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Baby Cuddles Needed (JP Cremsden/Margana)


Laurie
 

It had been a lot of blood. Not the most blood Cremsden had ever been covered in; working through Falls virtually guaranteed you ended up soaked in it some days, but...enough that he didn’t particularly want to traumatise anyone by wandering around. Once patients were handed over and debriefing was done there was still time needed for a wash and change. Not into particularly Hatching Feast fancy clothing; he didn’t feel particularly like being dressed up to celebrate right now. Just a clean comfortable shirt and trousers that didn’t have any suspicious stains on.


Shells, and it was only about time for breakfast. Still plenty of work to do today, but seeing a Candidate get disembowelled in front of you while still alive at least excused him for an hour or so’s break to go grab food and see his family. And right now, even if he wasn’t particularly in a feasting mood, he very much wanted to see his family.


And his family very much wanted to see him. Margana had been late to the Hatching, mainly because she had no clue where Arden was. Another good case for keeping him in the creche--a baby in the creche was a baby you could find. 


Of course, that was the last place she looked, because he was so dead-set against the creche. So she missed the first two Impressions, but was there in time to see Xinspeth Impress Zosime. That was nice. She settled back to watch the rest while Zloreth gave her a running commentary of what the babies were saying while wandering the Hatching Grounds.


The moment Dardueth Hatched she had a bad feeling. Any dragon coming out of its egg calling for blood--or at least, food--was trouble. And as events unfolded, she hated she was proven right. But not because of the dragon. Baby dragons didn’t know any better. She remembered when Zlorenth came running at her, bowling over the jerk Candidate who had been standing next to her. As she recalled, he’d been injured also, then banned from the Weyr. Weren’t these Candidates taught to stay out of the way of baby dragons?


She wasn’t actually horrified to see Sorho disembowelled, or Ysolde hurt. She was horrified to see her Weyrmate attempt to saunter over and help the boy while he was being mauled


“Cremsden, no!” she yelled, causing Arden to jump and start crying. Any other time and people would have been muttering about the crying baby. But his wailing was lost in the shrieks of the crowd. 


There was no way Cuylar would have heard her shouts. But he was quick-witted enough to grab Cremsden and physically hold him back. It helped that he was bigger, and since he had his own dragon, had the strength of a dragonrider. 


{{You need to do something nice for that boy,}} Zlorenth said.


[[Next time Elphith rises, you may chase. And Cremsden can stand-in for me. Cuylar should probably like that.]]


{{Deal.}} Zlorenth shouldn’t have sounded that happy, but Margana didn’t care.


At least the rest of the Hatching went well. And after the Hatching, there was a Hatching Breakfast rather than a full-on Feast. That was fine. She wasn’t hungry anyway. But, by the food would be where she would find her weyrmate.


He came walking in, looking like he’d been through a full Fall. Any other day she would have felt sorry for him. Today, she merely greeted him with, “What were you thinking out there?”


Cremsden stretched out his arms to Arden before hearing the question. Right now what he wanted was to hold his beautiful, wriggly alive son and forget what dead Candidate smelled like. It took a moment for him to process the words. “..What?”


Margana’s arms were getting tired so she allowed Cremsden to take Arden. Allowed. While that didn’t sound very nice, she was still upset about Darduath. 


“Down on the Sands. When Darduath accidentally killed that boy. Does no one teach Candidates--or Healers--to stay out of the way of a newborn dragon? You could have been mauled if it weren’t for Cuylar.” Tears filled her eyes. “I know you wanted to help that boy, but he was dead the minute Darduath’s claws ripped his front open. And if you’d gotten in front of her, you would have been next.


“I should know. Zlorenth injured someone before Impressing me. Not mortally, but I used to see it a lot at Fort. A lot.”


“That wasn’t fe-- sha--” Cremsden swallowed the curses that wanted to escape, and lowered his voice to a hiss so as not to scare the baby. “I saw that, it wasn’t an accident!” Because right now, right now still what he wasn’t thinking about what could have been him but a young man -- far far too young -- who had died in horrible pain. 


But he hadn’t meant to make Margana cry and that choked off the anger that wanted to escape. “Don’t-- ah shards. I’m sorry.” At some point he was going to get used to not swearing in front of Arden. But not today. 


“Did she go right up to Sorho and claw him?” Margana asked. “I get that it looked deliberate, but if he hadn’t been in her way it may not have happened. I heard Shalia’s arm got broken by one of the golds upstairs. I don’t think that was intentional either. Until they have the guidance of a lifemate, dragonets don’t know what they’re doing.” Though to be fair, to someone not a rider it had looked deliberate. 


“If it had been totally intentional she would have begun eating him.” The horrors that would have brought were not to be thought about. “But she Impressed soon after. She won’t do that again.” And if she did, that would be for the Weyrleaders to fix.


Moving closer, she lay her head on his shoulder in a half hug. Arms full of Arden made it hard to have full hugs any longer.


There was an image Cremsden didn’t need. He swallowed to rid himself of the acid that burned at the back of his throat at the image, looking slightly sick. “I don’t-- I’d rather not try hard enough to remember to work it out to be honest,” he admitted. He turned his face to offer her head an apologetic kiss. “I am sorry. Cuylar already told me I was daft.”


“Cuylar’s a smart kid. He also understands that a dragon will get what it wants.” If anyone would understand that, it would be the boy who was never a Candidate. “And I understand why you tried to get to Sorho. Everyone wanted to get to him to help him. Now, that girl. Ysolde. How’s she doing?”


Cremsden grimaced. “Ask me again in a day and I might have good news.” The first day or so after an injury like that were always going to be a matter of hoping wildly that infection might be avoided. “I just-- he might have been already dead but.. I just wanted to stop it hurting.” All those Healer instincts which sometimes were incompatible with little things like not getting killed.


Margana nodded. She’d not been unaware of the time it took him to die, and her heart broke for him. He probably would have made a good dragonrider. If he and that girl hadn’t been distracted by arguing on the Sands.


“It all happened so fast. The Candidate Masters should have been watching for roughhousing though, because those two had been totally distracted with their own little feud or whatever was going on.” She sighed. 


“Nothing we can do now. I didn’t see anyone else needing major help. Which is good.”


“At least one other Candidate got clawed. He’ll live. Someone else took that one.” Cremsden turned his attention to Arden, burying his nose in the fine baby hair for a moment to inhale the boy’s smell. “And you, my lad, are going nowhere near anything like that.” Not something he’d usually speak out loud in front of his weyrmate, even if he thought it.


The day had been horrific for the healers, so Margana wasn’t going to quibble. “We could use another Healer in the house,” she said with a smile. Ultimately, it would be up to the boy. Or the dragons.