(author's note: During the Middle Ages, a barber served double duties as a dentist. My DoFaI series is loosely based on that era.)
The sun shone down to warm our backs as Jay and I coasted above the hills and valleys that separated Esterloch from Sunderloch. Jay was slightly behind me as was his habit at times; he still hadn't quite broken out of the ingrained flight-borne rules that a Beta should always follow his Alpha. This was despite the fact that I had long since given him autonomy that he was as good as an Alpha in all but name.
I dipped slightly lower and scanned the ground, searching for wild sheep or perhaps wild cattle on which to eat. Suddenly, in the distance, I spotted movement. I prodded Jay across our link and also gave him a soft bugle to attract his attention. Jay perked up and looked over at me before he turned his gaze in the direction in which I was looking. He soon saw the same movements as I had and gave an answering soft blat. We then coasted on hidden currents in the air, wings outstretched to maximise the use of airflow before we both shot down like arrows, wings folded flat against our backs. Our wings flared once more as soon as we neared the ground, paws and claws outstretched as we plucked a cow apiece from the galloping, frightened herd.
We levelled out and soared upwards with our struggling, lowing burdens before we finally came to a jerking halt on the ground below. We devoured our cows before we took off again, and plucked another cow apiece from the herd; we had to fly a fair distance to catch them again as they had moved on while we'd consumed our wriggling mouthfuls. We plucked another one each and landed once more.
That time as we ate, I heard an odd crack emanating from my mate's direction; I saw a red magenta flare of pain over our link before Jay suddenly bellowed in verbal pain. I looked up at him in sudden fear and alarm; I had the sudden fear that perhaps my mate had been attacked unawares. There was nothing there, yet I saw, when Jay opened his mouth wide to me, that one of his teeth near the back of his mouth had broken. I blatted in sudden concern at the sight, and padded forward; of course, there was nothing I could do to help with his broken tooth.
Jay was disconsolate and did not want to eat any more even though he was still a little hungry. There was little we could do then but return to the safety and peace of our cabin. I sighed heavily and watched him with continued concern even as we winged our way back home once more.
Jay told me that his tooth had split and broken on a rough shard of bone, split from the rest as he'd swallowed his second cow.
"I didn't mean for that to happen, Quinn love," he said with a heavy sigh.
"Well, I don't suppose anyone would expect that to happen, dear," I told him, not unkindly. "If it gets too bad, we'll have to head into town and get that fixed for you."
Jay's only response was to grunt and frown at me.
Jay's tooth was still giving him trouble later in the day and the yelps he gave whenever he tried to eat or close his mouth were quite alarming. Finally, I planted myself before him, hands propped firmly on my hips as I glared at him.
"Uh-oh," Jay said and he suddenly grinned.
His dimples flared in his cheeks and he laughed. Despite my ongoing worry and concern for him, I still felt a stab of relief at the return of his good humour once more.
"I know that look," Jay continued. "You're going to get firm with me, aren't you, dear? I love it when you go all sexy Alpha dragon, Quinn."
"I think I need to in this case, dear," I said firmly despite my amused smile. "You need to have that tooth taken out."
Jay pouted and shook his head. Neither of us had had to have any work done on our teeth before; it was oddly disconcerting that the same man who acted as a dentist in Esterloch also was a barber. Both of us had used his hair-cutting services in the past, however.
"Shan't," he said. "Don't want to. I've never been to the dentist and I don't want to start now."
"Jamison," I said firmly. "You're going even if I have to tie you up and take you there myself over my shoulder. You can't go on like this."
I gestured towards his mouth and sighed in renewed concern. Jay sighed heavily and nodded. His shoulders slumped and he looked for one brief moment the utter picture of defeated dejection. I raised an eyebrow at him and he nodded again when his gaze flickered up to mine.
"All right, Quinn love. You don't have to carry me anywhere," he assured me. "Unless you want to, that is."
He grinned wickedly then at me before he waggled his eyebrows hopefully. I had to laugh at him and shook my head over my irrepressible mate.
"I'll carry you over the threshold when we get back home, if you insist," I said. "Call that your treat for surviving the dentist if you must."
"I'd like that," Jay said and he immediately perked up. "That would give me something to look forward to."
