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.
Sorry for the delay. Rift should hopefully be out and available by the weekend. In the meantime…
A quiet breakfast in which nobody panics. Hopefully.
A Gift of Meaning
THE THIRD GIFT of courtship had to be one of great meaning to the dragon being courted, to show how well the other dragon knew them. Even though Mastekh had only delivered his second gift the night before, he was already fretting over the next one – and also what to expect from Estenarven.
Mastekh didn’t have much in the way of possessions. He’d never needed them before. He wasn’t a very material minded dragon, and he struggled to think of anything Estenarven could possibly give to him, almost as much as he worried over what to give in return.
“Third gift, is it?” Elder Blazeborn enquired, not even looking up from his letters when Mastekh delivered his morning tea. “Any ideas yet?”
Mastekh was so thrown by the idea that the elder was paying attention to his aides’ courtship that he babbled something incoherent and scurried away before he could drip all over the carpets.
It was one thing to have enlisted the assistance of the Rift Rider lieutenants the night before – they were friends of Estenarven and seemed delighted to help – but including Elder Blazeborn would be unthinkable. He was far too busy and important to worry about his aides’ private lives. He was an elder and, more than that, he was working to undo the Cloud Curse that had covered all the world in a thick blanket of cloud.
No, no, Mastekh wasn’t about to draw Elder Blazeborn into his planning. It would be unseemly.
All of which had him flustered and dithering as he finished laying out the breakfast things and sat down to await Estenarven’s arrival.
Placing the beakers and platters down just so, Mastekh reached across and tweaked things ever so slightly before lowering himself onto his knees in front of the table. He drummed his fingers on the polished marble surface, twitched his feet, wriggled to get comfortable again, shifted to sit cross-legged, then stood up with a huff. It wasn’t working. He’d never been good at sitting still, even when he wasn’t waiting.
So he took a quick walk around the table and, when that didn’t settle his jitters, made a lap of the room. Pausing before Estenarven’s door, he half-raised his hand to knock, wanting to get this meeting over with, yet also fearing to disturb the other dragon. What if Estenarven wasn’t even awake yet? Just because both he and the elder were up, didn’t mean the Boulderforce would be too. Mastekh clenched his hand into a fist and paced back the other way.
Passing the table for the third time, he stopped dead as Estenarven’s door swung open and the Boulderforce himself stepped into the main room, arms stretched over his head, mouth open in a wide yawn. Rolling his shoulders, Estenarven rubbed his jaw and glanced sleepily around until he found Mastekh.
He smiled sweetly. “Morning, Puddle,” he rumbled, voice deep and rough with sleep.
Mastekh’s knees wobbled and he folded swiftly down in front of the table again. “M-m-morning,” he mumbled in return. “T-tea?”
“Mm,” Estenarven agreed, sauntering over to join him and settling down on the opposite side of the low table. “Thank you for my gift.”
Heat flooded into Mastekh’s cheeks and he ducked his head. Water sloshed out of the teapot, barely making it into the beakers, so he put it down and took a deep breath. “You’re w-welcome. Th-thank you for m-mine.”
“You liked it?” Estenarven asked, sounding almost shy as he reached for seed rolls, fresh fruit and the honey pot.
Mastekh knew he had to be completely green in the face by now – he felt so warm and his throat was tight with nerves – but he managed a nod.
The Boulderforce let out a soft huff and Mastekh blinked at him in surprise. Estenarven beamed with relief – had he been nervous too? Mastekh couldn’t see why. He was Estenarven, after all, no dragon – or human – in their right mind would ever turn him down. Nor dislike such a lovely gift as the jade pot.
It made some of his own nerves ease, and Mastekh managed to ask, “And y-you?”
Estenarven’s smile this time was pure joy. “I love my gift. Beans and pebbles. The best of you and me. Hope and endurance. It was a perfect second gift, Puddle. Thank you.”
“Oh.” Mastekh ducked his head again, face so warm he almost expected it to start steaming. He was pleased and embarrassed and confused by just how happy such simple words could make him. After all, the gift had been a strange, silly one that he’d had to explain over and over again to the dracos watching him in the kitchen. But Estenarven understood. He liked it.
