disposed of his bag and reached for the water again, forming a cup with his hands and taking a sip of it. Had he been cursing a minute ago about giving his flask to one of his mates, who had emptied it just as quickly as his own, he was now more than happy to have done so, quickly getting it out and filling as much of this natural fluid in it as he could. It tasted like water, but much richer and more satisfying to his thirst than what he was used to.
Was this paradise? It must be!
Without second thoughts, John freed his upper body of all his clothes, splashing water all over himself, sitting back on his heels and sighing at the fresh feeling.

He would have to get back to camp eventually or else they might blindly attack any living creature in accusation of having taking one of their soldiers. But for now, what harm could a little relaxation do?
He leaned back, balancing himself with his hands on the grass behind him, the tickling feeling of it fading as his palms were cradled in the soft moss. Deep and calm breaths were interrupted as his eyes snapped open and his body tensed up, alarmed by the smallest of noises, John grabbed his handgun and rose to his feet.
He followed the crackling sound to the other side of the river, jumping over the most narrow part in his reach to circle a large willow-like tree, only to jump and point his gun at another person. Or at least something that looked like one. “Parraqu. Molareima m ŷky.” sounded a rich, deep voice and pale blue eyes fixed on his. The creature before him was a tall man, all pale skin, dark curls and scales decorating his flesh in certain areas, like his shoulders, wrists, parts of his neck and upper body. Somehow, the only unnatural thing to John seemed to be the creature's eyes, they were unbelievably beautiful, like a play of the opaque water, spots of turquoise trees and even tiny specks of a pale brown that seemed to scream for intensity. The, not really panicked but surprisingly calm, eyes flickered to where John's weapon was still pointing at them, and promptly, John lowered his arm. “I am not going to harm you, okay?” he slowly lay the gun to the ground, keeping eye contact. “I don't want to hurt you.” he insisted, speaking slowly, his hands raise in front of his bare chest.

“Tulůr caru'um.” the creature said, shaking his head. John understood. “I don't understand you either..” he replied, nodding.

They just looked at each other for some time then and John couldn't help the sudden smirk tugging at his lips. The creature before him looked confused for a second, but soon joined in, smiling mildly, but it looked honest. “Meïcul nƟrmaů?”It sounded like a question, which didn't make it easier for John to understand. He tilted his head in question, apologetic smile on his face. “Mh.” the creature grunted, realising that simply speaking wouldn't get them anywhere. He reached his hand out to John exaggeratively and after reflexively flinching for a second, he made connections between the flat palm on his chest and the repeated “Meïcul nƟrmaů?”. Looking down at the short and rounded, pointy claws in their harmless position, feeling the elevated but comfortable warmth of it against his skin, John thought what these words could mean. When it occurred to him, he felt stupid, it was one of the first questions you would ask in such a situation. John tapped his chest, looking intently at the other as he said “John.” “TyƟw..” the creature tried and the soldier tried again, more distinctly. “[dʒɔn].” “TyƟn.. Tsh-Tshoon.. Djon.. Jon- John! John?” The creatures eyes, which had drifted around as he tried different attempts at saying John's name, focused back on the soldier as he thought he'd got it. “John!” the blond nodded approvingly and the creature's eyes lit up, glittering with delight. “What's your name?” John asked back, pointing at the other one now. The tall man frowned, looking a little unsure and embarrassed and John didn't understand at first. “ӋƺrȽƟȼǷu nƟrmace!” he said urgently and John wasn't sure how names worked in this dimension, in the other's species. He blinked. The creature closed his eyes, sighing, thinking of how to do this. He placed his palm on his own chest and repeated: “ӋƺrȽƟȼ.” then he made gestures with his right hand that looked like a sign language, but John couldn't understand as “Ƿu nƟrmace” was repeated as well. He sighed again as he saw John's questioning look and slight shake of his head. Again, John was touched, then another gesture was made. The creature's hand showed its back to John, pinkie raised, ring-finger pointing back at himself, middle-finger against the palm, index-finger bent and thumb pointing sideways. During this, the words “Meïcul nƟrmaůe” were uttered and it was finished off with his name “John”. The creature was quiet for a minute, giving John the chance to recall the words “Meïcul nƟrmaůe” or rather “ Meïcul nƟrmaů” from before. They were said when he was asked about his name, so John supposed they meant something like 'What's your name?/What are you called/Your name is/You are called'. “ My name is John.” he confirmed in his own language, nodding emphatically. The creature nodded likewise. Again, the other touched his chest, saying “Meïcul”, apparently the word for “you”, as John told him. “Meïcul/You” the man repeated, managing the English word perfectly on his first try – a fast learner, it seemed. The hand went to the creatures chest with the word “Acë”, which John remembered, too. “I” he said and the creature repeated “I”, his hand going back to John, “You” and John nodded and smiled, doing the same motion of pointing at himself, “I”, and pointing at the other, “You”.

The creature nodded, seeming to understand the logic of it. “NƟrmace,” the creature said doing the gesture from before again after palming his own chest, “ӋƺrȽƟȼ.” He waited for John to understand that, apparently, this meant 'My name is/I am called' and then the name John didn't dare to even try to say.

Now things got complicated. The creatures hand went from John's chest to the gesture to the creatures chest with the words “Meïcul nƟrmace,” now he shook his head, “deil ӋƺrȽƟȼ!”

