Meddle Not In the Affairs of Dragons…
…For your bones are crunchy and you taste good with ketchup
Total AU Crack.
A/N: Thanks to all those who encouraged me to finish this Total Crack Story. I revised the beginning part – not too much but the later parts demanded the first part be altered. When all was said and done, it turned out longer than I expected but a lot of my stories do that to me when I'm not watching. Hmm… Ah well. Now that I've (finally) finished it, let me know what you think? And again – keep in mind it's total crack!! Please don't take it seriously. Seriously. 'Cause I don't. Thanks!
Once upon a time in a kingdom far far away there lived a king who was smart and benevolent and beloved by all those over whom he held dominion. But one thing stopped King Christopher's realm from being perfect. There resided in the next kingdom a fiercesome dragon who struck fear in the hearts of the residents of Christopher's peaceful kingdom. And the King was not pleased. He sent his best and strongest knights to face the dragon but none of them ever returned. The King was even less pleased by the loss of his knights.
It came that one day King Christopher was out among his people and stopped at a tavern to ease his mighty thirst. As he entered, he found the tavern consumed in complete mayhem. There were four of his citizens giving one young man a prodigious beat-down. With a wave of his hand and the presence of two of his guards, the citizens backed away from their victim who lay sprawled out on one of the sturdy tavern tables.
"Thanks," the young man said from where he lay looking upside down at the King.
The King nodded and held a hand out to help the young man stand, careful not to allow any of the blood streaming from his broken nose to spill onto his dark grey robes. The King sat at the table next to the one that had held the young man, inviting him to sit at the table as well. The young man sat tentatively, staring warily at the King as the King ordered a round of ale.
"You are James of Kirk," the King said, studying the young man with the dark blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes.
"Yes, your majesty," James of Kirk agreed with an insouciant shrug. "You knew my father."
"I did," the King agreed, accepting the tankards of ale and giving the second one to James. "I see much of him in you."
"Except he's dead and I'm not, sire," James said, taking a pull from his tankard and wiping his mouth on the sleeve of his tunic which had seen better days.
"It will not be long," the King predicted. "Come with me. Join my ranks. Channel your anger and your talent."
James of Kirk shook his head, sure that the King must be yanking his chain. Did Kings engage in mockery of their citizens? Because that was the only reason he could imagine for the King's words. "I'm hardly knight material, sire."
"You would be surprised," the King replied. "You can continue as you are and be dead within the year. Or you can become a Knight."
"And still be dead within a year," James of Kirk said, lacking a degree of respect the King was due, making his guards take one stop closer. The younger man simply looked up at them, no change in his expression. If they had thought they would intimidate him into changing his manner, they were in for a rude awakening.
"If that is the case, your death will have meaning. You are not destined for a meaningless death."
"How do you know that, sire?" James asked, drinking more of his ale, glad the King had ordered it so they had gotten the good stuff instead of the diluted piss-water the barkeep normally gave him.
"It is my duty to know. Join and all of your expenses will be my responsibility. You will have plenty of good food, a safe place to sleep, new clothes which are not infested with lice."
"And in exchange, you own me body and soul, your highness," James of Kirk said, looking at the King over the top of his tankard.
"It is a fair trade, son," the King said with a smile that was reflected in his eyes and magically took ten years off his age.
James made no response to that, finishing his ale and putting his tankard back on the table with a solid thump. "I appreciate your offer, sire. But I don't think so."
The King nodded, taking a gold marker out of the pocket hidden in his warm robes. "When you change your mind, present this to the palace guard and they will inform me of your arrival."
James of Kirk reluctantly accepted the marker, wondering how many tankards of ale it would buy. Because he had no intention of becoming dragon-fodder for this or any other king.
"Think about it, James of Kirk. Your father was one of my greatest knights. I see in you what made him so powerful."
"Right up until he was killed in your service, sire," James said, looking up at the King as he stood.
The King shrugged, ordering another tankard of ale for the young man before leaving the tavern without a backward glance.
