Crossbreeds 3: Chapter 52 Mint Chip Hotdogs by RedPhantom ()
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Nim sat in the kitchen of the main house drawing. His head was clear of all the drugs, now he was trying to clear it of the magic. He hadn’t drawn anything the day before and it was starting to take a toll. The kitchen was a good place to draw because it had a table, and he wouldn’t disturb anybody.
“Good morning, Nim,” Carla said as she came in.
“Good morning, Mrs. Mathis,” he said without looking up.
“Nim,” she started. “How many times…”
Nim smiled. “Carla.”
“That’s better. What are you drawing?”
Nim showed her. It was something he had seen the day before. “I don’t know.”
“That’s a crane and it’s a very nice job.”
“Thank you. I think I it saw yesterday. I was a bit inebriated. I’m sorry if I said anything inappropriate.”
“You didn’t say much of anything. How are you feeling?”
“Much better, thank you.”
“Would you like some coffee?”
“No, thank you. I can’t have caffeine.”
“We have decaf.” Carla offered.
“Decaf?” Nim raised an eyebrow.
“Decaffeinated coffee. Most of the caffeine’s been removed.”
“No thanks. I probably shouldn’t have any caffeine today, unless I want to risk ending up like yesterday.”
“Might be a good idea to avoid it,” Carla agreed. “What happened to your arm? Is that what you had surgery on?”
Nim glanced at his arm. He was wearing clothes he had bought when he lived here. The sleeves only came to his elbows so he had wrapped his arm in a bandage to hide the scar. He had done the same thing when he had gone to help at the shelter.
“No. I burnt that a long time ago. I just don’t like the scar. My surgery was on my bellyfire.”
“My bellyfire. It’s what dragons use to breathe fire. I injured mine and when it healed, it fused to my lung. Thailyn thought it might cause problems so he and Shunati did surgery to repair it. It’s taking a long time to heal. It was worse than anyone realized.”
“What does that say?” She asked. He had finished the crane and was drawing decorative runes.
“Dentrias Nimitinas. It’s in immortal.”
“What does Dentrias mean?”
He smiled. “Dentrias is my birth name. Nimitinas is my apprentice name.”
“You’re not still an apprentice are you?”
“No. I haven’t been an apprentice for a thousand years. I just got used to being called by it. I recently changed my name to include both.”
“Ann was your apprentice, wasn’t she? What was her apprentice name?”
Nim smiled. “I don’t think she’d appreciate me tell you.”
“Is it that bad?”
“She thinks it is.”
“Is Jo still sleeping? How is she doing?”
“She’s still asleep. She’s doing well. I feel bad though. I don’t think she expected to spend her first month of marriage caring for an invalid husband.”
“Oh, surely it’s not that bad.”
“I’ve only been mobile about a week and a half. The first few days, they had me tied down so I couldn’t move. Jo had to do everything for me.”
“She didn’t have any help?”
“You two are bonded. How does she feel? Does she resent it?”
“I don’t know. The painkillers block the bond. I’ve hardly felt her at all since the surgery.”
“Well, seeing her with you last night, I’d say she isn’t feeling resentful at all. She knows this isn’t going to last. And, she loves you. When you love someone, you’re there for them. Let her know she’s appreciated and don’t worry too much about it.”
“It’s not a two-way street, either. You’re supportive of her with her parents,” Carla pointed out.
Nim growled. “Her mother is…” He decided it would be better not to finish that thought. Carla was a lady after all.
“I used to think Jo was being too hard on her, that Jo had given up too easily. When she called a couple of times, Jo thought she wanted to work things out, but it turned out she just wanted to avoid a scandal. Someone was calling her and telling her lies about me.”
Nim nodded. “He said I was a murderer. In truth, it was an accident. Someone attacked my mentor and I shielded her. His dragon fire deflected back and killed him.”
“Is that how you burned your arm?”
“No, Pt’this did that. It’s a long story neither of us cares to remember.”
Nim shrugged. “The end of the war was a difficult time for all of Baj-tisk.”
“How about your parents? Do you get along with them?”
“I did. They died seven hundred years ago,” Nim said.
“I’m sorry. I need to stop talking. I’m asking all the wrong questions.”
“It’s okay. I don’t mind talking about them. I got along with them, but we weren’t close. I was raised by my mentor. I didn’t see my parents much.”
“How did they die?”
“There’s this disease called fire breath. It affects the bellyfire and lungs. Most dragons die from it. It infected Baj-tisk. My dad died from that. My mom either died from it too or a broken heart when my dad died. I wasn’t there. I’ve heard both causes.