There was a pause in which the creature searched in John's eyes for a hint of understanding and, yes, John did! “I do not call you...” he said with the fitting gestures and the creature supposed he understood correctly. “What do I call you, then?” John asked, trying to be clear through the gestures. The creature shook his head, shrugged his shoulders and smiled wittily. John was confused. Was he supposed to call him whatever he liked? to pick a name himself?! He raised an eyebrow as he considered this – maybe this was how they did it in this culture. The creature's name, ӋƺrȽƟȼ, it sounded a bit like he was saying 'Sherlock', which was still an unusual name, but that only made it all the more fitting, didn't it? John pointed at the creature and told him “Sherlock” could be his name for John and the other repeated it in a pondering manner. “Shƺrloȼ...” he tried the sound of it himself and then smiled brightly at John, nodding in confirmation. Apparently, he liked that name. “John. Shƺrloȼ. I Shƺrloȼ!”

“Your name is Sherlock.” John corrected.

After many tries, he managed to go from “Ir name is Shƺrloȼ” to “My name is Shƺrloȼ” and seemed to burst with pride at having managed a part of John's language.

Suddenly, Sherlock dashed around the tree and ran to dive right into the water. John laughed heartily and followed him, but instead of jumping in, he took off his heavy boots and sat down on the edge, feet dangling in the water as he watched Sherlock swim around a little, wondering what the folds of skin next to Sherlock's shoulder blades could be for. He refused the invitation to join him with a smiled shaking of his head, but Sherlock would have none of that. He pouted and approached John. “No, Sherlock, I can't take off all of my uniform. I need to be able to react quickly, protect us-” but he couldn't finish because Sherlock, additionally to not understanding anyway, ignored his protests and simply pulled him into the water.

When John got back to the surface, he took a deep and surprised breath, scowling at Sherlock with amusement. “John, you naĦu!” Sherlock insisted, making a movement with his arms. “To swim” John supplied, grinning. “You to swim giĦ Shƺrloȼ!” “No, Sherlock. To swim is the infinitive.” John said. “Like 'to eat', 'to jump'..” he explained, supplying gestures. “But I swim with you.” “Ha!” Sherlock yelled laying both hands on John's chest abruptly as if teasing him 'You said it, now you have to do it!' and John realised just how clever Sherlock was. “Jooooohn, swim with me!” he said with a mild accent that was beyond adorable for a man of Sherlock's height. “You smart thing!” John exclaimed, quickly picking up on swimming after Sherlock, who had progressed away from him very efficiently, trying to catch up. As smooth and elegant as Sherlock's movements were, he had no chance against the muscular soldier, pushing himself through the water with strong arms and legs. Suddenly, Sherlock dived and John couldn't act fast enough – again, he was pulled underwater, had no chance to take a preparing breath but was lifted out quickly. And high. Higher than should be possible.

The next thing he really realised, Sherlock was kneeling above him on all fours, wings, bloody wings folding in on themselves and disappearing in his back. John threw a perplexed look at Sherlock as he tried to catch his breath, but the other one just grinned and burst into laughter, his deep voice vibrating softly as he rolled off John and onto his back next to him.

Was this some kind of game Sherlock's people played? Had John just lost it? And, most importantly, was Sherlock a bloody dragon ?! The very thing he was sent out to kill?! He had assumed, considering Sherlock being so close and in harmony with the water, that he was some kind of merman or something, but this was bad. This was very bad.

John jumped to his knees, pinning Sherlock to the ground with his hands on his shoulders. The look the other threw him and the sight of his own strong and big hands on Sherlock's delicate shoulders made him desperate and anxiously sad. “Sherlock, are you a dragon?!” he asked urgently. “John?” Sherlock said looking and sounding like he was about to cry, asking if he had done something wrong. John placed one hand in front of his mouth making a gesture that was supposed to look like breathing fire. “ I  not!” Sherlock shouted hastily in response. “Your family? Your mother?!” he bend his arms as if cradling a child. This seemed to be a thing in Sherlock's culture, too, because he immediately recognised it and nodded. “Mother.” “Father?” “Father.” Sherlock continued to answer. “John!?” he yelped again, tears beading up in his eyes. He looked so scared.
John drew back from him, standing and turning around, looking down at the gear he had dropped here before. His gun was on the other side of the river still, which he was glad about, but he still had his rifle here. He heard Sherlock getting up quickly and then felt the dragon's arms sling around his middle as Sherlock pressed up against his back, hugging him, burying his face in John's shoulder as his whole body shook and sought out John's comfort. “John deil acë mŷky! ĦiŵƟ!”

John laid a comforting hand on top of Sherlock's two, swallowing thoughtfully. “I won't hurt you! It's ok, I will not hurt you.” he turned around forcefully, loosening the tight grasp to cup Sherlock's hand in both of his again, looking at him intently. “You are my friend, hm?”

“Friend?” Sherlock asked. “It is something good!” John explained, squeezing the other's hands a little. “Friend.” the dragon repeated, smiling warmly. “You are my friend. John is my friend! I have a friend! Diëlŷk!” the taller man acknowledged, eyes shining again.

John marvelled at how quickly Sherlock seemed to have understood the concept of friendship and was confused about him sounding like he had no other friends.

His expression changed, however, when straightened up, seeming alarmed. “Family! Pardŷk, John, pardŷk!” Sherlock hissed, motioning with his hands to hush away, and promptly John stepped back into the water, careful as to not splash too much and sought shelter in a small caving beneath the earthy edge. There was talking, shouting, scowling and the sound of wings flapping. As John dared a cautious glance into the air, he saw two telltale creatures fly away and he recognised the smaller one's scales as Sherlock's immediately.

He felt a pang in his chest, the feeling of disappointment as Sherlock left him alone, but maybe he had had no choice – John didn't understand a word after all.

He heaved himself out the water to retrieve his gun and boots and then crossed over to the other side again, redressing. That's when he noticed the gold-red-brown scale in the grass. A message left by Sherlock? A request for John to come back here? But when? Tomorrow? Probably.. John looked at the position of the sun and got his compass out. As expected, the compass didn't work; well, it did work, but confusingly so, so there probably were poles in this world, but with a different form of magnetism probably. He got vague directions from it nonetheless and took that for orientation.
He went back the way he had come as best as he could. Indeed, he soon heard human noises and found back to the camp that way.
He was back then. Back to the people, the violence, the stony spirits, the brute- and bluntness, the judgement, the unfairness.

