Inky's Best Day
The sun was high in the sky over Dragonland. At the School in the Sky, the young dragons sat attentively listening to their teacher, the wise old Quetzal. Sitting behind the rest of the group of dragons was one little grey dragon looking very alone. Quetzal was currently telling the class about the activities of the next day.
"Tomorrow, ninos, you will be paired up with another dragon. I will pick your partners for you. This is an opportunity for you to share something with another dragon that you may not know so well. You may all decide how to spend the day with your partner after I assign you."
Inky looked up with increasing nervousness. A paired activity? With someone she didn't know? Inky grabbed the tip of her tail and began twisting it as she thought about all the other dragons she didn't know, suddenly she wished that she was home, shut in her room.
Quetzal began sorting out the young dragons. "Lorca and Wheezy, Ord and Gretta, Zak and..."
Inky's fears suddenly intensified. She was friends with Zak and Wheezy, and now they were both paired with someone else! Even Ord was paired and Quetzal, she was sure, would never put her with anyone nice.
"Inky and ..." Inky could hardly bare it. She would probably wind up with that big green bully dragon, he'd find out about her brothers and probably join them in making her life a living hell... who would she be paired with? She couldn't take it. She thought these things all within a fraction of a second and had already begun cringing when Quetzal said
Inky's head snapped up to look at Quetzal, a loud hiccup and several colored bubbles escaped her lips. Everyone stopped and stared, making her want to shrink into the floorboards and disappear. She was utterly speechless, sitting wide eyed as Cassie came to sit next to her. The dragon of her secret affections was sitting right next to her, and a whole day to spend with her tomorrow!
"Hi Inky," Cassie said in her lovely high voice. "What do you think we should do tomorrow?"
Inky's mind was racing with a myriad of things she'd like to do with Cassie. Inside she wanted to take her and hold her. She fantasized how she would admit her feelings and Cassie would tell her she loved her too. They would talk about books they liked and fly around to all their favorite places. But what to do first! She was so overcome by her sudden fortune that she could only say "I-I don't know... ummm... what do you want to do?"
"Well, we don't know each other very well, maybe we should go somewhere and just talk about ourselves" Cassie said.
Oh, she was so innocent. Inky was fit to burst with nervousness, it took all her willpower just to hold in her hiccups. She so wanted this all to work out.
Cassie looked her in the eyes, "Maybe we should go to our homes together and show each other our rooms and..."
"NO!!!" Inky blurted out suddenly, causing everyone to look at her for the second time that day. She was positively embarrased but she couldn't let Cassie come to her place. There were so many things no one knew about her home and her family. She composed herself quickly and thought up a solution. "S-sorry Cassie, I meant, how about we just go on a p-picnic or something? It's going to be a beautiful day tomorrow... umm... why waste it b-being inside t-together? Umm... if you want." Of course Inky really did wish they could be inside together, but if her brothers ever found out.... she shuddered to think of the hell they would cause just to ruin her day.
"A picnic woud be great! What should I bring?" Cassie inquired happily.
Inky relaxed slightly, relieved that Cassie was now diverted from the wrath of her family. She even managed to crack a little half smile. "Well, I'm going to bring my favorite, cinnamon and dragonberry raisin muffins. I think I'll also bring some sandwiches or something... umm."
"Oh, that sounds good, I'll see what I can get together. This will be fun, Inky!" Cassie giggled, "Where should we have the picnic?"
Inky, trying to consider how she would get everything ready and keep her brothers from ruining it, simply said "I dunno, you choose."
"Well, how about Rainbow Canyon?" Cassie said, causing Inky to look at her oddly. Inky considered her choice. She had always loved Rainbow Canyon, especially after it rained, why did this feel set up somehow. It was all too good to be true, and that made her suspicious. It was impossible! She would spend an afternoon in her favorite place, eating her favorite treat, and sharing it all with her biggest crush! She had to quickly clamp a hand over her mouth as she hiccuped in nervousness, her multicoloerd bubbles popping on her palm. She steadied herself and looked down at her feet.
