I woke up the next morning with a dragonet breathing in my face and a foot shoved in to my side. Raising my head, I looked down at where the foot was coming from. I saw the dogs crammed into one side of the bed. I looked over and saw that Logan had taken over the majority of the bed with his wings and tail. Eyeing him, I realized that he’d grown again.
I pushed myself up and sighed. He was getting too big to sleep in the same bed as the two of us. Ben would have to talk with him when he was well enough. I wiggled out of the bed and made my way to the bathroom. Thirty minutes later I was getting dressed and pulling my boots on to head back to the hospital. I was about to pull my coat on and head out the door when Logan chirruped from behind me and landed on my back.
“Logan!” I shouted as he wrapped his tail around my waist and his wings folded down around my shoulders.
His front and back legs were hooked in before I could stop him and he chirruped again. I looked back and found him looking at me, eyes wide and innocent looking.
“Oh, no. You are not going to the hospital with me.” I said.
I got a growl in response.
“Not going to happen.”
Another growl. I sighed.
“Fine. Just keep your head down and don’t let anyone know you’re under my coat.”
A happy chirrup and he settled down, drawing himself tighter around me. I decided then to trade my coat for a cloak. Flinging it over my shoulders I hauled the both of us out the backdoor and to the car. We drove together in silence to the hospital.
Walking in to the front doors, I quickly signed in and made my way up to Ben’s room. In the elevator though, Logan was getting antsy and chirruped from under my cloak.
“Hush. We’re almost there.” I said to him, silently thanking the gods that we were alone.
The doors opened and I met the Sheriff.
“Uh, Hi!” I said. It sounded a little too bright and I cursed under my breath.
“Hi.” Eric replied. He eyed my cloak and newly acquired hump. “Brought Logan with you?”
“Damn it, how did you know?”
“He is sticking his nose out.” Eric said with a chuckle.
“Logan, you’ve got to listen to Mommy and stay under the cloak.” I whispered. The nose disappeared.
“Don’t let the Nurses see him.” Eric said as he got on the elevator. “Ben’s fine, slept through the night. No trouble.”
“Thanks, Eric.” I said.
“You’re welcome.” He said and the doors slid closed.
I turned and made my way to Ben’s room, closing the door behind me.
“There’s trouble.” He said and I turned around with a gasp.
“Don’t scare me like that!”
Ben laughed. Hearing Ben’s voice made Logan chirrup and stick his nose out again.
“Is that who I think it is?”
“He wouldn’t let me leave the house without him.” I replied and took off the cloak.
Logan gave another happy chirrup and spread his wings out. Ben laughed.
“He’s so pleased with himself.” Ben said.
“I’m glad he’s pleased, tell me why he’s pretending to give me wings?” I said as I made my way over to the bed.
“He says you need your own.”
“Tell him I have my own. I have yours.”
“He says that doesn’t count. You need your own.”
“Stubborn.” I replied and Ben chuckled.
“He’s Max’s kid, you expected different?”
I sighed. The thought of Max still made me sad that he would never see Logan grow up. Logan felt my change in mood and started rubbing his nose against my cheek.
“He doesn’t want you to be sad.” Ben said he reached out for my hand and I slid mine in to his. “I don’t either.”
Logan slid off of my back and on to the bed between Ben and I. He crammed his head under my chin and chirruped.
I sighed and scratched his chin. “It’s okay. I miss my friend and your dad. I’m sad he won’t get to see you.”
Ben looked at both of us and sighed. “I try not to think about it. Max would think it was hilarious. Especially the part where he thinks your his Mom.”
I smiled. “He would have made all kinds of jokes by now about how we were supposed to wait for the wedding before having kids.”
Ben laughed. “I would have probably been honor bound to beat the hell out of him for making some kind of joke about how you and he had some great big affair.”
I started laughing. “That would be him. He would have done that.”
My eyes filled with tears suddenly and I looked up at Ben.
“Oh, habibi. I miss him too.”