“Watson! What are you doing here?! Where is your team?”, “I got lost. I guess we were all looking around the new landscape too much to notice, sir.”

 

Men were drinking and laughing and having a good time and John felt a nervous draw back out there, into harmony, freedom, beauty, back to Sherlock. His new and extraordinary friend. His only friend since he had joined the army. Usually, he would sit and drink with them. Today he volunteered to do the night-watch.

“Sir?”

“Watson?”

“Request to go out of camp, sir.”

“To do what?”

“Take a walk, sir.”

“Take a walk? Take a walk where?”
“Just.. a walk. For a couple of hours. Explore the terrain some more..”

His Commander frowned at him but shrugged. “Well, that's very ambitious of you, Watson. Be sure to be safe – we need our meds!”

“Of course, sir. Thank you, sir.”

With that, John took off, trying not to look too eager as to not raise suspicion.

Following the needle of his inaccurate compass, trying to go the same way as yesterday, fondling the scale as he had done last night. It had a beautiful and structured texture, thin grooves running vertically over the almost pentahedron shape on the outside,the whole scale lightly bending away from the body. The inside was pale and smooth like Sherlock's skin, the outside red-brown with a golden shining to it. John held it against his arm, just to see that his mild tan and the dark colour suited each other quite beautifully. Which sounded weird, didn't it? Ah, well, who cared, really. Except for John, who knew anyway? Right, it was a secret. Their whole meeting was a secret. No one, least of all the guys at the camp, could know of their encounter, their friendship.

Thanks to John's good sense of direction, he found the stream again, able to follow it back to the waterfall, back to where he had met Sherlock. And, indeed, Sherlock was already there, laying in the beautiful water, drifting along the surface with his eyes closed, hands steepled under his chin.

“Sherlock!” John called as he arrived. The dragon immediately looked up, swimming over to where John was kneeling. “John! Meïcul aľures!” “Of course I came back!” “Swim with me, John!” Sherlock asked and John smiled, taking off his whole uniform this time, because explaining soaking wet trousers was a bit difficult and he figured it would be safe anyway, and got in the warm water, where Sherlock smiled at him and then grabbed for John's identity discs. “With these they can identify me if I die.” he explained to the dragon and, after a second of processing, Sherlock seemed to understand at least parts of it. “John deil kalnů!” he insisted, almost upset with the word 'kalnů' – likely the word for death/dead. “No, Sherlock, I will not.” Of course, John couldn't promise. As good and confident about it as he was, there was no guarantee he would live through a war, should it arise. He hoped not. It would mean either teaming up with the dragons and dying for certain or fighting against Sherlock's species. Maybe even Sherlock himself. The boy was so oblivious.
John didn't let his worries show. “Meïcul aľures acë?” Sherlock asked hopefully. “Yes, I will come back to you.” the soldier smiled warmly, his hand closing around the dragon's around his tags. “Padůȼy?” the younger asked, cupping John's cheek with his free hand. “Padůȼy.” he confirmed. They both seemed to get the hang of the more simple lines of either language and Sherlock was also a very quick learner. If words didn't get them far, they used gestures, making conversation simple, but possible. They spent the afternoon talking, Sherlock learning more and more English words and even grammar, impressing John with his brilliant mind even more, when he deduced things about him, things he had never told anyone, things that sat deep in the pit of his stomach and even though he hid all the emotion away, Sherlock saw it, not entirely knowing what to do, but doing his best to comfort him, muttering words in Rëïŋu, as Sherlock said his language was called, the most important seeming to be “Ąþůlur”, which John guessed meant 'sorry', but Sherlock told him that would be “Eëȼ” which Sherlock himself seemed to say rarely. It wasn't his fault all that had happened to John after all, so he didn't expect an apology.

Something the soldier enjoyed largely, was the many touches and generally bodily language dragons seemed to sport, although John wasn't a really touchy person. But somehow Sherlock's closeness provided him great warmth and comfort.
Eventually, they ended up laying in the grass, looking up into a sky bluer than even a child could paint it, and when Sherlock grasped for John's hand, he didn't draw back, laced his fingers around Sherlock slender ones.
If this was what real friendship was like, what it felt like, then god damn him, he didn't want to ever know love. All he needed and wanted was right here, next to him and they didn't even speak the same language.

 

That night, John made a tiny hole in Sherlock's thick scale, just big enough to put it on the leather band together with his discs. He hid them beneath his shirt, keeping them hidden and close to his heart.

 

“John I spoke to my family about you.” Sherlock told him the next day as he guided him through a forest on the top level of the waterfall they agreed to meet at daily. “They want you to come to them.” “Why did you do that?” the soldier asked, he wasn't sure if letting others know was a good idea and much less did he like Sherlock telling their secret to others. He liked the excitement of it. “My brother saw your clothes on the first day. I said no to telling him so he told my family. I had to speak... Eëȼ..” John looked at Sherlock and took his hand. “It is okay, Sherlock. I am not angry.”

