Family Goes, Trouble Stays: Part 4

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.

“He’s sorry.”

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.

“Families.”

“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.”

“I am.”

“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.

“Why?”

“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.

“How’s James?”

“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.

“Crap.”

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?”

“Yep.”

“Ben?”

“Yes?”

“You bring another animal home from your practice and I’ll bury you in the backyard. Alive.”

“Now, habibi.”

“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?”

I laughed.

-Marlowe

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Family Goes, Trouble Stays: Part 3

There’s one good thing about losing your shit in a hospital over being separated from your love one:

The next time you have to go to that hospital, they are far less likely to stand in your way the next time you have to come in with a half-frozen loved one.

I ran in with the EMTs who had Ben, frantic that he was too cold. The nurses and doctors all gave me a very wide berth. The only time I was asked to step back was when they were working on him. I stood outside the room, backed up against the nurse’s station, watching Ben.

“Marlowe, he’s going to be okay.” One of the doctors said.

“I know, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying.”

“Worry all you want, just don’t get in the way.”

“Fix him. I need him back, safe and whole.” I said as I looked up in to the face of a doctor who couldn’t have been more than twenty-five.

He nodded and went in to the room with Ben. I knew somewhere in the back of my head I was worrying over nothing, that he was going to be fine, but with whomever was doing this to us still out there; I needed to see him open his eyes again.

When they finally let me go in to see him he was breathing normally and his color was back in his face. I leaned down and kissed his forehead, then waited. I don’t know how long I sat there, watching him until he coughed and started coming around.

“You’re not allowed to go where I can’t follow.” I whispered in to his ear.

“I have no plan on leaving you behind.” Ben replied. His voice was hoarse.

“That’s good because I have no intention of letting you.” I said. I gave in and kissed him.

“What happened?”

“The jerk who’s doing all of this forced your change again.” I replied.

Ben groaned and tried to sit up. I pushed him back down.

“No. You’re staying until they say you can go. No sitting up. You spent the entire night as your other self chained to a cliff.”

“The whole night? How did I survive?”

“Blankets, a couple of bonfires and a lot of praying on my part.” I replied.

“You never pray.” Ben said looking up at me.

“I did for you.” I replied. “This was the closest I’ve gotten to losing you. I don’t care for it.”

“I don’t care for being a guinea pig either.” Ben sighed. “I think whatever she’s doing, she’s building up to something.”

I saw Ben rub his eyes. “Go back to sleep. They’re going to keep you here for the day and possibly over night.”

“You’ll be here?”

“Yeah. I’m not going anywhere.”

Ben nodded and closed his eyes. He was asleep before I could look up at the clock.

“Asleep then?” The doctor asked as he walked in to the room.

“Yes. He woke up though.”

“That’s good.” He said as he checked Ben over. “I’m going to assume you’re staying with him?”

“Yes.” I said as I gripped Ben’s hand tightly.

“Okay then. We’re going to move him upstairs in a little while. Keep him over night for observation.”

“I figured. When will he get to come home?”

“Possibly tomorrow. I want to check and make sure there’s no damage from being out there all night.”

I nodded and looked down at Ben. “I’m going to assume you’ll want me to go home and get some sleep at some point?”

“You’re smart. I’m sure they Sheriff will send someone to watch over him, but you’ll do yourself harm if you stay here all night with no sleep.” The Doctor said as he checked me over after checking Ben. “It’s almost five now. You’ve been here all day. Visitor’s hours are over at nine tonight. You will go home and sleep.”

I looked from Ben to the Doctor. “Provided he has protection, I will go home and sleep. I do not like the fact that I’m leaving him here.”

“I know you don’t, but you have to do what’s best for you.” The doctor said with a smile. “You being here and pacing half the night, worrying yourself sick is not going to help either one of you right now.”

I looked up at him and nodded. “Just this once, I’ll go home. If anything happens while I’m gone, you’ll never get me out of this hospital again while he’s here.”

“Fair enough. I’ll take it.” He  said as he stepped out of the door. “Go home. Sleep. Those are doctor’s orders.”

“At closing time.” I said and turned back to watching over Ben.

