That was all that sent Sarjo’s heart a flutter...a smile.
He thought of her blue hair and loving smile as she tended not just to her own dragon but everyone else’s willingly. She often spoke to him quietly, often about recent races and the other crews: who she had seen acting oddly, who seemed to be ill...you know, just tit bits and nonsense, yet he enjoyed it. Heck, she was one of the only people who he would actually speak to properly apart from Khatah and she actually listened! But Sarjo could never hide one fact properly: that he had fallen for her…Ashley.
Sarjo laid thinking about her in his quarters in the Inner Order compound. He just couldn’t get her out of his mind.
Ashley didn’t really race, preferring to look after the dragons and the crews gear with a couple other crew members but when she was on the track, she could really race! Her determined face and laughing smile…he couldn’t get her out of his head!
Sarjo sighed, sadly and sat up, rubbing his face.
There was one flaw in the whole thing though: he wasn’t sure Ashley even liked him as more than a friend. He sincerely hoped she did but he didn’t want to end up hurting each others feelings.
At that moment, the door opened and Khatah strolled in. “Hello, Sarjo.” Seeing his friends’ troubled face, Khatah added, concerned, “Are you alright?”
Sarjo shook his head and turned his face away, slightly ashamed. He couldn’t face Khatah with this…could he? Could he just ask Khatah for his opinion or even talk and admit his feelings for Ashley to his best friend? Khatah was the crew leader after all and could decide that it was inappropriate for Sarjo and Ashley to be together!
Khatah frowned then said, “Do you want to talk about it?”
Sarjo did not respond and remained silent. He couldn’t say anything! He was too embarrassed.
Sitting down beside Sarjo, Khatah murmured, “If you want to be left alone, just say.”
Sarjo looked up and shook his head, urgently. “No,” he said, quietly, “no, it’s okay Khatah. It is...it’s just...” he fell silently again. I can’t keep secrets from him! If something happens…Sarjo sighed, deciding he had better ask Khatah. He needed help with this.
“Sarjo?” asked Khatah, quietly.
“Have...” started Sarjo then he stopped frowning. How do I phrase this? He asked himself.
Khatah just watched him curiously.
“Have you ever fallen for someone but they haven’t shown that they are even interested in you?” Sarjo finally asked, feeling himself going a little red.
Khatah could not help but smile. “A girl?” he said, laughing quietly, “This is about a girl?!”
Sarjo cleared his throat nervously, not trusting his voice.
That was all the confirmation that Khatah needed and he smiled. “I haven’t,” he said in answer to Sarjo’s question.
Sarjo smiled. “Yeah, I guess not.” I guess not. He’s Khatah after all!
They fell silent again and Khatah remained seated at his friend’s side.
Sarjo finally said, “Do you...think...I should, you know, tell her?”
“Who is this her?” asked Khatah, interested. When Sarjo refused to answer his question, Khatah answered his friends question finally. “Maybe but, Sarjo, be careful you don’t hurt her feelings or your own, okay?”
Sarjo nodded and watched Khatah leave.
He needed some time alone anyway.
Ashley sat down exhaustedly beside her own dragon and felt him nuzzle her arm in reassurance. She grinned at Aslee, her dragon, and tried desperately not to fall asleep.
It was getting late in Dragon City and Ashley had been doing the last rounds of the dragon stables before heading to bed. It usually fell to her to do this round, being seen as the rookie of the little group of friends that she was apart of. She was the newbie in the end but it still annoyed her. “I hate being the rookie,” Ashley grumbled to her dragon.
Aslee always listened to her complaints and rarely responded, just enjoyed being around his young Human. Tonight was no different.
“Just because I’m younger than them by a few months doesn’t mean that they can tease me yet they still do.” Ashley sighed heavily. “It’s not fair.”
A small movement caught her eye and she looked up in alert.
Aslee raised his head and gave a small warning growl.
Someone was here. Whether it was friend or foe Ashley didn’t know.
She stood slowly and crept inch by inch towards the movement. Her hearts pace quickened as she activated her blocking staff and held it in front of her in defence as she got closer to the source of her alarm. Suddenly, she bumped into something soft and she heard a soft, “oof!” as it fell onto the ground with a dull THUD!
Ashley smiled. She recognised that voice. She swallowed her giggles. Oh, how she liked this particular person! Lowering her staff, she offered out her hand to her fallen companion. “Sorry Sarjo,” she apologised, “you scared me.”
Gripping the hand she extended to him, Sarjo grinned and took it. “It is okay Ashley. It is me who should be apologising. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He stood and brushed himself down. “Why are you down here so late?”