There was this glittering hope back in the dragon's eyes, the one that John loved beyond anything else he had seen so far. “No speaking without eye contact, John!” Sherlock whispered and John frowned in confusion, but realised when they escaped the ocean of trees to see a large clearing where there were many like Sherlock walking around, some heads turning their direction immediately. Sherlock confidently moved through the crowd, pulling John by his hand gently until they stopped in front of three of them, a woman and two men. “John ʑe ʑa eĦo leȧo. Jǟu diëlŷk John,” Four pairs of eyes fixed on him, four different shades of blue. “ƝëȧĦo.” John said like Sherlock had taught him, hoping that greeting them with a bow of his head and in their language would help make a good impression. The faces of Sherlock's parents lit up in calm delight, only his brother ran his gaze up and down John and their joined hands in that same analytical way as Sherlock had done when he had deduced him. John didn't take his eyes off the other man, standing his ground like the brave soldier he was. “'John'?” Sherlock's brother asked the brunet. “Meïcul nƟrmaůte kyal deldƟru? Deil nƟrmaůte heĦo?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. Sherlock nodded. “BŷnƟrmak?” “Shƺrloȼ.” For some reason, the mention of John's name for Sherlock made his brother snicker, which had their parents scowl at their elder son. “TyƟw acon baīĦa.” smiled the elder woman kindly at him and her partner nodded. “They say it is good you came.” Sherlock translated and John bowed again.

“They say you are good. My brother is stupid but you are good to him too!You smell good.” the young dragon informed with a mild blush as he walked John back to the waterfall. They wanted to spend some more time together before John would have to go back to camp. “Can I come with you soon?” “No, Sherlock. I am sorry, but my family would not like you.” John said sadly. “Am I not good?” There was a look in Sherlock's eyes, that had John think about the dragon's past because he looked very hurt and broke and the soldier wanted to know desperately what had ever caused such a feeling in the beautiful man. “You are very good, Sherlock!” “Everyone says else..” “They are lying!” John stopped and turned to his friend, cupping his face in both hands. “You are wonderful! I do not know what all the others have told you and done to you, but the way I have seen you with your brother today.. that was a completely different you. It is not the you that I know and I am glad to know the happy side of you! It is like something only I have of you.” The hopeful shining was back as Sherlock asked “Are you different too?” and John nodded, smiling warmly. It made Sherlock smile that small smile, too, which made John smile even wider.

They walked some more, just enjoying each others company, arriving at their destination just before John would have to go anyway and hugged their goodbye, promising to meet again tomorrow.

 

This night, John could barely stand staying at the camp. The environment and the people made the hair stand in heckles in the nape of his neck. The transforming creatures out there were a much more fascinating. He thought long about the time they'd spent with Sherlock's family, the kind and warm parents, the icy brother and Sherlock's constantly flat or annoyed face, snappy remarks at his brother and the many times he'd rolled his eyes.

 

John managed to wade through the water without Sherlock noticing and promptly pulled the dragon, in his thinking pose, John assume, down into the water. With a sharp and shocked inhale, Sherlock got back up throwing John a disbelieving look, which had the young soldier burst into laughter and, as a result, Sherlock pouted, deliberately making John feel a bit sorry, so he hugged his friend as greeting and apology. The brunet accepted happily.

 

John stood showering beneath the heavy fall of water, enjoying the great weight crushing down on him as he stood in a higher area of the big pond. When he opened his eyes, he saw Sherlock watching him with a curious look from where he lay on his stomach in the grass. John had no clue what Sherlock thought was so interesting about him – he was just a man, looking similar to Sherlock in his human form, well except for the scales and lack of clothes of course. Speaking of which, John had noticed none of them wear any clothing, but their women don't have breasts and neither gender seemed to have reproductive organs, at least not visibly so. Maybe they could hide them away like they do with their wings? Did Sherlock have a skin flab in his crotch under which his penis lay? John mentally giggled at the that – it would look weird, wouldn't it?

When Sherlock shot him a questioning look, John waved his head as if to tell him to come over, and Sherlock did, climbing into the water, first swimming and then, when he could, walking over to John. They stood there, just looking at each other for a long time, the deafening drums of heavy water around them taking away the need to talk to make a sound. It was all they needed to hear. And suddenly Sherlock became all he needed to see.

When Sherlock softly cupped John's cheek and slowly closed the gap between them, the blond closed his eyes, let his lips get captured and trapped Sherlock's lips as well, never once thinking of fighting the tingling that burst out in his chest as he cradled the dragon's neck and back of his scalp with his large palms.

It was wrong, no it was right , but unnatural, but John couldn't be bothered to give a damn about this desperate want for more , the bursting desire crawling under his skin, stuffing his heart and dropping in his groin. He wanted Sherlock more and closer and more !

It wasn't long before a sweet and innocent kiss turned into a flood of passionate want and demand and had Sherlock not reacted the same way, god he would have died of his shame.

But Sherlock did want. He wanted so bad, he began shaking as he grasped and touched around John's body. John tried to help by at least granting him some air, his mouth descending to the dragon's long neck, kissing it, licking along the edges of the smaller scales there, hands running down over his almost only skin covered back to cup and grab his buttocks, making Sherlock arch into his body, pressing against his stirring cock and letting him feel what he'd been silently wondering about: an erection. John looked down between their bodies as he moved against the other to attack his throat further and stopped shortly, stunned by the size of the dragon's member and deciding which role he would definitely not take. “It is good John. I know. I have seen already. I am happy to give you me. Please, have me! ĦɐǶace!” the brunet panted, already so aroused, he sounded, looked and felt so vulnerable. John groaned in reply, feeling like he was about to explode with adoration for this 'man'. He'd never have thought another man could turn him on like this, but then again, he would never have thought he'd fall in love with one in the first place.

Somehow, he managed to lay Sherlock down in the grass under the tree. Somehow, Sherlock was loose on his own as he checked his hole. Somehow, he glided in with nothing more than marvelling breaths from them both, followed by more deep, long kisses, their actions becoming slow again.

