Hopes and Dreams
The morning dawned bright and clear. The warmer weather caused the snow to melt, meaning spring was on the way. A spring that would signify a change to come for better or worse. Eldrick rose, a smile on his face, eagerly anticipating the day ahead. Today was going to be a good day, he thought. He wasted no time doing the morning chores. The sooner they were done the more time he would have to be with Sebastian. Fearing his growing feelings for the dragon might not be returned, left him feeling vulnerable. If they were returned, then what, where do they go from there?
* * *Sebastian rose from his bed full of trepidation and excitement. He was worried no matter what he did he would be relegated to the realm of 'friends', not getting the chance to be with the one tugging at his heart. No point worrying about it right now, all he could do was to face the day and see what it offered. He wished he could transform into a human, but he didn’t have any clothes to wear in that form. Leaving his room, he reached out with his senses to discern where everyone was. Sergei was still in bed, Eldrick was out in the chicken coop. Knowing that there was no one in the house to prepare breakfast, he headed there. Grabbing the flour, he set about making bread and flapjacks to go with the eggs. He began frying some of the sausages. Entering the kitchen through the back door Eldrick froze, a sudden cold sweat trickling down his neck and back. Staring longingly at the back of Sebastian made him weak in the knees. The desire to go up behind and wrap his arms around the dragon was deliciously terrifying. Eldrick felt his legs turning to jelly. If he could he would have dropped the eggs and bolted back out the door. His tongue, swelling in his mouth, drying out at the same time. Glacial water ran down his spine. Sebastian’s scales glistening in the sunlight, giving him an otherworldly appearance. Thoughts of how Sebastian was too good for him, brought with it doubts, there could not possibly be a chance that his feelings would be returned. Opening his mouth to greet Sebastian, he found it as dry as a desert with his tongue glued to the roof. This only made Eldrick more nervous and self-conscious. He couldn’t speak. All he could do was stand and stare like some love-struck fool, which is exactly what he was. He knew there wasn't any way he could conceivably retreat with any dignity. What would Sebastian think if he caught me staring? With great effort, he pulled his eyes off the magnificent frame of his ardour. “I... I... I brought the eggs from the hen house,” he stumbled over the words as if they were obstacles meant to make him fall on his ass, as he placed the basket of eggs on the edge of the table. Misjudging where the table was, the basket, catching just the edge flipped over launching the eggs across the room. Hearing Eldrick’s voice, Sebastian turned to see the eggs flying through the air as the basket flipped off the table. The bright crimson of Eldrick’s face telling a different story. He appeared so mortified, there was nothing that could possibly allow him to recover any sense of equilibrium. His legs just giving out causing Eldrick to crash to the floor in an unceremonious heap, tears forming in his eyes, uncontrollable sobs escaping his lips. He appeared to be looking for a way to crawl under the floor. Seeing the anguish written plainly across Eldrick's face, Sebastian dropped what he was doing. He rushed over to comfort Eldrick. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for him no matter what the cost. He had to make sure Eldrick didn’t lose all composure and run out into the wilderness, not without him. He was not going to let Eldrick suffer through whatever it was, without trying to ease the burden. In a moment, he was beside Eldrick and trying to console him. "Hey, easy there, a few eggs are not worth crying over." “But it, it, it’s not that. I... I... I... I. Oh, why can’t I speak? You must think me such a clumsy, inarticulate clod. If you even knew what I was thinking you wou... wouldn’t be here holding me. I'm nothing more than some back-country bumpkin with no more education than I have been able to gain under Sergei’s tutelage.” The words, once flowing, were like someone had punctured the bottom of the rain barrel after a storm. “Even there, I can’t keep my mind on my work, it just keeps wandering. There can’t be a single thing about me that is worth a clipped copper coin," he cried wiping his nose. "I don’t even have two coppers to rub together, and likely never will. Look around this place, this all belongs to my master and I couldn’t even dream of owning anything so grand no matter what I did. His family carved this place out of the wilderness by themselves. I don’t