Torshael and Tayne's Story: Between Missions

Chapter Twenty

Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight and Phoenix


The next four days came and went, and on the last day, Tayne paced, lion-formed, around the hotel room. He'd been doing so for the last hour, waiting for when the hatching bay on the Destiny was due to open for candidates and audience, restless but really unable to do much about it. He still had fifteen minutes until the announcement was due. At least, with the Destiny clutches, there was a scheduled time, and not a... whenever-the-eggs-happen-to-hatch time.

"Tayne, if you don't stop pacing, you're going to wear a track into the flooring, or something."

Tekas was sitting on the bed watching him. Grinning apologetically, Tayne padded over and leapt up with him, making the poor bed creak. "Sorry. I just don't know what to do with myself. I'm not good at waiting."

"Well, then, let me keep you occupied," Tekas smiled, and before Tayne could ask just how he planned to do that since he was a cat-- all their usual methods of "keeping each other occupied" didn't really work in different forms, and he wasn't sure they had time, anyway-- Tekas made the question moot. He really did have wonderful hands, even when putting them to use by scratching around his ears and chin, through his mane, right at the hip joint which always itched just a little and was a bear to reach comfortably.

"I should've thought of this earlier," he sighed happily, eyes shut and head in the infernal's lap. "Just don't go making me late, or anything."

"Wouldn't dream of it."

Tayne let him scratch right at the back of his skull for a minute, wishing heartily that he could purr and make certain Tekas knew how much he liked that touch, before speaking again. "Tekas, you're sure you're okay with all this, right? Having a kid around, and all...."

"I'm quite fine with it, Tayne. It's important to you."

"Well, so are you, and kids make you uncomfortable."

"Tayne, it's fine, really." Tekas smiled a bit. "We've been over this several times already."

"I know, I know. But it's your last chance to have me back out," he grinned faintly. "So I just want to make sure."

"You're not backing out, Tayne," Tekas said firmly, scratching along his spine, between his shoulders, making him arch his back an rumble happily at the attention. "Especially on my account."

He was tired of worrying when he could be thinking about that scratch, right at the base of his mane. "All right, if you're sure, then. Gotta go in a few minutes...."

"I know," Tekas assured him, and both of them kept an eye on the clock on the wall.

Petting-bliss or not, a moment latter Tayne butted his head into Tekas's stomach for a quick nuzzle, and a hug around the neck from Tekas, before hopping down and shaking himself lightly. Unlike Torshael, he wasn't about to waste time primping. "Shall we?"

Tekas nodded, sliding to his feet, and Tayne led the way out to the nearest elevator. The door was just closing when the announcement came over the station-wide public radio-- or PA system, or communication spell, or whatever it was they used. "First call: will the bonders and sponsors for the Biosynth 13 please proceed to the Abstract Destiny. This is the first call for bonders and sponsors for Biosynth 13."

"Perfect timing," Tayne commented as the door slid shut behind them. After telling the elevator room where to go, he told Tekas, "I'm going to have to stand down on the bay floor; you can sit wherever you like in the audience. There're seats along the wall, lots of them. You can meet me after at the feeding tables, if you like-- well, if I bond-- or I'll come find you out in the hall."

Tekas just nodded, and Tayne leaned quietly against his legs while they waited for the little room to reach its destination. He hoped he'd bond... it had been a long time since his last attempt, and he certainly hadn't found any humans in the interim who interested him enough.... But there was always the possibility that he wouldn't. He hadn't the first time, after all, being one of a small few who walked away alone after the last biosynth.

But he was determined not to worry. That was what Torshael did, not him. The room slid to a stop, and he ducked his muzzle under Tekas's hand in the instant before the door actually opened, the last bit of affection he could get in before the whole thing started, and they had to part ways. "Wish me luck," he said with a grin, the door popping open for them.

"I'll say good luck only to humor you, Tayne," Tekas retorted lightly. "I don't think you'll need it."

"It's just traditional," Tayne snorted back, sidestepping as they both left the elevator, just enough to playfully nudge Tekas aside. "Go on-- through that door, then; find somewhere to sit. I'll talk to you after."

"Okay, okay," Tekas chuckled, waving him off. "Good luck."

