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.
I want one of these.
THEY BOTH STARED at the rose that was just visible through the fog on the glass. Mastekh bit his lip, hoping against hope that he’d done the right thing.
“May I?” Estenarven asked softly, raising his hands either side of the dome.
Mastekh nodded, making a low sound of agreement. Unlike some of the roses and flowers in Elder Gwyllen’s collection this one wasn’t delicate, but the shock of going from the humid glasshouse to the cold hallways had prompted the gardener to provide the dome. Hopefully by now the air inside would have cooled enough to be less of a shock.
Estenarven lifted, revealing the rose beneath in all its understated glory. When the Boulderforce said nothing, simply stared at the grey bloom that was the size of Mastekh’s fist and appeared to be growing out of a bed of pebbles and moss, nerves struck.
“It’s a r-r-rock r-rose,” he rushed to explain. “Hardy, I’m t-told. They g-g-grow all over the n-north. But this one is sp-special. They’re mostly wh-white, sometimes p-p-pink, but this one is g-g-grey. Like you.”
The Boulderforce kept looking at the rose and Mastekh felt the first tendril of panic. Even though he’d jokingly thought that he would gladly keep the rose if Estenarven didn’t want it, the simple act of refusing a gift would bring their whole courtship crashing down.
Estenarven couldn’t refuse. He couldn’t.
Mastekh wrung his hands, unable to help the fact that they were dripping. He’d thought he was being so clever. Estenarven’s first gift to him had been a flower. The fact that Estenarven had chosen food as his fifth gift seemed a beautifully positive sign, since Mastekh’s first gift to him had been food. They had mirrored each other without even knowing.
Except Estenarven was a Boulderforce. Who would be stupid enough to give such a hard, solid, sturdy dragon flowers?
Fine tremors shivered up Mastekh’s spine, turning his knees to water. After everything they’d been through, after the wonder of the last few evenings, he’d gone and ruined it with a stupid gift. A rose from Elder Gwyllen’s private collection was special, yes, but only if you cared for such fragile, frippery things.
“A rock rose,” Estenarven said at last, his voice sounding like he was gargling gravel.
“Yes,” Mastekh breathed softly.
The relief was so strong that Mastekh had to hold onto the table to stop himself from melting all over the floor.
Estenarven didn’t notice, he was too busy touching the pebbles and moss that made up the rose’s bed. Despite his big, broad hands, he was exquisitely gentle as he brushed the winding stem and stroked a grey petal.
“No one has ever given me flowers before,” he said wistfully. “People don’t think Boulderforces need them. They don’t think we value pretty, fragile things.” He looked up, dark eyes shining straight into Mastekh’s heart. “But I do. Because they’re not frail, they’re survivors. They’re strong.”
That did it. Mastekh’s knees collapsed and he would have fallen, except Estenarven was there to catch him, pulling him onto his lap and cradling him tight.
“Thank you, Puddle. Thank you.”
Tucking himself beneath Estenarven’s chin, head resting on his broad chest, Mastekh closed his eyes and sighed with relief. He’d chosen right, the courtship would continue. He thought about protesting that he wasn’t strong, that Estenarven had got it wrong, but he wouldn’t allow anything to spoil this moment. No negative thoughts. Just relief – and acceptance.
Only two gifts left to go. Something handmade, something hard to get.
Listening to the steady beat of Estenarven’s heart, Mastekh smiled as his Boulderforce cooed at his rock rose and knew he would never find a more precious, hard to find gift than the love and trust of this dragon.
But he’d try his best anyway, because that was what courtship was for. He would live up to his Estenarven’s expectations and be strong. Then he would hold onto this amazing gift he’d found with all the strength in his heart.
More next week.
Take care, my lovelies.