It's a well known fact that all dragons enjoy collecting princesses. This was something that even the smallest of children knew, the way they knew that the sun was yellow and the sky blue. No matter what breed a dragon was they all seem to share this particular desire.
Once upon a time there had been many dragons and they had had to fight over what few princesses there were to be collected. It had been a time of chaos and gallentry, with not just dragons to slay and princesses to resuce but also giants and all variety of other such creatures that were, in some way or other, not friendly to humans to be fought. Those days were long past and the few dragons that remained in this part of the world had their pick of choice princesses.
In fact, there seemed to be a surplus of princesses. A tradition had grown over the years as a result: a princesses could almnost count on being part of a dragon's horde for a short span of time, then some brave prince, or a gallent knight, or even, occasionally, a worth commoner would be along to rescue her, with all the requisite bravado and postering all though almost no one, including the dragon was ever really hurt anymore, let alone slain. Some would say a princess was only worthy if she had been kidnapped at least once.
And if there was not a princesses that a dragon found pleasing handy to be kidnapped at the time a dragon was wanting one, which was pretty unlikely, there were always plenty of young noble women, or even the occasional peasant beauty to be had. There was never a shortage of proper canadites, ever.
Taking all of these facts into consideration, Finn wanted to know only one thing;
Why had this fool dragon kidnapped HIM?
He wasn't a princess! He wasn't even FEMALE! Let alone royalty! His hair might be longer than fashion dictated, but that was tradition in his family! He wasn't even one of those pretty lads that were so often mistaken for maidens, his features were rather plain actually; his mouth too wide, his lips too thin, his nose too narrow and long. Nor did he dress in the colorful or extravagant styles so often favored by the ladies, and certain young lords, at court. There was no way this dragon could have possibly mistaken him for a proper kidnapping canidate.
So, with an irritated growl, Finn informed the dragon, in the best manner that he could, that this sort of behavior was, truly, uncalled for.
"Let go of me this instant! You pathetic, mangy, over grown lizard!" He growled irritable.
"Shush now, will be at my cave shortly. You will be quite comfortable there, I assure you. There is a perfectly nice pile of pillows that you can nap on, I know you must be tired. I have been told that getting kidnapped is rather exhausting." the dragon said rather placidly. His voices was a deep rumble that Finn could feel in his very bones.
"I don't want to be COMFORTABLE! I don't want a nap! I don't want pillows! I want to be back home, preferably back in the library, you know? THE ROOM YOU ABDUCTED ME FROM?" Finn's voice rose steadily till he was screaming at the top of his not so inconsiderable lungs. "I am NOT a princess! This is unseemly! Put me down!"
"I am well aware that you are, in fact, not a princess, I see no problem." The dragon continued calmly as he turned his head to look at Finn for a short moment. " I promise I have no desire to dress you as one if that is what worries you. I find you perfectly acceptable as a man." The dragon's voice carried an almost dirty tone that let Finn know just how acceptable the dragon found him. Finn found he couldn't stop the blush that crept up from his neckline at that insinuation.
Finn took a deep calming, ok not so calming, breath, then another. When he finally felt calm enough to go on he spoke.
"I think," he tried, in what, to him, was a rather reasonable tone of voice, "That there has been some sort of mistake. You see, I am a LIBRARIAN. I am neither particualrily attractive nor skilled in anyway that would make me interesting, I cannot sing or dance nor can I paint or create any such artistic works. I am in fact considered to be an ill mannered and bad tempered goblin with not a single redeeming quality to my name. There is no way you could be interested in me, ergo... YOU HAVE THE WRONG PERSON!" Finn paused having found himself yelling at the top of his lungs once more. "Now, if you could kindly return me back to my library, I am quite sure that we can just forget this ever happened. All right?" He finished his little speech through clenched teeth. Damn it, he could be researching right now, or writing, or organizing! Those other fools couldn't organize an orgy at a brothel. Finn wanted to weep at what state the library would be in by the time he managed to get the dragon to take him back.
"I am well aware of who you are, Finnian Alisander. You are the assistant to the Head Royal Librarian, and I know for a fact that most of the gossip about you is far too over exaggerated to even bother with. And don't think I don't know plenty about you as it is. You may have a terrible temper, yes, but you also have a fondness for the books you watch over, you don't suffer fools gladly, or lightly which is why the majority of the court fears you like no other librarian in history. You never miss anything that goes on in your library, which even the Head Librarian will not disput your claim of. You always eat ate your desk, when you can get away with it, and have a marked preference to toast with marmalade and ginger tea in the morning. Oh, and you are completely and totally oblivious when someone tries to court you." The dragon paused to chuckle, "you also read as much as humanly possible and love flowers of any kind as long as the have a pleasent scent."