"Sounds... perfect." she said slowly, fighting the depressing feeling that somehow everything would go wrong. Just then, Quetzal announced the class dismissed and Cassie got up to leave.
"See you tomorrow Inky, lunchtime at Rainbow Canyon!" and with that she went off to join Ord, Zak and Wheezy as they left, followed by the other dragons. She sat all alone in the room as Quetal waved the others off. In a second, she resolved that everything HAD to be perfect tomorrow. She wouldn't let this one chance slip away. She felt like armageddon could happen tomorrow, but she and Cassie would have a nice picnic tomorrow! She got up and rushed out the door, spinning Quetzal around as he was coming back inside.
Inky arrived home panting. She had never gotten home so fast... not that she had ever wanted to be home so fast before. She tried to enter her the cave as quietly as she could. She had to tiptoe past her brother's rooms to get safe within her own. She heard grunting from behind one of the doors, and silently wondered who was being abused today. She shook off the feeling. She just wouldn't let it affect her. She silently made it into her room and brought out her favorite things from her various hiding places. Stuffing a bottle of cinnamon and a package of dragonberry raisins into her pouch she headed out for the kitchen.
A few minutes later she had arranged everything she would need to impress Cassie with her culinary prowess. She had just picked up an egg to crack when a voice behind her made her jump.
"Hey lil' bitch. You're just in time, we were getting hungry." It was Tim, standing in the doorway looking mean as usual. "Dad said you are in charge of dinner tonight. Isn't that right Poe?"
"Yeah, so get crackin' lil' bitch." Poe chimed in, appearing behind Tim and looking rather subdued.
Inky looked angrily at them. They were interrupting everything! "Hey, I'm busy right now! And don't call me Lil' Bitch any more!"
"Yeah? Well we'll call you lil' SLUT tonight if you don't hurry up with the fuckin' dinner!" Tim roared and stomped past Poe, pushing him into the wall. Poe gave Inky a somewhat apologetic look, turned away, and headed for his room.
Inky looked down at a small ringing sound and found her badge glowing. Tim hated her standing up for herself more than anything. Her glowing badge really only served to show that she could expect some really rough treatment now. She decided that she should get on with dinner, she liked the thought of being "lil slut" a bit less than the thought of cowing down to something as simple as dinner. Decidedly not wanting to incur her incestuous brother's wrath any more than she already had, Inky quickly prepared a random assortment of food she knew her brothers would like, hoping to appease them with some of their favorites, and get them out of her headscales so she could just make some stupid muffins!
After serving her brothers their dinners and dodging the things Tim decided to throw at her, she scuttled back to the kitchen, tail twisted in her hands, to prepare the next day's feast and counted off in her head what she actually had time to make. If only making dinner hadn't taken so long...
Inky woke with a start in her dark room. She didn't remember being violated the night before so she guessed that her obediance had appeased her brothers. Standing up and checking through her heavily curtained windows, she saw that it was just after dawn. It was amazing, she didn't even feel tired even though she hadn't gone to bed till well after midnight. She felt excitement grow within her at the prospects for this day.
Sneaking quietly out of her room, Inky made her way to the kitchen to pack for the picnic. As she inspected her treats for any sign of tampering from her brothers, she noticed a note left for her.
We needed to run some errands in Shadowed Valley, your brothers came with us. We'll be back either tonight or tomorrow morning.
Love Mom and Dad
Inky let out a huge sigh of relief, a whole day without her brothers and they didn't do anything to sabotage her day! Not wanting to waste a minute of it, she prepared herself to leave as quickly as possible. She gave herself a look over in the mirror, deciding that her look was acceptable for something as simple as a picnic, though that didn't help the growing apprehension she felt. Gathering all the things she needed, she headed out, almost an hour ahead of schedule.
