A/N: Written as a birthday present for the marvelous London <3
Hob was sober.
Absolutely, completely sober.
He was also happy, damn it. Fucking cheerful.
He was not drunk and utterly miserable because he had failed to match with a dragon and so was the only one with absolutely no reason to celebrate whatsoever. Again. For the third time. And there would not be a fourth, because if he hadn’t been wanted at eighteen, twenty-one, and twenty-four, no dragon would want him when he was twenty-seven.
No, instead he was drunk as hell and stumbling around in the dark in search of dragonberries because the Seneschal had felt sorry for him and sent him out for them, and even though he’d really just given Hob an excuse to slip away to bed Hob was getting the fucking berries. Anything was better than being a castle full of happy dragon riders and dragons and being the only rider sitting alone.
He sniffled, and told himself it was the cold making his nose run and his eyes water. Stumbling along the path into the woods, he tried to think where the dragonberry bushes were located and then admitted he just didn’t care.
So he walked, and walked some more, fervently hoping he managed to get lost or fall down a hill and break his neck.
Instead, he found the dragonberry bushes—by falling right into them and scratching himself badly all over on the nasty brambles. Swearing, he tried to get out, but every time he moved he just seemed to make it all worse.
He yelped as something grabbed him, froze as a voice growled, “Hold still, you sod,” and stared at the figure barely visible in the dark as he was finally pulled from the bushes and spun around. “You’re a dragon.”
“You’re drunk,” the dragon replied, still a growl in his voice. “What in the hell is a bloody rider doing alone in the woods in the dead of night, drunk as a sailor and clearly three times as stupid?”
Hob flinched, all his misery returning. “Yeah, dragons seem to have a low opinion of me tonight. Every night. Sorry to disturb you.” He pulled away and turned around, then walked back the way he’d come—or, he thought it was the way he’d come, but didn’t particularly care.
He wondered idly why a dragon was alone in the woods, but figured it really wasn’t his place to ask anymore. He was a dragon rider who had failed to match in the last three broods, which meant he was no longer really a dragon rider.
It made his chest ache, left a ball of sick misery heavy in his stomach, made him want to cry like a little kid and drink until he passed out. But he’d finished his stolen bottle of wine halfway to the woods, and he was well and truly lost.
He yelped as he was grabbed again, and bellowed in outrage as he was spun around and thrown over the dragon’s shoulder, then hauled off like some maiden kidnapped in one of the comedies put on every summer by the travelling performers. “Put me down!”
“Shut up,” the dragon said, and Hob wondered irritably if he could say anything without growling it. “Hold still or you’ll just hurt yourself, you bloody idiot.”
“Fuck you,” Hob said petulantly.
He must have been more drunk than he realized, because he swore he heard the dragon mutter, “Not while you’re drunk.”
Someway, somehow, he lapsed into a doze while they walked—well, while the dragon walked and Hob was carried. He snapped awake when they finally stopped moving, and the chill of the evening was replaced by the familiar damp warmth of dragon caves.
He swayed as the dragon set him down, light headed from alcohol and being carried over the dragon’s shoulder for so long. Hands cupped his shoulders, steadied him, and only as he looked up did Hob register there was real light and he could see the dragon.
The dragon who was dark-haired, yellow-eyed, and had a vivid spray of freckles across his squashed looking nose. He was bare-chested, and Hob tried not to stare at it, but it was the kind of chest meant for staring. The scales that wrapped covered him from head to foot in the back trailed off just past his collar bone, leaving his skin smooth and bare until the scales resumed at his hips, just visible above the low waistband of his loose pants. “Um.”
“Oh, so articulate,” the dragon said.
Hob scowled. “Oh, fuck you.”
“Other way around,” the dragon replied, pointed teeth sharp as he bared them in a mocking smile. “Though, not if you persist in being a drunk, stupid idiot.”
The words made Hob laugh—loudly and bitterly. “It’s been made abundantly clear that no dragon wants me, you really don’t need to rub salt in the wound or make fun of me for it. Now I would really appreciate it if you would return me to the dragonberry patch from whence we came.”