“I had been living in Bisfip then. The Council quarantined all of Baj-tisk. No one was allowed to return, although some of us did eventually. It was years before it was all cleared up. It wasn’t so bad for me since I hardly saw my parents anyhow. Pt’this had it worse. He lost his twin brother who he was quite close to and his mom. He spent most of his youth living among humans because of it.”
“Is that why you say he thinks he’s human?” Carla guessed.
Nim smiled and nodded. “It is a part. He used to act just like a human. He’d forgotten pretty much everything about being a dragon. It was quite difficult for him when his other brother had him come home. Fortunately, Mishtali helped a great deal and now it helps him as an ambassador.” Nim had been drawing the whole time he had been talking. Now, he stopped and saw what he had been drawing. He frowned and started crumpling the page.
“Don’t do that,” Carla said. She grabbed the page from him and smoothed it out.
“I hate it when I draw him. I don’t even realize I do it.”
“Who is it?” Carla asked. She shivered as she looked at the image.
“I don’t know. Jo calls him Mr. Creepy.”
“So, not your dad?” Carla guessed.
“No this is my parents and Chapado, my mentor.” He tucked the page into his drawing set and pulled out another.
“You look a lot like your dad.”
“I’ve been told that. Here’s Jo on our wedding day.” He handed her another page.
“Oh, that is beautiful. She’s a gorgeous bride.”
“I’m working on a color one of the two of us but it’s taking longer. Jo bought me a box of colored chalk and I’m still getting used to it. I left that one at home.”
“I’d like to see it when it’s done.”
“I’m sure we can arrange that,” Nim said.
“Good morning.” Jo came in. “What has you drawing Mr. Creepy this morning?” She put her arms around him from behind and kissed his cheek.
“Oh, we were just talking. That’s all,” Nim said.
“You didn’t take any green bough,” she said.
“No, do you want me to?”
“Are you kidding? After yesterday? Seriously, it’s up to you. The bond is weaker here. I’m okay,” Jo said.
“I think I’ll wait. I need a break after yesterday,” Nim told her.
Slowly the rest of the group drifted in. Andy, happy to be working in the kitchen, made breakfast.
“Okay, if Ann is as bad of a cook as she claims, I can see why she married you,” Thailyn said while they were eating.
Ann nodded. “Yep. He won my heart with his food.”
“You know, the chef…” Remtani started.
“No!” Andy said without letting him finish. “You have me as a karate instructor, ambassador, I’m testing mage students, helping at the home, and I’m going to be a dad. I do not have time to be the chef too.”
Remtani smiled. “Okay.”
“I never thought I’d be saying this again, but, Dad, can you give me a ride to the store? If I’m going to be cooking there are some things I’d like to get,” Andy asked Steve.
Steve laughed. “I didn’t think I’d hear that again. You can borrow the car if you want. Your license is still good, isn’t it?”
“It is, but I haven’t driven in two years.”
“Things haven’t changed. There isn’t much traffic until you get near town so you have room to warm up.”
“You’re going into town? Can I come?” Jaidu asked.
Andy shrugged. “I don’t care, as long as it’s okay with Thailyn.”
Thailyn nodded. “I’ll come too. Keep an eye on you.”
“You’re splitting up? How my going to keep an eye on all of you?” Remtani said.
“We’ll be fine here,” Dae said. “Go with them.”
“We’re not going?” Ti asked.
“Not this time.” Dae shook her head. “You don’t want to get sick again, do you?”
Ti nodded after a moment.
“How about you two?” Andy looked at Nim and Jo.
Nim shook his head. “If you haven’t driven in two years, I think I’ll pass. But, can you get hotdogs?”
“You eat hotdogs?” Ann asked. “You know they have pork and chicken right?”
He looked at Jo. “You told me they were beef.”
“The ones I got you were. Some are a combination and some are all beef.”
“Beef hotdogs, please. Oh, and mint chip ice cream.”
“Oh, do not get him both.” Jo made a face of disgust. “He puts the ice cream on the hotdogs.”
There were many protests from those who understood.
“What? You used to buy it for me all the time.” Nim looked confused.
“That’s because that was all you’d eat when you got sick.” She turned to Andy. “If you get them, get the big pack of hotdogs and a gallon of ice cream. He eats about five at a time.”
“You know, Nim, most people like things like ketchup or mustard or pickle relish on their hotdogs,” Andy said.
Nim nodded. “Yeah, I eat that on there too, and onions. I just like the ice cream along with it.”