Inky landed near the canyon's edge and looked around at the vibrant colors shining through it. It was an impressive to see the shadows remaining from the morning retreat as the sun rose to it's zenith. A few large clouds drifted low on the horizon but the sky above was clear and blue. Twice she became enraptured as pockets of colored crystal or pools of color blended in the light to become uniquely beautiful before she heard footsteps on the grass behind her. Inky turned to behold her pink-scaled object of affection and all the confidence she had been building vanished.
"Hi Inky!" came Cassie's voice "all ready for our picnic?" Inky's words left her, here was Cassie... with her... all alone... it was all too much! She have a slight wave and half-hearted smile. Cassie landed near Inky and began to take things out of her pouch.
"I brought some sandwich stuff, cookies, and a bunch of fruit!" Cassie said with a friendly smile. After a moment of waiting, she figured that Inky wasn't going to volunteer any words. "What did you bring Inky?"
"Um... I-I made my favorite muffins, I brought the blanket and a few other things I made last night." She looked apologectic as she began unpacking her things, "I would have made more, but my brothers... made me make dinner"
Cassie looked at the things Inky was laying out on the blanket and noticed that they all must have required quite a lot of prep-time. Beside the muffins and other treats, Inky had set out origami napkins, a hand-decorated tray, and a few decorated weights to hold down the blanket against the wind.
"You really made an effort on this picnic didn't you?" Cassie said as Inky finished setting everything up. Inky looked up, surprised and blushing.
"Uh... I didn't go to too much trouble if thats what you mean... I... uh... I mean..." Inky stammered as she reflexively went for her own tail and began twisting. She caught herself and started again. "I just... wanted our picnic to be nice, thats all." She looked down at the ground and waited for Cassie to remark.
She jumped when she felt Cassie's hand on her shoulder. Inky's mind had been so wrapped up with preparations for rejection, she hadn't noticed when Cassie sat down right next to her! The hug was defiantely beyond what Inky had been planning on. Cassie gently raised her chin with a claw, "Thanks Inky! You know, I was worried that maybe you didn't want to be friends. I was real nervous because I didn't know you very well. I mean, you never really talk in class..."
Inky allowed herself a slight chuckle. "I... I wanted you to be my friend... I don't make friends easily... and... I... just wanted everything to be perfect."
"Hey," Cassie started, "It's ok Inky. You didn't have to go through all this trouble to be my friend. I'd have been your friend anyways." She smiled warmly "Now how about we start the picnic and get to know each other." Inky nodded, blushing, and resumed setting everything up.
Two hours later, Cassie had finally managed to get Inky to talk more-or-less candidly. The picnic went wonderfully, warm, light breezes and clear skies, good food... it was enough to make anyone relaxed. Cassie had to initiate the conversation but when Inky finally opened up, things seemed to go much more smoothly. Inky on the other hand, had been practically on pins and needles, feeling seriously scrutinized by Cassie's questions. But then, the words came easier, she began to talk about things she liked. Cassie and Inky began laughing about past stories and easy jokes. Soon enough neither of them felt very nervous at all.
"Hey I know something fun," Inky volunteered, much to the surprise of Cassie, "I can show you my secret cave down in the canyon."
Cassie was instantly intrigued. "You have a secret cave? I've been all over this canyon with Emmy, Max, Ord, Zak and Wheezy... I didn't know there were any secret caves!"
Inky giggled, "Thats why it's a secret, the colors disguise it, I found it one time when it rained and the colors washed away. As far as I can tell, no one else knows about it."
"Thats amazing Inky! I'd love for you to show me!"
Almost an hour later, Inky had led Cassie to her secret cave down in the canyon. Just as Inky had said, the colors of the canyon disguised it in such a way that no change in light would make it visible. Inside were sparkling crystals and pools of color just like many of the other places in Rainbow Canyon, but the particular arrangement that made the entrance unrecognizable also served to play tricks on the eyes as the light changed during the day. Cassie stood in awe for many minutes as the lights danced within the cave until she saw Inky, staring patiently at her and aglow with colors washing over her grey scales.