For at least ten full minutes, John was just rocking them, slowly, lovingly, gently and Sherlock was clinging onto him, kissing him desperately whenever neither of them needed the air to moan, grunt or simply sigh sensually. It was the most satisfying sex John had ever had. Honestly, he couldn't imagine there to ever be any possibility to have better sex. He wouldn't want it. Flying with Sherlock on such high levels was the simple most desirable experience of his life. And it wasn't over, Sherlock wasn't giving a quiet high-pitched cry and John wasn't holding his breath, that he already wanted more of it, wanted it constantly, a fixed routine in his daily life.

“John ĦɐǶe.” Sherlock gasped when John let himself fall into the grass beside him. “I love you, too, Sherlock.” John said reflexively, but he had to admit it true. He rolled to his side and curled up against the dragon's side, his head resting on his chest, panting, feeling, hearing, loving.

 

“Watson, are you planning to go out of camp on your own again?!”

“Ah, yes, sir. Is that a problem, sir?”

“Where the hell are you going every day?”
“Uh, I've found a river and a waterfall that I enjoy bathing in and drinking from, sir.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, then, Watson. You are going to lead my team there now.”

“Are you suspicious of me, sir?”

“I will be, if you don't lead us to that place!”

And so John led them, which was not good. It was the only waterfall he knew and he hadn't expected to be commanded to lead these people there. He had no other choice. But Sherlock would be waiting there for him! He would have to raise his attention before they came in sight.

About 200ft from the pond, John coughed loudly, hoping that would be enough for Sherlock to snap out of his usual trance and sniff for other scents than John.

It appeared he did because when they arrived, John mentally sighed with relief at not seeing Sherlock there. “Very well, Watson, maybe I misjudged your daily absence. I trust you would be ready whenever we step into action nonetheless?” “Of course, sir.” John assured firmly, saluting when his commander did and watching his team fill their flasks with the water they deemed more delicious than that which they had brought with them.
As soon as they were out of sight, John searched the area with his eyes. “Sherlock?” he asked in a loud whisper. The dragon emerged from up in the willow-like tree, landing in front of John and immediately kissing him as a greeting, hand cupping the soldier's cheek as usual. “Good. That thing that you did. That was good!” John smiled, his hands finding Sherlock hips automatically. “I was not sure if you would understand. I just hoped..” he dropped the rest of the sentence and just gave Sherlock a worrying look, which the dragon tried to tenderly kiss away. John let out a huff of unamused laughter. “I am serious, Sherlock.. This was a very close one. If they command me again or come here on their own accord..” “John why is it not good?” despite his tall and lean frame, Sherlock had this way about him, that made John feel overly protective of him sometimes. Like a cat, really, dangerous and independent, very clever and sassy, but also just a soft ball of fur, or in this case scales, that needs to be coddled to protect its innocence from the bad world outside. “They are not nice, Sherlock.” John said with a sad smile. They were horrible, barbaric, killing innocent and guilty lives alike. And John was one of them. But he wouldn't be here without them and he'd never have met Sherlock. “Then why are you with them? Why do not come with me?” John reached up to stroke one of those adorable cheeks with their alien high bones, a look of honest curiosity and ignorance adorning the dragon's beautiful features as he leaned into the tough. “I... promised. It is my duty now..” “Dɚty?” “A duty is when you must do something.” “Why do you must? Because you promised? Take it back!” This man.. John just wanted to eat him whole. “I cannot do that, Sherlock,” he said again, carding a hand through the soft brown curls, “it is not easy.. If I leave, I will never see you again.” That triggered something, Sherlock's flat expression went to wide-eyed. “Do not leave! No do but do not tell them! Come with me! Come to my family! That is good?” John laughed sadly. “I can't, Sherlock. Eëȼ..” Sherlock knew, if John used the Rëïŋu word, he meant it and John used that knowledge to be clear about it once and for all. Sherlock's shoulders sagged a little and he reached up to hold John's hand in his own, kiss his palm. The soldier stood on his tip-toes to be tall enough to kiss the dragon's mouth – thankfully, the taller man bent down so John could stand normally again. “Let us just use the time we have wisely, hm?” And although Sherlock hadn't learned the word 'wisely' yet, he knew exactly what his own definition of it was.
And so they kissed, they snogged, they knelt in the grass and had sex again – just as beautiful as the first time. And then they had sex again with Sherlock riding John, but hugging him so tightly to himself, that the blond sat upright all the time, lost in the dragon's passionate kissed, desperate scratches and the clenching of his hole as he orgasmed, making John come right after him.

Like two love-birds, they cuddled up in the grass, kissed again when they were showering under the waterfall and lay back in the grass, staring up into the sky, Sherlock grabbing his hand and he didn't pull back, just looked over at him, their eyes meeting, stared back up, squeezing the delicate hand lightly.

 

And if John ever thought, sex couldn't get any better, he hadn't tried dragon sex yet. First they knelt on the ground, then Sherlock was straddling his lap, efficiently seating himself with his very flexible hole on John's cock, and before the soldier could sigh at the feeling, he was covered by a big shadow and, looking up, he saw Sherlock's wings – with their colour matching his scales and all the fine details. One shared looked and Sherlock knew he had John's consent. “Hold good. On my scales if you have to. It is good. I will not let you go!” and John nodded, too fascinated to do anything else anyway.

This was Sherlock's cue to take of. He pushed John until he sat on the brunets heels and then pushed both of them off the ground, his wings giving a powerful flap and the force of it shoving John deep inside Sherlock, both of them groaning at the sudden sensation. The second John had his arms tightly wrapped around the dragon's waist, he attacked his throat as his head was thrown back and Sherlock pulled his legs closer more strongly, giving John safety and shrinking the amount of what of John's cock was still outside his hole. And just when he thought he couldn't go any deeper, Sherlock instructed him to lay his “arms on my neck!” With this, each time Sherlock's body crouched when he flapped his wings, their bodies built a cage that forced John's cock to go in up to the hilt. Each time, Sherlock arched. Each time, it seemed the head of John's dick hit something like a prostate inside his lover, the shots of arousal causing his muscles to clench and ripple, in turn sending sparks of pleasure trough John.
Sherlock was really taking John high .

