A Courtship of Dragons is a M/M Romance (it could be short, it could be a novella, it could be any size, I have no idea) told in short scenes, between two young dragons, Estenarven kin Boulderforce Clan Stoneheart and Mastekh kin Rainstorm Clan Flowflight. It’s pure fluff ‘n’ stuff and not intended to be anything other than that.
In which Mastekh receives a gift – and panics.
SOMETHING WAS DIFFERENT. Mastekh lay in bed, staring muzzily at the murky light coming through his narrow window and tried to work it out. He didn’t remember going to bed. In fact, the last thing he remembered was…
His eyes shot open and he sat upright, clutching the cover to his chest.
Estenarven. He had fallen asleep in Estenarven’s arms. On Estenarven’s chest. True, one of them had been in vast dragon form while the other had been a puny, watery human, but still – he had slept with Estenarven.
Groaning, Mastekh slumped flat on his back and stared at the ceiling. He’d slept with Estenarven and he couldn’t even remember it. Although, he supposed, at least this way he was saved the embarrassment of waking up and having nothing to say.
He snorted derisively at himself. As if he ever had anything to say. Grimacing, he lowered his eyes to the window again, beyond which a storm was once more raging, and smiled at the daisy.
The first courting gift, something pretty and insubstantial, designed to show interest.
Or, perhaps, just a sweet little daisy that Estenarven had found and thought Mastekh might like. It might not have been a courtship gift at all, for all that Mastekh had intended his return gift of rock cakes to be one.
How could one tell? Mastekh could hardly march up to Estenarven and ask. He hadn’t even been able to thank him properly. He’d just made rock cakes.
One gift, however sweet and thoughtful did not a courtship make.
Feeling deflated, Mastekh sat up and wriggled down the bed towards the windowsill. And frowned.
Something was different. He had sensed it when he woke, now he was certain of it. Something had changed inside the room – but what?
He reached out to stroke the delicate petals of his daisy and flinched as a flash of lightning lit the room. A shimmer of green caught his attention and he finally realised what had changed.
The stone bowl that had previously held his daisy was gone.
His hands shook ever so slightly as he reached for what had replaced it. Cool to the touch, smooth and pale green – as revealed by another timely flash of lightning – a small jade pot now took care of his daisy. It was simple, plain, polished but uncarved, and utterly perfect.
The second gift, something solid and permanent, to show long lasting intent.
Mastekh cradled the pretty jade piece and its straggly daisy against his chest, closing his eyes and bowing his head over them. Two gifts. Two courting gifts. Estenarven was serious. He was courting him.
A deep breath shuddered out him, full of relief and gratitude. Estenarven wanted him, he truly did. He thought he was worthy enough to court. By the Family, Mastekh had never expected such a thing, but from Estenarven of all dragons…
Mastekh’s eyes flew open and he clenched his hands around his prize. His second gift.
Now it was his turn.
He jerked his head around the tiny room he’d been given, looking over his meagre belongings, trying to think of something, anything that he could give in return. Something solid, something permanent. Sibling Water, what in the Overworld did a Rainstorm have to give to a Boulderforce?
Panic built up inside Mastekh’s chest, his breath growing shallow and fast. He needed a second gift, he needed it fast. He had a day to respond or Estenarven would think he wasn’t interested.
But he was. By the Family, he truly was.
Yet what to give him? What did anyone give a Stoneheart that was permanent and solid? They already were the epitome of such things – what could Mastekh possibly give him that he didn’t already have?
Think, think, he ordered, putting his precious jade present back on the windowsill in order to ball his hands into fists and thump himself on the head. There had to be something he could come up with, something that would show his own intent, while also being unexpected and a bit of a surprise.
He could always take the easy way out and find a pebble or something boring like that. It would be symbolic, if nothing else, but it wasn’t what Mastekh wanted. Estenarven’s jade pot showed thought and caring. It was green, like Mastekh, slightly translucent like water, and practical enough to support his first gift. It wasn’t an obvious, easy gift. It had meaning above and beyond the usual symbolism. Mastekh could offer up nothing less in return, not if he wanted this courtship to be equal.
So he needed to think.
His first gift had been rock cakes, because Estenarven was always hungry and he had a sweet tooth that most Stonehearts didn’t. It had shown that Mastekh knew him and cared about him and what he liked.
Now he had to find a small, permanent symbol of that.
As he sat there, alternately tapping his fingers against his mouth and thumping himself on the forehead, thinking about rock cakes and more permanent alternatives, Mastekh’s belly let out a loud, ferocious growl. Even though he was completely alone, heat flooded his face as he pressed a hand against the sound. He considered when the last time he’d eaten had been and recalled fetching breakfast for Elder Blazeborn before falling asleep with Estenarven.
Which must have been ages ago, he realised, jumping out of bed with a squeak. Here he was, dreaming, thinking and sleeping the day away when he had duties to perform and an elder to take care of.
Oh, oh, he was making such a mess of everything.
Hurriedly securing the tie of his robe around his waist, he ran his fingers through the fluff of hair on his head and scurried from his room.
The main space of the suite was empty, but a fire roared in the grate and a few crumbs dotted a low table, showing that someone at least had eaten here recently. Mastekh walked cautiously towards the mess, wringing his hands together, searching for scraps.
Nothing. Every last plate – and there were enough of them for a feast – was bare of anything but the tiniest of crumbs and an occasional smear of jam.
His stomach snarled in protest. Mastekh pressed a hand against it and sighed, then he began gathering up the empty plates. Since he had to pay a visit to the kitchens for himself, he might as well save the dracos a journey. And perhaps, while he was down there, he might spot a suitable gift.
Biting his lip, he piled his arms full of metal crockery, careful not to make too much noise as he edged towards the exterior door. A mumble of voices sounded inside Elder Blazeborn’s room, but Mastekh didn’t want to draw attention to himself. Willing his belly to remain quiet a little longer, he allowed his tail to slide free and hold the plates while he turned the handle and slipped out into the corridor beyond.
First food, then a gift, then back to work. Nodding determinedly to himself, Mastekh hurried through the tower’s hallways, his way lit by lightning and glow globes and the occasional smile from storm-addled Tempestfurys fresh in from the storm outside. It was a strange and somewhat crazy place, but Mastekh found himself growing fonder of it day by day.
Come back next week to find out just what Mastekh’s second gift will be…
Take care, my lovelies!