Chapter Ten: An Accident
"That settles it! Chenoa, it is!" Closing the book, Smokey set it aside and scooted closer to the mattress, his attention settling on the newly named chick. "What do you think of your name, Chenoa? Do you like it?" he cooed, bringing his hand underneath her face to lightly tickle her chin.
Chenoa giggled and pressed her head into Smokey's palm, being more concerned with a head rub than her new name. Babbling a couple of non-existent words and throwing out a squeak carried out on a lengthy note, she indulged in the feeling of her daddy's scaly fingers rubbing into her scalp.
Fluttershy narrowed her eyes with a motherly smile, stroking the newly christened Chenoa on her back and leaning down to nuzzle her lightly on the other side of her head. Pulling away, she gazed up at Smokey with a wondrous expression.
"She's so happy..." she murred, before turning her eyes back to the chick. "So cute..."
"We'll make sure she stays happy." Smokey's adoring eyes remained upon the white bundle of youth, his heart melting all over again. He knew he held the habit of getting attached quickly, but never to this extent.
His mind immediately drifted to the scheduled date that marked his departure of Ponyville and the continuation of his travels. The thought of separating himself from Chenoa--or separating her from Fluttershy--spurred an unpleasant pang in his chest. For the sake of sparing the moment, he retained a smile despite his conflicting emotions.
Fluttershy nodded, her eyes closing happily as she leaned in to nuzzle the baby again. She had always felt a motherly bond with her animals, especially to Angel... But a this was a griffon chick.
"Um...Smokey?" She blinked, looking up with realization in her eyes. "I just...remembered I don't...really know all that much about griffons..."
The yellow mare's confession only reminded Smokey that they both shared the same problem.
"Oh? You don't? Well... I'm afraid I'm not that knowledgeable about them either... I know as much about them as my own kind." Smokey felt his cheeks flush a light shade of embarrassed pink. It was true, though. While he was a dragon, he actually didn't know all that much about them.
"You what?" Fluttershy arched her brows. "But...you're a dragon? How can you not know about your own--"
She suddenly cut herself off as she realized something. Her friend Spike was a dragon, and he didn’t particularly know much about his own kind. Her eyes went wide as she acknowledged the implication.
“Were you… raised by ponyfolk?” she asked.
Smokey was surprised that Fluttershy managed to come to that specific conclusion so quickly, not having anticipated the answer. Smiling slightly, he nodded. “Yes, I was raised in a pony environment.”
The dragon was tempted to tell the equine where he came from, but if he did he knew he would start tearing up. His childhood hadn’t been a kind one. Whenever he invested a good amount of time thinking about it, the familiar heartache he suffered then would visit him.
Fluttershy gave a smile, idly stroking a hoof over Chenoa’s back. “I know a baby dragon named Spike, who lives with a friend of mine in Ponyville. He was born and raised by ponykind himself his whole life. I just… figured… you might have been the same.”
Smokey was even more stunned by this revelation. There was another dragon who was denied the care from his own kind? What were the odds of that?
“I… suppose I’m not alone then… I’d like to meet Spike sometime,” he requested as he issued another adorning smile to the little griffon as she picked up the panda by the ear in her beak and dragged it with her as she shuffled closer to the pegasus.
“I’m sure Spike would like to meet you, too! I think it would be nice for him to meet another dragon raised by ponies. Even if you are much older than him.”
Fluttershy grinned down at their adopted daughter, going back to wondering where they could find some information about griffons. Her feverish mind had temporarily forgotten Spike--and Twilight Sparkle, whom he lived with--resided in a library, which would be a very likely candidate for such information to be found.
“Sounds like I’ll be making another friend,” the large reptile said before his memory went back to the mug of tea still residing in the kitchenette. “Oh! Hold on! Allow me to fetch your tea and medicine.”
Clamoring to his feet, Smokey hurried into the kitchen where the steaming mug of tea rested upon the counter, the scent of lemon and ginger filling his nostrils as he approached. Removing the tea bags from the darkened liquid, he tossed them into the trash and scoured his pantry for the honey. Once he found the plastic bear-shaped bottle, he half-turned into Fluttershy’s direction to ask, “Miss Fluttershy? How much honey would you like in your tea?
Giggling quietly at Chenoa’s adorable antics as she waited for Smokey’s return, glanced over at him as he questioned her. “Oh, not a whole lot. A little bit will be just fine.”
