A Courtship of Dragons is a M/M Romance short novel (approximately 60,000 words) 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.
Esten gets to work.
9th Storm Month
TWO DAYS LATER, Estenarven stood in the middle of Highstrike’s biggest kitchen, trying to follow the dracos’ instructions without much success. It was time for Mastekh’s fifth gift and, because he hadn’t thought of something suitably precious yet to give his Puddle, Estenarven had skipped forward to the handmade one.
Being a Boulderforce, he wasn’t particularly gifted when it came to working with his hands. He would never be favoured for delicate tasks and wood tended to snap beneath his fingers with very little effort. So he’d come to the kitchen, because it was a place Mastekh valued so highly, and with a little help from the dracos, he’d managed to sneak a few secret cooking lessons without his Puddle noticing.
Not that he was doing much cooking, since his attempts so far had been woeful and often inedible. But at least he’d ruled out pastries, pies, bread and tarts as options for his gift. The less said about his attempts to filet a fish, the better. However, he was proving pretty effective when it came to venison, so he’d scaled up his plans from a delicate dainty to tempt Mastekh’s appetite, into a full roast meal. The vegetables might not win any prizes for the neatness of their cut, but he hadn’t destroyed them utterly in the skinning and preparation and they were either bubbling nicely in the water or roasting in an oven. It would do. All he needed was a sauce.
While the dracos fussed and teased him over his clumsy efforts, Estenarven smiled and tried not to get too lost in his thoughts. That was what had happened to the bread, when he’d allowed himself to dwell too long on the last two evenings with Mastekh and kneaded the dough all to pieces.
He didn’t beat himself up too much for his distraction, though. Because the last two evenings had been everything to Estenarven. To some they might have seemed tame and perhaps a little dull, and even the dragon Estenarven used to be probably would have laughed if someone else had near-swooned over the memory of just talking, but this was Mastekh and… Estenarven chuckled at himself, knowing he was a hopeless case.
He’d never been one to deny himself pleasure, had in fact indulged in every sybaritic experience that had crossed his path, yet somehow, simply sitting and talking to Mastekh was better and more satisfying than anything else. Not that he’d object to sex, because he really liked sex and knew how best to enjoy himself and his partner, but he wanted to take things slowly with Mastekh, to make sure they were both comfortable. For the first time in his life, Estenarven was nervous about sleeping with someone. Because it mattered. Mastekh mattered, and Estenarven would never forgive himself if he messed it up now.
When Estenarven had discovered his fourth gift was the matching half of Mastekh’s naming shell, he had nearly broken down in tears with sheer relief. Not just at the meaning of such a gift, but because Mastekh still wanted him. Naming shells were too important to be shared lightly and if Estenarven hadn’t already been serious about Mastekh, his feelings would have deepened right then.
It was more than just the shells, though. Mastekh had asked about the figure Estenarven had given him and grown quite possessive when Estenarven had apologised and tried to take it back, vowing to find something more appropriate, more akin to the naming shell. That had led to another appearance of growly Mastekh, which had all but crumbled Estenarven to pieces.
Thinking back on the delicious way Mastekh had ordered him never to talk so disparagingly about the figure again brought a fresh wave of shivers to dance down Estenarven’s spine.
“Stir, stir, stir!” the frantic cry broke through his thoughts and Estenarven dutifully did so, bowing his head and mumbling apologies to Vilree the head chef for almost ruining her foolproof sauce.
Pushing all thoughts of Mastekh and the long, lazy conversations they’d recently had, learning all about each other’s lives, from hatchling through to their change times, and the way Mastekh so easily draped himself across Estenarven’s chest now, perfectly at ease with the contact, Estenarven focused on what his draco teachers were telling him. There would be plenty of time later to daydream, or even better yet, to talk more with Mastekh. But only if he pulled himself together and finished preparing this meal.
Then there would only be two more gifts to go. Something precious and something hard to get. No idea he’d come up with yet came remotely close to what he wanted for Mastekh, so Estenarven knew he’d have to ask for more help. Although who from he wasn’t yet certain.
“Too hot, too hot,” Vilree barked at him, and Estenarven shifted his pot away from the oven top. “Pay attention.”
“Yes, Vilree. Sorry, Vilree,” Estenarven murmured automatically, lifting the spoon to take a sip. Perfect. Well, edible, anyway, which was perfect by his standards. “I think we’re done.”
“Hm.” Vilree sniffed and fetch her own spoon to test the sauce. Wrinkling her scaled nose, she flattened her head crest and sighed. “To anyone else I would say – make it again – but you will not stay for that.”
“Nope,” Estenarven agreed cheerfully, already pouring the sauce into a jug and asking a different draco to drain his vegetables so that he could take everything up to Elder Blazeborn’s suite, ready to be eaten. He had to hurry if he was to get everything ready and still catch Mastekh before he headed for the dining hall. “It’s now or never, Vilree. Thanks for all your help.”
He blew the head chef a kiss and Vilree flapped her dishcloth in his direction. “Pah. No patience. No artistry. Go, get out of my kitchen.”
“Gladly.” Lifting the laden tray that contained all the important parts of the evening, Estenarven bowed grandly to the busy room. “My thanks to you all for your superior patience and artistry. I promise never to bother you again.”
“Ha! We can but hope,” Vilree scoffed, sending snickers through the working dracos. “I feel almost bad that we are letting you serve our good friend Mastekh such things, but tell him we tried our best and good luck to you, Estenarven.”
With more good wishes and teasing comments flowing in his wake, Estenarven left the kitchen and headed for the suite. He just hoped Elder Blazeborn had remembered his promise to make himself scarce for another night, and that Mastekh hadn’t already gone searching for his supper elsewhere.
“Fifth gift,” he murmured as he began climbing the stairs, “here I come.”
More next week!
Take care, my lovelies.