41: Double Trouble
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I logged out with the vague idea of trying to find Nia while I was at school, but I also sort of figured it would be a waste of time. We had no idea how to contact her after all.

I ate those words… or thoughts rather, when I sat up in my room and took the VR headset off. A very tiny, very cute snore tore through the quiet room. The damned dragon was just… just... sleeping on my desk!

Staring at her while she slept felt so weird, but at the same time… she was so cute like that! Like a little cat or fox or something, all curled up in a ball.

Feeling both brave and cheeky, I reached out and began to scratch behind one of her big fluffy ears. It twitched, then her eyelids flickered and she leaned into the touch, mumbling in a language I didn’t understand.

“Nia…” I whispered, taking it away before she realised what was happening and like, bit me or something.

Clarity consolidated within her starry eyes and she glanced up at me. She seemed to consider me for several long moments before she spoke. “Sup.”

A snort escaped me before I could stop it, and I grinned. “You know, of all the things a sleeping dragon says when she wakes up… sup isn’t usually in the story books.”

“Yeah well, I’m a pretty skux dragon,” she chirped, lifting herself onto all four of her feet with a stretch. “Do the kids still say skux?”

“Uh… no,” I replied in a deadpan.

“Good, I fuckin’ hated that word,” she said with a toothy, foxy grin. “God, high school was so shit.”

I wiggled a hand in a so-so gesture and sat back down on the edge of my bed. “I’m enjoying it more since I changed.”

“Lucky,” she sighed wistfully. “I started my transition afterwards. Went through the whole stupid shit show as a dude. Hated it. But that’s not the point, the point is that I am officially myself again, according to the NZ govt. Took some creative spellwork and more than a little deception but, I got it done.”

“How on earth did you do that?” I asked curiously, leaning forward. Goddess, I really wished I could do actual magic, not just the limited Pellan variety.

Looking very proud of herself, she began to explain, “It was really difficult, but I’m pretty damned good when things get sketchy, so I got it done. First, I had to falsify a whole bunch of records, say I was over in aussie for all this time, then split myself in half and have one half pretend to be my witness protection agent while the other half… well yeah, it was a whole thing and—”

I put my hand up. “Hold on… split yourself in half?

Her answering grin was that of someone who had finally been asked to perform that really crazy party trick they knew. Not that I actually knew what that grin was like because I didn’t go to parties, but yeah. That’s how I imagined it looked.

Her body began to blur, as though I’d hit the gaussian blur effect on photoshop and cranked the radius up to like a hundred. Assuming you were working in a project that was like 5k by 5k. Anyway, point is, she got like suuuuper blurry.

Then, she popped, one half of the blur going left, the other going right, and suddenly there were two tiny dragons. One was almost like Nia, but an even darker shade of purple, and there were fewer stars in her feathers, fur and eyes. Meanwhile, the other was brighter, more of a lavender colour and had golden accents all over.

The darker one, who I assumed was the Nia half, winked at me. “This is Lea, she doesn’t come out much, but yeah. Two of me!”

“Sup,” the golden one, Lea, said. “I’m her less spastic twin. All the sensible goes into me when we split, and she turns into a total derp.”

“I do not!” Nia exclaimed, swatting at Lea with her tail.

That tail swat started a full on battle, Lea lunging for Nia’s throat with a growl, while the other bounded across my desk to escape. Like a pair of kittens, they bounced and hopped and hissed and growled their way all over my room while I stared at them in bemused confusion.

“Hey!” I finally shouted. “Hey! Come on, sto—“

My words died in my mouth as I watched my homework get incinerated by dark purple dragon fire. Alright, that was enough!

I summoned two of my lightblades, one from each hand and then slammed them together edge to edge. The resulting sound was like if a lightsaber clash and nails on a chalkboard had an awful screaming child.

Everyone in the room winced at the sound, and I quickly dismissed them. “Stop fighting! Also, Nia, you owe me some homework.”

“I what?” she blinked.

“That pile of ash,” I said, pointing to my desk, “Was my homework.”

Sheepishly, she followed my finger with her little snout. “Ah… my bad.”

“Silly girl,” Lea laughed, reaching out with a tiny dragon hand to pat her twin, or… herself? How did they even refer to themselves? Goodness this was confusing.

“This is why I don’t let you out very often,” Nia mumbled, pressing her small body against the other small body that was also hers but also not. “Things get burned and—“

“Our girlfriend likes it though,” Lea said with a wink in my direction, ignoring her midnight self.

It took my thoughts a second to follow the train of thought that had just happened there, and when I understood, a furious blush lit my cheeks. I quickly changed the subject. “Why are you both in my room?”

“Oh right, we were explaining that we are a person now!” Nia said happily, bouncing down to the floor with a little thump to join me on the bed. Lea just stared, then curled up and went back to sleep. This was getting out of hand, now there were two of them!

“Soooo?” I prompted, trying to keep my exasperation internal.

“So yeah, I’m a person now, or rather, I am officially myself again!” she exclaimed, tail thumping happily on the bed.

Pulling my feet up under me in an effort to get more comfortable, I asked, “What does that mean for getting Karen free then?”

“It means that I am legally her sister again, which means that I can also legally take custody of her… or provide an alternate home or… whatever, the rules are fuzzy,” she told me. Gosh, the way she still gestured and moved like a human was really fascinating when it was in a tiny dragon body.

“How soon can you get her out?” I asked hopefully, excitement building. If I’d had a tail like her, it’d be thumping the bed as well.

Nia winced and glanced away. “I have to build myself up now… like, as a person. Get a bank account, get a job, all that kind of thing. I have to make myself look put together and respectable so I can convince a judge to let her live with me. We also need to collect evidence that our parents are fucking cunts. That part shouldn’t be too difficult, but if you have any hard evidence, it would be great.”

“I think I can arrange something actually…” I said, thoughts turning.

If we went and did something gay in public together again, the rumours would fly and her parents would do something shitty. We’d just have to make sure it was all recorded first. Oh… if we waited until Nia was set up and respectable before we did it, we could use it as a natural catalyst to get the ball rolling!

“I think… I think I have a plan,” I explained with growing excitement.

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