Fun Fictional Distractions
The character Kailian belongs to Nakase and are used by permission.
So here they were, hidden just out of sight from drink central. Getting Teerian back here took some coaxing. It was frustrating how difficult it was, getting him to do anything. Kailian hadn't worked this hard at concealing her frustration since working her last consulting gig. How long ago had that been? No expenses had bounced yet… That was a good sign. The kegs had been easy enough to open, and mugs weren't that hard to find, although they were more like shot glasses for a Valkyrie dragon.
"More?" Kailian said, pointing to Teerian's glass.
Teerian just stared at it in his hand like it was a foreign thing.
"You downed your last drink in one sip," she said.
"I don't drink much anymore," Teerian finally said softly.
"Well, tonight you can," Kailian said, trying to sound light and happy. "Who said you couldn't? Whoever it is. They've gotta get through me to stop you."
Teerian's shoulders slumped a little more, and he gave Kailian a sideways glance. His ears were down, too. Oops.
Kailian forced a snarly smile and held out an open hand towards the mug in Teerian's hand. Slowly, without looking up, Teerian set it into her hand.
Progress, she thought. One step at a time.
A few more cycles of this, and he at least started holding the mug out for refills faster. Perhaps the social lubricant was working.
"Do they keep you from drinking, here?" She asked.
"Saignus says it's not good to depend on it," Teerian said softly.
"Well, you gotta have some chill time now and then," Kailian said. "What do you do to relax around here?"
She could feel a little warmth starting to spread through her chest, finally. It had only taken 12 mugs worth.
"There's not much time to relax," Teerian said, taking another mug-full down. "We meditate a lot, and we travel a lot, but I'm kinda used to traveling."
"Did you travel a lot… Back there?" Kailian said softly.
Teerian nodded as she refilled his mug again.
A heaviness settled over the conversation for a moment. Both of them knew what she had meant. Anyone who knew anything about Valkyrie dragons had heard a thing or two about the merciless world they came from.
"What did you do?" Kailian muttered softly to him.
"I was a dancer," Teerian said.
"Oh," Kailian said, "You did travel a lot."
The warmth was finally spreading up to her shoulders and arms. She felt more relaxed.
"Yeah, dancers had it rough there. Were you a slave or free?"
Teerian shrugged and looked away, "I don't remember."
Kailian stared at him, watching his face for an openness that didn't seem to be there. She grunted.
She held out her hand towards his mug, and she took it. She refilled it and handed it to him.
"I'm glad you got out," Kailian said softly.
Teerian sniffed a little. It was hard to tell with him looking down like that, but there may have been tears. Kailian could feel anger welling up as she watched him. She wanted to gut whoever hurt him, whoever was hurting him.
Teerian tipped his mug back and gulped.
"So do they really take care of you, here?" Kailian said in a low tone.
"Yeah," Teerian said curtly, a little nervously.
"I can help if they aren't," she said. "Really."
"Ok," Teerian said softly.
Kailian looked away into the darkness. The sounds of music filtered in softly from the dining area.
"Nobody understands what it's like," she said, "being one of us."
She drank a draught and turned to the keg to fill her mug again.
"Everywhere I go, everyone stares. Everyone treats me like I'm some kind of monster."
Teerian was looking at her now.
"Just going into a town means I have to be ready to fend off a bunch of people who can't just leave me alone and let me do my thing."
She drank another draught and stared into the darkness. The warmth was spreading down her arms, now.
"It was worse back when everyone different on Earth was still in hiding… but even now that self-aware animals are a protected class, I still have to watch my back…"
She looked over to Teerian, who had turned to face her. His pupils were overly dilated, and he seemed to be swaying a little more where he sat.
"What?" Kailian said. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Teerian smiled, and Kailian thought she heard a giggle. Without a word, he opened his arms and leaned against her chest, wrapping his arms around her waist. Kailian leaned back, looking down and snarling.
"What are you doing?" She said.
"Just wanted a hug," Teerian said softly.
"No," Kailian said, pushing him away. "Why do you think you can do that?"
Teerian sat up again, looking up at her. His face conveyed hurt.
"But...I just thought…" Teerian said shakily.
"Don't touch me without asking," Kailian said, her voice rising. She could feel her heart rate picking up, and her breathing was getting faster.
"Ok," Teerian said, "can I please?"
He was already leaning in again, arms already opened.
"No," Kailian said, her hand on his chest, "you can't."
She glared at him.
Teerian sniffed. Watching the tears roll down his face filled Kailian with rage.
"No," she growled shakily.
Teerian looked down for a moment. He slowly stood up, and still looking down and sobbing, walked away.
"Is everything alright?"
That was Saignus's voice. He strode through the torchlight towards Kailian.
"How long have you been there?" Kailian said, glaring at him.
"I just got here," Saignus said, calmly looking her in the eyes, his staff planted in the ground by his side. “I saw that Teerian is upset.”
Kailian just glared at him.
"Is Teerian okay?" Saignus asked.
"I didn't hurt him," Kailian growled.
"Are you okay?" Saignus asked.
"What is okay?" Kailian muttered.
Saignus shrugged. "If you find out, clue me in."
Kailian sighed and looked away.
"And what do you care?" She said. "As long as people keep working for your cause…. Whatever it is…"
"I see," Saignus said. "But what if they are my cause?"
"If you've had enough to drink, we have a tent that might fit you if you want a place to chill for a while." Saignus said. "It's this way."
Saignus walked away at a leisurely pace. Kailian sighed and growled. She got up with a clank and a grunt. She set off following the soft-looking yellow dragon.
Everywhere Kailian saw people cleaning up, gearing down for the night. Kailian followed Saignus through the dining area, then through an area full of lanterns and tents. It was a little hard to focus, but Kailian could still make out warm, soft light emanating from inside the canvas structures. They made several bleary turns before coming to a large tent. It looked like it was built to accommodate a family of 8 humans. Saignus stood still, watching it until Kailian came alongside him, arms crossed. She shivered a little. Saignus gave her a smile and stepped forward, pulling back a tent flap.
There were several lanterns inside burning low. Pillows and blankets on different colors were all over the floor. The spicy smell of incense drifted outward, along with the scent of pine.
"Thanks," Kailian said, starting forward and ducking into the door. She didn't remember much of what happened after that.