Red Dragon

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After such an enlightening yet mundane discussion, and a meal that made Francis remember that fish were better off in an aquarium than ever on a plate, the two returned to the Academy. Along with their small band of followers. It seemed the drachan made something of a cult that day. With any luck, they will be a sex-death cult that will swarm him in the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully when Nicole was there.

But he knew better by now. He knew all it would take would be on swift breeze and they would scatter. The only difference this time would be they would spread he was actually a decent guy –a statement that would drive a certain Fang up the wall- but of course his mind returned to him. Rather, his sister. Where was she? They had one date, and now she decided to ghost him? That was his job!

He was half tempted to simply walk out the rest of the class to go find her, but he couldn’t do that to Johnny. He was kind enough to make him a new packet of notes to cover that morning’s sermon –and it had pictures. He could understand the lesson perfectly with that... if he bothered to pay it any mind. Instead, he kept glancing at the door, pondering only to feel guilty and reminded only to ponder again; a vicious cycle.

Broken, at last, as the day truly ended. Johnny wrapped up the lesson by telling all the good ghouls and beasts to stay safe later that week... which gave Francis a moment. What did he mean? Why did he put such emphasis on t- then he looked at the calendar on his phone.

“Oh shit,” he stated, pocketing his cell. “Halloween is coming up, isn’t it?”

“Are you a fan,” Lucas asked, tittering as he nudged Francis’ shoulder. “Big ole guy like you dress up? I bet it’s the one time of the year you get to wear a full dress.”

“Damn right! I have a full fledged queen ensemble in mind. Too bad I still don’t have a JOB to make MONEY for it.”

“She’ll be back after Thanksgiving break,” Johnny muttered, pinching his brow. “Lil filled me in during lunch. They gave up completely on the arm and are now using a... synthetic.”

Francis knew better by what he meant by that, but it didn’t change the fact he was being denied a way to make money AGAIN... He really didn’t want a job, but he was almost out of the first wad of twenties he and Ali made –which, speaking of, where was that pixie? She went up in smoke, as well... Would she be in Professor Deckard’s at that mo-

“Yes. She is.” Johnny stated. “She’s been looking for an opportunity to see you, but the wolf pack, the harpies, and a certain lamia have been making it a right pain.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, the wolf pack and Ali have been bouncing in and out of detention for the last month. I issued a statement to Lilith to keep them off your back, so they have been needing to take their aggression out elsewhere.”

“What do you mean to ‘keep them off my back’? What have you two been doing?”

“Light thought manipulation. Deflection and memory-holing.”

“Now that... that is fucked up. What right do you have to stop them from seeing me?”

“Considering all the crap you’re going through, I would be saying thank you,” the jelly bucket decided to butt in. “I’m only catching the tail-end of it and I’m surprised you’re standing at all let alone making heads or tails of it. Jesus, dude.”

“Did his advice of keeping it simple go in one ear and out the other?” Captain Kidd said, and groaned as Ben chortled, sauntering up to Francis. And clapping his shoulder.

“You boys don’t understand what it means to be a real man,” the centaur said. “We do what we must, and what we can. It’s not a matter of being able to handle it, but if it can handle us. Isn’t that right, bro?”

“I’m going to bang your sister,” Francis stated. Just in time for the door to open. For Ali. “Hey! I was just talking about you.”

“I know. Been distant. Sorry. Lot on my mind,” she grumbled- growled as the wolf pack came trouncing in. Guess the ‘block’ was taken down. “Here are four that I wish weren’t.”

“Yeah yeah, and you’ve been just the most wonderful point of my life as of late,” Mandy said, but chortled and smiled as she slapped Francis’s shoulder. “How’s it been, fuck meat?”

“Okay for the most part,” he said. “Still haven’t gotten laid –consensual at least. Been on three dates, eight if you want to count the lunches with Professor Deckard-”

“Which she does,” Ali grumbled.

“I take it she mentioned it a lot?”

