Chapter Thirty-Five: Mal
Mal had gotten used to this view over the last couple of weeks. Kaden had required several surgeries to correct all the damage done to him by that one bloody bullet. If Cynthia weren't being kept behind bars Mal would have wrung her scrawny little neck for the pain she'd caused Kaden.
Only one more day and Kaden would be fit to fly and they could finally go home.
Akemi had been wonderful and pulled some strings with the Zurich guild, explaining Mal's absence for the initial weeks. According to the paperwork set up by Hank, back in Australia, the whole reason for Mal coming to Zurich had been to conduct training sessions with the rangers here.
Now that everything had settled down and Mal had some time on his hands as they waited for Kaden to become strong enough to travel, Mal had been flying back and forth to Zurich every couple of days to make good on the training. Akemi had been a gem in helping him sort everything out.
Now, he was finally finished, the men and women of the Zurich Rangers had been put through their paces, and even though they weren't quite as skilled a team as Mal's back home, they were coming together nicely.
The cold wind rushed past his face as Nidhogg spiralled them down towards the hangars at the rear of the castle.
The touchdown was as smooth as ever. Mal removed his goggles and pulled his hair out of the tight bun he'd done for the flight.
"Come on boy, let's get you settled. We have a big journey home in a couple of days." Mal flicked the reins over Nidhogg's head and led his dragon into the hangar to the stall that had been set aside for Nidhogg.
Finished getting Nidhogg settled, he rubbed his dragon's neck one last time. "Get some rest, I'll be back to check on you tomorrow." Mal made sure his friend had plenty to eat and drink and then went in search of Kaden. He wanted to see his man.
Mal double-timed it through the passageways and into the castle, then down to the medic bays.
He slowed when he finally made it to the floor where Kaden and their friends were housed. He paused for a minute in the open doorway to Nootau and Aegeus's room. Aegeus was missing, more than likely at a physio appointment, Mal was pleased his friend seemed to be on the mend. Nootau on the other hand, was still unresponsive. Edwige lay curled atop the covers on the bed next to Nootau. Her arm resting over his stomach and her face nuzzled up next to his, eyes closed.
Anyone who saw them now, would think they were just resting together. Mal could see the exhaustion in Edwige's features though. He hoped Nootau came back to them soon. Edwige and Aegeus needed him.
Not wanting to disturb Edwige while she got what little sleep she could he silently left the room and headed down the few doors to Kaden's quarters.
He opened the door and found his man sitting up in bed chatting with Akemi. Kaden looked great. His face was flushed with life, his cheeks pink, his lips plump and his eyes sparkled. He looked wonderful and Mal couldn't help the surge of relief and want from flooding his body.
He stalked through the room and over to Kaden. He took Kaden's face between his hands and kissed his man soundly. Kaden moaned and melted into the kiss, wrapping his arms around Mal and pulling him in close.
They finally broke apart when a throat cleared behind them.
Kaden blushed furiously as Akemi remained in her chair watching the pair of them.
"Welcome back Malcolm. I trust the training went well?" she asked.
Mal grinned, then scooted to the foot of the bed and sat down, he kept his hand on Kaden's leg, even though there were sheets and blankets between them.
"It did. The Zurich rangers are coming along nicely."
"That's wonderful to hear." She smiled at him. "I was just checking in on Kaden, seeing how he was feeling,"
"And asking how I felt about living in Switzerland," Kaden added.
Mal raised an eyebrow as he stared at Akemi. She didn't look at all guilty for what she'd done.
"You don't give up do you?" he asked her.
"No. You would make an amazing addition to the Rubrum Lux. After the events of weeks ago we're in need of solid, decent men and women."
"I'm happy in Australia, being a Ranger, for right now," Mal told her, for what felt like the dozenth time. This wasn't Akemi's first attempt at recruiting him. And he was sure it wouldn't be her last either.
Mal knew he wouldn't deny her forever. But for now, the answer was no.
"What's happening with the research Cynthia was heading up?" he asked to change the subject. "Were they really creating new dragon breeds that would be more susceptible to this nano technology shit? Can you imagine if something like that fell into the wrong hands? Men or women who could communicate so easily with dragons, getting them to do their bidding at the drop of a hat. It could start a bloody war!"
Akemi sighed and glanced between the pair of them.
"In the right hands, it could do a world of good," Akemi argued.
"I'm not denying that. But these types of things never stay in the right hands for very long. Guns didn't, nuclear weapons didn’t, and this won't either. All it takes is one person to leak the technology and suddenly you've got mad men and psychopaths that can communicate with dragons."
"I know. Which is why the project has been halted."
"Thank fuck for that, enough people have died for this project already," Mal said passionately. Kaden reached out and took his hand, squeezing it.
"Hopefully one day, when the world is ready for it, the project will be looked at again, and done properly this time."
"Maybe. But that day isn't anytime in our near future. The world has a lot of growing up to do before I would trust technology like this getting out there," Mal said.
"Agreed," Akemi said as she stood.
"Before you go," Kaden stopped her. "Could you please let us know how things are standing with Cynthia Papamixahl?"
Akemi smiled gently at Kaden, before turning to Mal.
"You will be happy to know that her wing has healed nicely.”
"Should have broken the other one too," Mal grumbled under his breath. Kaden squeezed his hand, letting Mal know he'd heard him. The wicked grin on Kaden's face also a dead giveaway.
"Yes, well. She's been charged with a slew of crimes, one of which is the death of Anya Demir. She'll face the highest courts we have. Be assured she will pay for what she did."
"Thank you," Mal said, his voice thick and croaky at the mention of his beautiful twin sister.
Kaden crawled down the bed and sat beside Mal, wrapping his arms around Mal's waist and holding him close.
"I'll leave you two alone for now. I'll be back with Jariah to say goodbye before you leave."
"Thank you for everything, Akemi," Kaden said, Mal's throat too choked up to speak, he simply nodded in agreement.
"You're quite welcome, the pair of you. It's been a pleasure meeting you." With that she walked out of the room, leaving Mal and Kaden sitting on the end of Kaden's bed.
They sat in silence for several minutes while Mal got himself under control. Then he took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
"You ready to blow this popsicle stand yet?" Mal asked his wolf.
"More than!" Kaden said.
"How're you feeling?" Mal asked more seriously. He wouldn't do anything that might cause Kaden pain.
"I'm fine, a little sore and my stomach feels tight when I move certain ways, but it'll get better. Nothing that will stop me from going home with you.”
Mal grinned and bent down to kiss Kaden.
"If that's the case then we should really say our goodbyes to our friends, don't you think?"
Kaden shook his head. "Goodbyes can wait." His eyes sparkled with mischief as he wrapped his hand around the back of Mal's neck and tugged him down for another kiss.
Mal chuckled as he kissed his man.
"Oh, it's going to be like that is it?" he asked between kisses, as Kaden slowly lay down on the bed under Mal.
"Missed you," Kaden said as he continued to pull Mal atop him.
"Missed you too." Mal said, then lost himself to the pleasures of once again being in Kaden's arms.