“So, what are you, Leelan? Can you explain the wings?”
Leelan straightens his back and the blue shimmer runs in waves over his chest. The horizon grows brighter behind him. She takes a step back to see him fully. Even though one wing is folded up and wrapped, the other is visible and with a grimace he stretches it out until the skin between the bones is pulled taut.
It’s of impressive size, she has to admit that. She looks further down his back where her brain doesn’t want to see his tail. He follows her eyes.
“Can you see it?”
She shakes her head. “Not really, it’s like it doesn’t want me to see it.”
He closes his eyes for a moment and she hears the same ‘sucking’ sound from before. Suddenly the tail is there, shimmering a greener tone than his chest. Yellow barbs curl on the upper spine. She steps closer to see how the tail works with his pants. A quick look reveals that he simply cut a triangle out in the back of his jeans with a belt going over the tail keeping the pants in place. The flickering effect is there again, as if the image tries to avoid to be seen.
The tail is just long enough that the tip touches the ground. The barbs look sharp like pointed claws, and her fingers feel for the cuts in her face. But she only finds the bandaids; she had forgotten that her face is covered with them.
How nice! You look like a patched up garbage bag while he looks like a gorgeous puppy.
She lets her hands drop and just keeps staring at him. He truly is gorgeous; more stocky than lean but strong and grounded. Looking at him, it is obvious that he didn’t build his muscles while sweating in a body builder shed but by running and flying a lot. Even with his injured wing he has a stance about him resembling a martial arts master. Nobody would be able to push him over, not even taller men and least of all herself with her muscles only trained by sitting at a desk or hauling groceries from the car.
“When you were fighting with the other… man”, she says, “you looked at me like you were surprised that I saw you. And you mentioned that I was not supposed to be able to see your wings and your tail was kind of not there until a moment ago and…” She feels a headache coming on and rubs her temples. “Can you tell me what the hell is going on?”
“I am a Dragon, or you might say a Dragonman. We don’t really distinguish between the two.”
“Dragon. Really?” She pinches her nose but it doesn’t really help her to think. “Were you born like this? Or did a radioactive lizard bite you one day and you turned into Lizardman?”
“I said dragon, not lizard,” he growls.
“Oh, touchy subject?”
“A lizard is not a dragon.”
She throws her head back and looks up to the sky that is beginning to turn blue. “You know what? I don’t give a fuck. I’m expecting the men in the white coats any minute now to take me away into a padded room.” She points her finger at him because she may not know what is real and what isn’t anymore but it’s definitely all his fault. “I think you can cut me some slack here. I patched you up and I think I did pretty good on the whole dealing with your lizardness front. So, excuse me if I have a problem with seeing you as a giant fire-breathing beast! There’s only so much weirdness I can take in a day.. night… whatever.”
He chuckles and it seems to make his dark skin glitter blue. “You have done very well indeed. I apologize.” He moves his wings with a grimace and his tail twitches.
“Okay, now can you tell me what the fuck is going on?”
He gazes up at the sky which is getting brighter by the minute. “I’m sorry, I have to go.”
“It’s harder to hide these –” he stretches out his uninjured wing, “– in the daylight.”
“Oh come on! I saw two lizardmen crash half of Mary’s house, and you have a tail for fucks sake; I need some kind of explanation so that I can sleep again at some point.”
Leelan bows his head. “I’m sorry. I don’t know yet myself why the Gerlden attacked, I just know that he was probably after the child.”
“Justin? What does he want with Justin?”
“I don’t know.” He looks increasingly nervous as he looks up to the sky. “I will find out and explain it to you as best as I can.” He looks around on the floor, searching for something.
“What are you looking for?” Vib asks.
“I had a coat…”
“I can give you a blanket.”
“I would be grateful.”
Vib goes inside and picks a blanket from the couch. She hurries to get back outside, expecting to find him gone but he still stands in the light of the lamp. He takes the blanket with a nod and throws it over his back like a cape.
“I have to apologize but I never asked your name.” He looks at her expectantly with shining eyes.
“My name is Vibeke, most people call me Vib.”
“Thank you for your help, Vibeke.” He makes a small bow on that. When he looks up again, his expression darkens. “I must apologize again. I don’t have explanations and I can’t stay.” He takes her hand in his and Vib’s heart does an unfamiliar jump. “I promise I will return and will tell you more. For now I urge you to watch over the child.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” Vib asks, acutely aware that Leelan is still holding her hand. “I can’t watch him all day. I have to work.”
“It’s only the night you need to fear. But you saw us, the magic didn’t blind you…”
The daylight is coming fast and it obviously makes him nervous but he continues to hold to her hand. She maps everything to memory, his cool touch, his yellow eyes, his rough and warm voice. She wonders if she can just keep him talking so that he never leaves.
But he lets go of her and turns to leave, wrapping the ugly beige blanket around him. He looks at her over his shoulder and she is struck by his beauty. She wishes she could fall into his eyes. “I would love to stay, ” he says, a rough edge to his voice and the look he gives her makes her heart beat faster. “I’m sorry but I have to get going.”
“But I need…” I need you to stay and look at me like that again… “I need to know what kind of things I have to protect Justin from.”
He stops for a second. “You saw us, me and the Gerlden. You’ll see him when he tries to enter. He can’t hide in his magic from you.”
“Other people can’t see him? Or it?”
“His hiding magic is the same as mine. You can see me so you will see him too.” He nods and turns, wrapping the blanket tighter. “I will be back… soon.” He walks away quickly and turns around the corner of the house before she can say anything.
She stands frozen, wondering how she will ever be able to explain all of this to Mary.