Flexing his fingers to remove the jitters, Mastekh picked up the teapot again and carefully poured them both a beaker of steaming liquid. He’d gone with honey and lemon today, needing something sweet to help battle his nerves. Estenarven took a deep sniff before he drank and hummed with approval.
After that they ate in silence, but it was a good silence, filled with companionship of a kind Mastekh had never dreamed he would ever encounter. He’d never been good with words, but silence often made him anxious, certain he should be saying something if only he could think of what. But not with Estenarven, never with Estenarven. The Boulderforce had words enough for the both of them, so when he chose quiet it was because he knew there was nothing that needed to be said. It was a relief and a relaxation all in one. Mastekh drank his tea, picked at his blackberries and breathed easily.
This was what he wanted: peace, companionship, quiet. This was what he needed.
Polishing off the last of the seed rolls and shining an apple on the front of his robe, Estenarven shifted from sitting on his knees to stretching his long legs beneath the table. “So, what chores are on the list for today?” he asked, planting his elbows on the table and crunching into his apple.
Mastekh jumped as Estenarven’s feet knocked against his knees. “Um…” He shuffled aside to give the Boulderforce more room, only for a solid ankle to press warmly against him instead. He twitched and rolled off his knees, opting to sit crosslegged.
Estenarven grinned and plunked his feet firmly in Mastekh’s lap, toes wriggling with happiness. “I thought we might clean out the elder’s cabin on the Skylark, scrub the boards, plump the cushions, clean the windows, that sort of thing.”
Mastekh stared down at the Boulderforce’s feet in confusion. He’d never really looked at someone else’s feet before – he barely paid attention to his own. Estenarven’s were long and dark, broad and strong, much like the rest of him. His toes were blunt and tipped with dark pewter claws. Mastekh wanted to touch them… which felt weird.
Was this the beginning of a foot fetish?
“I thought we might also move the walls a bit,” Estenarven continued, tipping his right foot sideways until rested on Mastekh’s thigh.
Mastekh twitched, hands on the floor behind himself, claws scratching lightly over stone.
“Maybe make a side room.” Estenarven flexed his foot, stroking Mastekh’s thigh.
It sent a tingle right through his whole body. It also tickled. He twitched again.
“Which I thought we might, um, share?”
Another rub, another tingle, more of a tickle.
Mastekh grabbed Estenarven’s foot and squeaked as the toes flexed against his palm, tickling even more over his sensitive. “S-stop!”
Grinning, Estenarven tried to pull his foot away, but Mastekh had hold of him now and turnabout was fair play.
Gripping the broad foot with one hand, he ran a claw softly down the centre.
Estenarven’s huffed out curse was drowned beneath the crash of the table as his long legs twitched and bashed the underside, making all the crockery rattle and almost upending the whole lot.
It was Mastekh’s turn to grin. A delighted giggle bubbled out of him as Estenarven successfully snatched his feet away to the safety of his side of the table, and Mastekh hugged his knees to his chest, rocking side to side with triumph.
“I think c-cleaning out the c-cabin is an excellent i-d-dea,” he chortled.
“And the side room?” Estenarven asked, scratching the bottom of his foot and trying to scowl but not quite managing as a smile kept escaping.
Mastekh blushed from his head to his toes, yet somehow managed not to look away. He stared deep into those laughing dark eyes and smiled. “I’d l-l-like that.”
“The perfect gift for both of us,” Estenarven agreed.
Even though Mastekh knew it wouldn’t count for either of their seven gifts, he dipped his head in an agreeing nod. After all, there could be no greater gift – in courtship or out – than the long term companionship of the dragon opposite him.
And just like that he knew what his third gift to Estenarven would be. Now all he had to do was arrange it.
Aw, that’s great Mastekh. Now tell me!
Seriously, I had a writing spurt and got four chapters done and I still have no idea.
But on the plus side, that’s another three weeks of updates done :)
Take care, my lovelies!