In reply, the dragon only scooped him up again and carried him through the caves. Hob yelped a third time and held fast to the dragon’s neck. “You know, I’m not a damsel. I would really appreciate it if you would stop treating me like one.”
“I’m not,” the dragon replied, breaths warm against Hob’s cheek as he laughed. “I’m treating you like a drunk idiot.”
“I think I hate you,” Hob replied—then bellowed in outrage as he was dropped unceremoniously into a hot spring. The bellow rapidly turned into a fit of choking and sputtering and coughing, but he managed to continue glaring balefully throughout.
The dragon stripped off his own pants and slid into the water with him. “Stop being a baby.”
“Go set yourself on fire,” Hob retorted. He began to struggle with his own sodden clothes, pitching them out of the hot spring to land on the stone floor. “What is going on? What’s your name?”
“My name is Milosh, and I believe it’s called a bath. You need one, and it should help clear your head, the minerals and such are good for that. They used to call them healing waters, once.”
Hob didn’t reply, merely busied himself with not looking at Milosh, who was even more worth staring at when he was naked and soaking wet. “I still don’t understand what’s going on. Why you didn’t leave me at the berry patch.”
“If you’d fucking sober up you might figure it out, you clod,” Milosh said.
Making a face at him, Hob said, “I really don’t like you.”
The smirk Milosh gave him just made Hob want to hit him. “Liar.”
“I’m too sober—no, the other one—to know shit,” Hob said, and saw a little shelf that held soap and other such things. He grabbed a bar of soap, smelling mint, and began to wash himself, because the sooner he was clean the sooner he could get out.
After the third time he dropped it, the soap was taken from him and Hob was pushed up against a wall. “Idiot,” Milosh said again, but the wine must be wearing off or maybe the heat plus wine was getting to him, because Hob swore there was more fondness or something than annoyance in the growled word. “What’s your name, anyway?”
“Short for Robert, but that doesn’t suit you, Hob definitely does,” Milosh said.
“I’m glad my name meets with your approval,” Hob muttered, then hissed as Milosh began to wash him, scrubbing roughly through his hair in a way that felt really good, then sliding soapy hands along his body, vanishing into the water, and Hob discovered that as drunk as he was, he could still get hard. “You should stop.”
Milosh snorted and rinsed him off—then pushed him up against the rough stone wall again and kissed him. Hob tried to yelp again, but it was lost in Milosh’s mouth. He tried to pull away, but Milosh held him firmly in place, hands holding his head, and after a moment Hob whimpered and surrendered.
It was hardly a chore, surrendering—Milosh kissed far better than all the awkward, hasty fumblings Hob had exchanged with a few of the other riders. He moaned as Milosh took his mouth as though attempting to devour him, though sharp teeth nipping, teasing. He was panting when Milosh finally drew back, and could only stare wide-eyed. “What—”
“Ah, little rider, you really are quite hopeless,” Milosh said, then dragged him from the hot spring and back the way they’d come, then off down another narrow passage into another well-lit, warm cave. This one was mostly all bedding—a large, sumptuous pile of blankets and pillows that looked like heaven after the stiff cot on which Hob slept in the barracks.
His head spun, but not with the buzz of alcohol, merely the lust that had overtaken his brain between the very thorough bathing and Milosh’s kiss. He didn’t know what was going on, but he didn’t much care. Milosh was a dragon, hardly a threat to a rider, and Hob was more than willing to improve his wretched day by ending it with a good fuck.
Milosh pushed him down into the center of the bed, and Hob moaned at the softness of it, the down mattress and all the warm, thick blankets. He whimpered as Milosh covered him, pinned his wrists and took his mouth again, teeth scraping his bottom lip and drawing blood. “It took you long enough,” Milosh murmured.
Hob tried to figure out what that was supposed to mean, but he really could not think past the soft, smooth feel of Milosh’s warm skin against his hands, the slick feel of his scales as he scraped his nails down Milosh’s back. He definitely could not think past the teeth that bit down on first one nipple, and then the other, or the tongue and lips that teased their way down his chest to lap at the head of his cock. “Bastard,” he swore when Milosh did not follow through, but drew back.