“Being the rookie, I’ve got to do the last round of the night.” Ashley shrugged. “What are you doing down here?”
Sarjo frowned. “I was just walking. Needed to clear my head.”
Ashley smiled and nodded. “Everyone needs time to think…it might be easier to clear your head though outside in the fresh air.” She turned and headed back to her dragon who watching Ashley, protectively.
Sarjo watched and resisted the urge to follow her. Just keep walking Sarjo. She isn’t interested in you. She just isn’t interested in you or forming any type of relationships!
Ashley knelt down beside Aslee and murmured, “Good night, Aslee.” She tickled him gently under Aslee’s chin and stood up.
He gave a small purr in return and Ashley knew that it meant, “good night,” in dragon. She knew her dragon all too well.
She stretched and yawned and she laughed as she felt Sarjo staring at her. Looking behind her, Ashley held out her hand, meaning for him to take it. She remained silent, her eyes shining brightly in the darkness.
Sarjo took it immediately and Ashley squeezed his hand. “Are you okay, Sarjo?”
They walked hand in hand towards her quarters and Ashley resisted the urge to rest her head against his strong arm.
Sarjo cautiously slipped his arm around her waist. He was soon to be rewarded for his action.
As they reached Ashley’s quarters, they stopped and looked at each other.
Ashley shivered as she placed one of her hands on Sarjo’s face, lent in and kissed him gently on the lips. As she pulled away, she looked at him in horror. “Oh, I am so sorry! I shouldn’t have done that!”
Sarjo felt as if his prayers had been answered! Excitement exploded inside of him. He carefully put his arms around her and held her close.
She looked up at him, wrapping her arms around his neck and he gazed at her. “It is okay. I just hope...you meant that kiss.”
Ashley smiled and said, “I do...because that is my true feelings for you.”
They exchanged another kiss but this time it was longer and far more passionate.
Ashley chuckled. “Oh Sarjo,” she moaned quietly.
He kissed her neck as she moaned his name and it felt good to him. “I love you,” he said, caringly.
“And I love you too.”
That turned out to be one of the best nights that the two them would ever remember.
Ashley raised her eye brows as she watched Khatah walking past looking very worried.
He was muttering to himself; something about the Dragon Booster and the Shadow Booster. It sounded as if some sort of battle had broken out near the mall and some of the Inner Order had got caught up in it.
He left and Ashley and Aslee looked at each other, curiously. What the-? Ashley thought then felt Sarjo near-by.
She looked round and saw him stabling up both Shuko and Shock-Ra, his face also contorted with worry.
Ashlee looked at his young mistress and nudged her hand that was hovering in mid-brush stroke. She didn’t respond and nudged her hand again. She looked round then at him and nodded grimacing.
Nodding, Ashley put down the brush and left her dragon and came up to Sarjo.
“Hey, what’s wrong? What happened?”
Sarjo looked at her and smiled. “Shadow and Dragon booster have been fighting again.” He put his arms around her and Ashley returned the gesture sighing. “Don’t worry though. Things will work themselves out.”
Ashley nodded and looked into his olive green eyes. “Yeah,” she said quietly, “your right. Things will work themselves out.”
They suddenly split apart, the two still a little embarrassed by their relationship.
“Err, you need help stabling up?” she asked, her eyes soft.
Sarjo chuckled. “I’ll be alright.”
Ashley smiled and left, her fingers slowly crawling off his hand.
He watched her go over to Ashlee, picking up a brush then continue what she had been doing before he had come in. There was something about her movements that contributed to his love of the young woman.
Sarjo would have just stood there watching her had Shuko not suddenly mag blasted his Human into the air to wake him up, much to the amusement of his fellow dragons and Ashley.
Ashley sat in her room at a desk, repairing some gear ready for the race the next day.
Finishing up, there was a sudden BANG! And yells of “CHYOPP!”
The 8 year old crew member came flying into Ashley’s room, slamming the door and standing against it, her jaw set in panic.
Ashley raised her eyebrows high for the second time that day and said, “what have you done Chyopp?”
“Nothing,” she said, trying to look innocent but her eyes betrayed her.
“Chyopp?” asked Ashley, looking suspicious.
Chyopp looked at Ashley’s expression then relented. “I left my dragon joust toy out and someone fell over it!”
Ashley shook her head, sighing then jabbed her thumb behind her for Chyopp to hide in the closet.
Chyopp dashed in just in time as the door opened and Shurykyn came in looking like a very angry red dragon.
