Info note: Perzika's name means "little dragon hatched on Perseoc." Perseoc is the fifth day of the demon week, and is the same as our Friday.
Why Dragons Sleep
There is a saying in hell that the devils drop good fortune into even the most ill-seeming encounter, and that it is up to the demons to find it.
This is the story of one such encounter.
"Perseoc night, and I'm feelin' loneleeeeey!" the voice of a young bored Stellar dragon warbled across the pond of the Northern District's White Dragon Park.
Of course, on "Friday" nights, Perzika Galena-clan was almost always alone.
"Man, I gotta learn how to sing," Perzika sighed, leaning back against the bench. "Another night wasted..." He played with the edge of his cloak. "Not like I'd ever get lucky anyways, but..." He sighed again.
"Stupid. Stupid." Perzika shifted on the bench. "Maybe I should just listen to Momma and go back to school.."
He was still chastising himself when a shrill scream echoed across the park.
Perzika looked around in surprise. "What? What was that? It sounded like a girl!"
"ARGH! Leave me alone, you stupid son of a bitch!"
He hopped off the bench as he noticed a figure rapidly approaching from the entrance of the park.
"Wow, it is a girl!" Perzika preened briefly. He got a better look at the girl as she approached, running at a full tilt. Her long silver hair and tail fluttered out behind her, and she was barefoot despite wearing what looked like a dark blue dinner gown.
She stopped abruptly in front of him, panting softly. Perzika looked up at the young woman--she was easily almost a foot taller than him. (True, he wasn't tall to begin with, but her height made him feel even shorter.) She stared down at him with a panicky look on her face.
"Please!" she said breathily. "You've got to help me!"
"Yes!" She grabbed Perzika's hands in her own. "You've got to hide me!"
He gave her a doubtful look. "Hide you?"
"Yes, please! I don't want Mosite to find me!"
Perzika blinked cluelessly, realizing in the back of the mind that he was echoing everything the girl said. "Mosite?"
She squeezed his hands, looking mildly frustrated. "Yes, my fiancé!"
Footsteps sounded from the direction that the girl had arrived from. Perzika looked around quickly. He managed to free himself, and then grabbed her by the wrist.
"Come on, over here!"
He dragged her behind a very large statue of a synth dragon. They crouched behind the base of the statue just as a man came through the entrance of the park. Perzika peeked out a bit to see the man as he approached. He--Mosite, Perzika guessed--was nearly the same height as the girl, and sported blue hair nearly the same dark shade as her dress. The man's tail twitched as he passed by the statue. He paused, looking around, but then continued on.
After a few minutes they emerged from their hiding spot and returned to the bench previously occupied by Perzika.
She smiled, flushed. "Th-thank you.."
Perzika was distracted by the girl's curling gray tail. She was a smoke angel. *No wonder she's so tall.*
"Don't mention it."
She looked around again, checking for the man. "Mosite really is an idiot."
"Were you two playing hide and seek?"
"More like seek and destroy."
She sighed, trying to smooth her hair. Perzika stared raptly, his pulse quickening. She looked at him. Perzika looked away with a blush.
"Not like I get any say in it, of course."
He glanced back at her. "You don't want to marry him?"
"It's an arranged marriage."
"Oh..." Perzika fell silent, feeling stupid. After a few moments of silence between them, the girl tugged on his right bang.
"I didn't ask... what's your name?"
"Sounds draconic. My name's Grace. Devantier clan."
"It is... Galena clan."
"Mm-hmm..." Grace tilted her head a bit to look at him better. "Wrong hair color for a Synth.. no wings...no tail...Sonika?"
He realized she was trying to guess what kind of dragon demon he was and blushed. "I'm a Stellar... I'm just hiding my wings."
Grace hopped up from the bench, looming hugely over him.
"Why? Aw, c'mon, I want to see them!"
She smiled again. "I bet they're cute, just like you!"
The blush on his cheeks darkened. "I-I-I..."
Grace laughed and sat back down on the bench. "Maybe later then."
"Mm-hmm..." She looked around the near-empty park for a moment. "So what were you doing out here all lonesome-like?"
"Ah...what I always do on Perseoc nights...being alone."
