Prologue Going Forward
The Truth About Nate His Revelations
Young Celtic All About Trust
Celtic and Nate Heartbreak
Flying With Dragons Trust Issues
A Reunion Remembered Memories
A Dinner Guest Epilogue

“Bane?” Nate asked as his friend approached him. Celtic had been awake and doing well for about a week now. They had all returned to their regular duties but were on alert so they could respond to any threat. It was unusual for Bane to leave the Seasonal Island.

“Nate, do you have some time? I need to talk to someone about something and I can’t think of anyone else I trust with this.” Bane looked like he hadn’t been sleeping well.

“Essiw, can you take over for a while?” Nate asked his apprentice.

“Sure thing.” Essiw replied. He had been working with Nate since the end of the First War and usually filled in for Nate during emergencies. It was one of the goals they had set after the First War: no matter what happens, try to keep life as normal as possible for as long as possible. They had managed to keep that goal during the Second War and now they were trying to again.

“What’s up?” Nate led Bane to his cottage. Iridium and Arbor followed behind them. “Have you been getting any sleep at all?”

“A little.” Bane thought about how to word this. He knew that Nate was also close with Celtic but wasn’t sure what the feelings were between the two. He was struggling with Celtic’s confession and trying to figure out how he felt about her.

“Bane, you can talk to me about anything, you know that right?” Nate squeezed his friends shoulder. “Does it have anything to do with Celtic?” “Nate, how do you see her?” He knew it was a strange question.

“I see her like a little sister and it is my understanding that she sees me as an older brother. Why do you ask? How do you see her?” Nate narrowed his eyes. He had wondered for a while how Bane and Celtic felt about each other. It was obvious from the beginning that they were extremely close, but, like Liber had suggested, maybe things were starting to change between them.

“I’m not so sure anymore. She was like a sister to me as well. Someone I felt like I needed and wanted to protect. Something inside of me compelling me to do so. I’m confused.” Bane shook his head. “Before we all left the Island of Fire and Cold, she admitted to me that she felt like her feelings for me had changed.”

“Changed? Changed how?” He was surprised more so by the fact that Celtic had said something.

“Her words were ‘I’m starting to see you as more than a friend.’…” He ran a hand through his hair.

“And what did you say in response?” He raised an eyebrow.

“I didn’t know what to say and she really didn’t give me a chance to say anything. She kissed me on the cheek and then said ‘It won’t work, I know.’ She felt that I deserved to know the truth but she also didn’t want to ruin the friendship we have.” He sighed. He really didn’t know how he was feeling. “I don’t know how I feel. I have been mulling over it for the past week, probably why I haven’t been getting much sleep. I guess I need to figure that out. I certainly don’t want to lose the friendship with her. I also can even begin to shake whatever is compelling me to protect her.” He looked at his friend. He didn’t expect Nate to be able to give him an answer, but it was nice being able to talk to someone about it. While he trusted his apprentice, Halo, he wasn’t exactly the best when it came to this kind of advice – and he probably wouldn’t fully understand it anyways.

“I wish I could give you an answer, Bane, I really do but this is definitely something you are going to need to figure out for yourself.” Nate kind of felt sorry for his friend, but he trusted Bane to figure things out and do whatever was best for both himself and Celtic.

“I know, I just needed someone to talk to that knew both of us extremely well.” Bane stretched. “I guess I’ll head back home and figure things out.” “Try to get some sleep at least, you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself.” Nate walked out with Bane. “Come see me anytime, you know I’m here for you.”

“Thanks, Nate.” Bane shook his friend’s hand then headed home on Arbor.

A couple of weeks passed and Bane was awake late at night again. After speaking with Nate, he had been sleeping a lot better, but now he found himself awake again. He decided to step outside and get some fresh air thinking maybe that would help calm his mind. Arbor came rushing to him and nudged him so hard he almost fell over. Trusting his dragon he climbed up onto his back and the two headed toward the Island of Fire and Cold. As soon as Bane realized where they were heading his heart stopped. As he landed near Celtic’s cottage he could hear all of the dragons roaring. Celtic’s Celtic dragon was louder than all of them. He looked inside the cottage first, but didn’t find her there. He then circled the cottage and as he came around the backside, he was met with a very angry and defensive Claddagh. He was able to calm the dragon and then noticed Celtic on the ground. He carefully picked her up and carried into the cottage. Once he turned on the lights he saw the amount of blood that was soaking both Celtic and himself. He did everything he could to stop the bleeding and prayed that he’d gotten to her in time. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing her.

“…” Nate was startled awake by a loud dragon roar coming from outside. He threw on his robe and headed out into the cold night. As soon as he opened the door he was face to face with an agitated Fire dragon. “Aiden?” He knew the dragon well. “What are you doing here?” Aiden lifted his head, revealing a note tied around his neck. Nate cautiously took the note; Aiden was still agitated. He felt the color leave his face as soon as he read the words “Celtic has been attacked. Come quickly.” He retied the note to Aiden’s neck and told him to take it to Liber. He mounted Iridium and headed to the Island of Fire and Cold. As he landed, he noticed a group of dragons near the cottage. He could easily make out Bane’s Seasonal dragon. He decided not to enter the cottage, figuring he’d only get in the way at this point. Frost and Andy came out of the cottage shortly after he arrived. They saw him and made their way over to him. “What happened?”

“She’s been stabbed. WK and Poke think someone wanted her dead. They said that if they continue to try and heal her they could end up killing her. They’re letting her rest for the night and then will try again in the morning. How did you get here so fast?” Frost explained.

“Aiden brought a note from Bane.” Nate answered. “I sent him on to Liber with the same note. I’m sure he’ll be here tonight or tomorrow.” He looked at the cottage. “How is she?”