I crawled on to the bed and tucked myself in to Ben’s arms. “He needed to be here for this.”
Logan crooned and wiggled until he was wedged between us, his head resting on Ben’s chest.
“He’s sad that he made us sad.”
“You did tell him this wasn’t his fault, right?”
“Yes. He doesn’t believe me though.”
“It’s not your fault, Logan.” I said to him. I got nuzzled in return.
We were still laying that way when the doctor came in to the room. Logan chirruped and stuck his head over my shoulder before I could stop him.
“I’m not even going to bother asking.” The Doctor said.
“My son.” I said.
“I don’t want to know. I’m not interested in knowing. I don’t see him here. Understand?”
“Perfectly.” I turned to Logan and said. “You’re not here, be invisible.”
I waited for him to catch on and sat up, turning my back to him. Logan latched on the way he did before and tucked his head down. I watched the doctor shake his head.
“Now Greg.” Ben said.
“That’s Doctor to you right now, you’re still my patient, not my colleague.” The Doctor said. He moved to Ben’s chart and I hopped off the bed and tossed the cloak over Logan and myself in case any nurses showed up. “Now, your tests came back fine. You slept through the day and night, but that was expected.”
“When can I go home?” Ben asked.
“In a few hours. We want to observe you a little while longer, to make sure there are no side effects we’re missing. If you do well at lunch and keep that down, I’ll send you home.” The Doctor said. “With light work. I know the kind of work load you keep.”
“I’m the only vet in town that deals with the Other, you know that.” Ben said.
“I know and you might want to think about taking on a partner this Spring. You’re going to be ass deep and satyrs.”
“Everyone keeps saying that, but I haven’t been able to get in to the archives to look at what’s going to happen.”
“You still don’t have a key? Even I have a key.”
“but you deal with the Other in their human form.” I said from where I was sitting with Logan on a chair. “That’s more important apparently.”
“Fair enough. Vets aren’t usually taken seriously.”
Ben grumbled under his breath. I missed what he said, but Greg the doctor laughed.
“Yeah, it is harder than Yale.” Greg said.
I smiled and looked over at Ben. I mouthed ‘I love you’ to him. He mouthed it back. Greg rolled his eyes.
“You two are hopeless. Congratulations, by the way.” He said.
“Thanks.” I said with a smile.
“I’ll leave you now, check in on you later. Keep Logan out of sight if you can. I don’t want the whole floor in an uproar because there’s a pocket dragon on the floor.” Greg said as he mad his way to the door. He stopped and turned around. “Wait. I got a better idea. Let me get a wheelchair.”
Greg stepped out of the room and Ben chuckled.
“What?” I asked.
“He’s going to take us down to the children’s wing.”
I started laughing. “Oh, that’s the best place for us to hide.”
“The kids will get a kick out of Logan.”
“If he goes through the Change on the full moon, which Eric thinks he will, He’ll be one of them soon.” I said. Logan chirruped from under the cloak and made us laugh.
“That’s right, you are special.” Ben said.
Greg came back in then and helped Ben into the chair. Ben grumbled about how he wasn’t an invalid.
“You are in my hospital. Stay in the chair or I’m not releasing you.” Greg said.
Ben went quiet and Logan chirruped from under my cloak. I snickered and got a glare from Ben. I choked back a laugh and tried to look innocent as Greg wheeled Ben out, laughing. He nodded to the nurse before continuing our way down to the children’s ward. When we stepped out of the elevator, Greg told me to remove the cloak.
“It’s okay, down here. People are coming in and out with their Other out all day long. It helps the kids feel more normal, like they’re not odd.” Greg said.
I pulled off the cloak and Logan chirruped and flipped his wings out. It startled a nurse as she came out of a room.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Greg you could warn a body when you’re bringing someone with wings that big down here.” She scolded Greg.
I started laughing and Logan poked his head out from behind me and started making his happy noises. She yelped and dropped her clipboard.