Several days elapsed and the King began to believe he had been incorrect in his assessment. He was certain that James of Kirk would accept his challenge, to live up to his potential but the young man did not arrive. It was a fortnight later that one of his guards came to him in his large office to inform him that a stranger was requesting permission to speak with the King.
"Does he have with him one of my markers?" the King asked the guard.
"No sire. He said that you gave him one but he lost it," the guard said, clearly doubtful of the story.
"Did he give you his name?"
"He claims he is James of Kirk, sire. But he could not possibly be the son of George of Kirk," the guard said in some anger.
"He is," the King corrected. "Bring him to me."
"Yes sire," the guard agreed with a frown, leaving to go and bring the arrogant young man before the King.
"You changed your mind," King Christopher said unnecessarily to James of Kirk when he stood before him. James shrugged. "You lost the marker I gave to you?"
"Not lost it exactly, sire," James responded with a smile.
"As I assumed," the King said. "You will do all that is required of you to become a knight of the realm. You will learn all that must be mastered and not fight with all of those on our side."
"Yes sire," James agreed with a nod.
The King nodded, taking a scroll out of his top drawer and laying it flat on the surface of his desk. "Do you need me to read it to you?"
"No sire," James of Kirk said, leaning closer to see all the words. It was exactly what he expected, in many ways his promise to sell himself to the King in exchange for all his worldly needs. "I agree to your terms, your highness."
The King handed his quill to James who signed his name where indicated, the King signing just below. "Welcome, James of Kirk. You will be one of my greatest knights."
"I hope your trust is not misplaced, sire," James said in complete sincerity.
"It is not. You will prove it to us both," the King assured him.
And so James of Kirk studied and worked hard and mastered all of the skills needed to be a knight. He applied himself to lessons, learning to fight with finesse and demonstrating the fearlessness the King had anticipated. Eighteen months after arriving at the palace, James of Kirk had proved to his fellow apprentices, to himself, and to King Christopher that the King had in fact been correct that day when he found James of Kirk in the tavern brawl.
During his time with the masters, James made the first real friends he had ever had in his turbulent life. He had met Leonard of Coy the first day of training. Leonard was not at all sure that becoming a Knight was in his best interest but with James' help and occasional intervention, he too mastered the skills necessary. In addition, Leonard was trained as a healer. Some of the knights feared him as a shaman but would never say so in front of James of Kirk because they knew James would beat them within the inch of their lives and Leonard of Coy would not assist them when James was done with what was left of them.
James of Kirk had also befriended Hikaru of Francisco. Hikaru did not look like most of the other apprentices with his onyx hair and unusual almond shaped eyes. It was said by some of the knights that Hikaru was demon-born, but those who held that belief would never repeat it when James of Kirk might overhear. As with Leonard of Coy, anyone who spoke ill of Hikaru would have James to answer to. And as Hikaru was the most talented of the apprentices with the sword, they were careful to keep their opinions of his origins to themselves.
James, Leonard, and Hikaru had befriended Montgomery the Scott, taking the time and trouble to learn to understand him. He admittedly spoke differently from all the other apprentices but once they had become accustom to his speech, they learned that he was a fiercely loyal friend, a genius with horses, and able to procure them ale at the most unlikely times and places.
The four apprentices were generally seen together, the other Knights-in-training vacillating between envy and anger at them. James of Kirk told his friends not to concern themselves with those who wished them only ill, that he and his friends were the ones who were going to change the world for the better, just as King Christopher had predicted.
It was with great acclaim that King Christopher announced that 12 apprentices were to be elevated to full Knighthood on the traditional day of such ceremonies – the Summer Solstice. James of Kirk, Leonard of Coy, Hikaru of Francisco, and Montgomery the Scott where four of those so chosen and they were duly knighted.