The air was cold, their bodies warm, Sherlock's hole tight and active, his moans deep and rich and John couldn't remember such inactive sex being so incredible that it drove him mad with dancing right on the edge and longing for that final push over the edge.

It came in the form of Sherlock turning them upside down, caging them with his wings and letting them drop out of the sky. The quick descent had John's insides travel south, pressing on his reproductive organs until he exploded into Sherlock's body, his lover clawing at him, scratching him as he cried out himself.

Just when John expected his partner to prevent their crash, his body crushed into Sherlock's much thinner one. But the dragon seemed fine, so John just rolled them over, so the brunet lay on top of him, his wings dropping to the ground on either side, lazy, tired.

“So, this is how dragons have sex?” John asked, mind blissfully clear of all worries in their post-orgasmic meditation. “Only the man-to-man ones. But regular is close.” “Are there many gay dragons?” He felt Sherlock shrug on top of him. “There are some.. Does it matter?” A big hand dropped weakly on the dragon's head, burying thick fingers in his fluffy curls and John wondered how he wasn't sweating at all. “No. No, it does not... ĦɐǶe.” The dragon smiled against his chest. “I love you too.”

 

“ʑe ʑa leȧo acë diëlŷk John ĦɐǶan.”Sherlock said, his head raised in determination as he spoke to 'mother, father and brother'. They squeezed their laced hands. They had talked about this and agreed, that they would tell Sherlock's family about their love. They looked uncomfortable and exchanged uncertain looks. Sherlock's brother nodded slightly at his mother as if confirming something he had analysed. The elder woman stood. “TyƟw. acë ӋƺrȽƟȼ mŷȼie ĦɐǶe. acë meïcul mŷȼie ĦɐǶan.” She walked up to them, took their joined hands, separated them and lifted them to the height of John's shoulders where she lay their palms against each other and made their fingers lace with each other, each of her hands covering one of theirs. “Dɐmluur ĦɐǶ.” she said as she removed her hands and turned them to look at each other. Suddenly Sherlock blushed viscously, eyes widening a bit. “What's going on?” John whispered to Sherlock. “She said it is good to bond now.” “Bond?” “Mating John.” “You mean, she just allowed us to have sex? A little late, is it not..” “No. Sex and bite.” John blinked. “That is how we bond for life.” “Oh.. Well, let us get bonded for life, then..” John chuckled helplessly, but honestly, he had no objections. “TyƟw.”said a third voice. Sherlock's mother was replaced by his brother, who regarded him flatly. “I see you make my brother happy. My mother has said that but I too see he loves you and you love him. I never wanted to say that but I see you worthy of ӋƺrȽƟȼ. I give this say to one and one man alone. Be worthy of him!” and then the older dragon brother knelt, lowering his head and John looked around helplessly, but everyone else was just as perplex as him. When Sherlock managed to focus back on John, he regarded him with awe – apparently, this man's word truly meant something. With his free hand, Sherlock did his usual gesture of cupping John's face and then kissed him with an adoration he had only ever known through Sherlock. John wanted to take Sherlock's face as well, but the dragon tightened his grip on the one that was joined with his. “We cannot separate hands until the bite or it is meaningless!” “Oh.” John simply breathed and proceeded to just follow Sherlock's lead.

Which brought them to a cave. A beautiful cave, mind you, but a cave nonetheless. “It is to be safe while bonding. Good?” The soldier still felt very nervous and uncomfortable about this whole tradition, but he figured he'd just go with it. This was Sherlock after all and he really, truly loved him. And if this was how dragons expressed their love for each other, then John would willingly become a hybrid, an abomination- For Sherlock.

The sex part was as loving, gently and slow as ever, only this time, when Sherlock rode him, they didn't kiss, not once and arms didn't hold him upright and hands didn't claw at him. Instead, Sherlock had now laced both their hands together and his mouth was carefully preparing the skin where John's neck met his shoulder. He was over-sensitised and felt raw there eventually, but said nothing, kept his head sideways so Sherlock could lick, kiss and nibble.

But with orgasm came pain, great pain! Sherlock's teeth grew sharp and they pierced John's shoulder for ten seconds, before the dragon began lapping at the wound. Blood continuing to spill for a longer time than it would with another dragon. But Sherlock's tongue was gentle, apologetic even.

They ended up in a cuddle when the bleeding stopped. The wound was stinging and it really, seriously hurt. But it also had a good feeling to it; emotionally.

“I am happy John. Thank you for taking me as your mate.” Sherlock spoke and it almost sounded like some kind of confession. “I just love you, that is it. Why would I not go with your traditions for you?” ”No it is.. John I am no good 'dragon'. I cannot make fire and I cannot fly for more than some ȹlƟr uh minutes. I was never up for mating or even speaking much. No one ever wanted me as a mate.” John cradled him close, patting his hair softly. “Shut up. You are wonderful, Sherlock. You are intelligent, good at heart, humorous, lively and, god, you are so beautiful! I have not been with many men and I do prefer women, but there could not ever be anyone I would give you up for! We are forbidden to my kind and it is dangerous for us to be together, but I will take that risk and I will protect you. I will love you. Padůȼy.” Sherlock didn't respond except for some lazy kisses to John's chest. John was fine with that. “So, what does the bond do?” “I do not know if it works between dragon and human and even if it would likely not work on you. It has only ever once happened such a bond and it ended fast.. But I could feel your presence always. Know when you are close. Feel your pain and need for help..” “It has happened before?” “Yes a dragon and a human. We do not speak of it in my family.” John's movements stopped. “Sherlock, how do you know humans?” “There is a village in the west and more in the north. Why John?” Because if there are humans close by.. in the west.. “Fuck! The other team went there the first day!” “John? You scare me.” Sherlock said, propping himself up on his hands and looking into John's face. If the other team had reached the human village... “Sherlock, that other bond. Tell me about it!” “My brother. Another one. He fell in love with a human. He bonded with her secretly because it was forbidden. Many ancient wars. That is why my family was sceptical about us but we told them and they saw you are good. They do not think you will kill me and start a new war.” John slowly sat up. If the human village and the dragons had a past of many conflicts and the soldiers with the mission to kill had met, they could have exchanged information on locations. Worse, they could have teamed up. John's stomach dropped very low.