“Oh my gods. Is that?” She looked over at Greg, who nodded. “I’ve never seen one that young before. How long has it been out of shell?”
“About a week, I think.”
“That’s about right.” Ben said.
“So big, so fast.” She said and stepped over the clipboard to look at Logan.
I smiled and turned around so she could see him better. Logan was preening and chirruping in my ear. I smiled and scratched his chin.
“Are you the birth Mom?” She asked me.
“No, his adoptive Mom.” I replied.
That got me a sharp chirp from Logan. Ben laughed.
“He says you’re Mom. Nothing else.”
I smiled. “Okay, baby.”
Logan chirped and nuzzled my cheek.
“Well, I’ll say. That’s good news for us here.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We deal with the Other down here, honey. Especially the dragon kin that are just hatched and turned. I’m glad to see he’s doing okay.” the Nurse said. She turned to Ben. “you’d be the vet then. The one that can talk to animals.”
“Good I have use for you. Bring him this way.” She motioned to Greg.
I followed them, folding my cloak and tucking my arms around it. She led us around the nurses station. Ever occupant stared at me and Logan, who happily did his own form of talking at me and to anyone who would pay him attention. I smiled at him and he nuzzled my cheek again while fanning his wings. We were led to a room at the opposite end of the ward and she motioned for us to stop.
“James Keegan changed this morning. We can’t get him to change back. He’s frantic and scared.” she said while looking at Ben. “He’s a gryphon. The only one in town and we don’t know why he changed, but I need you to calm him down.”
“I can try, but I can already tell he’s frantic. He doesn’t understand why he’s here or why he’s in his ‘Moon form’ already.” Ben said.
“He’s here because of a broken wrist he got from that blasted Jim Baker.” the Nurse said.
Greg’s face drew tight. “Again? I warned him if he hurt another kid he’d be sent here to us for safe keeping.”
“You can’t expect a Minotaur child to understand why he can’t play normally with other kids. They’re not as smart as some of the other species.” she scolded.
“I can’t allow a danger outside of the hospital. He’ll have to come here until he can understand why he can’t do things the way other kids can.” Greg flushed.
Ben sighed. “You needed to come to me sooner. I’d have helped.”
“Well you’re here now. Talk to James.” The nurse said. She looked up at me and Logan. “You come with me and I’ll take that. You’ll be too busy in a minute.”
I handed my cloak over to the nurse and smiled. “What’s you’re name?”
“Elsie Gibbons. Come with me. I have some kids who need to see Logan.” She said as she led the way down the hall to a play area.
“I’m Marlowe.” I said to her.
“Well Marlowe, I hope you like loud noises.”
We stepped in to the loud room and the whole place went silent. I smiled.
“Hello.” I said.
“Lady, do you know you have wings?” one of the kids asked.
I laughed. “I don’t just have wings, I have a whole dragon.”
Logan popped his head back over my shoulder, where he had retreated from the noise. He chirped. The kids gasped.
“No way! He’s awesome.” said a little boy with a cat tail.
“He certainly is. We’re just waiting for him to turn in to one of you so he can be even more awesome.” I said.
“Well, I’d like to be able to talk to him without having to use his Papa to translate.”
“His Papa can talk to him while he’s like that?” a little girl with wings asked.
“He certainly can.” I replied.
“What can you do?” Another boy, this time with a couple extra tentacles, asked.
I smiled and pulled out my car keys from my pocket. I made them levitate and another gasp went through the room.
“That is so cool.” the boy with the tail whispered.
I laughed. “I think so too.”
The nurse left me there with the kids and I spent the day answering questions. When Logan slid off my back and bounded towards a little boy in the corner who wasn’t talking or interacting at all. I watched carefully as Logan sprang up and put his paws on his legs. He started talking in his own way and pushed at the little boy’s legs. I waited. I knew he wasn’t going to hurt the little boy, but I still wanted to be sure.
