Oscar sat against the tree as the first day of the festival wound down. Lisa and Alin had already turned in and Jareth had taken little Danae so they could spend some time together and his adopted sister wouldn’t have to sleep outside. Oscar read The Count of Monte Cristo and just enjoyed the night. He was happy to be here and to have had the chance to actually make friends and he would be forever thankful to Lisa and Alin for their love and devotion as parents. “What are you reading?” The beautiful, musical voice drew his attention immediately away from the book and he looked up, freezing under the blue gaze of a gorgeous young woman. He just sat there staring and she gave him a warm smile.
“Oh sorry, yes I’m fine. It’s The Count of Monte Cristo.” He dog eared his page and handed it to her.
“Is it any good?”
“I like it.”
She flipped through a couple of pages. “Is it anything like the movie?”
“Well the book came first so not really. There are a lot of differences.” She held it back out to him. “You can borrow it if you want.”
“But you’re not done.”
“I’ve read it before, I just really like it so go ahead.”
Her smile widened. “Thanks, I’ll return it before the end of the festival.”
She turned to leave and he stopped her. “Hey, what’s your name?”
“Oh sorry, it’s Eiar. I’m Jareth’s niece.” That made his heart skip a beat and he swallowed nervously. Jareth had only ever treated him with kindness and he didn’t want to ruin that by flirting with his niece. “And you’re Oscar right?”
“Yeah, how’d you know?”
“My uncle told me about Lisa and Alin taking you in and little Danae can’t stop talking about her big brother. It was nice to finally meet you. Lets hang out tomorrow.”
She smiled again, setting his heart into a crazed rhythm that felt odd but good at the same time. He was frozen, a prisoner in his own body until she was out of sight. When he could no longer see her Oscar stood and decided to turn in like everyone else. The only thing Oscar removed was his shoes and socks before laying down in his bed with thoughts of Eiar. He hoped she enjoyed the book and would read a little tonight so he could talk to her about it tomorrow. His last thought before falling asleep was how they were going to meet tomorrow since they didn’t pick a meeting spot. He guessed she just planned to find him.
“Time to wake up.” Oscar felt something brush his nose and snapped awake as he slapped at whatever it was. His heart nearly exploded when he saw it was Eiar.
“What…how did you get in here?”
She giggled. “This is my uncle’s house.”
“Oh yeah.” He sat up, nervously rubbing the back of his neck. “I need to get up.”
She smiled and moved back. “Your mom said breakfast is ready or do you call her Lisa.”
“Both actually.” He stretched as he got to his feet then ran his fingers through his messy hair. “So did you read any?”
“The first two chapters. It’s good so far, I really like it.”
“Good, I’m glad.”
She was still smiling at him as they entered the dining room and he felt his heart nearly explode when he saw Jareth sitting at the table. He kept his eyes off Eiar as he took a seat and nearly groaned when she sat next to him. “He looks thoroughly embarrassed Eiar, what did you do?” Jareth asked.
“I don’t think he’s ever had a girl in his room.” She replied and Oscar felt his cheeks burn. “I mean look at how red his face is.”
“I think we should stop teasing him, he looks like he might combust at any moment.”
It actually felt hard to breath so he was glad they laid off of him. Breakfast was served and he was grateful to have somthing to give his concentration to so it would’t be so incredibly difficult not to admire Eiar. Of course the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen was Jareths niece. She seemed so nice and even liked one to the books he did. He couldn’t be sure Jareth wouldn’t be protective or possibly angry if he expressed interest in her. He finally had a loving family and as much as he wanted her it was probably best not to try anything. Oscars inner voice did a lot of what ifs and convincing it wasn’t a good idea while he ate his breakfast.
“Oscar, would you like to accompany me to the wrestling matches today?” Eiar asked, seeing he was nervous.
He glanced at Jareth and then looked back down at his plate. “Um, sure, I guess.”
“Do you compete?” She asked and he shook his head.
“Oscar here did not have the best upbringing.” Alin explained. “His sister was evil, his father disowned him because he believed him to be nothing but a weak runt. They were wrong of course, he’s quite strong.”
“That’s not true, I’ll never be as strong as you.” Oscar replied.
“He’s a crystal dragon, incredibly rare.”Jareth added.
“He as beautiful scales.” Lisa chimed in. “They shimmer and shine with many different colors.” Oscar blushed, the bright red standing out quite a bit on his pale skin.
“I would really like to see that, I bet you look awesome.” Eiar said with her heart stopping smile.
“O…okay, later, I’ll show you later.”
