So after breakfast and keeping the Twins from freaking out over the arrival of Logan, the Sheriff arrived. I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t happy about Logan. I thought for a second that it would be because it’s another dragon in his district, but he soon put my mind to ease about that one.
“No, Marlowe. I’m not upset it’s another dragon. I’m upset because he latched on to you and Ben. He’s going to have to be with Mark.”
I nodded and looked over at Ben, who spoke up:
“We weren’t expecting him to hatch so soon. If we had a little warning, we would have moved him in to Mark’s rooms.”
“Breaking his connection to the two of you is going to be hard, but he cannot stay attached.”
“George gave the egg to Ben for a reason.”
Ben sighed. “She gave me the egg because it wasn’t going to be one of hers.”
The Sheriff looked at Ben with a frown. “I think it’s time you explained how you know these things.”
“I can talk to animals. Any animal. I can also hear the thoughts of some people, but not others.” Ben said with a sigh in his voice.
“Why only some people?” I asked. It was something I’d always wanted to know, but didn’t know how to ask.
“The more extraordinary, the less of a chance I have of hearing you. I have no idea why, but I have trouble hearing the thoughts of people who have that something extra.”
“But you can hear mine.” I said.
“I’m around you all the time. I have more practice listening for you.”
I thought about it for a second and thought it was a little strange, but I couldn’t throw stones. I can control metals.
“Our children are going to be pretty weird.” I said.
Ben started laughing. “No weirder than anything else in this town.”
I looked up at the Sheriff and smiled. “Who had December 1st in the pool?”
The Sheriffs jaw dropped open. “Murphy. I knew she was up to something when she bought in on Thanksgiving.”
I started laughing. “Nothing gets by Grandma.”
“Well, a new dragon in the house won’t. We’re going to have to give them their space you know.” Ben said.
I sighed. I’d grown attached to Logan, but Ben was right. He wasn’t ours to keep.
“House?” I said looking up. I heard a rumble in response.
“Okay, that’s just freaky.” The Sheriff said.
“We need an apartment above the garage, please. I also need three lifts inside the garage if you please.”
The house rumbled in response to me.
“Well, let’s go find Mark and tell him.” Ben said.
“Kitchen. Mark was trying to get Logan to eat.” I said.
“Kitchen it is, then.” Ben said as he took my hand and we walked together with the Sheriff in to the kitchen.
As soon as I stepped in to the room, Logan chirruped and bounded off the table to come settle on my waist. I sighed. This was going to be hard. I scratched his neck ridges as I sat at the kitchen table.
“He’s been a ball of energy all until you walked in.” Mark said. “I couldn’t get him to eat anything.”
“He’s chittering and calling her mom.” Ben said quietly to the Sheriff. They were standing behind me.
“He might be too attached to be able to break the connection.” The Sheriff whispered back.
“What’s going on?” Mark asked.
“Logan is yours. You were married to Max when he died. Max has no other family, which means you’re Logan’s father.”
“No. I never knew about the egg. I just knew that he’d gotten out a few years ago.” Mark said with a shake of his head.
“Years? That egg has been incubating for years?” I asked him, then looked up at Ben.
“At least ten that I know of.” Mark said.
“Don’t you want Logan?” I asked him.
“I don’t know. Part of me wants to say yes, but the part that’s still grieving says no.” Mark replied.
The room went silent, except for Logan’s chirruping.
“You all need to make the decision today as to who he’s going to call his parent or parents. When the full moon hits, whatever growing he’s done will be the age he changes in to once the moon rises.” The Sheriff said as he looked around the room.
“Just how many of these have you gone through?” I asked the Sheriff.
“Ten. We lost most of the dragons over the years due to various accidents or in a couple of isolated cases, murder.”
“What usually happens?”
“Well, after the change? It’s just like having a child instead of a dragon. They change monthly with the moon just like an adult.” The Sheriff said as he sat down next to me. “Really, it’s no different from adopting. You get a child and have to help him or her to catch up with everything else.”
I looked up at Ben and found him staring off in to space. “Ben?”
“Hmm?” He said as he turned his attention back to me.
“Wanna join us?”
“Sorry.” He said looking a little sheepish. “I was talking to Logan.”
“What’s up?” I asked.
“He wants to know why we’re thinking about making him stay with Mark over the garage.”
Mark made some noises in the back of his throat like he was about to protest. I patted his hand.
“We love you. You know we do, but if you’re going to keep Logan, you’ll need your own space to get to know each other.” I said.
Mark turned his hand over and smiled. “You’d do that for us? Even though I know you want to keep him?”
“Yes. He’s yours. It was wrong of me to think I could keep him.” Even saying the words hurt, but I tried not to let it show. I’d grown irrationally attached to the dragonet.
“Not wrong. Ben did give the egg to you months ago. The only reason why I thought it was Max’s was because of the color.”