“How about you, Vor?” Ann asked.
“I’ll come if you don’t think I’ll draw too much attention.” Vor nodded.
“We’re not hiding from an immortal this time. Just leave your hair down and wear the sunglasses,” Ann said.
“You can wear some of my clothes since Andy’s so short.” Nim offered.
“Short? Six foot is not short. You two are just exceedingly tall.” Andy insisted.
“Excuse me?” Remtani said. He was taller than anyone.
“Okay, you three are too tall,” Andy amended.
“That’s not what I meant,” Remtani growled.
“Perhaps that’s why Ann married him,” Vor teased. “Short people deserve each other.”
“Hey! Keep me out of this. I was premature,” Ann said.
“Who’s fault is that?” Remtani teased.
“Right. I’d grow so much more inside a dead woman.”
“Annlonna!” Nim scolded. “Watch yourself.”
“Sorry, Thailyn,” Ann said and left the table.
“I’m sorry too,” Remtani said. “I’m used to teasing Bacna about that.” He actually sounded like he meant it.
“Don’t apologize to me,” Thailyn said. “Apologize to her. She’s upset because she knows her height is in part her fault. Darina wasn’t tall and Ann was premature. Those didn’t help. But, she suffered a lot of malnourishment after she ran away, at a time when she should have been growing. That compounded the problem,” he explained.
“You’re right. I should go apologize to her.” Remtani nodded and stood. “Please excuse me.” He followed after Ann.
“Please excuse me also,” Thailyn said. “There’s something I need to do before we go.” Then he left.
“Do I dare ask what happened?” Carla asked.
“Darina was killed while she was still pregnant with Ann. They basically did an emergency C-section on her,” Andy explained.
“I don’t know the details,” Vor said. “But they brought her body back to the palace and Shun had to leave. Just being around that much damage affected him. He had to come and stay with me in Thager until after the memorial.”
“That’s terrible. It’s no wonder the poor girl has nightmares.” Carla shook her head.
“Mom, she was a newborn. She didn’t understand.”
“No, but I’ve seen amateur attempts at a C-section. If Shunati was affected by the body, her mother died very violently. That trauma could have affected Ann and everybody’s reactions only compounded it until the nightmares became the norm,” Carla argued.
“I think that’s unlikely,” Jo said. “It’s possible she’d have discomfort and that made sleeping difficult but it’s doubtful it would give her permanent nightmares. Finding the underlying cause would most likely take years of therapy with someone with more training than I have.”
Carla relented. They finished eating and went to find local clothes for everyone to wear.
Remtani found Ann in the room she and Andy had been sharing.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I did,” Remtani told her.
“Why do you have to act like such a shade-blasted cur?”
“Because I am a shade-blasted cur. I have been for a long time, and I don’t mean that spell either. It helps me be a good fighter if I don’t care about the person I’m fighting. To some extent, it also helps me be a good prince-general. I can send the soldiers into battle without worrying about them personally. Unfortunately, it makes me a poor brother.”
“Sometimes, I wish I never left Thager and came home. I was happy there. I didn’t have to hide who I was, my friends all knew. I didn’t have to think about my birth parents either.
“Do you ever miss Trilla?” She asked, referring to Remtani’s birth mom.
“I don’t remember her much. I don’t even know if what I think I remember is actually my memories or if they’re things others have told me about her.”
“At least people would talk to you about your mom. Tylan is the only one who knew Darina and she won’t talk about her.”
“What about Thailyn? Won’t he?”
“He has some. It’s difficult for him though. And it’s different now. Before, she was just someone to hear about. Now, she’s someone who’s missing from my life.”
“I know the feeling. I think we’ve all been through it to some extent or another. Piena, I think, felt it the most.”
“I think she still does. She hasn’t been to the palace since the day Jaidu came.”
“I know. I went to see her, tell her what happened with Jaidu. She was quite impressed with how you handled things with Shay. She also said she might come to visit. She feels if you and I can get along, maybe she and Mom have a chance.”
“You mean we have to get along for Piena’s sake?”
Remtani smiled. “I told her you said I was a decent guy. I think Mila should check her heart.”
Ann grinned. “Tell her I also said you were a shade blasted cur. She’ll be fine.”
“We should probably get going. I’m sure the others are waiting.”
“You need to change too. We’ll talk to Nim, see if he has enough clothes to go around.”
Image Comments (3)
zaqxsw () 9:28AM | Thu, 24 June 2021
Nice chapter... Lots of family drama with everyone. I can just see them all invading a grocery store.