“thanks, I’ll show you how I look as a dragon too. It’s nothing special but you can see if you want”
“the shade you are is gorgeous, well deserving of the nickname I gave you” Eiar smiled “Yeah he calls me Rose Dragon”
“I bet it is pretty” Oscar nervously said. Lisa noticed he was more shy than normal. He of course wasn’t super outgoing but he normally wasn’t anywhere near this level of shy. She guessed he must be attracted to Eiar. It was the only explanation for how nervous he was. Though they had built him up and tried to show him he was of value Lisa worried his concern might be he didn’t feel adequate as a partner to someone. After breakfast Eiar asked “can I see now?”
“sure” she smiled and did a small, happy sway from side to side before grabbing his hand and tugging him outside. She looked so thrilled it helped him feel more at ease. He shifted, hoping he would be everything she had imagined in her head. Her obviously amazed gasp caused his heart to stutter “Oh wow, you are beautiful. Seriously. Holy crap you’re cool” she exclaimed and approached to touch him. “wow” she said to the air.
She let her fingers slide over his scales and he was glad she couldn’t see he was blushing, though he knew she could probably hear his erratic heart beat. “I’m so jealous.” She said and he shifted back.
“You shouldn’t be, you’re far more beautiful than my scales.” She smiled and shifted shape. He was amazed at how gorgeous she was and didn’t understand why she would think his scales were better. He had never seen a dragon as beautiful as she. “I love this color, it’s so wonderful. You are most definitely a beautiful pink rose.” She pushed her head into his hand and he smiled as he traced her scales. “I like how they go from a dark pink to a light pink, it’s like pink fire.”
She shifted back and kissed his cheek, making his face grow red again. “Why are you so shy and nervous? Do I smell or something?”
“No, of course not, you smell wonderful.”
She started laughing and he felt embarrassed by his sudden outburst. “Well that’s good, I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me.”
“You’re perfect, it’s just…”
She cupped his cheek. “Just what?”
He sighed. “Nothing, we should go watch the wrestling matches.”
“Well when you feel like talking about what’s bothering you, I’m ready to listen.” She took his hand and goosebumps crawled up his arm. “Come on, let’s see if Alin plans on competing.”
They ran up to Alin who was just heading out the door “you going to wrestle?” she asked excitedly and Alin smiled “yep”
“wooohooo!” Eiar exclaimed with glee and Oscar found adorable. She had so much positive energy radiating from her. It was contagious and made him feel good despite his fears of upsetting Jareth. They walked with Alin to where everyone was going to be wrestling then found a comfortable place to sit. “I hope my Uncle is going to join. He might come up a bit later”
“that would be interesting”
“yeah” She had her arm wrapped around his and it made him warm. Feeing this warm and exhilarated was so new but a very welcome feeling. It was going to be near impossible to resist this woman, so much so he didn’t know if it was a battle worth fighting since he was already sure that in the end his feelings would be too strong not to say somthing.
They watched the dragons face off against each other, wrestling each other down. When Alin stepped into the ring they cheered extra hard, especially when he’d slam down his adversary with such amazing ease. “I wish I could fight like that?” Oscar said, his tone full of admiration.
“You could if you wanted to.” Eiar replied and he gave her a small smile.
“I’ll never be that strong. I’ve always been on the weaker side. He and Lisa always tell me that strength is not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside. Everyone says that I’m special and should be proud, but there are times I wish I was bigger ad tougher.”
“Jareth told me you fought off another dragon to protect Lisa.”
“I got my ass kicked.”
She squeezed his hand and he looked into her eyes, his heart giving a leap of excitement. “You fought someone twice your size to save a woman who barely knew because it was the right thing to do, that makes you strong in my eyes.”
“Thank you.” After Alin had beat ten of the other males, Jareth came out and both he and Alin grinned at each other. Oscar cheered for his adopted father and Eiar cheered for her uncle, both of them even louder than the crowd around them.
Jareth won, pulling Alin off the ground with a smile “Impressive”
“I’ll beat you next year” Jareth chuckled “we’ll see” They walked out of the circle and Oscar and Eiar ran to them, all exchanging hugs. “will we see you and Eiar competing in anything?” Jareth asked and Oscar blushed “if only I was capable” Jareth touched his shoulder “you have the determination. If you don’t feel ready now Alin will help you get stronger for next year” Oscar nodded with an unsure smile.
Eiar smiled and hooked her arm in Oscars “we’re going to go somewhere fun! Bye guys!”
“Okay…uh…bye guys.” He said as he was dragged away. The last thing he saw before Eiar pulled him around was Jareth and Alin laughing. He hoped Jareth would stay in a good mood once he realized how much he like Eiar. “Hey slow down, you’re going to dislocate my shoulder.”
“You’re pretty tough so I doubt it.” She replied with a big smile.