Grace leaned a bit closer, draping an arm across his shoulders.
"That's no good..."
"B-but it's the truth."
"Then make a new truth!"
He sighed, leaning forward on his elbows. "Right."
They lapsed into silence again. Grace hummed, playing with Perzika's ponytail. She twirled the blonde hair around her fingers, smiling as he gave her an uncertain glance.
"You've got pretty eyes, Perzika."
"I..." *You've got a very pretty...everything.*
Grace leaned closer, staring at him intently. "I hope our children have pretty eyes like that."
He swallowed. "That's very presumptuous of you."
A smile remained on her face as the hand resting over his shoulder reached up to touch his cheek. "Is it really?"
"I...think it is. I mean, you're already going to marry someone else."
Her tone was serious. "No, I'm not."
"Grace! There you are! Why did you run off like that?" Behind them, Mosite had returned without their noticing.
Grace bristled, but didn't move. "Because you're a creep, Mosite!"
"Come now, Grace darling, don't talk like that."
She stood abruptly, causing Perzika to topple off the bench. Grace turned to face Mosite, her cheeks flushed. Perzika flinched a bit as he saw how her soft features had hardened into an angry mask.
"Leave me the hell alone, Mosite!" She shouted across the short distance. "I'm not marrying you! I don't care what my parents say. No!"
Mosite's expression darkened. "Now, Grace..."
"No! I'm not going to marry you, and that's final."
Perzika wasn't sure what drove him to his feet, other than the urge to remove the horrible angry look from Grace's face.
"That's right!" Perzika shouted as he righted himself. "She's...she's going to marry me!"
Both smoke angels gaped in shock at the shorter man.
"Perzika..." Grace recovered quickly. Her expression turned to nothing short of rapture as she latched onto Perzika, crushing him against her. Due to the height difference, his face ended up mashed into her breasts.
*Aw, hell, I'm an idiot...though this is nice... her heart's racing! Wow!*
"I'm marrying this little cutie right here!"
Mosite took a faltering step toward them. Perzika heard him move and was a little concerned because he couldn't see what was going on. He tried to turn his head, but Grace held him fast in place.
"Nonsense!" Mosite snorted. "You can't marry a scrawny little dragon!"
"Of course I can. And I will!"
"Not if I have anything to do with it!"
"Yes, I will!" Grace shot back stubbornly.
Mosite was fuming, and pointed a shaking finger at her. "You won't get away with this."
Grace watched as Mosite stalked off. She didn't release Perzika from her grip until the other man was gone. He remained pressed against her, and Grace blushed.
There was a pause, and then he stepped back. His cheeks were dark. Perzika stared at Grace's chest for a moment, then stole an upward glance. She laughed.
"Thank you for saving me again."
Perzika sighed, sitting back down on the bench. "Just add it to your tab."
Her voice was soft. "Perzika... did you really mean what you said to Mosite?"
He stared down at the ground between his feet. "I...um..."
"You're so cute." Grace sat, practically in his lap. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him again, though more gently than the first time. "I'm glad I found you."
She rested her chin on the top of his head. "Of course, Mosite is quite angry. He'll probably make you fight him."
Perzika paled. "Please be joking."
"It's smoke angel custom...so I'm afraid not. But all you have to do is beat him in a fight! I kick his ass all the time, so how hard can that be?"
"Great." Perzika laughed weakly.
"You'd probably never win if you were both using magic, since Mosite's already at the gold level.."
"I'm only at the red level." He looked up at her. "You?"
He paled again. "But you're so young! How could you be at that level already?"
"Natural aptitude, I guess. And I train a lot." She paused. "Hm? Well, how old are you?"
Grace sighed. "I just turned 2000. Mosite's been pestering me more since he knows I have to get married soon."
*Geez, I'm twice as old as her!* Though he knew, rationally, that a cycle from now their age difference would seem unimportant. But now...
Grace leaned back against the bench, her arms still wrapped around Perzika. "Maybe he'll agree to armed combat." She smiled cutely. "You could trip him."
"I meant that nicely!" she laughed. Grace bent and kissed his forehead. Perzika continued to blush as she rested her cheek on the top of his head. "It isn't my fault we're so damn tall."