"All right then." Precipitating himself back over to the mug, Smokey flipped open the cap belonging to the bottle of honey in his clawed hand and turned it over, squirting a small amount of the syrupy contents into the mug. Once he decided the beverage had enough, he closed the bottle and set it aside, then pulled open one of the nearby drawers for a tea spoon to stir it in.
Completing Fluttershy's tea, Smokey made a grab for the bottle of medicine and read the directions printed on the back. Measuring out a proper dosage in a small plastic medicine cup, the winged reptile exited the kitchenette, both hands occupied. Settling himself onto the floor with care, he offered the medicine first. “Here you are.”
"Thank you so much." Fluttershy smiled, a look of gratitude on her face as she reached out to take it. Opening her mouth, she drank down the medicine before gratefully accepting the cup of hot tea. Washing the medicine down with the warm liquid, she let out a sigh…
The combination of ginger, honey, and lemon tasted exquisite! Her eyes closing a bit, she licked her lips before taking another drink. "This is incredible, Smokey..."
"Thank you, my dear. But, you know, you did pick out the flavors, so it wasn't just me," the dragon pointed out, giving the mare a rather toothy grin with a quick wink. His attention went back to Chenoa as his ear frills caught another squeak from her toy.
"Baba ber bwah," she babbled, pouncing on the panda plush's tummy, resulting in a resounding squeak.
"Oh! She said something!" Fluttershy gushed, her wings unfurling a small degree. Eyes widening, her mouth hung wide open in joy as she watched Chenoa. Though she knew she was just babbling and hadn't actually said anything comprehensible, just the sheer fact she made noise other than what she had been previously making thrilled her.
"That was utterly adorable." Now it was Smokey's turn to fawn over the small child. As he was about to further comment on her preciousness, he was interrupted by hunger gnawing at his empty belly. The complaining grumble was quite audible--even Chenoa paused from her wrestling match with her toy to glance up at him. "I suppose I should eat before I go."
The winged pony gave a soft laugh, nodding. “Yes… That would be a good idea.”
After taking another sip of her tea, she moved off the mattress to place her cup on the lamp table beside the couch for now before going back and reaching out to touch the draconian’s arm. “Smokey? Thank you. For everything.”
With that, the pegasus leaned in to press her lips against his cheek in a small grateful kiss, before laying back down on the sheets and covering herself up with the blanket again. She gave a yawn, her eyelids feeling particularly heavy. The medicine must already be beginning to kick in, she thought, as she was beginning to get drowsy again.
The dragon froze as the mare's lips brushed his scales. The sweet gesture touched him, evoking a soft purr from the depths of his throat. A new smile tugged at the corners of his mouth and his eyelids dropped a tiny fraction. He couldn't remember the last time a pony had kissed him.
After Fluttershy settled down in the warm comfort of the sheets, he craned his upper body, bending over to nuzzle his snout against her cheek in return with another purr. "Don't fall asleep yet. I still need you to help me make that list when I finish eating."
"I'll try not to," She gave him a warm smile, her eyes closing lightly as she struggled to fight off a yawn. Rolling over onto her side, she contented herself with watching Chenoa play. "In fact, if you wouldn't mind providing some paper and something to write with, I'll go ahead and write it down for her while you're eating."
"Of course. I'll be right back." Drawing away from the equine and once again pulling himself onto his feet, the dragon directed himself toward the bedroom door, thrown into a state of caution as he neared it. He didn't know if the werewolf had returned or not, so it was best to be on his guard.
To his fortune, the werewolf hadn't returned. Exhaling on a relieved sigh, Smokey went to one of the boxes inhabiting the room and went through his belongings until he came across a notepad and a pen. Hurrying out the door, still considering the room unsafe, he shut it behind him and delivered the paper and writing utensil to Fluttershy. “Here you are, milady.”
"Thank you," she said, staring up at him with half-laden eyes of gratitude. "You're so nice…”
“I try to be,” came the large reptile’s response before he ventured back into the kitchen to fix himself a large bowl of soup that had been kept warm on the burner set on low heat. He stood by the counter separating the living room from the kitchen to keep his eyes on Chenoa as she pounced and pawed at her panda, her playful antics plastering a smile on his face. Silently, he lowered his muzzle into the bowl to take it's contents into his mouth. Like before when he had eaten, he showed no signs of dragon-like eating habits.