“Sherlock, I have to tell you something. I had hoped this to be avoidable, but if my worries confirm true, it might already be too late.” With a large lump in his throat, he looked at Sherlock, whose eyes were equally anxious as his own. “Sherlock, I am not from here. I am from another world, another dimension. Dwarves have shown us the way.. Sherlock, we were sent here on a mission... We are here.. to kill dragons.” Sherlock flinched away. “John deil kalnace! Deil acëmŷky! ĦiŵƟ! ĦɐǶe!” “No, no, no! Sherlock, I won't hurt you! I love you! I don't want to kill you, I never did! That is why I kept you secret from them – to protect you! But if they met the other humans, they could be preparing to attack.. They tricked me.. They have played me! FUCK!” John jumped to his feet, pulling his vest back up from where it had hung on his arm as they hadn't been allowed to separate hands before undressing and hurriedly pulling on trousers and boots. “Sherlock, go back to your family! Tell them!”he shouted, the echo droning in this cave. “Tell them what?” Sherlock asked, panicking. “Everything!” the soldier yelled, yanking at his arm and pulling him out of the stone safety. “Go, and be quick! I will try to stop whatever they are doing at the camp!” he said hurriedly and ran a couple of meters before turning back around to press his lips hard against Sherlock's. “ĦɐǶe!” he told him one last time before going back on his track, running as fast as he could. He cursed bitterly as he got lost a couple of times and burst into camp, attracting attention of many others immediately. “Watson! You, here? What an honour!” “What are you planning?!” he spat, dropping formalities in the face of his smugly grinning commander. “Isn't there a 'sir' missing somewhere in there?” “Oh, sod it! What is going on, what are you planning!?”

“Well, I've got to say, Watson, I believed you when you showed us the place, but your daily absence got me suspicious after all. Why would you go back there every day just to bathe and drink water? Of course: you were seeing someone! But since no one from the camp was missing and Norton's team had met the humans in the west, your team hadn't met anyone in the east and you were making a secret out of it, I guessed you were meeting one or multiple dragons – the very thing we're ordered to kill. And when the humans told us where the dragons live and spend their days, adding the numbers up wasn't that difficult.”

“You teamed up with them.”
“Why, yes – the more the merrier! They want to take their revenge.”
“The dragons didn't-”

“And you, John Watson, have led us right to our first victim – the one that will mark the beginning of our victory.”
“I what?!... No-” John's heart stopped beating when he saw Sherlock, chained up, walked into the area by two soldiers. “No..”

Sherlock looked distressed, panicky, confused, lost, but most of all helpless. “John!” he screamed, one of the men yanked at the chain and Sherlock whined in pain. John could only imagine the red stripes on his beautiful white skin. He set to dash towards him, but was held back by a firm and brutal hand on his chest. He looked up into his commander's determined eyes. “Let him go!” he demanded and the man laughed. “Letting him go? No, that isn't precisely what I am going to do to him.” he said in a lowered voice to John, then raised it to speak to the men gathering around them. “That, men, is a dragon. They shift shapes between this and the big reptile creatures you know from your storybooks. But don't be fooled by their ability – we have fought real humans and we all know they can be as barbaric as any beast!”
“That's not true, he is innocent. He had chances to attack me and he never did!” John yelled the same way as the taller man.

“Yes, because that is what he wants you to believe! He manipulated you, brainwashed you to see him as your friend and us as you enemy. It's just a trick, Watson, and they will try to trick us all!”

“No, that's a lie and you know it!”

“What about these men, then, hm? Those who have fought them?”

They tricked the dragons! One of his brothers! He fell in love and they betrayed him and killed him!”

“Nonsense! The dragons got greedy and stole their gold!”

“No! Don't listen to him!”

“This man was once a good and loyal soldier, detached and unafraid to kill – one of the best meds and shots we've ever had and they brainwashed him! Who are you, hm? Do you know?”
John stared him dead in the eyes. “I am John Hamish Watson, army doctor, trained at St. Bart's hospital-”

“Oh, so they let you keep your memory.. interesting.” he said as if only speaking to John. He had enough, he planted his fist right there on his commander's cheek. Some soldiers sat up in alarm but the tall man gestured for them to stay back. “Well, if they are so harmless, then how do you explain” he yanked John around, holding him down with a strong grip and pushing his vest aside to reveal the bite on his neck, “this?”

Instantly, John heard murmuring among the men. “It.. It is a bond-bite, it is tradition for them. It binds them for life.”

“'Binds them for life'?”

“Yes, I.. we fell in love with each other..” he made eye contact with Sherlock then, the dragon's eyes still pleading for help, but also showing the urge, the need to help John.

“Love? Now, that's just disgusting! He obviously has more control over you than I believed. See, this is what they turn you into: Mindless,”

“No. Stop!”
“easy prey!”

“It's a lie and you know that perfectly well!”

“Marking you with these bites,”

“He is innocent!”

“while they make you believe they're in love with you,”

“They all are!”