have any kind of skill like that.” The look of utter dread in his eyes at what he was saying spoke volumes of just how much he wished to clamp his mouth shut but lacked the ability to do so. “If Sergei hadn’t taken me in, I would probably be living out in the street or dead. This winter has been hard enough to kill pretty much anyone who wasn’t prepared for it. I dream of things I know can never be” "Now just hold on a moment." Sebastian interrupted him. "How can you say that? You are mastering everything Sergei has been teaching you with such alacrity that I find myself beggared to imagine how you do it. I spend hours in my room trying to get through the few tomes he has offered me to read. There is no way I could keep up with you." Sebastian could feel the tears forming in the corners of his own eyes. "Sergei chose you for his apprentice because he saw potential. Do you think he would choose just anyone? He has set standards for himself that are near on impossible to meet, and yet you met them. Honestly, I think you have surpassed those very standards". The look of concern in his eyes and the gentle mental voice said it all. "He is pushing you because he knows you can take it. Truth be told I would hate to see you push yourself harder than you are for I fear that you may destroy yourself if you do, and that is not something that I could deal with." Eldrick sniffling, looks up into Sebastian’s eyes, they held compassion in their very depths. Desire he never thought he would see. Those deep blue eyes like glassy sapphires drew him in deeper and deeper, so deep he began to fear he would lose himself, with the sudden realization he didn’t care. Nothing would tear him away from this precious being who had shown him with just a few words, a caress and a look so intense that he felt the same way. Wiping his eyes with the back of his sleeve, a smile starting to creep over his face, he leaned in closer to his protector and soulmate, the musky dragon smell arousing other desires. Slowly he lifted his face to peer closer at Sebastian and started to lean in, closing his eyes as he did so. His lips were unexpectedly met by lips that were not draconic, but human, when realization overcame him that he was being held gently by a naked human male where moments before there had been a dragon. Without a care, he embraced this person and pulled him closer vowing never to let him go. Their lips met in an intoxicating crush which sent chills running through both their bodies. When a sudden bellowing interrupted them, causing them to jump apart. “What in all the great green fields is going on? Would you look at this mess? I hope you are planning on cleaning this up?” bellowed Sergei with an almost indignant tone, a wry smile cracking over his face. Looking around the kitchen at the mess of the broken eggs, the forgotten food in the pans beginning to burn. With an embarrassed start Sebastian, changed back into his draconic form, quickly rescuing the food on the stove. Grabbing some cloths, he started to clean up the egg mess, when Eldrick’s hand briefly touched the back of his. Out of the corner of their eyes, they saw Sergei chuckling as he quietly left the room. “Do you think he did that on purpose?” inquired Eldrick. "Quite likely," retorted Sebastian. "After all, his breakfast is on the stove too. We should see if any of the eggs survived. That way we can still have the full breakfast I was hoping to make. If not, I guess it’s flapjacks and sausages." Laughing together, they made quick work of the mess, discovering there were four unbroken eggs in the basket. Breaking them into a bowl and adding a bit of milk, cheese, and onions Sebastian quickly made an impromptu omelet. Once the breakfast was ready and set out on the table Sergei returned to the kitchen, a smug look on his face and his hands behind his back. Without ceremony, he tossed a bundle over to Sebastian. “You may need these in the days ahead. They used to belong to my son. There are more clothes up in the attic that you can go through later." Sergei paused to sit at the table. "Eldrick I believe that by the end of next week the hide will be ready. You need to craft some new gear for yourself. I will teach you how to craft leather clothing, but you will be doing the work. It is a lesson you are going to need for the trials ahead. Now I promised you the weekend off and I meant it. Once you have finished breakfast away with you, both of you. I will clean up the dishes” cackled Sergei mirthfully, a gleam of mischief in his eyes. With breakfast over, the two didn’t hesitate to vacate the old man’s presence. Sebastian indicated that Eldrick go ahead and he would follow shortly. As Eldrick left, Sebastian rushed to his room where he transformed back