Opening the notepad and flipping to a blank slate, she took the pen in her mouth and began scribbling down the directions and instructions for each of her animals friends from Angel to Elizabeak to Hummingway to everyone in between. She made sure to detail each area of the cottage, where to expect to find where she stored the food for her animal friends, as well as any medicines, bandages, and other first-aid equipment if for whatever reason it was needed.
As the medicine began working its way through her system, Fluttershy found that she could barely keep her eyes open, and as a result her writing became a little sloppy--though she tried to keep her mind clear and her instructions as legible as possible. When she was done, she placed the pad and pen on the floor next to the mattress and laid back down.
Struggling to keep her eyes open--primarily to make sure she was keeping a watch on Chenoa but also to observe Smokey, she smiled as she watched the dragon. She found it amazing that he ate with such refined dignity... Or rather, as much refined dignity as his upbringing brought him. He wasn't loud or messy, like she had expected most dragons to be, and in truth she was still rather surprised to find another pony-raised draconian being. She was curious to where he came from, over another wave of drowsiness washed over her and despite herself, found herself drifting off again.
As the dragon moved onto his second bowl, Chenoa left her toy and bounded into the kitchen to pounce on Smokey's tail. Cheeks puffing out, the reptilian compressed his lips together to prevent him from laughing and ultimately spitting out his soup at the sight of the baby griffon. Rolling on her back, all four of her paws batted at the scaly extremity, squealing and burbling. Gulping down his mouthful, he addressed Fluttershy to take a look at Chenoa as she batted and wrestled with his tail.
Stirring, the pegasus from roused from her weary half-slumber and gazed over. Spotting the snowy-feathered chick with all four of her paws in the air caused a warm smile to grow on her face and a sound of motherly adoration to escape from her.
"Awwww!" She gushed. "That's adorable! She looks like she's really having fun there."
"She certainly does. She's such a sweet wittle cwootie-pie, aren't you?" Smokey crooned as he lifted the bulk his tail a few millimeters and touched the tip to her soft vulnerable belly. Chenoa erupted in a fit of high-pitched baby giggles as she was tickled. The child squirmed in peals of mirthful squeals before rolling over onto her paws and pounced on the dragon's foot.
Smokey's chest was inhabited by the glowing warmth inspired by the heavenly sound of his adopted child's laughter. The very look on his face had contorted to convey his inner emotions. Chuckling, he set down his bowl and bent over to pick up the infant. Holding her to his chest, he nuzzled the top of her downy cranium then touched his lips to her forehead. “You’re such a sweet little darling… Yes, you are! Wes, woo awre!”
Despite her drug induced fatigue, Fluttershy couldn't help but burst out in giggles of her own as she heard the baby squeal out due to Smokey's tickling her. Feeling a glowing happiness, she grinned as the dragon picked her up. The two of them looked absolutely precious together.
Suddenly, Smokey felt something warm and wet slide down his torso. Drawing the baby away so he could investigate, his eyes went wide when he realized something very important he forgot to pick up at the store…
A second later, Fluttershy gasped as she realized what happened. But she let out another giggle, her feverish mind finding it kind of funny. Never, under normal circumstances, would she dared to laugh at Smokey’s misfortune.
She blamed it on the medicine and fever.
“Oopsie. Did Chenoa have an accident?”
Even though he had just been urinated on, Smokey wasn’t upset. No, this was something the baby could control just yet, and it was his own fault for forgetting diapers. Smiling, he let out a brief chuckle. “Indeed she did. It appears I’ll have to stop at the store again for diapers. And some shampoo and a brush for you.”
He turned his head to the mare, implying that he meant the last two items would be for her.
"Oh?" Fluttershy had figured the diapers... But what would he need shampoo and brush for?
It took a couple of seconds for her to release this, and she suddenly went very pink in her face again, hiding it in her mane lightly while she bashfully looked up at him. Oh. Yes, her mane and fur could use a wash and a brush. It had been a day since she last washed up. She probably looked like a complete wreck, she realized, suddenly wishing for a mirror. She wondered what Rarity would say if she were here and could see her now.
“I should probably get baby shampoo for Chenoa, too, while I’m at it. She will need baths in the future--and not just after eating.” Placing the baby griffon back on the floor, Smokey proceeded to clean up the mess she made.