“Where are you taking me?”
“To the cliff?”
“It’s wear young dragons go to test how strong they are mentally. It’s so high up that you can’t see the top through the fog. Dragons dive off and see how far they can fall before they get scared and pull up.”
“That sounds dangerous, have any died?”
“No, though there have been broken bones. I bet you’ll do well.”
“Have you done it?”
She grinned. “Oh yes, plenty of times. My parents used to be terrified of me hurting myself, but Uncle Jareth told them not to worry so much. I guess he used to jump off all the time. He says it’s a good way to test your speed and shifting on the go.”
When they reached the cliff Eiar said “Lets jump together” He was scared but he didn’t want to tell her that so he said “okay, lets do this” she smiled and kissed his cheek “that’s for luck since it’s your first time!” He blushed, the rose colored pronounced as always on his pale skin. She smiled, loving how it made him look. They ran and jumped off together, Eiar screaming with excitement and Oscar feeling his whole body tense. As they fell her enjoyment made him losen and enjoy the rush this caused himself. She had done this many times so she’d be safe and if he didnt shift in time he would heal.
He could see the ground as they broke through the fog and as they drew closer and closer to the rocks below, his instincts took over and he shifted at the same moment as Eiar did. The tips of their wings brushed the ground as they pushed back up into the sky and he shook with the rush of adrenaline. They soared high, pushing through the clouds then diving back down. He followed Eiar and was grateful when she landed next to a lake away from the festival. He shifted to his human form and flopped onto the ground.
“Holy shit.” Was all he could say as he tried to slow his thundering heart.
“You did well.” She sat down next to him and nudged him with her elbow. “You alright?”
“Can dragon’s have heart attacks?”
“I don’t think so.”
He laid back in the grass. “That was something else, exciting and terrifying.”
“Did you have fun?”
“I think so, I’ll be able to give you a definite answer once I’m not shaking.” He held up his hand so she could see the slight quiver. “It’s just the adrenaline, I’ll calm down soon.”
“I bet Lisa and Alin would be proud.”
“They’d be happy I did something new.”
‘There’s a lot you should try. I can be your guide to fun if you’d let me. I know we just met but I like you. My Uncle and your adoptive parents know eachother so at least you know I’m not some crazy who will kill you, not on purpose anyway” she said playfully and Oscar smiled “sounds fun, scary but fun”
“You’ll lose all your fear being around me” Oscar smiled, finally feeling calm. “so you’ll want to hangout with me after this?”
“yep, we can go on adventures and exchange books”
“what if we dont live near eachother?”
“we’re both adults. We could seriously just go on an opend ended trip together. That sounds even more exciting now that I’ve said it”
“but you’ve just met me” Eiar gave a humorous smile “I like you and honestly people get murdered and betrayed more often by people they know than strangers.”
“I guess that’s true”
“I guess that means once we know each other really well, we’ll have to stop being friends.”
“Wouldn’t want you killing me.”
They both smiled at each other then she laid down next to him. “Why are you so apprehensive?”
“I was unwanted and unloved for a long time. I was never encouraged to do anything and served my sister like a slave. She hated me most, put me down the most so I never saw my value. Then I met Lisa and everything changed. She and Alin have been working to help me come out of my shell, to be more adventurous, but I find myself getting lost in books more that exploring. I may pursue a career in science someday.”
“You’d be a pretty cute scientist. Get you a lab coat and a microscope.”
“Then I’ll be a real nerd.”
She shrugged. “There’s nothing wrong with being a nerd.”
“Lisa and Alin say that even if I never grow physically stronger, that I’ll be able to outwit anyone who comes my way.”
“You’re incredibly courageous and sweet, I like that.” Some of these male dragons can be so obnoxious and stupid, always strutting around trying to get the attention of the females. You’re not like that, you’re sweet and shy.”
“you actually like that?”
“Yeah, not all females like the same things. Heck some girls go ga ga over the men strutting. You’re amazing Oscar and I can say that because Alin and Lisa think you are and they are amazing people. Judging by today their judgment has been accurate again” Oscar blushed and she kissed his cheek. His heart did somthing wild and he asked “wh why did you do that?”
“because I wanted to”
“don’t you think Jareth would”
“what? I can kiss whom I please. He’s never been a caveman about it”
“I just don’t want him to hate me”
“are you saying you like me?” he blushed more “what?”
“It’s seems like you do and you just mentioned being afraid of my Uncle being angry so makes me think you like me” She was so forward, debilitation so with how shy he was. “I..yeah”
“You don’t have to worry about my Uncle. He’ll want me happy and he also trusts Alin and Lisa’s judgement. Regardless he doesn’t meddle in my love life because he trusts me. He knows I wouldn’t mate with someone who would treat me badly.”