“It’s hard to tell right now. She passed out again. Bane is in there with her. He’s the only presence that seems to calm her down right now.” Frost sounded like he didn’t like the idea of leaving the Archer alone with Celtic.

“Do we know who attacked her?” Nate asked, choosing to ignore Frost’s icy tone.

“We can only speculate that it’s Justin.” Andy answered. He caught Frost’s tone as well but also chose to ignore it. He knew that Celtic had romantic feelings for Bane and could almost sense that Bane felt the same – but he couldn’t be sure about the latter.

“Could be him or Kululu at this point. Or anyone else working with them.” Nate replied. “I’m going to head back home. I will return tomorrow morning. If Liber gets here tonight please let him know. Also let Bane know if he asks.” Andy and Frost nodded and Nate headed back to the Training Island. He didn’t get much sleep that night and headed back to the Island of Fire and Cold early the next morning. When he landed he noticed Dt’s Amethyst dragon and Liber’s Apocalypse dragon standing with Claddagh and Arbor. Iridium headed over to join them while he headed over to join Liber, Dt, and Frost.

“WK and Poke have sent for Bre. She’s no longer responding to their healing and they fear it’s actually still making things worse.” Frost explained that Celtic had been awake this morning but had passed out again. Andy had gone to get Bre. WK and Poke were resting out back and Bane was inside. “As much as I really don’t like leaving her alone with him, I know he is the only presence keeping her calm – and, dare I say, alive right now.”

“I’ll go check on them.” Nate said as he headed inside the cottage. He saw Bane sitting on the couch just staring at Celtic. Her breathing was calm and he could see a small spot of blood on the bandages wrapped around her side.

“Bane?” Nate watched as Bane seemed to move without thought as Celtic called out for him. He was told, along with witnessing it a few times, that Celtic often called out for Bane while she was under the poison. Nate watched an exchange between the two and could almost tell that something had changed between the pair. Whether or not Bane had verbally admitted that his feelings for Celtic had changed – or even if he had silently admitted it to himself – it was obvious to Nate that they had. He felt himself smile a little at that thought. He watched as Bane turned his back to Celtic as she drifted back into sleep and watched the turmoil play across his face.

“Bane?” Nate whispered. Bane looked up at him. “Do you want to talk?” Bane turned to look at Celtic and then nodded. They headed outside where Bane admitted that he had accidentally kissed Celtic. Upon this admission, which was apparently overheard by Andy and Frost, Nate was caught off guard by Frost coming at Bane with his axe. During the confrontation, Celtic had emerged from the cottage. She was still weak and was struggling to stand. Bane went to help her but Frost stopped him. Celtic used an attack on Frost, knocking him to the ground, but left herself even weaker. Before Nate could even react, Bane reached Celtic’s side and she collapsed into his arms. There was a brief exchange between the two and then Celtic fell asleep again. Nate went to find Liber and Dt while Bane carried Celtic back into the cottage. Bane came out to join the three as Bre began her healing. They tried to come up with a name to who would have attacked Celtic like this, but they could only think of two: Justin and Kululu. They were leaning more towards the latter as they really didn’t think Justin was capable of something like this. They also didn’t believe that Justin would really hurt Celtic but would rather go after those close to her, like he had done with Bane in the Second War.

After a few days, Liber started to insist that guards be posted to keep Celtic safe. At first she tried to reject the idea again, but eventually she gave in. Bane said that he would also stay, to which Frost protested. Nate had watched Bane become even more protective of Celtic. It seemed as though his body and hers moved together without thinking – where one was, the other wasn’t far away. Nate also wanted to stay but knew it best that he return to the Training Island. He could get back to training the dragons and it would also give Bane and Celtic a chance to sort things out.

A couple of days after everyone had left the Island of Fire and Cold, Bane still hadn’t admitted how he felt. He knew things had changed for him the moment he saw Celtic laying on the ground. He knew he might even love her the moment he thought he might lose her. They had spent the past couple of days pretending nothing had changed, going on as friends like they always had since she awakened as the Mistress of Fire and Cold. This particular day, Celtic decided to go visit the Frostfire and Blue Fire dragons, to which Bane insisted on going too. On the way there Bane was finally able to admit that Celtic’s feelings were reciprocated. They shared their first “real” kiss but along with the kiss came the visions that Celtic had been having. Bane felt the uneasiness in the pit of his stomach. He didn’t like that she had been going through all of this alone and was kicking himself for not being around more.

“Why are you still here?” Frost asked Bane one day. It had been a few days since Bane had admitted his feelings for Celtic. They were constantly together and that seemed to bother Frost.

“Because she wants me here and I want to be here.” Bane couldn’t understand why Frost was so hostile towards him. He had always consider the Cold General to be a friend and someone he quite liked. “What is your problem with me?”

“I don’t want to see her get hurt.” Frost was icy.

“Then we want the same thing. I don’t want to see her get hurt. And I most certainly don’t want to hurt her. Frost, you can trust me. I have no intention of hurting her.” He looked at the General. Frost was not Celtic’s biological brother, but he was her brother none the less. As was Heat, even if he was no longer around. Andy was more accepting of Bane being around more. He had seemed to realize that Celtic was much happier when Bane was around.

After a threat from Justin, Bane, Celtic, and the others headed back to the Main Island to prepare for another war. There were a few that opposed Celtic and Bane being in a relationship, but most were happy for them. None were probably as happy as Nate was though. Frost had come around to the idea of Bane and Celtic being together; he finally saw how the two kept their focus on the task at hand but still managed to protect each other. He finally saw how Bane treated Celtic and truly believed that the Archer never wanted to hurt her.

To be continued...

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