Finn knew it was rude to stare, especially with his mouth hanging open, but he couldn't help it. How had a dragon learned any of that? Wait
"No one has ever tried to court me." He said with an air of smugness, sure he'd caught the dragon out.
The dragon turned his head to the side to look at him from the corner of his eye.
"Oh, I assure you, you have been courted. By myself for instance." The dragon gave another low deep throated chuckle as he continued to fly.
"Now wait just a blessed moment, I am sure that I would notice being courted by a giant lizard, I may be nearsighted but I'm not that blind." He wasn't, was he? He hadn't had a new set of spectacles in years, maybe it was time to have the Palace healers look at his eyes.
The dragon only snorted.
They flew in silence for a few more minutes before Finn saw where they were going. The dragon was heading straight for Pincer's Gorge, a large crack some ways to the west of the rouyal city. It was a rather well known gorge having been created during the last great earthquake.
The dragon turned into the mouth of the gorge and aimed for a large ledge, landing with a jarring thud. The impact nearly knocked Finn off the dragons back, but the large beast was able to catch him before he hit the ground, probably saving him from a few bruises at the very least.
"So, I have never courted you have i?" if the dragon had had eyebrows they would have been quirked. And Finn could swear he was smirking.
The young librarian watched, mouth once again hanging open but silent in shock, as the dragon went fuzzy and then simply disappeared, leaving a very familiar figure standing in it's place.
Soon after Finn had started as the Assistant Under Librarian, an unnamed foreigner had saved the royal heir from a band of mountain bandits during the Prince's journey to visit his betrothed. The man had, as a result, recieved a title, and a name as he seemed to have lacked one, as a reward. He'd also been offered estates that he had declined stating that he would rather free access to the Royal Library instead, which he had of course been granted. He was provided a small, but extravagant, suite of rooms just down the corridor from the libraries main entrence and even provided with a key so that he might have access to the library, at least the public portions, even when the librarians weren't there.
And so Finn's troubles begain, for the key also opened the door to the librarians' offices.
"Get OUT!" Finn screamed in aggravation hurling an ink pot at the head of, in Finn's opinion, the most annoying man in the whole palace.
"But " Finn growled as the man began to speak again, and tossed the nearest object at hand nearly hitting the menace.
Edwin gave an audible sigh.
"I'll come back when your in a better mood." He said as he made a hasty retreat out the library's main door. Leaving the bouque of Sweetsun flowers and the small,and still wrapped, present behind.
Finn gave a wordless scream, picking up a glass paperweight and hurled it at the doors, where it smashed with a very satisfying sound.
He was so very tired of that man intruding upon his sanctuary, with his "dear heart's" and his "beloved's" and his flowers, flowers that Finn was actually fond of even to add insult to injury, and his endless gifts. Finn didn't know what Edwin wanted but he wasn't going to get it. No way, no how.
Calming himself down, he resumed the organizing that "Lord Edwin the Infuriating" had interrupted.
Finn felt his body shake in rage.
"I cannot believe you would stoop so low as to kidnap me!" he growled through clenched teeth. Then he paused as the obvious was made apparent to him, and he began to shake for a different reason all together. "You're a dragon?" He gulped, feeling as if he'd nearly swallowd his tounge.
Edwin smiled at him, somewhat smuggly.
"Indeed, and it took a great deal of work to go from Formidable Dragon to Lord Edwin." He gestured behind Finn, "My real name, by the way, isn't Edwin obviously but you couldn't prouncounce it anyway, your vocal cords aren't shapped right." He paused for a second, considering, "Perhaps we should talk inside." The dragon lead an unresisting Finn into his lair by his arm.
A few minutes later, Finn sat, too stunned to think clearly, on the previously promised pile of pillows, a cup of steaming tea in his hands. It had been piping hot and ready for their arrival. The dragon sat beside him, watching him curiously as he sipped, seemingly calm, at his own tea.
"So, you're really a dragon?" Finn asked, proud that he sounded steady even though he could see his hands trembling ever so slightly. "How I mean, why would you pretend to be human? You said yourself, it must have taken a great deal of work." Had the dragan planned the attack on the royal heir? Finn's knuckles went white as his grip on his tea cup tightened. No. That couldn't be, not at all. Edwin might be infuriating, but he wasn't...wasn't...no.