He smiled faintly. "I suppose it has its drawbacks. Stellar dragons aren't so vertically inclined."
"Synths are kind of tall, though," Grace said absently.
She laughed. "And here I was thinking that Synths and Stellars didn't hate each other."
They lapsed into silence again. Grace tightened her grip on Perzika.
"I still want to see your wings."
He sighed softly. "Don't worry, you will sometime."
Quiet again. Grace played with the collar of Perzika's cloak for a few minutes before speaking.
"I was wondering...um...I was wondering if I could go home with you tonight?" His back stiffened. "No, not like that! It's just...my parents are probably really mad at me because I ran out of their little dinner party. And because Mosite has probably went back and tattled already..."
He sighed and nodded.
"Thank you, Perzy!"
When the pair arrived a little while later all the windows were dark at the Galena-clan household. Grace toyed with the fingers on her gloves as they approached. She stared up at the darkened windows.
"No one's waiting up for you?"
"It's just my mother now," Perzika said. "And I think she's used to me going out at night. She trusts me, I guess."
"Never brought a girl home before, eh?"
They went inside and scaled the stairs to the second floor. Perzika suppressed a laugh as he noticed that Grace was taking the stairs two at a time. At his room, Perzika hung back in the doorway as Grace made her way around the room. Her tail twitched inquisitively as she took everything in.
"Wow, you've got a big bed." She cast a letchy grin over her shoulder. "And I thought you said you didn't bring girls home?"
He flushed. "I don't! There's another reason for the bed..." Perzika waved a hand. "You can sleep there. I'll sleep on the couch."
He went into the bathroom. Grace flopped onto the bed.
She hummed to herself while waiting for Perzika to return. He emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later, cloak draped over his right arm. Grace sat up. She noticed the wings curled tightly against the young dragon's back.
"Oh, wow! No wonder your bed's so big..." She waved him closer, turning him around once he got near the edge of the bed. "I still don't understand why Stellars like to hide their wings."
"Let them out, please? I've never seen anyone's wings up close before."
Perzika hesitated, but then relented with a shrug. His winged unfolded, and Grace found herself surrounded by a wall of golden feathers. He had four wings--a very large pair for flight, and a much smaller pair above the first.
"Quite the wingspan, Perzy."
"You guess?" Grace smiled, petting a wing idly. His wing tips quivered. "Oooh, and sensitive too!"
She pounced on him, wrapping her arms around his waist and flopping back onto the bed with him.
He yelped in surprise and squirmed a bit. "Grace!" *What've I gotten myself into?*
Grace didn't let him go. "You're so cute."
"You're awfully strong," Perzika wheezed.
"You really think so?" She seemed pleased at this, and gave him a little squeeze.
"Ow! Yes! Please let me go already!"
She released him, and Perzika rolled over, next to her on the bed. Grace rolled on her side and gazed at him. Her expression turned serious.
"Perzika, you're not going to lose on purpose against Mosite so that you don't have to marry me, are you?"
His voice was soft and muffled by the bedspread. "Well, it wouldn't be on purpose. I don't have a huge chance of winning." He turned his head and looked at her. "But no, I wasn't going to try to lose."
"Why not? You could, quite easily..."
"Who'd want to lose a nice girl like you?"
It was Grace's turn to blush. She flopped onto her back, and stared up at the ceiling for a few minutes.
"Don't sleep on the couch."
"But, Grace, we barely know each other, and..."
"Don't worry, I won't try anything if you won't." A smile ghosted back onto her face.
Perzika sat up. He didn't look at her, and he didn't say anything.
After a few minutes: "Something wrong?"
He shook his head. Grace tugged on the fingers of her gloves again.
"You can sleep on the couch if you really want to. You...don't have to share the bed with me."
He sighed softly.
Grace sat up, putting her gloves on the bed next to her.
"Can I be completely honest with you?"
He stared at the far wall. "I don't want you to ever be anything but completely honest with me."
She scooted closer to Perzika, her tail brushing against his wing as she did so. He shivered a bit at the contact.
Grace whispered into his ear, tail brushing back along the edge of his wing. "I'd really feel a lot better if you stayed with me."
