-If You're Not Careful-

When I found that antique-looking black dragon box buried underneath my grandma's old junk, I was sure I had struck gold. Just the right size to hold, the thing's weight alone told me how much it must be worth. Having decided my new find was destined for Ebay, I was left with only one last realization. If the outside of the box was this fancy, the thing inside must have at least the same level of fanciness, right? Because, after all, that was the nature of boxes. So I licked my lips, sucked in an inticapitory breath, and pushed the lid up, leaving it swinging open by it's hinges.

The initial swoosh of air that came out of the box's empty cavity gushed directly into my face, leaving me befuddled and with burning eyes. I immediately set the box down, needing my hands to rub the tears out of my watering pupils.

"Oh joy. A human. How… delightful."

Startled, my head shot up towards the direction where the sarcastic drawl had come from. A man stood behind the box, his long, slightly curling black hair hanging loosely over pale arcane clothes. He was achingly similar to the box I had just opened; young yet old at the same time, stunningly intricate, and glaringly aristocratic. I just sat there, made stupid by the sheer otherworldliness of the being standing before me.

But wait. A man? In my grandmother's house?

The said 'man' impatiently pushed his bangs out of the way of his gleaming amber gaze. To my horror, tapering claws capped the fingers that did so. I swallowed, and began to stealthily crab-crawl backwards. My instincts were screaming at me to get away from this foreign entity, and I had never been one to deny my instincts. But my get-away came to a premature demise when the superior tilt of his jaw suddenly vanished. His cat-slit eyes widened with some unknown realization, and he made towards me.

"A human… could you possibly be my human?"

He was suddenly crouching beside me, his larger body easily overshadowing my own with its close presence. But before I had time to scream in fear, his nearly white hands engulfed my jaw, tilting my head this way and that with a controlled strength. I simply couldn't move as he continued to inspect me. What was one supposed to do in this kind of situation? This kind of thing simply didn't happen. There was nothing in my life that could've prepared me for something of this magnitude. So I sat there, frozen mid-crawl, heart going a million beats per second, not daring to move underneath his probing stare. Heck, at that point, the thought of even breathing terrified me.

But then he slowly drew closer. So slowly, in fact, that I didn't even realize it until he had to shift his weight, letting go of my face in favor of reaching across my torso to support himself. His hair, longer than my own, spilled over his broad shoulders and pooled onto my own, if that's any indication as to how close he really was. His gold eyes bored into my hazel ones. Really, when would anyone ever look at me like that ever again? But all the same, I glared defiantly back, just daring him to do something. Anything. This frozen-in-time business was wearing on me, and I wasn't sure how much I could take before I did something stupid.

Suddenly, the hardness in his gaze melted into something quite different. Adoration. There was no other word to possibly describe that sappy, puppy dog way he had of looking at me. Gleefully, he suddenly dropped on top of me, wrapping his arms around my shoulders, and knocking what little air I had left out of my lungs. Unexpecting this sudden weight, the arms I had originally propped behind me gave out, and my back landed with a loud thump onto my grandmother's carpeted livingroom floor.

His face burrowed into my neck, and I could hear him inhaling deeply. My cheeks heated. What was he doing!? Okay, so I could (sort of, not really) understand the whole 'oh so you're a human, let me inspect you' thing, but this was definitely crossing a few lines here! My face twisting into an expression of barely controlled rage, I made to yank one of my arms out from underneath his, but before I could carry out my little plan, a growl rumbled deep from within the chest that was currently pressed against mine. I automatically froze, coming to a total standstill in response to the same kneejerk reflex that stunned me whenever a friend's dog acted all hostile. Yeah. That feeling.

The arms that held me wound even tighter, and when I no longer attempted to resist, he began nuzzling at my jawline, his cool breath spilling seductively across my exposed jugular. After settling once more and taking another deep breath, he reluctantly pulled away, hands lingering and never really leaving my shoulders. He was uncharacteristically crouched on the balls of his feet, staring at me with this nearly pitiful expectant look. Flustered, my face reddened (again), and I quickly sat up.

"Wh-what the heck was that for!?"

He grinned, the expression failing to reach his closed eyes.

"Surely you wouldn't deny your dragon such a miniscule indulgence?" he asked, his question less of a question and more of a way to deflect my increasing anger.

"Dragon?" I crossed my arms, giving this crazy person the most potent glare I could summon at the moment. "What do you mean, 'dragon'? I don't see any-" His raised eyebrow cut me off. My eyes widened, and the words died on my lips. Oh. Dragon. That explained... the claws... and those fangs I might have seen when he was 'grinning'... The said grin returned full force, once again failing to seem authentic.

"I'm glad we've reached an understanding."

My brow creased with indignation. "What understanding!? I don't understand anything right now!" I snatched one of his (unsurprisingly) tapered ears, and tugged him down to my level. "Listen here, buddy! I want to know what exactly what's going on! And knock that fake smile off your face, it's disgusting!"

He stared at me with an undisguised awe before I allowed him to pull away.

"You're amazing, you know that?" he murmured softly, almost to himself. My eyes widened, and it took me a few seconds to recover before I habitually blanched, covering up any untrustworthy feelings I might have been having at the moment. "And cut with all this sappy stuff too! I have a, uhm, hard time figuring out how to react to stuff like that!"

He snorted, and I jerked my head up in response. "Hey! Don't make fun of me!" But he only smiled in response, a real smile this time. He stood up, only to bow deeply.

"If I had a name, I would gladly give it to you, as it would be yours. But for now, I can only share what little information I have to my identity. I am, as you already know, a dragon. Your dragon, actually." He added as a side note before continuing. "I'm here to be your partner."

I swallowed. "Uhm, partner in what, exactly?" His golden eyes flickered. "My purpose is yours. Well, unless you count that silly little prophesy." This time it was me doing the eyebrow raising. "Prophesy?"

He smiled then, a strange, bitter smile.

"Just the one that claims I'll destroy the world, no big deal."

Yup, just a one-shot with a modern day twist. For now. Eventually I may make this into an actual story, but for now I just wanted to get this out in the open. Hey, if you liked it, please review!

And no, I don't own DragonFable.