The Doctor came back in at nine, after they’d moved him upstairs and gave me a pointed look. “Go. Home.”

“Is the detail here yet?” I asked.

“I am here.” The Sheriff said as he came in to Ben’s room.

“You’re going to watch over him?” I asked. I was a little startled to see Eric there.

“You wouldn’t trust anyone else enough to go home and get any kind of sleep.” The Sheriff replied. “I’ll stay and watch over Ben.”

I slid out of my chair, walked over and gave Eric a huge hug. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Now go home. Get some sleep. I’ll go over everything with you in the morning.”

I nodded and pulled my coat on. The Doctor walked me out and to Duke, who was waiting with a car to take me home. I don’t really remember the ride, getting home or going upstairs. I do remember showering, crawling in to pajamas and then in to bed with the dogs and Logan, who chittered at me until midnight. We all finally fell asleep at about one am.

 

-Marlowe

An Unexpected Event, Part 2

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.

“Why?”

“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.

-Marlowe

An Unexpected Event

Monday morning. I hate Mondays. I like to think that I’m pretty normal about that particular thing. I especially hated this Monday because Jude, Ben’s Mom, was leaving us until Christmas. While she was here it was like having my own mom back again and it made me ache for the days when they were alive. This particular Monday I was brooding in to my coffee on the chaise in the bedroom, watching the snow come down. Ben was in the bed behind me, still sleeping. At least, he was trying to. The latest addition to our household of strange and freaky creatures was a dragonet of bright, emerald-green.

That’s right. You read that correctly. That egg that Ben managed to foist off on me? We’re now the proud parents to a baby dragon. He’s currently annoying the crap out of his adopted father, trying to wake him up with chirping noises and pawing at his hair. It’s adorable really, but Ben’s having none of it this morning.

I was doing me best to ignore what was happening because I wanted to keep my brood, but when I heard a squeak and then turned to look, Ben had rolled over and trapped the dragonet under the blanket. I snickered and Ben opened an eye to look at me.

“Give up. He got me out of bed this morning at five.”

Ben groaned and sat up, letting the poor baby out of the blanket.

“You know, we’re going to have to name him eventually.” I said as I watched the dragonet pop up, tongue hanging out and blanket still half on his head. I clicked at him to come here and he chirped and scrambled over, crawling in to my lap and wrapping his tail around my waist.

“You do realize that he’s growing faster than I anticipated?”

“Don’t side step the issue. He’s been out of egg for twelve hours and we still haven’t come up with a name.” I chided.

“Henry?”

“No. How about Tristan?”

“No! God, did you even read that story?”

I snickered. “Yes, I’m teasing. Gwain?”

“You want to name him after a dragon killer? Irony.”

“I’m not entirely sure that’s irony, but yes.”

Ben considered. “If we’re going to do that, we might as well name him Beowulf.”

“Oh, doom him from the beginning, why don’t you?”

“Said the woman who wanted to name him Tristan.”

I scratched the dragonet’s chin and smiled when he leaned in to my hand. “Percival.”

“Just going down the list of potential dragon killers, aren’t you?” Ben pouted.

I laughed. “Thomas, then.”

Ben thought about it. “Samuel.”

“No. Beckett?”

“No. How about Indiana?”

“Now who’s cursing him?” I teased.

Ben managed to look innocent and spread his hands out in a ‘who me?’ gesture. I thought about names and sipped my coffee, while scratching the dragonet’s neck ridges.

“William?” I said after a few minutes.

“If this is how it’s going to be for a dragon, I’m worried about the names if we have a child.”

I threw a pillow at him and stuck out my tongue. I thought for a minute and the smiled brightly. “Hoban.”

Ben started laughing. “I’m not naming our dragon after Wash. I don’t care how much you liked him.”

“I assume you want to name him Jayne or Malcolm, then.” I looked down at the dragonet who was asleep in my lap. “Poor child, your father wants to saddle you with a name unfitting your regal stature.”

Ben lost it then and started laughing. “Regal? Wash? He was goofy at best.”

“I’m insulted. He was loyal and noble.”

Ben snickered. “Would you name him Simon?”