“Not really mentioned but she was always so giddy to leave class to come see you. Then, when she ran ‘late’, she apologized and explained she was with you. Like we needed it rubbed in anymore.”

“For once, I agree with the prick,” Victoria said, gagging. “You could smell her lust-”

“As we could smell another, stronger scent on her,” Mandy muttered, snuffling at him. “Funny thing is, I noticed the musk of it immediately.”

“Oh?” Francis said, backing into his desk, and shot a glance over at Johnny. “That sounds... strange. But it’s time for this dragon man to go home. The question is who is going to do it-”

“Like that’s even a question,” Penny grumbled from the doorway. She swapped into something... less... red. In fact, it was more akin to a nun’s outfit, but if a nun’s dress fanned out like that around the thighs, well, maybe Francis would go to church more often. “Gather your shit so we can head out!”

“Oh my. Are you sure, Penny?” Bridget said, easing her way in. “Don’t you remember what happened this morning?”

“What happened?” Mandy blurted.

“Oh, it’s not my place to truly say-”

“Too late now,” Plank grumbled. “Besides, nothing came of it-”

“Thanks to me.”

“Yes. Thanks to you... So gather your shit, dumbass. We’re heading out.”

“I don’t feel that’s very wise.”

“I don’t give a fuck what you feel.”

“But if something were to happen-”

“Nothing. Is going to happen,” Francis stated, and huffed. “Besides, it’s been a while since Plank and I rode together. Ever since we drove side-by-side.”

“You have a car?” Ben said, and guffawed. “Damn, bro. Why didn’t you say so? We could go hit the town this weekend-”

“I’m afraid there is a misunderstanding and a conflict of interest,” Bridget interjected. “He doesn’t really have a vehicle, and he has plans with another.”

“Yet she left out who on purpose,” Ali mumbled... and sighed. She gave Francis a two-finger salute then lazed back to the entry. “Well, you have a good one, Frankie. Maybe we can hang out later in the week.”

“Sounds good-” He started to say, but was cut off by the wolf pack’s laughter.

“As if,” Mandy exclaimed. “He’ll be with us. Hell, we’re going to beeline right to his place tonight.”

“So swerving all over the place, crashing into random things, then bumbling up the stairs?” Francis said.

“Yes, actually,” Victoria said, winking at him, then chortled as she pumped her fists in the air. “We’re getting some booze first and some cheap-ass food.”

“Hell yeah we are!” Lupe and Luna boomed, then cheered as the three jumped and slammed into each other mid-air... Mandy, meanwhile, simply shook her head, rolled her eyes, but put on the biggest smile.

“Those girls. I swear... But expect us, Francis.”

She clacked her teeth together, then gave his cheek a small pat before turning around and leading the wolf pack out of the room... Francis (and, apparently, the rest of the class) waited until they were out and their giggles long since faded before he and the others looked to Johnny.

“Yes?” He said.

“You putting the mental blocks back on?” Francis said.

“Are you sure? Don’t you want them to have the freedom?”

“If you don’t do it, there’s a very likely chance either there will be four dead lycans or four litters of puppies.”

Penny scoffed while there was a round of (uneasy) chuckles through the class.

“Always thinking with your dick,” she grumbled, and slammed her staff into the tile. “Let’s. Get. Going.”

“Yeah yeah,” Francis said, and sighed as he spun around, collecting his notes off the table-

“That would be a sight to see, though,” Carl blurted.

“Hmm?”

“Oh. Thinking aloud.”

“No shit, but what would?”

“Are you thinking the same thing,” Olen remarked.

“Depends,” Carl said. “Does it involve the wolves and him?”

“Then three of us did,” Lucas said, his tail swishing.

“Okay. You are all pissing me off now,” Francis said, and rapped his fingers on the desk. “What are you all thinking?”

“What would be made,” Mordred answered.

“You might as well say the entire class had the thought,” Johnny said. “Even Deren.”

“I would never-” Captain Kidd began.

“Even I thought about it,” Bridget added, and rolled her wrist to Penny. “And even I think our local prude had it flit through her mind.”

