Arian paced the cavern in his mountain in agitation and a wee bit of anxiety. He was shaking off the dragon sleep from the past six hundred years. Not only had it been six centuries since he had been in human form, but there was a war the Dragon Kings were involved in. Con and the others were waiting for him to join in the war. Every King had been woken to take part. After all the wars they had been involved in, Arian wasn't happy to be woken to join another. Because of Ulrik. The banished and disgraced Dragon King hadn't just made a nuisance of himself, but he somehow managed to get his magic returned. Which meant the Kings needed to put extra magic into keeping the four silver dragons sleeping undisturbed deep within the mountain. They were Ulrik's dragons, and he would want to wake them soon. But it wasn't just Ulrik that was causing mischief. The Dark Fae were as well. It infuriated Arian that they were once more fighting the Dark. Hadn't the Fae Wars killed enough Fae and dragons? Then again, as a Dragon King as old as time itself, they were targets for others who wanted to defeat them. For Ulrik, he just wanted revenge. Arian hated him for it, but he could understand. Mostly because Arian had briefly joined Ulrik in his quest to rid the realm of humans. Thoughts of Ulrik were pushed aside as Arian found himself thinking about why he had taken to his mountain. When he came here six hundred years earlier, it was to remain there for many thousands of years. The Dragon Kings sought their mountains for many reasons. Some were just tired of dealing with mortals, but others had something they wished to forget for a while. Arian was one of the latter. There were many things he did in his past when the King of Kings, Constantine, asked. Not all of them Arian was proud of. The one that sent him to his mountain still preyed upon him. He didn't remember her name, but he remembered her tears. Because of the spell to prevent any of the Dragon Kings from falling in love with mortals, Arian had easily walked away from the female. Six centuries later, he could still hear her begging him to stay with her, still see the tears coursing down her face. Though he hadn't felt anything, it bothered him that he had so easily walked away. Because Con had demanded it. Loyalty-above all else. The Dragon Kings were his family, and Dreagan his home. There was never any question if he were needed that Arian would do whatever it took to help his brethren in any capacity asked of him.
The Light Fae had sacrificed so much for the Kings. She had been a true friend and ally to them in the past, but she was changing rapidly. Balladyn was chasing her, and it now appeared that Ulrik was as well. If her King didn't step up and set things right, Rhi would be lost to them forever.
I'll help you, Ulrik, King of Silvers, if you'll help me, " she purred and ran her hand up his chest. He grasped her wrist, halting her arm. Then he bent his head until their lips were nearly touching. "Shall we seal the deal with a kiss? "I thought you'd never ask, " she said huskily right before she put her mouth to his.
While I pressed the tissue to my face, Beck said, 'Can I tell you something? There are a lot of empty boxes in your head, Sam.' I looked at him, quizzical. Again, it was a strange enough concept to hold my attention. 'There are a lot of empty boxes in there, and you can put things in them.' Beck handed me another tissue for the other side of my face. My trust of Beck at that point was not yet complete; I remember thinking that he was making a very bad joke that I wasn't getting. My voice sounded wary, even to me. 'What kinds of things?' 'Sad things, ' Beck said. 'Do you have a lot of sad things in your head?' 'No, ' I said. Beck sucked in his lower lip and released it slowly. 'Well, I do.' This was shocking. I didn't ask a question, but I tilted toward him. 'And these things would make me cry, ' Beck continued. 'They used to make me cry all day long.' I remembered thinking this was probably a lie. I could not imagine Beck crying. He was a rock. Even then, his fingers braced against the floor, he looked poised, sure, immutable. 'You don't believe me? Ask Ulrik. He had to deal with it, ' Beck said. 'And so you know what I did with those sad things? I put them in boxes. I put the sad things in the boxes in my head, and I closed them up and I put tape on them and I stacked them up in the corner and threw a blanket over them.' 'Brain tape?' I suggested, with a little smirk. I was eight, after all. Beck smiled, a weird private smile that, at the time, I didn't understand. Now I knew it was relief at eliciting a joke from me, no matter how pitiful the joke was. 'Yes, brain tape. And a brain blanket over the top. Now I don't have to look at those sad things anymore. I could open those boxes sometime, I guess, if I wanted to, but mostly I just leave them sealed up.' 'How did you use the brain tape?' 'You have to imagine it. Imagine putting those sad things in the boxes and imagine taping it up with the brain tape. And imagine pushing them into the side of your brain, where you won't trip over them when you're thinking normally, and then toss a blanket over the top. Do you have sad things, Sam?' I could see the dusty corner of my brain where the boxes sat. They were all wardrobe boxes, because those were the most interesting sort of boxes - tall enough to make houses with - and there were rolls and rolls of brain tape stacked on top. There were razors lying beside them, waiting to cut the boxes and me back open. 'Mom, ' I whispered. I wasn't looking at Beck, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw him swallow. 'What else?' he asked, barely loud enough for me to hear. 'The water, ' I said. I closed my eyes. I could see it, right there, and I had to force out the next word. 'My ... ' My fingers were on my scars. Beck reached out a hand toward my shoulder, hesitant. When I didn't move away, he put an arm around my back and I leaned against his chest, feeling small and eight and broken. 'Me, ' I said.