“Are you sober enough to know what’s going on, you idiot rider?”
“What?” Hob blinked at him, and realized that he could, suddenly, feel it—even over the haze of really wanting Milosh to just fuck him already. He had though it was just his own heart thudding in his ears, but he realized it was that he could feel Milosh’s as well as his own, that their hearts and their breathing moved in time. “How—”
Milosh growled. “It’s about time.” He kissed Hob again, hard and deep and hungry, before returning his attention to Hob’s cock.
But he withdrew again right before Hob came, laughing as Hob swore and called him every foul name he could think of. “Soon, pet,” Milosh crooned, smirking when Hob just scowled at him. He pulled away briefly, but returned with a small glass jar.
Hob moaned and spread his legs, hands fisting in the blankets as Milosh prepared him, panting and writhing, moving into the fingers fucking him, desperate for more. “Mi—Milosh—”
“That’s right, say my name exactly like that, like you need me, like I’m all that satisfies you,” Milosh growled, twisting his fingers just so, making Hob buck and scream. “Because that’s how it should be between dragon and rider.” He withdrew his fingers and lined up his cock, then thrust inside, making Hob cry his name again.
When Hob was adjusted to him, Milosh grabbed his hips and began to fuck Hob with sure, hard, steady strokes. Hob moaned, whimpered, begged, and pleaded, but the steady pace never changed, just pushed and pushed, drove Hob mad until he finally came and still Milosh just kept fucking him.
He groaned in protest as Milosh abruptly pulled out of him, but went easily as he was turned to rest on his hands and knees, burying his face in a pillow as Milosh shoved back inside and resumed fucking him at that hard, steady pace.
Hob begged for more as he grew hard again, calling Milosh’ name again and again, fingers tight in the blankets again, and he screamed as he came a second time, felt it as Milosh’s hands tightened on his hips as he too finally came.
They collapsed in a sweaty tangle, and Hob grunted sleepily as Milosh kissed him, unable to do more than smile before he dozed off.
He woke up to the smell of food and his stomach growling. Sitting up, he stared in confusion at his surroundings and tried to remember what had happened. Hadn’t he been upset? He’d gone..oh, the dragonberries. Dragon. Dragon den.
Where was Milosh?
He stood up and wandered out of the bedroom—bed cave?—and paused only when he found a wash room to take a piss. Eventually he found the main room, and saw Milosh fussing over a cook fire. Milosh turned as he heard noise, and Hob smiled shyly. “Uh. Good morning?”
Milosh grunted, looking amused, and abandoned the fire to walk over to him. “More like afternoon. How are you, rider?”
“Sober. Sore,” Hob replied, wondering if he was allowed to steal a kiss, or ask for one. “Uh. Are we really—uh—” Matched, he wanted to asked. Bonded. But he was deathly afraid the answer was no, even if he could feel Milosh in every beat of his own heart.
Growling, Milosh grabbed him and hauled him close, kissed him hard. “You’re an idiot, but you’re my idiot, and do not doubt it again.”
“Al-alright,” Hob said. “I thought riders and dragons always bonded young.”
Milosh gave a derisive snort that would have done Hob’s drill master proud. “That is only the new tradition of impatient humans. Once upon a time, it was done when everyone was much older. How do you truly match with someone, when you are too young to know who you are? You are older, wiser, more you, especially when not drunk.”
Hob laughed. “Well, I’m not sorry I was drunk, because if I’d been sober I wouldn’t have wandered into the forest and found my grouchy dragon. That food smells wonderful, but you smell better.”
Growling low in approval, Milosh just kissed him again until Hob was dizzy with the need to breathe. He scooped Hob up and carried him back to the bedroom.
“I am not a fucking damsel,” Hob said. “Nor am I drunk, so stop fucking carrying me everywhere.”
“But I like the way you feel,” Milosh rumbled.
Hob sighed, but gave up arguing.