From a long distance, it would seem that this one child was all alone in the universe. A single point of laughing innocence in a field of green almost as large as the sky. The grass waved like the ocean tide, low hills and shallow swails interrupted by an occasional rocky outcropping. She stood at the edge of a cliff where the field met the sky, and far below the ocean roared and foamed onto a rocky shore. The wind caressed the cliff face, blowing the little girl's dress up from time to time, as she giggled.
She used her hand as a visor to shield her eyes from the sun and scanned the horizon. There He was. Enormous even from this distance, she never ceased to feel giddy when she saw him. It wasn't the seeing that delighted her so much as feeling him rise into the sky long before that. She could feel his joy, his freedom. She could feel the weightlessness of his heart when he flew, soaring high or skimming low at breakneck speeds. He was pure joy in the sky, and to her soul. She waved to him, laughing the whole time.
The dragon pivoted sharply against the blue, a black shape made of blades and spines. He tightened his wings and careened seemingly out of control towards her and the cliff. She stood her ground and held her breath, as she always did. He approached with such speed that it seemed impossible for him to escape crashing headlong into the stone face or rocky beach. But with a mighty effort, the dragon turned his face upwards, strained his body against the pull of the ground, and began to turn skyward again. he skimmed the edge of the ocean, picking up water and releasing it against the rocky cliff higher and higher until the last of it became a fine mist that covered the giggling child. He rose up, unfurling his wings against the sky and hovered for just a moment to gaze upon her. She smiled up at him and he landed beside her, gently so as not to knock her over. He flattened his bristles and spines, smoothed his scales, and curled around her as a 60 foot long cat might curl around a mouse. She wrapped her arms around his muzzle and kissed him incessantly. He nuzzled her, sliding his face against her gently, and lovingly. she squealed in delight.
The dragon nosed her, easing her up onto his muzzle. She sat astride, and leaned down onto her elbows, staring into his enormous face. She leaned all the way down and kissed him between the eyes. He blinked, made a tender expression, and she understood. He loved her, too. She hugged his muzzle again, lying prone against it. He closed his eyes and relaxed in the sunshine. The breeze blew gently and they slept together, safe in each other as the sun slipped closer and closer to the horizon. The girl dreamed of flying, of being a tiny little dragon, herself. She opened her tiny little wings and soared in her tiny little way. She was happy to feel this free, as she had felt through her enormous friend so many times before. The dragon dreamed of being a boy, earthbound and average. A boy who could hold a girl's hand and kiss her cheek in the dark under the sky. They woke together, as they often did, and worked the nap-induced fog from their minds. The dragon rearing up, the girl clinging casually to his muzzle. He turned his head and allowed the girl to slip onto his back. She scrambled to her spot between his shoulders and settled down. It was time to fly.
And fly, they did. A series of deceivingly smooth steps, a beat of those circus-tent-wide wings, and a leap of faith and passion over the edge of the cliff found them skybound. The girl chuckled and grinned, the dragon felt her tiny hands on his neck and embraced the tenderness. She held on tight, as she'd been taught, and he trusted her to not let go. They barrel tolled, and spun, and swooped, and pivoted. They dd all manner of acrobatics, and without fail, each trick make the girl laugh. They went so high that the very ocean looked small. They fell for minutes at a time as the dragon listened to the squeals and pips from his companion, each one a song that fed his heart. They cavorted until the sun disappeared behind the horizon, and the air grew chill. But Dragon had a trick or two inside of his ancient body. He could keep her warm. She let his heat fill her entirely, her cheeks flushing. She looked up to see the field of stars, then down to see the tiny island she had been standing on. It was bewildering to be here, to have a dragon to love and cherish. It was a gift to her that an old monster would accept and love her with all the tenderness she was shown. She let her head swoon with happiness, then leaned forward and kissed his neck. The Dragon felt it, closed his eyes for just a second, and in that eternity felt the love of a child smooth over all the old wounds. He spiraled up, then began a long, slow descent to the ocean. They watched the luminous creatures beneath the waves as they meandered over the water. They saw the sky reflected, and even the old dragon felt a little small at this. Everything was so big. Dragon gracefully alighted on the cliff, and crouched so the girl could slide off. She hit the grass, turned and gave him the biggest hug she could muster. Dragon smiled and touched her with his muzzle.
"I love you, Dragon" She said, her voice as tiny as she was.
"And I love you, Little One." He replied.
They fell asleep under the free and open sky, a dragon and his treasure
And everything was right in the 'verse.
Happy Birthday. <3