The Lion and the Lamb
Chapter Five: A Little Tender Loving Care
Smokey ceased dragging the mattress once it was positioned in front of the fireplace - at a safe distance from the flames, of course. He groaned deeply and gripped the fang wound stinging his arm, which was coated in his dark red blood, and it continued to seep the liquid of life. Adrenaline spiked by the need to tend to his wounds, he scurried into the bathroom. He returned with the familiar bottle of iodine held horizontally between his jaws and a white towel pressed against the bottom row of bite marks on his arm.
The section of bottle in Smokey's jaw became lubricated with his saliva, enabling it to easily slip from his slick-surfaced teeth as he plopped down on his bottom several feet away from the bathroom's doorway. "Oh!" the dragon groaned in frustration as the bottle escaped his mouth and rolled away out of his reach.
Fluttershy looked on with worry gracing her features. Her unyielding urge to nurse the dragon rebuked her fear of the werewolf in the bedroom and her body was released from its abeyance. Unfolding her wings, she flapped them as she pushed herself off the couch with her hind legs. She grabbed the astray bottle of iodine with her good hoof, not minding the saliva, and set it down in front of Smokey.
"Where is the rest of the first aid supplies?" she asked hurriedly hovering in front of the large reptile.
"Under the bathroom sink. I'll get-" he started, then Fluttershy pressed her hoof down on his shoulder as his body began to make movements that indicated he was attempting to rise onto his feet.
"Oh no, no, no, no. I'll get them. Don't you move, mister," she commanded in a motherly tone. Precipitating herself into the bathroom and going through the inventory in the aforementioned space under the sink, she gathered up the same items Smokey had used when he had dressed her wound. She deposited them beside the dragon and zipped back into the restroom for more towels before returning to his side to begin tending to his own hurts. Though she had never fixed an injury on a dragon before, she possessed enough experience, knowledge, and good judgment to mend almost any infliction.
Smokey had not been anticipating this shy little pony to shake off her shock and take control of the situation. It was quite admirable in his perception. The first thing she did was press a clean towel to the uncovered section of bite marks on his arm. The dragon stared down at her with grateful eyes. A pair of minutes elapsed before Fluttershy took the blood-stained towel away and set it aside. Reaching for a few squares of gauze, she soaked them with iodine and proceeded to dab and wipe the wounds clean. She used both of her hooves as she worked considering the fact that tending to an injury was a bimanual task. Fortunately, the equine's painkiller was still in effect.
Smokey winced at the stinging pain every now and again. Fluttershy paused for a second to look up at him with sympathy-glazed eyes. As she reached up to pat him on the nose with her dressed hoof, she spoke to him in such a sweet voice.
"You poor baby," she crooned to him. For a moment, the dragon could swear that he felt his heart turn in his chest. "It's okay. It'll be over soon."
His eyes slowly slid shut as the touch lingered on his snout, struck by a wave of calm - even as Fluttershy resumed cleaning his wounds. He was eventually brought out of it once the pony went for the needle. As he watched the pegasus sanitize the threading needle, she plucked a hair from her mane just as he had done. He felt his muscles tense up as she threaded the capillaceous strand through the needle's loop and secured it in a knot.
Tilting her head back to look up at the dragon, she asked if he was ready to be stitched up. He nodded his answer and kept his arm still, trusting himself to her. The realization that the needle wouldn't be able to penetrate dragon scales hit Fluttershy. They would have to be removed if she was going to sew the skin back together. Tentatively, she grasped onto the first scale attached to the edge of the torn flesh, knowing that this was going to hurt Smokey. Yanking it off, the dragon responded with a pained yelp. A quick apology followed and the pony went away with removing more scales.
After what seemed like an excruciatingly long time, every single scale encircling each fang mark on Smokey's body had been removed, revealing a layer of skin underneath. Fluttershy left his wounds alone for a few minutes to allow the burning pain to ebb away from where scales used to be. Fluttershy softly stroked the dragon's upper arm in a comforting manner, her face morphed into an apologetic expression for causing him pain.
I'm all right, my dear. Go right ahead." Smokey gestured with a tilt of his head for her to begin stitching his flesh back together.
" Threading needle at the ready, Fluttershy started stitching. The big reptile couldn't keep his eyes off of the pony. Her face had contorted into a look of concentration as she sewed wound after wound in smooth, gentle motions. Just by observing her technique, Smokey could plainly see that she was adept in dealing with injuries.
Each pinprick wound didn't require any more than a few stitches each. It didn't take long at all for Fluttershy to finish closing up the bite marks on his arm and neck. After that was accomplished, she snagged one of the towels and fluttered into the kitchen to soak it in warm water and lather it with a little soap. Gliding back over to the dragon, she scrubbed off the traces of blood then went over them again with a dry towel. Scooping up the soiled towels and squares of gauze, she directed herself back into the restroom. Upon depositing the used gauze into the trash bin sitting next to the toilet and tossing the towels into the bath tub for now, she washed her hooves and arms clean at the sink - also helping herself to a square of tissue paper to finally be rid of the globs of mucus within her nostrils and sanitizing her hooves afterward.