Three days after the ceremony (when the King was certain they had finally slept or fought the overindulgence of celebratory ale out of their bodies) King Christopher summoned the four brand new Knights and informed them that they would be going to the kingdom of the dragon. He knew with certainty that the four of them together would finally defeat the beast. He put Sir James of Kirk over the other three knights, none of them objecting, so great was their love for James. In addition, the King assigned to them Uhura, a beautiful, fierce apprentice who was gifted in understanding languages not of their mother tongue. She would also serve as scribe to record the travels and conquests of the four knights. And because all knights were required to have a squire, they were provided one in the person of Pavel the Young. Pavel hoped to one day enter the training and become a knight but he was not yet old enough to begin. Being squire to the four Knights would provide him the skills he would need to become a full apprentice when he reached the appropriate age.
The four Knights were pleased with their squire but were wary of Uhura. Her beauty was matched only by the sharpness of her tongue and she made it clear from the first that she was no one's damsel. And if anyone made the mistake of thinking she was, she would make certain that they were the last of their family line. And they believed her.
When all was in readiness, the four Knights left the walls of the palace along with their scribe and their squire. All rode fine horses, Sir James of Kirk convincing King Christopher that their travels would be swifter and safer with them all mounted. There were also two sturdy pack horses carrying all the supplies they would need for their journey to the realm of the dragon.
The four Knights had a vague idea of how to find the neighboring realm but Pavel, it turned out, was brilliant at finding his way and leading the others unerringly. Pavel the Young told the Knights that he had always known where he was at any particular moment and was able to find the destination toward which he was traveling. This turned out to be a highly prized ability, one Sir James was extremely thankful to have at his service.
Uhura dutifully recorded their journey, refusing to allow Sir James to read what she had written, even admitting at one point that she did not believe he could read. James wished to correct her but chose to let her belief remain unchallenged. Not that he was scared to tell her - it just wasn't all that important to him. Seriously.
After weeks of arduous travel over tall mountains and across immense deserts, they arrived at the edge of the realm of the dragon. They discussed at great length the best way to find and subdue the beast, Sir James finally deciding that he would lead the charge into the dragon lair.
"Is that wise, your grace?" Uhura asked when she paused in writing down the finer points of their discussion.
"Do you have a better idea, apprentice Uhura?" he asked in return which earned him a frown that made his blood run cold.
"If I did, I would not share it with you, sir," she said icily.
Sir James decided to ignore her and hope that she did not kill him in the middle of the night. No, surely she wouldn't. How would she explain his death to the King? Still, as soon as he could, he told Sir Leonard to sleep closer to him so they could both guard against her.
"Stop antagonizing her," Sir Leonard advised, as he so often did.
"Some friend you are," Sir James said, preparing his pallet in the tent large enough for them all, including Pavel the Young who had taken some convincing before he would actually sleep in the tent with the Knights. Uhura had a screen she erected to provide her own private section of the tent, the men daring each other to sneak around to watch her disrobe each night.
"I heard that," she told them as she so often did.
The men pretended to be asleep, hoping they would live to see the morning sun.
The morning sun came with the chaos and terror of a dozen Knights from the dragon's realm. The four Knights barely had time to leave their pallets before they were captured, their hands bound behind their backs, then they summarily tied to their horses. Pavel the Young was similarly treated, their captors handling Uhura more carefully. Not that they were scared of her but they were unaccustomed to having a woman prisoner. And despite the fact that James of Kirk was tightly bound, the enemy Knights believed him when he said that he would kill anyone who harmed his apprentice or his squire.
Three days after their capture, the group arrived at the tall, dark castle of the Dragon King. The prisoners had been well treated and well fed. It was possible that their captors had hurled insults at them but only Uhura understood what they were saying and refused to translate it. From the dark flush on her cheeks, Sir James of Kirk could imagine what was being said.
They were hauled off their horses and drug unceremoniously into the great hall to be presented to the Dragon King. The guards forced them to kneel at his entrance, their heads bowed respectfully.
"Who among you do you name as leader?" the Dragon King demanded.
"I am," Sir James said, looking up at the King and staring in wonder at what he saw. The King before him was…beautiful. He had black hair that streamed down past his shoulders, his eyebrows swept up gracefully toward his scalp, and his ears were topped with delicate points, so much more attractive than the round ears of all those James knew.