“Like hell,” Plank exclaimed. “Why would I care about what a bunch of lycan-drachan babies would look like?”

“And... how did you know that was exactly where it was going?” Francis said, chuckling, lost to the rising chortles around.

“Three seconds. Don’t care. Move it!”

“Fine fine- whoa. She was serious- uh- until later guys –and Bridget.”

He started to the door- but was stopped as Bridget caressed his shoulder.

“You know, if you are that desperate,” she whispered into his ear... before giving it a small nip. She pulled it a little, turning his gaze to her, and saw her wink. “I’ll be along in ten. Shoot me a text.”

Thirsty is as thirsty does, he thought, but gave her a small kiss on the cheek before he sprinted out of the room, barreling towards that railing once again. This time, though, there was no bucking bronco underneath him. Nothing to slow him, nor to impede him as he dove over the side. His fins spread, raising the muumuu enough to give it a little wind, and he glided through the open doors, down the steps, and crunched his hands into the concrete at the bottom. Right before Penny.

He straightened, his fins folding back in, and sighed as he patted the perturbed wizard’s head.

“Man, you take forever,” he said, smiling wide. “I thought I would die of old age before you got here.”

“... Get in the car,” she said, and pulled out her key. A whole key; fancy! It had three buttons on it, which she pressed the middle and a pair of lights flashed on Francis’ back. He turned around, and looked upon that baby blue sedan. The lights inside were warmed by the button, showing off the soft brown interior. It was as soft as it looked as he climbed in, the seat sighing louder than him as he reclined in it. He didn’t even need to fish for the lever to push it back, already perfect for him. Expecting him. Penny groaned as she climbed in, and, after stowing her staff in the back, turned the key. Starting. Instantly... She shot a glance at him, looking more annoyed by the moment. “What’s with that face?”

“It’s... it’s a miracle,” he said, and fanned to the console, to the engine beyond it. “It’s... it’s alive! It’s alive!!!”

“Fuck you-”

“Hell no. Not in your wildest dreams.”

“Oh, fuck off!” She slung it in reverse, which it made sure one knew with a giant orange R in the center of the driver’s console, and a back-up cam appeared on the centered one. So many people passing by, so few worth actually hitting- but that’s where a good combo comes into play. She would need to hit ten in a row for it to matter, but they were lost to themselves, muttering drivel. It would be a delicious domino effect- “Besides, if little miss perfect didn’t jump in, you would have fucked me there and then.”

“Really? Are... are you upset that she did? Are you bitter that she stopped you from being raped?” He rubbed his brow, chortling again. Though this one was bitter, and turned his stomach. “Good God, that is... it’s a good thing you are going to a therapist. Because... damn... How is that going, by the way?”

“Well, she had a lot to say about what happened this morning... And she’s a bit interested in seeing you.”

“Not in a million years. Last therapist I went to ended up seeing five others and that became a nasty chain of events where there was a shortage of good help. Way too much to unpack.”

“I don’t doubt it a moment... but I did tell her you would most likely refuse.”

“How did she take it?”

“A bit saddened, but understands. She wants me to keep you around, though.”

“What!”

“Turns out your sort of a positive force in my life. I told her about your first date with Cass and how you consoled me-”

“Oh yeah! I completely forgot about that.”

She growled, and finally pushed the gas, backing out of the parking lot.

“You are such an ass... but you have good intentions.”

“And then this morning happened.”

“To be fair, I should have known better. You live by a rule of three and not to fuck with thee-”

“Huh. Never thought of saying it like that, but who says ‘thee’ anymore anyways.”

“- and I caught you at the worst time. No one is happy on a Monday morning, and you were already being annoyed.”

“So... let me get this straight: I almost rape you... and your take from it is that you are sullen about Bridget stopping it... and that it’s your fault it happened?” He whistled, shaking his head again, watching as the apartments came... and went. “Uh... You know you had to pull off there, right?”

“Oh. We’re not going to the apartments. Not yet, at least.”