“Well, it is possible to get egg variations in different color parents that aren’t that parent’s original color. Unlikely, but possible.” The Sheriff said.
“I’m assuming there’s all kinds of information about this down at the station?” Ben asked.
“Yeah. The archives from when the town was first founded. A Council decision I won’t fight, says that everything that has to do with the unusual gets recorded. Dragon births, how to raise them, what to expect.” The Sheriff looked apologetic. “I’m sorry. I’ve been meaning to have this conversation with you since the Council approved your key.”
“They approved me? I didn’t know I needed their approval.” Ben snorted.
“Well since you’re the town’s only vet who handles the unusual cases, they’ve approved you to have a key. You’re going to need it. The seven-year span on the satyrs not breeding is coming to an end.”
Ben sat down heavily at the table. “I thought something was odd about that.”
“There’s other things coming as well, but that’s the first one. It starts next month.” The Sheriff said. “I wouldn’t be alone after dark next month. Male or female.”
I started laughing and that woke up Logan who chirruped unhappily.
“So about Logan?” I said.
“I can’t take him.” Mark said.
I was stunned. I was certain that he wanted Logan.
“He belongs in this house. With everyone. Not above some garage with me alone.”
“What if that means Logan becomes attached to Ben and I more than you? You do have rights as his real father. You were married to Max.”
“I’m no more his real father than anyone else in this house, just because of who I was married to.” Mark said. “You have to admit, we all made a good team when it comes to The Twins. What could be so hard about raising Logan that way?”
“Well it’s definitely unusual.” The Sheriff said.
“So’s the town.” Mark said. “I didn’t grow up here, I grew up in a Main Street USA kind of town. I’m here now. I’m staying here. That means Logan is too.”
I looked over at Ben, then down at Logan who was asleep in my arms again.
“Okay. We’ll give it a shot.” Ben said.
The Sheriff shook his head and got up from the table. “I need to go check on the road conditions and see my kids. I assume they’re with Miles?”
I nodded. “Yeah. He’s in the Great Hall with them. They’re playing some Zelda game on the Wii.”
The Sheriff nodded. “I need a word with the two of you, alone.”
I nodded and got up from the table.
“Don’t. I’ll take Logan and go check on Miles.” Mark said as he eased Logan out of my arms and in to his. Logan chirruped sleepily and settled back in once he realized who had him.
I sad back down at the table with Ben.
“What’s up, Eric?”
“The Priestess who we brought in for the October killings? She says there’s going to be another event soon and she wants us all to be careful. So I’ve thought about it and spoken to The Twins aunt.” The Sheriff said as he sat back down. “If something happens to me over this mess, I want the two of you to take The Twins.”
I gripped Ben’s hand tight. “But Eric, They have family.”
“Who wants nothing to do with them and I don’t have family left alive. I was an only child.” He said.
I looked up at Ben, who nodded.
“Okay.” Ben said.
“I thought it would be harder than that.” Eric said.
“Eric, you’re a great friend to both Ben and myself. You’re family to me,” I said, then corrected myself when Ben nudged me. “to us. Of course we’d take The Twins if something happened.”
“Six months ago I’d never thought I’d ask a newbie to take my kids, but you’ve proven yourself.” Eric said to me.
“I hope it never comes to it, but I’d be happy to take them.” I said. “Even if I’ve only been here six months, you’ve known everyone else longer than that and I’m sure you’ve asked them about me.”
“Oh, I did a background check too.” Eric said with a laugh.
I laughed and looked up at Ben. “You owe me twenty.”
Ben frowned. “Damn it, I was sure you’d let it go this time and wouldn’t do it to another newbie.”
“Gotta protect my town.” The Sheriff replied with a grin. He got up and walked out of the room to check on his kids.
“We’re so fucked, aren’t we?” I said when he left.
“Do you want to be anything else?” Ben replied.
I thought about all that I’d gone through in the last two years and shook my head.
“No. I’m much better off than I was two years ago. Happier, too.”
“Speaking of happier; you need a ring.” Ben said.
“I do need a ring.” I said.
“Wanna go shopping with me next week?”
“Nope. You’re going with Mark and Miles.” I said with a grin.
“Gonna make me stick to tradition?”
“Damn right.” I said. I slid in to his arms and kissed him.
“You’re worth everything I have and more. What do I get you?”
“I’m going to go with that old ‘You’ll know it when you see it.’ phrase.” I replied.
“I hate that phrase.”
I laughed. I hated it too, but I trusted Ben. I said so.
“Best thing that’s ever been said to me.”
“I thought that was last night, when I told you your ass looked great naked.”
“That was the best part of my life till now.”
“Oh, I do love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Come on, let’s go check on everyone.”
“Sure. By the way? Your ass looks hot in those pants.”
I was laughing as I walked to the Great Hall with him. So far, this month was turning out great.