"Come," the Dragon King ordered, turning and leaving the room. One guard hauled Sir James to his feet and shoved him toward the door where the King had exited. When James entered the room, he found the King seated behind a large desk in a huge chair, his elbows on the arms, his fingers steepled under his chin. "Leave us."
The guard bowed and left them alone, Sir James still bound hand and foot, standing before the King.
"You are James of Kirk," the King stated, focusing his black eyes on Sir James.
"Yes," James agreed.
"King Christopher sent you to slay the dragon."
"Yes," James repeated.
"There is no dragon. There is only me," the King said.
"Yeah, I figured," James responded.
"You knew?" the King asked, lifting one elegant eyebrow in question.
"I don't believe in dragons. Most Knights don't. We know that 'dragon' generally means anything unfamiliar and unexplained."
"I see," the King said, standing to study Sir James. "You are not afraid."
"Fear serves no purpose. Either you kill me or have me killed. I understand that is my fate," Sir James informed him. "Did you kill my father?"
"I did not," the King said. "He was killed by an enemy of both our realms."
"Another dragon?" Sir James asked.
"You show a disturbing lack of respect for my position," the King said, sounding not the least bit disturbed by it.
James shrugged. "Showing respect will not alter the course of my future."
"You are so certain that your fate is to die at my hand?"
"None of the other knights have returned. It is widely believed that you had them killed," James said.
The King nodded, whether in agreement or simple acknowledgement James could not tell. "I find you…fascinating, as I predicted when I heard you and the others were planning to enter my realm."
"Thanks," James said, watching him approach to stand directly in front of him. The King was close enough that James could feel his body heat radiating out to him, his fragrance smoky and intoxicating. The King seemed especially interested in studying James' mouth so it was no surprise when the King's lips descended on his own. James allowed the kiss, melting into it willingly and eagerly. The flavors he encountered were reminiscent of the fragrance of the Dragon King, his tongue exploring James' mouth, savoring what he found.
"As I expected," the King said with a nod.
"What did you expect?" James asked, looking at him, his bright blue eyes slightly crossed.
The King did not respond, kissing him again and biting his lower lip before slowly and sloppily letting it slip from his teeth. "I will release your people. You will remain with me. You will be my consort."
"Yes," James agreed.
"My people will be safe. I will be well cared for. And when you tire of me, you will have me killed."
"As well cared for as when you were consort of your king," the Dragon King said.
"I was never the consort of King Christopher," Sir James said with a shake of his head.
"It is believed that you are."
"That belief is incorrect, sire. Does that mean I will not be your consort?" James asked, carefully reaching over to initiate the next searing kiss.
"It is of no consequence to me that you were not his consort. You will be mine."
"Yes please," Sir James agreed.
"You are more willing than I expected," the Dragon King commented, kissing him soundly.
"You are…intoxicating to me," James admitted. "What is your name?"
"Spock. You will earn the right to use it."
"Do your guards look like you? You are very beautiful," James said softly.
"Some do. Some look more like you. Only not so attractive."
"Thanks," James said. "You will release my people to return home?"
"After they have eaten and rested. I will send four of my guards with them to the border. Once they are safe, the guards will return here."
"I have your word," James said.
The King nodded, holding his right hand up to James' face. "I will share with you that which is only given to bondmates," he said. Suddenly James was not alone inside his own head, the thoughts and perceptions of the King also there.
"Oh my," James whispered, reveling in the sensations being shared with him. He could see all that the King was and had been, all that he believed and done, including his assurances that James' people would be returned unharmed to their realm. Once James had that promise, he felt the King's presence ebb to leave him terribly and achingly alone. "What was that?"
"What we will share as bondmates," the King explained. "I will be open to you and you to me. No lies will be possible. No truths can be hidden."
"Oh. I liked it," James said, leaning closer as though the King would connect them again.
"When we are intimate, the bond will grow and become permanent," the King assured him.