I thought for a second, then looked down at the dragonet. I rolled the name around in my head. “No. It doesn’t fit him.”

“and you think Hoban does?”

“He’s adorable. Wash was adorable. It fits.”

“You’ve gone bonkers.”

“You’re just jealous you didn’t get there before I did.”

“Bonkers. Bananas. Nutty as a fruit cake.”

“How about Logan, then?”

That brought Ben up short. “That’s a low blow, using my love of the X-Men against me.”

I snickered and Ben sighed.

“All right. Logan it is.” Ben said as he got up and came over to where Logan and I were sitting on the chaise.

“Don’t you dare pick him up, he’s sleeping again.”

“The little brat.” Ben muttered as he snagged my coffee and drank the last of it while I frowned at him.

“I hope you know, that means you’re going to get me more coffee.”

“Of course I am, but first;” He trailed off as he leaned down and kissed me. “Good morning.”

I smiled up at him. “You’re still going to go get more coffee.”

Ben laughed and pulled on pants before heading downstairs. I stayed where I was with the sleeping dragonet on my lap. This Monday morning was definitely unusual, but I still hated Mondays. I sat there for another half hour before I realized Ben was not coming back.

“Come on Logan, let’s go find your dad.” I said with a sigh and picked up the dragonet.

Logan chirruped sleepily in my arms and curled around so that he was being cradled. His tail was still wrapped around my waist as I carried him downstairs. I met Mark on the landing and he looked at what was in my arms, turned pale.

“Is that?”

“Yes.”

“When?”

“Last night.”

I watched Marks’ shoulders droop.

“He’s already imprinted, hasn’t he?”

“We think so, but it’s only been a few hours. He might decide that the whole house is his new clan. Ben doesn’t exactly know much about dragon raising.”

Mark nodded.

“Come on. When he wakes up I’ll hand him over to you.” I said as I nudged Mark down the stairs with me. We headed in to the kitchen to find Ben making waffles.

“So this is what happened to my coffee.” I said.

I watched Miles’s eyes go wide when he saw what was in my arms.

“Holy shit it hatched!”

I started laughing. “Yes, yes it did.”

Jude came in to the kitchen at that moment and Logan woke up. He stuck his head over my shoulder and chirped at her. Jude yelped and jumped back, running in to the cabinets behind her. I started laughing.

“Logan that was rude!”

That set everyone else off with laughter. Everyone but Mark. He was looking down at the plate Ben put in front of him.

“What the matter, pumpkin?” I said, sitting next to him.

“Logan was one of the names that Max and I talked about for boys names.” He murmured.

I sucked in a breath and looked up at Ben.

“Well then that’s the reason his name will stay. Is that all right with you?”

Mark nodded.

“Good.” I unwound Logan from my waist and plopped him in to Mark’s lap. “Take that and I’ll take this since you’re going to pick at it.”

I slid his plate over while Logan started licking Mark’s face. I snickered and buttered the waffles, adding blueberries and powered sugar. I watched out of the corner of my eye as Mark and Logan got acquainted as I ate. When I was sure they were going to get along, I turned my attention back to Jude.

“So what time are you leaving us? Because that storm out there is getting nasty.”

“I’m not. They cancelled my flight. I’m on the first flight out when they reopen the airport in Whittlemore.”

I winced. I knew she was anxious to get to that dig. “That’s gotta be rough.”

“I already told my site lead that I’ll be late because of it, so they’re holding things for me. I hope I can leave tomorrow or later today.”

“You are coming back, right?” Ben asked. “Christmas wouldn’t be the same without you.”

“Of course I’m coming back, Love. I’ve got my boy back and his weird little family.”

I smiled. “We’ll be happy to have you with us. I know I’ll miss you. Having you here is like having my mom back for a little while.”

“Oh honey. That’s the best thing you could have said to me.” Jude said as she hugged me hard.

“I mean every word.” I said to her.

Miles mock sniffed. “Aw, look at her. She’s grown so much.”

I threw a blueberry at him and hit him on the forehead. The whole room started laughing again and Logan chirruped along with us.

-Marlowe