I smiled when the little boy reached out and scratched Logan’s eye ridges. I watched them interact for a few minutes longer before going back to answering the kids questions. The asked everything from my job, to why I had Logan. They quizzed me on my ability and laughed when I made a metal spaceship fly around the room.
When Greg finally came in to the room with Ben, the kids had lost interest in me and where playing nicely with Logan. He was having the time of his life and had managed to pull the little boy in the corner out to play. I smiled and reached over for Ben’s hand, tangling my fingers with his. I looked over at him.
“Much calmer. He’s sleeping now.”
“I knew you could do it.” I said. “Now, can you tell me why Logan has taken a shine to that little boy?”
“Sure. He’s a dragon too.” Ben said.
“He hatched a month before Logan. We don’t know where the egg came from. I found him on my way to work on the morning after the full moon. He was filthy, naked and wandering the road way out by Blue Arrow.” Greg said.
“Well.. Sh-uh, crap.” I said, mindful of where I was.
“Crap indeed. He’s got no family.” Greg said, looking at me.
“Oh no. Really?” I said looking at the both of them.
“Now, Marlowe.” Ben said.
I pointed a finger at him. “This is not like bringing home a dog, Ben. It’s a little boy.”
“Who has no one.” Ben said.
I narrowed my eyes at him, then looked over at the boy playing with Logan. He looked up at me and his lavender eyes stared in to mine. I couldn’t help it, my heart melted a little.
Greg laughed. “You gave in faster than I thought you would. Ben went on and on about how stubborn you were.”
“Does he have a name?”
“Alphonse.” Ben said.
I sighed. “Who saddled the kid with that name?”
“He did. He likes it.” Ben said.
“I’m assuming you are already listening to him?” I said.
“Yes. Marlowe I know it’s not like a dog, but he needs a home. Family. You said yourself the other night that we were building one. What do you say about starting with Alphie?”
I looked from Ben to Greg to Alphonse and sighed. “Okay. I give in. We’ll take him home with us.”
“I’ll get his discharge papers and yours, Ben. There’s nothing wrong with him, I just didn’t want to release him. He has nowhere to go but an orphanage and I didn’t want him leaving Blueville.” Greg said before he stepped out.
I looked over at Ben. “You do realize that this means the Castle is going to bud new rooms, the dogs are going to go nuts and Miles and Mark are going to tell us we’re nuts, right?”
“You bring another animal home from your practice and I’ll bury you in the backyard. Alive.”
“No, Ben. We’ve got too much on our plate now. No more animals. We’ve got two kids, two dogs, two roommates, and a fire-breathing bearded dragon.”
Ben went silent. “Okay. No more pets for a while.”
“A long while.” I said and called over to Logan.
He ran over with his tail wrapped around Alphonse’s wrist.
“Honey you’ve got to let Alphonse go. He can’t run as fast as you can on all fours.” I said to Logan.
Logan chirruped at me and looked up at Ben, who nodded. Logan let go of Alphonse and climbed into Ben’s lap. Ben looked at Alphonse and suddenly, my lap was full of crying child. I held Alphonse as he cried, rocking him back and forth and rubbing his back.
“I take it he’s happy?” I said to Ben.
Ben nodded. I sighed and cuddled Alphonse. When Greg came back in with the papers, I signed my name without thinking twice.
“Two kids.” I said to Ben as we walked out of the hospital. “I come for my Dragon with one in tow and walk out with two.”
“I like big families.” Ben said to me.
“You also like silence, which you’re not going to get anymore.” I warned.
“We’ll make it work.” Ben said as he kissed me.
We got to the car and I managed to convince Alphonse to sit in the back with Logan, who was talking happily to his new brother.
“Can they understand each other?”
“Yes.” Ben said as he went around to the other side and got in.
“Interesting.” I said.
“I’m getting to you. Pretty soon you’ll be helping me in the field.”
I shook my head and got into the car. I started the car and headed for home with my newly expanded family in tow.
“Miles is going to freak out.” I said.
“I know, isn’t it great?”