Chapter 5

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"Would you like to contact your parents, or shall I?" I asked. "I would prefer to have a traditional mating ceremony, unless you disagree."

According to tradition, all members of a flight of dragons would gather to give blessings to a newly mated couple. After waiting so long for my mate, I wanted to give her every safeguard for our future happiness. Especially with the weight of that prophecy hanging over us.

Adora cocked her head, a considering look flickering through her gaze. "I shall enclose a message with yours," she said finally. "To your parents and to mine."

She squirmed, shifting the coils of her body in my hand. "Would you like to set me down? This can't be comfortable for you."

It wasn't entirely, but there was no good option, not if she wanted to remain in dragon form and if I wanted to talk to her while looking her in the eye. Her larger form was about the size of a large dog, but I refused to have my mate trotting alongside me as she were a pet. Also, there was the mating call to consider.

"I can fly," she added. "And then I can sit on a pile of cushions or something."

"You will likely feel very ill if we are not in close proximity."

She flinched. "Good point." She sighed. "How much longer of this do we have to look forward to?"

"It depends on you and when you plan on consummating the mating," I said dryly, refusing to think if rather than when.

Adora squirmed again. "The logical side of me says that we should wait until it's safer than not, but that might not be for another few hundred years. If we're lucky."

Lust and pain roared through my mind. I fisted my other hand at my side. Wait another few hundred years? It was a miracle I had held out for a hundred minutes and would be another miracle if I managed to wait until our family arrived before pushing her down on the nearest soft surface and taking her. From the way her tail was twitching, she wasn't as nonchalant as her tone implied. Scratch that. It wouldn't be a miracle. It would take an act of the gods. Multiple gods.

"Tell me what you know, mate." She said she was trying to find a way around the prophecy. I needed to know the particulars. Immediately.

"Failed pregnancies are most often because of insufficient magic. I've arranged to rent one of the training tanks from the Justiciars - my hypothesis is that if they're able to slow the process of aging in their trainees, then it would be helpful in slowing the pregnancy. If all else fails, then going to Sleep would be the only other alternative."

Another sharp lance of desire arrowed through my chest.

"The father gifts his magic to his mate and his young during the course of the pregnancy, Adora. What of that?"

Her tail trembled, feathers fluttering, and the scent of her arousal filled the air. Ah. So she was as turned on by the thought of the Gifting as I was. Dragon mates were fiery and required frequent...pleasing, but there was another reason dragons went into confinement once pregnancy was confirmed - every additional drop of seed I filled my mate with made her safer.

"The father's Hoard helps as well, especially the older pieces." Her voice was breathy and filled with rising desire. She smiled, the look somehow demurely coy. "And should there be permission granted beforehand, there's no reason why the father couldn't do the usual Gifting."

Ah Fates.

My pants tightened unmercifully. She was going to kill me with need for her before the day was through.

"Permission?" I rasped, unable to force out another single word.

Her trembling intensified. My claws lengthened and I dug them into my palm. No. I wouldn't dishonor myself or my mate by succumbing to the Call before she gave me free rein.

Adora swallowed. "Yes. It's necessary, after all, and tradition." She fluttered her lashes, her voice laced with humor even as the scent of her arousal thickened.

I took a deep breath. My head spun further and I realized my mistake.

"Say yes, Adora. Say yes." I didn't care if I was pleading. There was no dishonor for the need between mates.

She swallowed again, her pupils dark pools I could so easily and willingly drown in.

"The preparations aren't ready, Fenrir," she gasped. "The tank hasn't been set up and we haven't figured out what to do about my parents' holding and how to deal with my being stuck in near stasis, or what to do if I have to go to Sleep instead."

She was right, but...

"There's no way we can think clearly through this. We will have days, at least, before you will need to be taken under. Trust me to do the right thing, Adora. I promise you, I will make it right, however I need to do so."

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