"You have experience?" the King asked. James could feel his concern inside his head and his heart and he was warmed by it.
"Yes. I have shared my bed with men and women. Women are softer. Men are more of a challenge."
"And you enjoy a challenge," the King said knowingly.
"I do," James agreed with a nod. "Do you?"
"When it results in what we both want."
James nodded again, staring at the King, wanting… what? To be back with him inside his head, connected and one, like he had never before experienced.
"We will go to your people. You will stay with them as they eat and tell them that they will be returning home. They are to inform your king that no more Knights will come to my realm. And you are staying here."
"Yes," James agreed. "I do not wish to be viewed as a traitor."
"You will be honored as a hero. You will have secured the freedom of your people by surrendering your own."
"That's alright then," James said with a nod. "Are my hands to be bound?"
"No. Once your people have left, you will come to my bed and your hands will be freed."
"Thank you," James said. "Can the ropes on my ankles be replaced with chains? Less chaffing."
The King shook his head in silent amusement, looking down at James' bound feet. "Very well. I will bind your feet with gilded chains."
"Thanks. You have no consort now, right?"
"I do not. You need not worry that a jealous lover will try to be rid of you," the King promised.
James nodded again, glad that there was no competition for his new position. "Is your kingdom ruled through primogeniture?"
"No. You need not worry that I will expect you to have my children."
"Good. 'Cause I can't," James said with a very charming smile.
"Nor can I," the King said, not elaborating. "Come. I will eat and you will inform your people."
James nodded, following the King into a large chamber dominated by a huge wooden table, loaded down with food of every imaginable type.
"Sir James," his Knights said, standing when he entered, clearly relieved to see him. Even Uhura looked glad to see him again.
"I am fine," James assured them. "The King has agreed to allow you to return home. I will remain to ensure your safety."
The others tried to talk him out of making such a sacrifice but he would not be convinced. He had made the choice to give them their freedom in exchange for his. He assured them it was not truly a sacrifice as he would know they were home and safe.
The others reluctantly agreed that they would return home, and inform King Christopher to send no more knights to the Dragon's realm. They looked suspiciously at the King but no one spoke to him directly, fearing the consequences that might be visited on Sir James.
Sir James was content to watch them eat, his hands remaining bound behind him while theirs were free to enjoy the feast laid out before them. He did drink from the tankard of ale which Leonard was good enough to provide to him.
//Are you lovers?// the King's voice asked James inside his head.
//How many lovers have you had?//
//No idea. I didn't exactly keep track,// James admitted.
//We will count them together.//
//You sure you want to know?// James asked with a silent laugh.
//You believe you have more experience than I?// the King asked.
//I sowed a lot of wild oats. You were busy learning to be in charge.//
//And you were occupied with trying to get yourself killed,// the King said.
//Seemed my only choice. Until King Christopher intervened. And how do you know that?//
//Even here we have heard the stories of the son of George of Kirk. I owe your King my gratitude for saving you,// the King said.
//As do I,// James agreed.
//Do you wish for Leonard to remain? So that you will have your brother with you still?//
//If he chooses to stay, I will not try to convince him to leave. Nor will I request he stay. He's a healer so he will be useful to you,// James said.
//If his presence makes you happy, he will already be useful to me,// the Dragon King said. "Sir Leonard of Coy. Your continued presence would be pleasing to James of Kirk. You must decide for yourself if you will remain."
Leonard looked startled at the words of the Dragon King and turned to study James. "Do you want me to stay?"
"I want you to do what you think is best for you," James told him in an even voice. He did not want his desires to influence Leonard's decision. Because only Leonard could decide what he wanted to do.
The other Knights didn't want Sir Leonard to stay but knew how important he was to Sir James. They could not be too persuasive in their arguments that he should return with them.
"If you stay, it will be for all time," the Dragon King said. "You must understand and agree to this."
"Why are you so interested in Sir James remaining, sire?" Uhura asked, the only one brave enough to voice the question they were all curious about.