Perzika let out a shaky breath. He glanced at her. She was giving him an unbearably cute pleading look.
A little voice in Perzika's head cursed his inability to turn her down. "A-alright."
Two hours later, Perzika was still wide awake. Part of this was due to the fact that his physical body was anxiously tensed. He wasn't used to having a beautiful woman near him. Wearing one of his nightshirts that only reached a little past her tail. In his bed. Latched onto him like he was a stuffed animal. Worst--or was it best--of all, her tail had coiled around his left leg, the tip resting against his groin.
The other part of his wakefulness was due to the fact that he was afraid that this was just a dream, and that when he fell asleep it would be over. That when he woke up he'd be alone again.
So no, sleep wasn't the main thing on Perzika's mind as the night crept on.
He sighed softly, noticing absentmindedly that his right flight wing had gone numb where Grace was laying on it. *Funny, it's never fallen asleep before.*
Grace murmured in her sleep, her arms tightening around his torso.
And then suddenly, her arms were gone and she was sitting up in bed.
"Aw, shi--!" The bed lurched as Grace hopped over him and made a bee-line for the bathroom.
"What the...?" Perzika sat up, his numb wing drooping against the sheets. Now that the pressure was gone, it immediately began to sting. "Oww!" He tried to massage the sting out of the limb.
Grace emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later. "Sorry, I forgot to go the bathroom before we went to bed..." She noticed Perzika's actions. "Hm? What are you doing?"
"I-uh-my wing fell asleep when you were sleeping on it," he said with a sheepish grin. "And then it woke up when you got up."
She laughed softly, sitting on the edge of the bed. "I wasn't asleep."
Grace blushed. "You were awake?" She suddenly looked very embarrassed. "Oh dear, I must've been driving you crazy."
"Ah-huh...you were doing that on purpose, weren't you?"
She smiled. "Mm-hmm." Grace patted the bed between them. "Turn around, I'll massage your wing for you."
"But it's almost--"
He quickly did as he was told, scooting around on the bed so his back was to her. Grace's hands went to the wing in question, and her voice was soft with amusement when she spoke again.
"You'll have to sleep on your side so that I don't do that again."
"Ah..." He shifted a bit. "I didn't really mind..."
She chuckled, one of her hands trailing off his wing and resting on his spine. The back of his nightgown was open around the wings, something she'd noticed with amusement earlier in the night. "You're awfully tense, Perzy."
"I'm just nervous, I guess."
She brushed his long blonde hair over his shoulder. "Why nervous?" Grace massaged the base of his wing, eliciting a small moan from the man. "Aw, that was cute."
"I...uh..." his head drooped as she continued massaging his back.
"Don't worry," she said softly, though he could hear the smile in her tone. "I'm a virgin too."
She laughed, not removing her hands from the base of his wing. "Did you know the skin between your wings blushes too?"
He supported his forehead in his palm. "Oh gods..."
"You're so cute."
He mumbled something incomprehensible as she continued.
Eventually she stopped, hands coming to rest on his shoulders. Grace leaned forward, pressing a soft kiss at the base of his two smaller wings.
"Um, pardon my asking..."
He blinked a few times before realizing she'd spoken. "Hmm?"
"So that I don't accidentally make an ass of myself in the morning, could you tell me where the rest of your family is?"
He lifted his head, shoulders tensing again until Grace gave them a squeeze.
"You mean, why am I still living with my mother?" Perzika swallowed.
"Well, that too I suppose."
He sighed, attempting to move away. She held him in place.
"My father...died in the last war between the Stellars and Synths," Perzika said softly. "I was still a baby then. I have three older sisters, but they've all gotten married and moved out."
The grip on his shoulders lightened. "And you?"
"I just never found anyone. And so I look after my mother. She gets a bit apathetic about living sometimes. Misses my dad."
Perzika was silent, but when he looked over his shoulder at her he was smiling. "Thank you for asking."
"Wha-" Her surprise was cut off as he slipped out of her grip and turned, closing the gap between them in a soft kiss.
"I've decided..." he whispered, still nose to nose with her.
"...I'm going to do everything I can to not lose."
[ Part 2 ]
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