"There's more than just this." Inky said very plainly and began to walk toward the back of the cave. Cassie, quite overwhelmed, could only follow after her. Inky led the way up a narrow passage into a new room. This room seemed like the inside of a geode. It was dark as very little light reflected into this room and otherwise only two small beams of light came through one wall.
"Be ready Cassie. It's about to be very bright." Inky said as she put her hands into the holes in the wall. With a small grunt of effort she dislodged a whole portion of the geode! As she turned it to bring it inside, light flooded into the room. Cassie squinted as the new light reflected all around the walls. The whole room became as bright as day but the most amazing thing was that now, it seemed one could see all around the canyon! The crystals of the walls somehow reflected scenes from every angle of the opening all at once into an almost clairvoyant view.
"Oh Inky... it's amazing!" Cassie declared excitedly as she embraced Inky with unbridled exuberance. Inky silently exalted in sharing something like this with the biggest crush she'd ever had, and now, she was in her arms! Cassie's hug felt every bit as wonderful as Inky could have ever hoped and she wished that it would never end.
The pair sat and stared all around the canyon from Inky's secret room for quite some time. They talked lightly of times when they had each explored Rainbow Canyon in the past but generally kept hushed and reverant. Suddenly a low rumble was heard through the cave.
"We had better see what that was," Cassie began, "It sounded like thunder!"
The young dragons rushed outside and flew up to the lip of the canyon. Just as they passed the upper edge, they saw a massive thundercloud bearing down on them.
"Oh no!" Cassie cried, "where did that come from?"
The wind began to pick up and rain and lightning were visible from the stormfront. Cassie looked over at Inky, who was simply staring at the oncoming storm.
"Inky, we need to pack up and head home before the storm gets here." Cassie said, gently getting Inky's attention. Inky turned and looked at Cassie, feeling the first tinge of sadness she had felt all day.
"I-I'm not a strong enough flyer... I c-cant fly around this storm, I know it... I'm sorry Cassie, you can go ahead if you want." Inky said, looking down at her toes and reaching for her tail. "I'll be alright, I've been here through the storms before, I know where I can wait it out."
Cassie looked at Inky and giggled a little, "Don't be silly Inky, I'll stay with you! I wouldn't leave you alone in this. It'll be fun! It'll be like a Rainy-Day party!"
Inky looked up at Cassie. How wonderful she is, Inky thought, she'd stay with me when everyone else would leave. Not even this rainy day could ruin things for them now!
Inky helped Cassie gather all the picnic supplies and the pair went back into Inky's secret cave to weather our the storm. They made it inside with the rain almost literally on their tails. Inky rushed up to seal the geode wall so water wouldn't get in and then the pair spread out the picnic items once again.
"So, what should we do now?" Inky inquired, "I've never been to a Rainy-Day party..."
Cassie giggled a bit, "Well, when my friends and I have a rainy-day party, we usually do things to help us forget how rainy and cold it is outside."
"That... sounds like fun," Inky said, "I usually just stay in my room and make things or read when I can't go outside... I don't really have friends here in dragonland..."
Cassie sided up to Inky and hugged her gently, "I'll be your friend Inky, and the next time you're lonely, we can maybe do something together, ok?" This drew an odd look from Inky. Cassie felt she ought to continue. "I always noticed you in class, sitting all alone, so I asked Quetzal if I could maybe help you somehow. He said it was a good idea and paired us up. And now that I feel I've gotten to know you a little better, I," Cassie blushed a bit, "I think I really like you, you're so smart and talented, I feel like... if I got to know you more, we could be... really good friends..." Cassie looked down at her toes while Inky was wide-eyed in shock!