“Where is she? Where is that little yellow-bellied newt?!” she screeched at the top of her voice.
Ashley desperately tried not to laugh at the Martial Arts Master as she looked at Ashley for answers.
Hiding the laughter from her voice, Ashley shrugged then said, “Sure she didn’t go further down the hall?”
Before Shurykyn could answer, other members came to see what the fuss was about and Ashley came forward to speak to them.
“What’s wrong girls?” asked Dohjoh.
“Chyopp!” Shurykyn cried, turning to look at Dohjoh.
“Well, she didn’t come in here. I can tell you that,” Ashley reasoned.
Shurykyn turned on Ashley and yelled, “SHE DID! I SAW HER COME IN HERE!”
“She must have gone into a room further down Shurykyn! Because Chyopp is not in here.”
Dohjoh put his hand on Shurykyn`s shoulder and said, “come on. If Ashley says Chyopp isn’t here, then let’s check elsewhere.” He led her away and the group slowly dispersed.
Finally, only Chukks was left and Ashley handed him the repaired gear for the next day.
“Sorry about that Ashley,” he said, taking the gear.
“No matter Chukks. Even we need to vent steam like a Flare every now and then.”
He left, nodding.
Closing the door, Ashley walked to the closet and opened it.
“They’ve gone but they are on the war path against you.” She frowned as the young girl made her way out of the room and Ashley added before Chyopp left, “and remember to clear up after your self in future!”
The door closed sadly and Ashley returned to her desk to clean up, laughing at Shurykyn`s expression.
“What’s so funny?”
Ashley jumped as she turned around and saw Sarjo standing just inside her room. She grinned, laughing. “You scared me Sarjo.”
He came up to her and hugged her tight before kissing her gently. “Sorry.” He smiled at her. “How come you lied and hid Chyopp?”
Ashley shrugged, looking sheepish. “Because I know Shurykyn would have scaled Chyopp if I didn’t.” She put her head on his shoulder and hugged him tightly. “Are you racing tomorrow Sarjo?”
“Yeah. You going to be there?”
“Yep. My turn on Gear duty for the track.”
“Good.” He held her, his mind filled of Ashley and only let go of her when another BANG! followed by roars of dragons echoed through the compound.
“Somehow, I don’t think that was Chyopp or Shurykyn getting back at her.” Ashley stepped back and Sarjo let go of her heading out of her room.
Grabbing her blocking staff, she left her room too.
When they got there, Khatah was fighting Moordryd Paynn and the dragons were holding back the Dragon Eyes` dragons.
Shurykyn was creeping up behind Cain and various crewmen were defending the dragons from the would-be thief’s.
The dived forward to join in the fighting and it seemed like an age before they heard Khatah cry out in pain and Moordryd telling his crew to leave.
Smoke filled the stables and the Inner Order crew members went down low to avoid choking and, when it cleared, there were only the Inner Order and their dragons left…or at least, the majority of them.
Ashley looked round. She saw Sarjo helping Khatah to stand (he appeared injured) and found Ashlee check on his fellow dragons along with Shock-Ra and Shuko.
Ashley sighed as she did a head count of them and found that three were missing. She began checking the dragons for injuries and treating them along with Dohjoh, the Crews Dragon Master, whilst the room cleared leaving just Ashley and Dohjoh to tend the dragons. As she did so, her thoughts were with Sarjo and Khatah…so much so that she didn’t realise that Dohjoh was speaking to her until he put his hand on her shoulder.
“Ashley, I said it was alright. Go on. Leave this to me.”
She nodded and left.
As she was reaching her room, Sarjo came up to her and said, “Khatah needs to talk to you Ashley.”
Seeing her expression, he smiled and hugged her. “Don’t worry. He just needs to talk to you about tomorrow.”
She nodded and they headed for Khatah’s room.
Sarjo held her hand tightly as they got closer and he could feel her shaking a little. Ashley was still a little nervous around Khatah.
When they got there, Sarjo knocked on Khatah’s door and let go of Ashley’s hand as they entered.
Khatah looked up as they entered and nodded.
He was sat on his bed and appeared to have just finished bandaging up his arm.
Blood was already staining the bandage from creamy-white to red.
“Ashley. I need you to take my place tomorrow in the races. I can’t possibly race.”
Ashley swallowed nervously then nodded. “O-okay. No problem.”
They all stood in silence for a moment.
Khatah appeared to be studying her then he looked to Sarjo and nodded.
Sarjo smiled then took Ashley’s hand and they left, Ashley’s cheeks turning as pink as Sarjo’s hair.