"Thanks," Tayne grinned toothily at him, then trotted through, himself, and bounded down the stairs to the bay floor-- this time taking the dragon-sized ones, as they were much more empty than the human-sized ones. He didn't like the idea of bowling anyone over in his haste, whether candidate or audience member, both of which were likely. Things were filling up fast, what with the eggs twitching and rocking lightly in anticipation for finally being able to hatch, and repeated announcements from the public announcement system or whatever it was. Tayne settled on the floor with the small but swiftly growing hoard of candidates and sponsors, flicking his wings shut over his back and getting ready for yet more waiting. At least this time he could see what he was waiting for!

The synth's parents were standing off to one side, their firstborn nestled in Chiami's arms again and another egg at Haaji'hasmel's feet. It, as well as all the others, were rocking in earnest now, and the audience was noisily taking seats in the bleachers far above the floor. Tayne glanced around at the other candidates-- quite a variety, just like last time, with humans, part-humans, dragons, even an undead-looking lady dragon-- and gave the bleachers a brief visual search in a vain attempt at finding Tekas's face amidst the sea of curious on-lookers. Mostly, though, his attention was on the clutch itself, waiting for the actual hatching.

It wasn't long in coming, and very shortly it seemed like the multitude of eggs started breaking all at once, the hatchlings kicking, flailing, tumbling, and rolling out and into the synthetic mossy stuff that had cushioned their eggs. They were just as adorable as their older brother, with their stubby little wings and fluffy tails, little half-beaks and bright eyes, all solid-colored with the occasional feather-nubs in a fiery shade. Most of them were fire-colors, with a few browns, grays, and even a pair of whites, like their father, thrown in for good measure.

The first bonder was dark red, and chose a similarly-colored dragon. After that, Tayne sort of lost track. Yellow, gray, red, yellow again, brown.... None of them were focusing on him, with the brief exception of a little red kitten who said hello to everyone, and added to Tayne that he liked his mane. And even then, all he had time to do was smirk and say, "Thanks!" before he'd moved on to greeting another of the candidates. He bonded when he'd gotten about three-quarters of the way through the bunch of them.

The bunch of them was starting to look a little thin, as the hatching wore on. At least half of them had bonded-- or sponsored, as the case might be, though there seemed like quite a few more bondings than simple adoptions-- and the number of kittens left was down to the single digits, and the lower half of them, at that. All that was left was a pair of browns-- one of whom was busy stalking a human fellow-- an orange, a gray, and a white. Tayne shifted a little restlessly, expecting now that he'd probably wind up walking away by himself again-- maybe he was looking in the wrong places for a bond. Though that didn't explain why the High One would specifically send him here to bond.  

Then he realized that one of the hatchlings was actually looking at him. He blinked, meeting a pair of eyes just the same shade of blue as his brother's. Blue eyes, white fur and feathers. That... no, that was just too ironic. It couldn't be right. If not even Torshael-- Pure, Favored Torshael-- was destined to bond a white hatchling, surely Tayne-- buff-colored, ordinary Tayne-- wasn't going to. Or was he? Had that been the High One's intent all along? The hatchling was pacing regally towards him, placing little paws with grace and care, and Tayne was torn between laughing at the irony and staring in shock. He didn't know if laughing would go over well with a kitten who looked every bit as proud and pristine-- egg-goo covered or not, though she seemed to have preened the worst of that away in the interim since her hatching-- as a Favored ought to, though, so he kept his mouth shut and stuck with the staring. The kitten stood in front of him-- posed, really; High One, she was reminding him of his brother!-- gazing at him with half-lidded eyes and a lofty expression.

Then he caught a barely-heard, half-smothered snicker, a crinkle in the eyes, a twitch at the corner of her mouth, and Tayne had a feeling....

Yep. The kitten broke out into laughter-- and not genteel, beautiful, Favored-ish laughter, either, but loud, open-beaked, raucous guffaws. It was the kind of laugh that carried across any crowded room and either made people glare at the volume or audacity of it, or brought them into the laugh, too, even if they didn't know what was so funny. That such a sound had some from such a tiny thing-- she really was tiny, even compared to some of her siblings-- just seemed wrong. And... funny. Tayne smirked down at the hatchling, and she gave his leg a friendly smack with one forepaw, quite as if she were the larger creature, and not him. 

"Hah! Had you for a minute, there, didn't I, you big lug?" she crowded around her mirth. "Call me Fluniarlii!"

"I'll call you a little minx," he countered. "Are you going to pull that with everyone you meet?"

"Probably!" she laughed unrepentantly. "It'll be fun."

Thinking of just how Torshael would react to this cheerfully uncouth "pure" hatchling, Tayne grinned slowly. "You know," he chuckled, "I think it will...."


Chapter Twenty-One

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