“Penny? What are you doing?”

“Going for a drive... It’s as you said. It’s been a long time since we rode together.”

“Can’t really argue with that-”

“No. You can’t.”

“All I would need to do is jump out and-”

“You can’t.”

“Really?” He tried the door... and closed his eyes. “You put the child lock on.”

“I did. The window is locked, too.”

He huffed, and opened his eyes, resting his arm on the door as he laid his hand on its palm, looking at her.

“Okay. I’ll humor you. What’s on your mind?”

“As sad as it is, you.”

“Oh no... Don’t tell me you are about to confess your love, as well. I’m getting tired of that shit.”

“That will never happen. I assure you... but, in a sick way, you are the closest thing I have to a friend. And, as your friend... I’m worried.”

“About?”

“Take your pick! You are thinking way too much with your dick. Cass, the harpies, the wolf pack, Desiree, Beatrice, Tina, Dixie, Ezra... Bridget. Do you have any idea how much fire you are playing with?”

“You forgot one.”

“I don’t see you and Ali together-”

“I’m not talking about Ali –though you are right on that... I have a... secret admirer. She calls herself Destiny, and, hoo man, she is rough. She gives off super stalker vibes, but... I unno. It feels like she’s just REALLY bad at flirting.”

“Any idea who they are?”

“None- oh, and I guess there’s Jessica, too.”

“Jessica?”

“Yeah, the manticore in 321. I ended up meeting her after a long night of playing cards and crashing in the wrong apartment. Now she’s threatening to fuck me if I cook for her by Halloween.”

“You see? Every relationship you have ends up back with your dick.”

“Not every one. Look at you, Johnny, the guys in class-”

“You know what I mean.”

“Not really, actually, since I haven’t DONE ANYTHING with them... save for Bridget.”

She swerved a bit, almost going off the road with that revelation.

“What?” She blurted.

“It was nothing big. Just a titty fuck and suck-”

“When did this happen- no. Wait. I know exactly when it happened. It was right after she stopped me and she dragged you to her place. That fucking, no-good, opportunistic-”

“Eh? What’s the big deal? You don’t like me like that, remember?”

“No, but she knew it would GET UNDER MY FUCKING SKIN GODSDAMMIT!” She slammed the wheel- and yelped as the cheap material buckled in. And on fire. She wiped away the flames as best she could... but that burnt bit of wheel would no longer rise. “Great... Do you like Bridget?”

“Better than most right now. Even if she makes some disgusting coffee.”

“What?”

“Yeah, she brings over her own blends every morning basically. I have started to ignore the flavor, but they are horribly flowery.”

… She laughed, a derisive thing, and flames gushed from her knuckles as she clenched the wheel hard.

“Oh, that cunt,” she muttered. “That devious, scheming, dirty twat.”

“What? Something the matter?”

“Nothing. Nothing... just... relishing this moment. She probably wanted to see you later tonight, too.”

“She did.”

“So you want me to take you back now?”

“Nah... Let’s just... enjoy the ride.” He looked forward, at the coming sunrise, and yawned. “It’s been a while since I just had a drive... If it’s any consolation, I’m sorry.”

“I know.”

He hummed, and looked on, feeling his eyelids drooping with each, lowing rumble of the wheels on the asphalt- but, before he could pass out completely, he needed to ask.

“Have you seen Tiny?” He mumbled.

“Who?”

“Sorry. Tina. She... she seemed to have distanced herself since our date... Didn’t expect to scare her off- sorry... okay- that easily.”

“Probably didn’t want to be seen. Her brother wasn’t exactly happy.”

That shot his eyes open, and made his neck crack as he looked to her.

“What did he do?”

“Let’s just say she favored a pair of sunglasses for a few days. Completely healed now-”

“But it took A COUPLE days for it.” It was his turn to laugh, his flame’s time to froth, and the car seemed to whimper under his growl. “He should be thanking God I was suspended, but now that I know... Fucking piece of shit.”

“That he is. That he is...”

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