The trust is gone. All that's left to bind us together is the need for contact, to know that the other is still alive. He does not trust me, but he pulls me to him and I cannot escape.

The bond between Mage and Dragon, when formed, lasts until one of the pair is killed. A dragon's scaly hide and fiery breath deter those that hunt it, and a mage's spells and wit allow them to escape death as long as they escape it together. Should one of them decide to faulter and let the blade, spell, or claw strike them, the other will feel the pain as well, even unto death.

Since a dragon can live for several millennia, so can their mage as they share the same lifespan. This doesn't cause problems in the longer lived races, such as the fey, but the shorter-lived races, such as humans like my self, it can cause a kind of madness that builds until it explodes. Watching loved ones die of old age, children growing up and having their children grow old while I stay the same as I was when I formed the bond with my Dragon.

The madness had taken me and I wanted to die. My dragon hadn't realized it until it was almost too late and I almost succeeded. He now refused to let me out of his sight, or even shift into his human form to talk with me or hold me. He was angry that I wished to die, but he should have remembered that I was this way long ago, even when he first formed the bond with me.

I had been seventeen, and had been beaten almost to death. My dragon and I already had formed a link from a previous time, before I was even old enough to know what that link might foreshadow. I had wanted to die, to end the lack of belonging, but my Dragon thought it was just the pain from my wounds that was causing me to want death. He hadn't lived with my family or my town, so he didn't know what it was like to live with the stigma of being a human female with magic, yet alone a magic user of my caliber. Even so, he was gentle with me, gathering my broken body to him and flying away after threatening to raze the town if they went after us to form our bond.

Tears welt up as I remembered. He had been the only person in my life that had never hurt me intentionally, had been the only one that had gone out of his way to try to help me control my magic. He had brought me my first book, although I don't know where he found it or how he obtained it. He had saved me from myself when I had wanted to die after finding out that I was a magic user and being damned by my family. And now I had hurt him.

I saw him perched out side of the cave we were currently living in, his red and copper scales gleaming under the streams of water from the rain. It was steaming off of him, showing that he was really angry. He won't look at me as I huddled in the back of the cave. I didn't know what I could have done that would have been worse.

"Girl." He said, finally speaking. I hated it when he called me that, he only did it when he was vexed.

"Yes?"

"Do you truly wish to be freed of me that badly?" He asked, turning to look at me, his gold eyes not betraying what he thought.

"No!" I exclaimed, the tears falling. "I'm just tired of seeing people I cared for turning into dust while I stay the same. I'm tired of people calling me a Witch-Woman when they see us pass through the villages and town because I can't help but want to see and hear others of my kind. I don't want to be an outcast, but it's not because of you! It's because of what I was born as, because I am the only one in my family that has ever had magic." I said the last sentence softly, not sure if I wanted him to hear anymore of my self-pity.

"I know." He said, surprising me. "Did I ever tell you about my family?"

I shook my head. As far as I knew, dragons were like lizards and snakes and left their eggs as soon as they were lain.

"Long ago, there was a war among dragons. Humans weren't even gathering in groups larger than the standard family. You know that there are dragons of two types, right? Those that have metal for scales and those that have jewels for scales?" He asked.

I nodded, often noting that the few times we flew near other dragons that they were solid, unlike my dragon.

"My mother was a metallic. A copper, one of the smaller dragons. My father was of the jeweled kind, a red and the largest of his. He caught my mother away from her fledgling flock and raped her. He kept her as his pet until her family avenged her and killed him. It was too late, though, since he had sired offspring within her.

"Her family wanted her to smash the eggs as soon as she birthed them. She refused. They lured her away for a few hours for a hunt and smashed all but one of the eggs that she had hidden. I hatched from that egg not long after. She was barely coherent enough to help me from my shell, and hung on only long enough to raise me until I could fly."

I touched his forearm, stroking the small scales there. "I'm sorry."

He took a breath, looking out into the night. "She had hated my father, but didn't want her children to pay the price for what he had done to her. She made sure I knew that. She told me when she was dying that she was sorry that she would never see me to adulthood, but that losing my siblings had taken too much from her. I don't want to lose anyone else. Her family blamed me for her death, and for who my father was. My father's people blame me for his death and see me as weak because I refuse to avenge him. Both see me as weak for taking you, a human female, for my mage. I knew before I even set eyes on you who you were, and that I would make you mine."

My brow wrinkled. "How-"

"A Seer told me. And I dreamt of you long ago. Started having them not long after I finally left my mother's home." He explained, smiling in a frightening way. Every sharp fang, the longest as large as my arm, showed. "I asked him. He came to me, telling me that in a thousand years I would meet the strongest mage that he had ever heard of and that she would need my help and I hers. I did him a favor and killed the fools that were about to burn him at the stake. I don't know what happened to the old fool, but I have a feeling that he found a safe place."

"Oh." I said, not sure what he wanted me to say.

He turned to look at me, lowering his massive head so I could look into his eyes without straining my neck. "I found you. And you did need me as I needed you. You've been the only one that hasn't hated me for being what I am, dragon of both kinds, or even just a dragon. You don't care that I kill when I have to, or even when I want to. You accept me without asking too many questions. You always have."

I wrapped my arms around him, glad he was letting me touch him again and feeling his warmth. "I don't care about what has happened, only what's happening now and what will happen. If I start to worry about that, then I have too much to worry about. You've never thought I was stupid because of that, nor been afraid of me because of the well that lies within me."

"Why would I be afraid of a little thing like you? I could eat you in one bite." He joked, pulling away.

He must have seen the hurt on my face because he smiled and shifted into his human form. His red gold hair fell across his eyes as he smirked and wrapped his arms around me. He startled when he touched my bare arms. "You're cold! Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I hadn't realized it. I just thought it was because I was sad." I replied, snuggling into his arms. "Can we curl up and sleep? I'm sorry I scared and hurt you and promise that I won't try that again."

He sighed, leading me to the pile of furs and blankets that he had pillaged over the years and always took with him for my sake. "I know. Just try to remember that I've had it rough too. And remember that if you die, you'll lose your favorite heater."

I giggled. "I know. I love you, you know that right? What would I do without my heater? I can't ever seem to keep warm on my own."

He smiled, knowing that we were both on familiar ground again. "I know. I love you too, even if you are a little ice-cube most of the time."

"Night, my Dragon." I said, closing my eyes and letting him tuck the thick furs around me before curling himself around. He hated blankets.

"Good night, my Mage."