The Lion and the Lamb
Chapter Six: Comfort
Smokey set a towel wrapped around a chunk of snow upon Fluttershy's forehead to help reduce the fever. Even though the pegasus' shuddering body revolted against having anything cold touch her, she knew it was what she needed to fight the fever. Her painkiller had worn off and the dull throbbing in her hoof added to her misery.
The dragon retrieved another pain pill and a glass of water for her. "Here you are, Miss Fluttershy. Another painkiller for your hoof."
Removing the makeshift ice pack from her forehead, Fluttershy slowly sat upright. She accepted the proffered capsule and swallowed it down with the glass of water. Handing it back to the reptile, she snuggled back under the covers and replaced the cold press on her head.
"I'll go out and get you some medicine right away." Smokey brushed Fluttershy's cheek with the backs of his index and middle fingers. He wasn't too fond of the idea of waltzing into Ponyville and making its citizens uneasy with his draconian presence. However, it was inevitable since he would be performing his magic tricks in the local theater within the second week of spring.
Fluttershy found comfort in the dragon's soft touch. His voice also provided an additional source of solace for her. They had only known each other for several hours short of a whole day, and she could see in his emerald green eyes that he already cared deeply for her. She knew she had the ability to coax almost any animal into developing a liking toward her on sight and seeing the look of affection upon their faces never failed to warm her heart. Yet, somehow, for some reason unbeknown to her, she found this scaly beast's companionship more meaningful. As she contemplated on it, she settled for the theory because he was a dragon. A full grown dragon. A beast possessing great strength and catastrophic capabilities. The fact that she had one gentled beside her amazed her.
Rising to his feet, Smokey reused the empty glass, swallowing a painkiller himself. His own injuries weren't feeling so wonderful either. Placing the glass into the sink, he knelt before the presence of his animals. He gave each of them a gentle stroke on the head before moving onto the griffin, who had just awoken from her slumber moments ago.
The griffin opened her tiny beak wide, releasing a drowsy yawn, and greeted the dragon with a nuzzle to his hand as it was placed upon her downy head. "I'm going out for a little while, all right, sweetie?" he said to her, rubbing the balls of his fingers into her scalp before taking his hand away and standing straight up again.
The chick tilted her head, confused by the dragon's words. After he bid his farewell to the pegasus, he strode over into the direction of the door. The baby griffin followed him, now astir and free from her sleepiness. She ceased to a halt once the scaly creature turned on his heel and addressed her kindly. "No, young lady. Stay here."
The baby griffin understood the word "no", but the rest of Smokey's words were foreign to her. Realizing that her source of security was leaving her behind, fear gripped her like a vice. Knowing no other way to express herself, her face scrunched up showing a mixture of terror and sadness and her throat let out her first crying notes. She dropped to her belly and combat crawled over to the dragon, her eagle feet grasping onto his foot.
Smokey frowned at the pathetically heart-wrenching scene at his feet. He bent over to pick up the wailing baby. "It's all right. I'll come back. Please don't cry
" He held the griffin to his chest, trying to calm her. Those words were foreign to her as well, so she continued to wail in hopes of convincing the dragon to stay. He strayed to the recollections within his memory of the mothers he had witnessed in his travels and in films and how they soothed their children. Mentally selecting out of the array of options, he began to rock the little chick.
Naturally, the commotion grasped Fluttershy's full attention. In her sitting position, she watched the dragon pace the floor aback of the couch, his apparent anxiety building with each second. The note in the baby griffin's crying inspired her heart to ache for her. Spreading her tired wings, she flapped lethargically over to the dragon and followed him as he continued to pace.
Smogey?" she addressed to him quietly, her voice sounding quite strange and she was unable to properly pronounce due to her plugged up nostrils. When she didn't receive his attention, she figured the chick was drowning her out. She fluttered forth and tapped his shoulder.
Smokey turned around to see the sick pony hovering in place, body bobbing up and down slightly with every languid flap of her wings. She extended her forelegs out to him, her eyes gesturing him to give her the screeching chick. The dragon's eyes flashed with surprise. Even in sickness, the pegasus wanted to help him - he was then filled with even more admiration for her.
"Are you sure? You really should be resting. You are sick, after all," he queried unsurely with concern heavy in his voice. The pegasus nodded, still holding her forelegs out to receive the baby. Eyes jumping from the mare to the griffin, then back at the equine, he caved in and handed the little one over.
I gan wadj 'er bor you." Fluttershy cradled the young griffin in her forelegs and glided back over to the mattress. The chick struggled in the pegasus' hold, jostling the pain in her hoof. The equine let out a soft whimper in pain, but she didn't let the baby griffin go. "Oh my
Id's ogay, liddle gribbin. You're sabe
Smogey will be righ' bag, don' you worry
The dragon didn't waste any time. He promptly exited the house, though he was reluctant to leave a crying child. He also felt guilty to be leaving the responsibility of looking after her to the sick pegasus when she clearly needed rest, even though she volunteered to do it.