into human form, quickly getting dressed. Some of the fittings and fasteners baffled him. He decided that under no circumstances was he going to ask for help. Running through the front room, he flew out the door, letting it slam shut in his haste to join Eldrick. Ignoring the bellow from inside, he rushed to where Eldrick was awaiting him. The melting snow had become soft and mushy. Reaching for a handful, he quickly balled it up and lobbed it at the back of Eldrick’s head. Turning at the sound of the slamming door, Eldrick caught the snowball square in the face. Laughing, he bent over and grabbed a handful of snow to lob back at Sebastian. As he stood up from gathering the snow, Sebastian plowed into him. They both lost their footing, to land sprawling in the wet snow. What started as a snowball fight, quickly deteriorated into a wrestling match in the cold, wet, sticky snow. After a short period of time, they stopped tussling, brushing themselves off. They headed to the barn where it was warm and dry. They removed their wet outer garments and began warming themselves by the woodstove. Glad of the privacy, Eldrick leaned in to give Sebastian another kiss. Sebastian returned the kiss as ardently and wished this moment could last forever. Understanding hit him like a two by four to the temple. This moment was the first of many to come. There would be no one else for either of them. The bond was complete. Like a magical rope tying one to the other, there was no way to separate them, except death. Even death was going to have a fight on his hands if he tried. That went for anyone else who decided they wanted to separate them. Glancing over at Eldrick, Sebastian knew he was thinking the same thing. The look of yearning and desire held in his eyes every time their eyes met sent shivers down his spine. The journeyman trials were going to be easier to pass now that he knew there was someone waiting for him to return. He only wished that Sebastian would be able to accompany him on the trials, but he feared it was something that would not be allowed. The trials were a test of one’s mettle and couldn’t be witnessed by one who was neither a master druid nor a journeyman. He decided then and there that he would pass his trials so that he could return to Sebastian. There was nothing that was going to prevent that, not even the high druid himself. He would master everything Sergei taught him, if possible some things he didn’t teach. He would ask Sebastian to share the tomes Sergei had loaned him, perhaps there were skills in them that would be beneficial. They spent the day comfortably in each other's company now that the initial fear and anxiety had passed. Exploring their feelings and desires until Sergei called them in for dinner. They returned to the farmhouse, hand in hand. Sergei looking upon the two of them smiled, a knowing smile of understanding and wisdom. Sergei led them to the dining table, where it was set for two. He served dinner and with a nod left the room. They sat there eating the meal and chatting. After finishing the meal and cleaning up they headed to the main room. “You realize you still have tomorrow off as well, right?” he asked with a wink. “Yes sir, but don’t you think I should return to my studies? I still have much to learn and time is running short." Eldrick's voice was full of trepidation. "The snow is beginning to melt and that means the Feast of Servalin will soon be upon us. We have a long way to journey if we are going to arrive on time.” “Yes, that is true. However, I think the break will do your young mind some good. Besides, you have an advantage others do not. You mastered the learning trance. That is not a skill taught within druid circles. It is a skill that has been kept secret within my family. I chose to teach you because you exhibited the signs of being able to master it. That gave me hope. It also makes me very proud that you were able to." Sergei's smile turned dour. "Now once your weekend is over, I expect you to throw yourself into your studies with as much vigour as I witnessed this morning with Sebastian. I know Sebastian is likely to immerse himself deeper into his learning. Now off to bed. I suggest that tomorrow you be a bit more careful with the eggs," he said with his smile returning. "And I mean to sleep, you young rapscallions.” Accepting the parting shot from Sergei the two of them reluctantly adjourned to their separate rooms. Eldrick found that his emotions were running on a high that made it near impossible to sleep until the night was more than half over. In the other room, Sebastian was having a similar dilemma. Though he knew he could force the issue and sleep, he didn’t wish to set aside the day just yet.
This was submitted to an anthology.