Fluttershy wasn't done with Smokey yet. Returning to him, she picked up the roll of gauze to wrap his arm and neck. Smokey offered a heartfelt smile to the mare. Never, in all his life, had he been cared for like this. He was so used to being the caretaker, he hadn't really expected her to tend to him like he had done with her. As Fluttershy tied off the bandages on his neck, the dragon touched his nose to her cheek.
"Thank you, Lady Fluttershy
I really appreciate it. I really do." Smokey rubbed his nose against her fur, finding the softness quite pleasant to the touch. Pulling his head back slightly, he gazed at the pony's face.
Fluttershy blushed softly at the touch. She smiled back at the reptile and reached her hoof to his head to stroke over the lengthy bridge of his snout. "Oh
you're welcome, Smokey
I'm used to taking care of animals
it was no trouble."
"Oh, you take care of animals, huh?" Smokey asked, raising a curious brow, wanting to be sure he heard correctly.
"Oh, yes. I love animals and I love taking care of them." Fluttershy ran her hoof over the dragon's muzzle again, more than happy to declare her passion for the creatures of the world.
"Why, aren't you just a perfect angel?" Smokey smirked, slightly teasingly, as admiration descended upon him again.
no, I'm not
" Blushing harder, the pegasus withdrew her hoof and settled her haunches upon the floor below.
"I think so, my dear," he insisted with a slight tilt with the head, the corners of his mouth stretching into a wider grin. Lifting his right hand to the side of her head, he slowly dragged an index finger over her cheek. "I think anyone with a big enough heart to care for animals certainly must be a perfect angel."
Ducking her head bashfully at another one of his flattering comments, she opened her mouth to thank him, her voice in a lower volume. "Th-thank you
"You are quite welcome, my dear." Eyes settled on the pony's flushing face, the dragon relished in her shy attitude. His hand followed her head to lightly brush his fingers over her cheek, resulting a deeper shade to tinge her cheeks.
Fluttershy didn't mind the dragon's fingers touching her cheek. The jet black talons at the end of his digits may have appeared sharp, but they were actually quite dull. Smiling a shy smile at the dragon, she tilted her head against his fingers, starting to find the physical contact pleasant. Suddenly, sounds of movement coming from the bedroom caused her to practically throw herself into Smokey's torso with a loud and terrified "Eep".
Smokey wrapped his arms around the startled mare in attempt to becalm her. Fluttershy already felt safer in the dragon's embrace. His arms were like an impenetrable fortress that defied all dangers that threatened to befall her. Even as the dragon tried to stand, she remained plastered against him, all four legs wrapped around his shoulders and waist. The reptilian carried her over to the mattress, his eyes fixated on the shivering lump under the thick covers. Lowering himself onto his knees, along with the pony still clinging to him, he pulled the covers off of the shuddering lump to reveal the baby griffin, rabbit, and doves clumped together in one terrified mass. He smiled calmly down at them, signifying that everything would be all right.
He glanced down at Fluttershy and addressed her in a tone that matched his smile. "It's all right, Miss Fluttershy. You can let go now. The big bad wolf won't get you."
Slowly climbing onto the mattress, the pony hesitantly removed her limbs from him and settled down onto the sheets. Smokey dropped onto his belly, pulling the quilt over himself and the equine, as well as the nervous animals. After curling up comfortably, Fluttershy shuffled back over, pressing her trembling body into his side.
"It's all right. I'll protect you," he assured Fluttershy as he lifted his injured arm and furled it protectively around her. Turning his attention to the small bundles that made their way over to his other side, he covered them with one of his wings, "all of you
With the dragon shielding them from any possible dangers, Fluttershy, the baby griffin, the rabbit, and the five doves shook off their fear of the werewolf in the bedroom and drifted off into a sound slumber. Smokey kept his ears open for any strange sounds, set in full-on protective mode. It didn't take long before the dragon himself nodded off.
As the dim winter morning fell upon Equestria, Smokey awoke to feel a source of heat concentrated at his right side where Fluttershy was located. Lifting the thick quilt off them both, the equine shivered heavily, reaching a foreleg low on energy to grab the edge of the quilt and cover herself again, still shivering. The animals, save for the griffin who was still sleeping in, congregated themselves around her head. They knew something was wrong with her.
you all right, my dear?" he asked her, the worried looks on his animals made him uneasy. He received a long and miserable groan in response. The dragon reached over to touch a curious hand to her forehead. She was burning up. "Oh, dear
" he murmured, realizing that he had a sick pony on his hands.