“And that’s all the force that’s usually applied to those poor Ghemelian girls, too! The ones you said were as good as getting raped,” said Tarcuna. She has the very annoying habit of ripping my wings off with my own words and stuffing them down my throat. “Anyhow. We’re not talking about how you got coerced into unwanted sexual activity by sociological forces on your mating flight. Or even in your marriage —”
I curled my tail defensively. “That’s coercion by biological forces. If I ever want to have fertile eggs, everyone’s best off if they have three fathers. Since I didn’t do that on my mating flight very much, I have to do it now, when it’s much more awkward.”
“I was thinking more about your schedule for boinking your husband. I know that bores you to tears. You complain about it every twelve days.”
“I complain about everything! If there were ever a proclamation of the Universal Rights of Beings Capable of Speech, I’m sure that complaining about things would be the first and most cherished of them,” I said. Proving that expressing ridiculous opinions would be the second.
“Anyway! Back to where we started!” said Tarcuna, whacking me about the muzzle a few times with her broom. I pretended that she was checking if I had somehow recovered my long-lost sense of touch, rather than expressing any sort of disrespect. (I hadn’t. She was.) “We were discussing love and marriage! Hovens put the two together where they belong. Dragons don’t — and don’t even seem to think that they have anything to do with each other.”
“Well, they don’t have anything to do with each other. Hovens making love matches wind up in stupid ridiculous marriages as often as not, and need to get unmarried and try again. And sometimes again and again until they get it right — or until they just stop changing their minds,” I said, because I am a cruel and vicious monster. Tarcuna has married two of her Hoven girlfriends — both times we needed to change a Hoven country’s laws so that girls could marry girls. Neither marriage lasted a year. Neither wife could stand Tarcuna’s permacrush on me.
Tarcuna put the broom back in its closet, and sat on my snout, facing my eyes. “Maybe they shouldn’t have everything to do with each other, but you dragons don’t let them have anything to do with each other. You don’t love Nrararn.” Dragons can sense lies. Tarcuna knows that, and never lies to me any more. But her last sentence had the overripe cloying character of a matter of faith: not quite a lie, but a belief held by force of will against considerable evidence and actual truth.
“That’s not true! I do! I’m just a bit less intense about it than people who can experience sex,” I said.
“You wouldn’t challenge countries and dragon-kings and all to keep him, not the way that Ythac and Llredh would for each other,” said Tarcuna.
“I didn’t need to!” I pointed out. Dragonesses never need to fight to get married: rather the opposite.
“But you wouldn’t,” said Tarcuna, rocking on my muzzle. “If you hadn’t felt obliged to be married, as a dragoness’s duty, you’d still be single.”
“Yes,” I admitted.
“You don’t love Nrararn, because you wouldn’t have married him if you didn’t have to, and if you had a free choice today you would still not marry him. You don’t love Osoth, or any of the other drakes you have sex with,” said Tarcuna.
“I am doing my duty to everybody, or as much of everybody as I can manage.”
“You are pretty much letting them rape you! You don’t desire them at all!”
“Rape is about consent, not desire. And I’ve given them my explicit consent for what they do with that large inert lump of scale and flesh I am using as a body.” I sniffed the air with my forked tongue. “With one exception. You’re a fine one to talk about consent and rape, my friend Tarcuna, when you are humping my muzzle without asking me.”
“I am?” She looked down at herself, straddling and squeezing the bridge of my nose between her legs. “Oh, Bmern and Drukah. I don’t mean it like that.”
I am a merciless monster. “But you will go to your bedroom and finish off alone what you have started on me, or at least you have done so grosses of times before. No, I can’t see you do it — if I were interested in watching you in your pleasures, I would just ask you to perform in front of me, and you would do it eagerly — but we have a good ventilation system and I can smell you from half the building away.”
Tarcuna started to say something, but I shushed her up. “I forbid you to apologize! If it bothered me, I would have done something about it the first time.” (Or the dozenth time, or the grossth or the grandth; she doesn’t give up easily.) “I don’t mind Nrararn having his fun with my body the way he does, I don’t mind Osoth, and I don’t mind you.” She giggled and started rocking back and forth quite eagerly. I sighed and stared at her cross-eyed and looked bored until she found it advisable to seek privacy.