Smaug is his name. He likes the way it sounds, big, fearful; how it leaves your mouth hollow and round, like a sense of foreboding. He’s not as big as his name implies. He loves bugs and water and laying stretched out on his favorite rock. When he moves, the scales across his back crunch like water, patiently lining themselves up. He’s never been fast, using his size to intimidate instead of speed. He does everything in slow motion, almost backward. Summer is his favorite - the days thick with warmth and moisture, inviting him to sleep all day long. No reason to move when the air around him feels like syrup. Kids file past his enclosure, whispered exclamations of “dragon!” heavy on their lips. Dreams of princesses and castles, guarded treasures, and knights shrouded in armor. Their stories are delicious - he imagines himself hoarding forbidden jewels in deep blues and greens and purples, fire pouring from his mouth to decimate those who get in his way. Or maybe a prince, imprisoned inside this scale-clad body, only to be set free when the sun and moon line up and the world sits in the inky black shadow left behind. Or maybe an emperor transformed by greed and power, inhabiting a form more akin to the landscape of his soul. He likes to try on each story for a little while, stretch it out, break it in. But, like a new shirt that doesn’t quite fit right, or a pair of shoes that pinch your little toe, he eventually sheds them and returns them to their original owner, preferring his life of solitude and quiet. After all, he’s quite fond of meals that appear on schedule and evenings spent stretched out under a tawny sky.