Inky's mind struggled to grasp what she had just heard, the one dragon whom she desired the most just admitted to liking HER!!! It was like a dream come true! And Cassie even said she wanted to be around her more often!!! This, she thought, was impossible but here it was happening! What should she say? What COULD she say? In an instant she knew she wanted to tell Cassie everything she ever felt about her. She opened her mouth to let go all her pent up feelings and... "Okay!" she squeeked, at the same time cutting loose with over a dozen colored bubbles. She immediately clamped her hands over her mouth and hoped Cassie wouldn't be offended.
Cassie looked up at Inky, noticing her shock and the colored bubbles floating about her head. "Inky? Are you ok? Where did those bubbles come from?"
"Um... yeah... I'm ok, The bubbles happen when I'm-" She hiccuped again sending out a couple more bubbles, "n-nervous... I get the-" she broke for another hiccup, seemingly to illustrate her point, "hiccups."She looked embarrased now. "My brothers say I'm weird because of it."
Cassie giggled softly, "You know, when I get nervous, I shrink," she smiled, "One time, I was teamed up with a bully for dragonberry picking and shrunk down to the size of a dragonberry." Inky giggled a bit at that, drawing a bigger smile from Cassie. "So now that we know, we shouldn't be nervous, right?"
Inky made I small smile, "Right, I guess."
Cassie came over and took her hand, "So lets have some fun before the rain stops."
After a couple hours of talking and playing 'catch the colors' and 'find shapes' the rain stopped. The girls went to the geode room to have a look around the canyon. The rain had washed away all the colors as it always did, but that didn't cancel out the spectacle. Inky and Cassie sat and looked for a little longer.
Inky sighed, "This is why I like this place so much," Inky began, "It reminds me of home in Shadowed Valley... the dragons there aren't as nice as hey are here in Dragonland, but I still get homesick for it... my parents are are there right now with my brothers, but... I... um... I-I-I'm glad I'm h-here with you Cassie." She reached out a hand for an instant and then pulled it back. "I... I..." She trailed off.
Cassie was all smiles at this point, "I'm glad we did this Inky, I got to know more about you." Her grin widened, "You know Inky, you're kind of like this cave right now."
"Oh?" Inky said, preparing for some inevitable let-down line or insult.
Cassie put her hand on Inky's shoulder, "you're grey on the outside, but inside you're colorful, and not just because of your bubbles," Cassie said with a giggle, "and no one has really ever seen inside, except you, and now, for a little while, me."
Inky was so touched by this she almost began to cry. If only she could show Cassie everything that was inside... but for now she could only say, "Thank you."
"Well, we'd better start heading home, or else it'll be dark, and I don't think we want to spend the whole night in this cave this time" Cassie begun, and moved to grab up the remaining picnic supplies. Inky sighed, little did Cassie know that she would be thrilled at the prospect of Cassie spending the whole night with her anywhere, though she knew Cassie was right and helped clean everything up.
It was twilight when Inky and Cassie landed, just a few feet from Inky's home. Inky saw light and knew that he family had come home a bit early, so she decided it was best not to land too close. She turned to face Cassie, seeing that she was already very close.
"Well, goodnight," Cassie said, taking Inky's hands in hers, " I really had fun today, we should do it again sometime."
"Um... yeah, definately." Inky said, still not believing everything that had happened in the span of a single day, "Next time, I guess, I'll pick the place."
"Sounds great," said Cassie, "See you tomorrow in school." and then, quick as anything, Cassie gave Inky a little peck on the cheek and flew off toward the setting sun.
Inky stood dumbfoundedly watching that lovely pink figure disappearing into the horizon. Did that really just happen or did she imagine it? It sure felt real to her! With a long happy sigh she turned back to the entrance to her home. She practically skipped to the door, and turning away from the comotion inside to glance one last time at the horizon, she knew, this had been her best day ever.
Killenor is responsible for this peice though I'd like to thank Lil'Shock, TijiSoothsayer, and TQV for inspiration.