Fluttershy allowed her nurturing persona to take over. Despite her own discomfort, she continued to speak to the weeping baby in a heartfelt motherly tone. Occasionally between long wails, the mythical creature fitted indistinguishable phrases of baby babbling. Always, the ending syllable would be carried out on a lengthy note until the griffin needed to refill her lungs with a choked gasp. She went on voicing her traumatizing abandonment by her source of security, all the while denying the safety of the equine's embrace. She didn't take Fluttershy as a source of security. Not when she had been tossed into a state of panic when Smokey left, and therefore clouding her mind and preventing rational thinking. The results would be all the same even if the griffin's brain wasn't cloudy, considering she only possessed limited rational thinking due to her young age.
By the time the effects of Fluttershy's painkiller began to kick in, much to her relief, her soothing voice began to break through the walls trapping the tiny animal within her panicked state. The young creature's cries subsided into gasps and moans, her cheeks soaked with tears. She looked up at the face of the equine holding her. The mare offered a reassuring smile, her eyes baggy and droopy and the fur under her nostrils glistening with moisture from mucus.
" Fluttershy crooned, pulling the baby griffin closer. The pony nuzzled her cheek against the little animal's head in hopes of giving her further comfort.
Feeling a blanket of calm spreading over her from the tender touch, the sounds emanating from the griffin were diminished into occasional soft whimpers. Brick by brick, her wall of terror fell with each nuzzle and every word pronounced in the voice's sweet, reassuring pitch. As fear loosened its grip on the child and her mind began to clear, she studied the eyes of the pegasus. Within the shining blue-green orbs, reflected the same level of affection the dragon's eyes held. Stretching out her short forelegs, the baby griffin touched the mare's face. The baby griffin's curiosity soon drowned out her terror. A small smile found its way upon the tiny black beak, delighting in the softness of Fluttershy's fur.
Wearing a wide grin, Fluttershy felt her chest swell with warmth from the touch of the baby griffin's curious paws. She watched as the little one's eyes widened in wonder as she continued to have her face prodded by the eagle toes. As Fluttershy allowed the child to indulge herself in the texture of her fur, she stole a moment to acknowledge her accomplishment of calming her. Not only that, she was also bonding with her.
Opening her tiny beak, the baby griffin released a squeal that was followed by a giggle that inspired Fluttershy's heart to flood with maternal affection. By the causation of the flow of emotion, the pony leaned her head in to nuzzle the griffin with vehemence. More giggles from the chick followed the equine's action, resulting with even more nuzzles. The fluffy little baby copied the mare, rubbing her head against her cheek with a light chirp and a giggle.
The pair remained that way for a good half hour before Fluttershy finally set the baby griffin down on the mattress and pulled the sky blue quilt over their bodies. The pony slid her forelegs around the griffin, pulling her into a cuddle. The griffin didn't resist. The child snuggled into the warm softness of Fluttershy's coat. Both of them reveled in each other's warmth and comfort, until their eyes slid shut and they fell asleep in their cuddled position. As they slept on, the rabbit joined them at the foot of the mattress, and the birds fluttered over to the fireplace to keep themselves toasty by the heat radiating from the smoldering charred logs.
As an hour passed by, Smokey was greeted by the adorable sight located in the vicinity of the fireplace. One arm furled around a large brown paper bag of items while the other hand held a bluish pink glass vase containing an eye-catching bouquet of pink, purple, and lavender daisy poms, lavender and pink miniature carnations, purple butterfly asters, lavender limonium, and pink and lavender alstroemeria. The price of flowers had skyrocketed ever since winter. The flowers had to be imported from other parts of the planet in flourishing nurseries.
After setting the bag down on the counter, he walked over to where the group was gathered. Kneeling beside the mattress, he placed the vase on the floor above Fluttershy's head. He had to admit, he was quite impressed that the baby griffin was sound asleep, with a peaceful look on her face. All the more to admire of the pony. Silently, he watched the pegasus sleep, her mouth agape since her nostrils were plugged with nasal discharge, her light exhaling stirring the soft down upon the baby griffin's cranium.
'She's just so darling all curled up with the little chick
' Smokey thought to himself with a smile tipping his lips. Seeing the pony and the baby griffin curled up together under the quilt was all too sweet. The scene before him sent a warm sensation through his chest and abdomen.
The dragon spent a few minutes staring at the mare's peacefully sleeping face. Noticing a strand of her forelock had fallen and covered her eyes, he reached a hand over to softly brush it back into place. His fingers lightly traced the frame of her face, developing a sudden fascination for it. The rounded balls of his digits coasted down her cheek and curved under her chin, then the backs of his fingers went back to her cheek again. The pony smiled in her slumber at the touches, causing the dragon's own smile to widen in turn. After giving her cheek one final stroke, he picked up the towel that was now wet from absorbing the small amount of snow that had melted and replaced it on Fluttershy's head. Satisfied that the pony was getting the rest she needed, he rose to his feet and wandered into the kitchen to make soup.