“Mate?” He sat up, sure his skin would catch fire with how bad he was blushing.
“What, am I too ugly or something?” She teased as she sat up.
“No, you’re beautiful and even if other people thought you were ugly, I would still think you pretty, it’s not about your looks. You could have a third eye and warts on your nose and I’d still find you very attractive. It’s just, when I lived with my sister, I never had any interaction with women. It was me, my sister, and her males. I didn’t have friends or girlfriends.”
“Oh, I see.”
His felt embarrassed and couldn’t look at her face. “I…I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.”
“Why would it?”
“Well, don’t most women find experience attractive, at least males like that know what they’re doing.”
She hugged him and kissed his cheek. “There’s nothing wrong with being a virgin Oscar, it doesn’t make you less of a person and having sex doesn’t make you more of a man.” She put her hand over his heart. “What matters is what’s in here.”
He gently took her hand in one of his, still blushing and struggling to look at her. “I like you a lot Eiar”
“and I like you”
“you sure your Uncle wont hate me for wanting to be with you..”
“I’m sure but we’ll talk to him anyway. I’m sure he’ll be happy” Eiar took Oscars chin and made him look at her “I adore your eyes and your pale skin. I also adore the dragon in you but mostly I adore just how sweet you are.”
His whole body seemed to flush Crimson and she giggled as he looked away in embarrassment. “St..stop.”
“None of that.”
She grabbed his chin again and pulled his face around, her lips pressing against his before he had time to think. He was so surprised that it took him a moment to process what was happening and when his brain finally caught up, he pulled back. “What was that for?”
“I wanted to kiss you so I did. I plan on kissing you a lot.”
“Oh? Just oh?” She teased.
“Ah, not a bad oh, I liked kissing you, though I guess I really didn’t do much kissing. It was mostly you.” He gave a nervous chuckle. “Sorry, you’re just so beautiful and forward.”
“You’ll get used to it.”
“I hope so because you make me a blushing mess.”
Later that evening Eiar took Oscars hand in hers when she approached her Uncle “Uncle Jareth, he’s terrified you’ll hate him but I like Oscar and he likes me. I’m going to date him” Jareth smiled “why would I hate that Oscar. I couldn’t find a nicer man to be her mate” Oscar shrugged nervously. “I’m happy so don’t worry. She’s a grown woman anyway. She’d date you if I liked it or not I’m sure”
“well you’re approval helps but yeah you know I would” Eiar winked and Jareth chuckled “you can never stop the best women Oscar and I’m sure you know you have one” Oscar smiled and blushed “yeah” Next they told Lisa and Alin who were happy for Oscar. They felt she was just what he needed to break out of his shell and become the confident dragon he should be.
“See, I told you everything would be okay.” Eiar said as they left Jareth’s home to get something to eat at one of the booths.
“Yeah, he’s just so intimidating. He could crush me in an instant.”
She laughed. “He would never. He’s the biggest bear in the world.”
“Yeah, a big old grizzly bear.” She kissed his cheek and giggled as he flushed again.
“I’ll never get tired of that, it makes you look so cute.” They got sandwiches at a booth ran by a dragon named Diem who made sure to stuff his sandwiches with as much meat and cheese as he could. It was strange to Oscar when he didn’t ask for payment and even more strange when he refused any money they tried to give him. Eiar rolled her eyes and Diem just chuckled as they walked away.
“What was that about?” Oscar asked.
“They never charge any of my uncle’s family. Even he’s had to sneakily leave them money. Jareth saved Diem once and now he refuses to let any of us pay.”
“He feels like he’s repaying a debt.”
“I know that feeling. I owe Lisa and Alin so much and I’m always trying to find ways to pay them back. They always tell me not to worry about it, but it’s hard not too when they saved me. I say just let him do as he pleases. It takes awhile for someone to feel like they’ve repaid such a great kindness.”
“You’re so damn sweet. So where would you like to go first on our little adventure after the festival is over?”
“Well I’ll need clothes.”
“Oh, awesome. I have clothes at my Uncles so I can just grab some”
“so, um, where are we going to go?”
“still deciding. I want to scare you but I want you to have fun” Oscar swallowed and she laughed “You are going to experience so many fun things, most of which I know you’ll be hesitant to try but you’ll thank me once you do”
“I know I will” They enjoyed the rest of the gathering as they discussed plans of adventure. Oscar was nervous but excited, the excitement far out weighing his nervousness. He had a mate, a wonderful family and many new experiences to look forward to. When Lisa and Alin adopted him he thought that was the happiest he could be but right now, he knew he had been very wrong.
~ The End