I nodded then and waited, one eyebrow raised at my mate. Jay sighed heavily when he realised that I was waiting for him to leave the cabin. He nodded once before he then walked past me, grabbed his cloak and made his way to the door. I followed him closely and once we were outside, I insisted that he ride on my back down to the valley below, once I'd changed into my dragon form. That way I could be sure that he wouldn't try to run off anywhere on the way down. Jay pulled a sour face at me, yet still, I saw the amused blast of violet making its way over our link all the same.
Jay waited while some wine was poured into a leather mug; he swallowed thickly and drunk it down quickly as Tom, the dentist-barber, handed it to him. Another mug was handed to him once the first had been drained and Jay drank that one too. It had been at the dentist's advice that Jay should drink as much alcohol as possible before the tooth was pulled out; Jay had subsequently insisted that he couldn't get drunk on account of him being a dragon-shifter. I'd nodded at that as it was true; it would take an entire lake filled with alcohol to render either one of us even slightly drunk. That hadn't stopped Tom from pressing at least a few mugs of strong wine upon my mate, just to take the edge off the pain if nothing else.
Once the last mug of wine had been consumed, I stayed beside my mate and held onto Jay's hand. While Jay wasn't exactly scared, he was slightly dubious over what was going to happen to him. I watched with lowered, dubious eyebrows as Tom approached Jay and told him to open wide. The dentist then quickly and forcibly yanked the broken tooth from Jay's mouth using a pair of forceps, before he applied a heated piece of metal to the gaping wound in Jay's mouth to cauterise it.
Jay yelled at the pain and the heat; I heard something of his dragon in that one loud bellow. He grabbed even more tightly onto my hand and squeezed, almost cracking the fragile bones held within. I gritted my teeth and said nothing, however; Jay, as an ice drake, did not like heat of any kind and that cauterisation must have felt like very fire in his mouth. Once the procedure was over, Tom nodded and turned away.
"Right then, Jay. You're all set to go," he said. "Anything else?"
"Not unless you want a smack in the drake-blasted mouth," Jay moaned as he stared at the man dubiously. "You know, I think I liked you better when you were cutting my hair."
I nudged Jay harshly with my knuckles even as I hid a grin from Tom's sight. Jay caught my amusement despite my nudge and grinned up at me in turn even as I addressed the dentist-cum-barber.
"I think I need to apologise for my mate. He's in pain," I said and smiled apologetically at Tom.
"Don't worry. I've heard worse," Tom said before he threw a grin over his shoulder at us both. "Which involved injuries to places far more tender than my mouth."
Both Jay and I laughed at that even as Jay got out of the seat.
"Well, my mouth will get better in no time," he said as his smile faded into grumpiness. "I suppose. How much do I owe you, Tom?"
The barber then stated his sum of seven silver pieces and Jay grouchily gave the requested sum over.
"Come on, dear, let's take you home," I said with a sigh as I then led my mate out of the barber's. "I think you need a quiet lay-down."
"I think I need something to take the pain away before we do anything of the sort," Jay countered as he looked longingly in the direction of the apothecary.
I thought that that was a good idea, so we stopped at Arielle's shop; Jay then bought a small sample of the chamomile tea that the sympathietic Apothecary reccommended to help with the pain. We then returned home and once standing upon the verandah, Jay insisted that I carry him over the threshold as I'd promised previously. Laughingly, I picked him up easily and put him down only when we'd reached the bedroom; surprisingly, Jay remained where I'd placed him while I set about preparing the chamomile tea. He drunk the tea while he quietly read in bed. By the following morning, however, Jay was feeling far better and experienced nothing more than a little discomfort.
"That tea that Arielle recommended to me is magic, Quinn love," Jay said in excitement.
"It has nothing to do with the fact that we heal faster than everyone else obviously," I said dryly as I continued putting together the remainder of our morning cheese rolls.
Jay predictably ignored me; only his suddenly stifled grin and flash of amusement over our link told me that he'd been teasing me after all. By the end of the day, Jay had shown off his missing molar to anyone who would listen to his latest adventure; in fact, he seemed quite proud of what had happened after his initial pain and anxiety had worn off. I could only shake my head in amusement at him.