"Well," The dragon smiled a bit as he looked at his companion, "There was this boy, you see. He had a sweet laugh, the most beautiful kind eyes, and loved books dearly, a passion we shared. I use to watch him quite often, I even once spent a day with him, playing games by the river near his estate, but as time passed he grew up and became quiet, he stopped lauging, and his eyes became dark and sad. Eventually he went off to live at the royal palace. I was sad to see him go, even more sad to have lost his smiles and laughter, so I made up my mind to follow him."
Finn's eyes widened. He had been watched as a child, he had known that, had felt it almost all his life. And he remembered playing with a strange creature once when he had been very small. His father had, after hearing Finn talk excitedly about the strange talking lizard after coming home that day, kept him at the estate for weeks afterward. His mind struggled to make sense of all of it.
"So, you followed me?" Finn said, taking a deep breath to try and calm himself.
"Yes." Edwin's voice was soft and somehow sad. "You were so sad before you left, I never knew why, but i couldn't let you just leave."
"You wormed your way into the good graces of the royal family to be allowed to stay at the palace, to have free access to the Royal Library." This was too much, really. "Why? Why was I so interesting that you had to follow me halfway across the kingdom?" His grip on the tea cup tightened convulsively. He felt like throwing something again, preferable at the annoying man's, dragon's, head.
"You still won't believe that I care for you?" Edwin gave a sigh of displeasure. He set his tea cup down.
"Because it can't be real. You can't love me." He growled even as tears came unbidden to his eyes. Lord Edwin had been insisting that he loved him sicne he had arrived, and FInn been unable to even concieve of it being anything other than another cruel game; he wasn't handsome, he knew that. He was awkward, all knees and elbows and bony hips. He had been played with like that too many times before at home to take such behavior at face value. Other men and women had pretended to like him, pretended to want to be his friend or lover, strung him along, then made a fool of him. Too many times he'd been hurt before he'd caught on. Before he'd left to live in the palace.
Edwin smiled sadly. "I know I didn't go about it in the best manner, but I thought you would respond better to a human. I have been serious from the very day I first saw you." The dragon kept his voice soft as he slid closer to the object of his affections, sighing again, this time in frustration, as the man gave him a firce glare.
"Why should I even believe you? You LIED to me!" Finn's voice came to a sharp peak at that one word, almost cracking with strain, and Edwin felt it echoed throughout the cave. "Were you playing with me?" Sebastian asked point blank, his face and voice equally cool.
"I love you. I have loved you since the first time I saw you. It hurt when you stopped smiling, even more when you left." Edwin gave a deep breath and sighed. "I just want a chance to make you smile again. If you can love me all the better, but it would be worth it to see you smile like you did when you were younger" Placing a tenative arm around the younger man, he pulled a, suprisingly, unresisting FInn close to him. "I don't expect it to be easy, goodness knows we are both too stubborn. I can, and do, hope for happiness though. I believe that we could be happy, if you would just give me a chance. I can show you that I love you."
"I need to think" Finn said.
Edwin nodded, letting the other man go he stood and moved away to give Finn room to think, to consider.
Finn didn't speak for a long time. He stared at the walls of the cave, stared at the things in the cave. A pot of perfectly prepaired ginger tea, with a touch of honey just the way he liked it, walls covered in shelves filled with books, some of which he could tell, even from where he sat, were a few of his dearest favorites, a pile of pillows that a dragon wouldn't have needed but just the right size for a human to relax on, a reading lamp in the corner that was a near a replica of his office desk. It was a room designed around him. He saw other things, things that would make living here easier, more confterable. A small desk in a corner, a comfortable reading chair in another. Paintings that he liked.
He thought for a long time and Edwin let him be, moving restlessly around the room as the hours stretched. There was silence till the first hints of dusk begain to appear.
"OK. Just ok." Finn said, voice firm with resolve. He looked up at the dragon, at Edwin. "I'm not saying I believe it will work, just that I'm willing to try. Goodness knows it's probably the only way I'll be able to get any work done."
Edwin smiled at his beloved. He could do this, he could make this work. He would convince Finn of his love. After all, he thought with a smile, he had years to tame the boy's temper once he'd managed to convince him of his sincerity. Or not, he thought with a chuckle, for Finn full of fire was a sight to behold indeed.
After all, while it was a known fact that dragons liked to collect princesses it was also a fact that once a dragon fell in love, nothing would stand in their way