“when actually, it's just a sign that you're easy and willing prey.”

John could do nothing but shake his head in disbelief, looking at Sherlock again, desperate and lost eyes meeting. Seeing Sherlock so frightened and helpless made John furious to no extend, but raging over the situation would do nothing for them.
“Now, I say we take our prisoner and light the flame of victory!” the tall man shouted and chants of fighting spirit roared with the men as they moved the gathering – and Sherlock – to the main area of the camp.

“What are you going to do to him?!” John asked in horror as Sherlock turned around and shouted for him as he was yanked away by his chains.

“First, I am going to pluck scale after scale from his smooth skin and then, if he hasn't bled to death still, I am going to decapitate him.” the man spoke quietly and in a disturbingly nice voice. “Hold him!” he ordered the two men that had stayed behind to follow direct orders and they approached quickly while John was still trying to wrap his head around all of this, the situation, Sherlock's fate.

With a start, and a screamed out “no”, John set into motion, trying to throw himself at the much taller and broader figure, but was held back in time by two equally strong men. He tossed and turned as if having a seizure, kicking and screaming.

This was his fault! They must have followed him, waited outside the cave, attacked Sherlock when they had the opportunity. He had led them right to him. He had let his emotions take over and not noticed them. And now Sherlock was being walked right into his death.
They had got him because John was stupid and incapable!

They were going to torture him to death!
A loud cry of pain rang through the air and John momentarily stopped when he realised that it was Sherlock's voice. After that, he redoubled his efforts as the cries became one long plea for help. And then it changed. Sherlock's voice changed. It dropped even further, becoming raspy and smoky. He was transforming, trying everything in his power to free himself, even though he knew he, personally, wasn't much stronger in his dragon form. After about five minutes of torture, to both of them, really, John managed to break free, almost falling over when suddenly he could run again, and, lord, did he run. He froze, however, when he looked Sherlock right in the eyes – eyes full of pain, betrayal, longing, confusion, love and cold. “No. SHERLOCK!”

He changed back as he fell backwards, pushed by his commander's foot as he ripped out the last scale, right above the dragon's heart. “Sher-..” John fell into a numb sprint, his knees giving in just when he arrived next to Sherlock's body, mentally declaring him dead the moment he saw his pale and blood-covered skin, his chest not moving an inch with breathing.

John's hands fell to the ground on either side of Sherlock's head as he stared down into his lover's lifeless face. Everything was spinning around him. This couldn't be real. It had all happened to fast! They had met a week ago! It had all gone too fast, John had known right away, and yet he'd let it happen. And now Sherlock was dead. “You monster.” he whispered, numb with pain over his loss, hate for mankind and the inability to catch up with what was happening. “YOU MONSTER!” he bellowed up at his commander, who just stared back down at him. “I think it's time we tell his family about their loss, don't you?” the man asked the crowd, gaze never leaving John's eyes filled with hatred. As John looked around to see the faces of the maniacs who would follow the cruelty of all this, he noticed that they weren't all their men. Their numbers had tripled and his brain vaguely remembered the local humans. They must have helped pluck Sherlock apart.

Again, the crowd around him moved and John's eyes fell back to his love, the paler than usual skin, the blood drying around the cut-like wounds. “Sherl-”John tried, but his voice died with the lump in his throat. “ĦɐǶe!” he said, stroking Sherlock's hollow cheek, blood smearing across his palm from wounds that wouldn't be there had he not transformed. “ĦɐǶe, Sherlock!” he repeated, holding both sides of his face now before leaning down to lay his forehead against his dead lover's. “ĦɐǶe!” he repeated one last time, kissing his still warm but motionless plush lips for the last time he ever would. Single drops of tears fought their way down his cheeks to continue their tracks over Sherlock's. John took deep breaths, steeling himself, gulping down the emotions like the good soldier he was – they had caused him immense pain and he wouldn't give them the opportunity to shoot twice.

Still numb with grief but much more composed, John sat upright next to the dragon's dead body, staring into nothingness.

“Maybe you will come back to your senses now, Watson. I've got to go: There's lots more where he came from and you can't believe the value of those scales! The fine armour they will make.. You will help make said armour as a punishment, Watson. Watch him.” he commanded his baboons again, and sure enough, as soon as he stood, they were holding him by his arms again, certain, that the emotional exhaustion would have weakened him enough this time.
And sure enough, John held still for a long time, not doing so much as making noises of any kind until he felt stable, hateful and determined enough to shoot the guards by surprising them with three sudden and quick movements: Grabbing one of their guns, shooting one, shooting the other. The thumbing of their bodies hitting the floor was sickly satisfying. John rarely ever allowed himself to get really angry. This was the reason why.

He marched quickly to catch up with the army of humans, one particular goal blocking the vision of his inner eye; one motivation fuelling the pictures in his head.

Everything had happened too quickly. They ought to had gotten more time. They had barely known each other yet, although John felt like he'd known Sherlock all his life, like this was where he belonged. Finally.

And then it was taken from him. For armour. His happiness, his luck, his life, his love, his everything and all – taken in the course of 10 minutes and less. All his life to deserve this.

He hadn't love Sherlock for nothing, though. Hadn't slept with him, heard his pleasure, vulnerability, longing, desire, his need for acceptance, for love, for John for nothing.

He marched right through the rows of soldiers that marked the end of their company, up to the front that was already firing the dragon's nest. He saw Sherlock's family as he approached and they looked at him in confusion and betrayed trust as they saw his eyes burn with the desire to kill.
He gripped the gun in his hand firmly, looked to the side, at the man busy reloading his gun. He raised his arm and blew his brains right out of his head.

He paid the slumping body no further attention, turned to face his family, his family, stuffed his gun into his mouth

and shot.