"I need not explain myself to anyone," the Dragon King informed her. But they all thought he looked a little wary, like maybe he was a little scared of her too? Not that they could blame him. Just proved how smart he was.
"No sire. However, you may find keeping Sir James is a lot more work than you bargained for," Uhura told him.
"I accept that bargain," the King told her.
She just shrugged in dismissal as though to say 'whatever – your funeral, pal.' "Some people will miss you," she told Sir James. But he pretended she was included in those and gave her his most disarming smile.
//Her?// the Dragon King asked.
//Lord no. I like my cock still attached to my body,// James responded, seeing the gleam of amusement in the King's dark eyes.
"'Re ye sure, laddy?" Sir Montgomery asked.
//Are you sure, sir,// James translated for the King. "I'm sure, Montgomery. I only want to ensure that you arrive back home safely. Staying will guarantee your safety."
//You are a very accomplished liar,// the Dragon King said to him.
//Mmm…I prefer persuasive. And I didn't lie, exactly.//
"It's a great sacrifice to be askin' of ye," Sir Montgomery said in concern.
"It is sir," Sir Hikaru said, looking not just a little worried.
"I have the King's promise that I will not be harmed," James told them.
Leonard was studying James and the Dragon King in turn, his expression going from doubtful to certain back to doubtful. "Sire, may I speak with Sir James in private for a moment?" Sir Leonard finally requested.
The King nodded, letting Leonard and James go to the corner of the large room where they were fairly certain they would not be overheard.
"Have you lost all sense?" Leonard demanded, staring at James.
"I have eyes. I see how you look at him and him at you. You've known each other for 20 minutes and you want to fuck him so badly you can't stand yourself."
"I think he'll be the one doing the actually fucking," James corrected with a smirk.
"Are you out of your mind? You don't even know him."
"You'd be surprised. He's the one, the one I've waited for my whole life. He suggested you stay so I'll be happier. But it's your choice. I don't want you to stay unless you choose to."
"He's also the one who very likely killed your father," Leonard pointed out.
"He didn't. A common enemy did," James said.
"Of course he told you that. Who is this common enemy? A different dragon that doesn't exist?"
"Stop being such a worrier. He didn't kill my father and he won't hurt me," James said.
"I wish I believed him."
"You don't have to. You only have to believe me. Have I ever lied to you?"
"All the time," Leonard reminded him.
"But never about anything important. Are you staying or not?" James asked, hoping he didn't sound too pathetic.
"What do I have to go home to? Of course I'm staying. Maybe I can keep you alive for several more years. But when he kills you, I want to be able to return home," Leonard said.
"Deal," James said. "So you'll be stuck here the rest of your life."
"The rest of yours. Which could be about another week," Leonard said, following James back to the table. "I will remain, sire. However, if James were to die, I would like permission to return home."
//He thinks I will kill you?// the King asked James.
//Yeah. Thinks you killed my father. He's suspicious by nature.//
"If James were to die, you will be permitted to return," the King agreed.
The other two knights tried to talk Sir Leonard out of staying but knew that his first loyalty lay with Sir James. It had always been so and they were not surprised that he had chosen to remain.
"My knights will escort you to quarters for the night," the Dragon King told them when they had had enough to eat. "In the morning you will return to your realm."
The others stood, waiting for instructions and to see if Sir James would be coming with them.
"Do you wish to stay with them through the night?" the Dragon King asked James kindly.
"Yes, sire. With your permission," Sir James agreed.
"Can you release his hands, please, sire? If they stay tied much longer, he's going to loose the use of his fingers," Leonard said, feeling James' fingers and finding them too cold to the touch.
The Dragon King nodded, withdrawing a knife from his boot and slicing the ropes that bound James' hands. That done, the knights escorted them all to a huge room with several beds, a smaller chamber to the side for Uhura alone. But she did not want to be separated from her friends that night. She wanted their company and their comfort and they all piled together on one of the huge beds, elbows fighting knees for space until they were all able to settle and finally sleep, pressed close.