When among Dragons... Chapter 6 In Flux
by Machara and Chryos Stormwing
Special thanks to
my love Chryos who creates this with me,
Gabe as my editor and friend
as well as Sammi for ideas
Marian sat beside the steering wheel on the drive back home, glancing towards the back seats.
“I'm sorry I had to get you out of the hospital, but my superiors started asking why a room was 'unused' for so long. You seem stable enough, even though I remain worried since it's been so long now and the latest blood test still shows massive changes in your system. Even your hormones have dramatically changed.”
Garrus’ muffled musings could be heard from beneath the blankets covering both of them to avoid them being seen. He could dimly see the outlines of Drews face close to him that he was looking into, who was staring back, sharing the same amusement on his lips as his older half-brother.
”They have, haven't they…”
The tiredness was gone now, despite having rested in a parking garage for most of the time. Garrus felt just a little frustrated at the loss of agency regarding his condition. Not just due to the attack but the whole ordeal of being basically locked into a room for a good month, having little contact to the outside world and, last but not least, the change itself. The one thing that had probably kept him from developing depression from that, was having Drew besides him. Someone to talk to and, after the first couple of weeks of unmoving, forced resting, some minor physical, comforting contact, exclusively when no one else was around, of course. As such, he glanced at him for a moment before replying to Marian fully.
”I suppose short of submitting us to a full suite of scans and procedures and whatnot, there's no telling how our mutation will turn out. I'm very grateful to you for having taken such wonderful care of us, but… I'm glad we're out of there.”
Marian chuckled. As she drove she turned on the radio but let it remain at a low volume. Garrus was surprised to listen to a radio station that was playing progressive trance. It wasn't quite what he would have expected her to like as it contrasted to the usual vibe she had. He saw her relax and listen in silence for a bit. Drew still seemed somewhat tired and leaned against Garrus. Towards the end of the ride, she decided to pick up the conversation again.
“I have to admit, so am I. I saw how restless you were getting, and it made me increasingly nervous towards my superiors… I'm afraid, however, unless you are ok with showing yourself openly as a mutant you'll both need to remain in the house. I think it's best to wait with that anyway until your changes have finished, even if you decide to go public later.”
They turned up the driveway of the house, stopped, and after checking the coast was clear, left the car and headed towards the door.
“Hopefully Hera and I can help you deal with that a little… speaking of which… I think I already smell what she's prepared for us.”
All three entered the house to find her doing the last preparations on the large living room table, on which a large pot and a plate covered with a silver dome were centered. Hera greeted them.
“Maybe you can already guess what I've made Garrus… I thought I'd show our hosts a bit of German cuisine. Gulasch with Semmelknödel.” 
Garrus was tempted to reply with a snarky, joking remark. He had considered telling that they had left Germany to escape that cuisine, but the mouth-watering smell wafting towards him swept that thought away. He felt it was strange since he really didn’t like her traditional cuisine that much and usually preferred her Italian - or Spanish creations. Still, he at least let out a soft chuckle and nodded.
“That much is certain. We could smell it almost from back at the hospital. I’ve… missed you. Thank you for preparing that. Drew, not sure how familiar you are with that kind of cooking but… prepare yourself for something… homely.”
Drew sniffed again as he got to the table.
“Indeed, it smells great… lots of beef meat, I take it? I feel that's just
what we needed…
Thank you, Hera.”
Drew took a step towards Hera and, not really knowing why he did it, took her in his arms and then give her a kiss on the cheek. She blushed but rolled her eyes.
“Hey, you haven't even tried it yet… so, let's…”
She seated herself and the others joined in.
Some light conversation about the food, about news and about how Hera spent her time ensued. She explained that she had read lots on the Canadian law with a focus on mutants and did some asking around to see which available jobs might fit her.
The Gulasch was really good and even though it was a full big pot, both women were astounded to find it empty an hour or so later, Garrus and Drew having eaten so much of it - but kept more restrained with the Semmelknödel - that it was almost scary.
After clearing out the dishes they returned to the table with coffee for everyone. Drew seemed pensive as he stirred the spoon in the cup.
After he had taken the last bit out of the big pot and emptied his bowl as well, Garrus had to hold himself back willingly to not lick it clean. As he finally looked up, he noticed Drew’s behavior and apparent mood. After a moment, he carefully placed a hand on Drew's that was resting right next to him on the table.
”Hey, what's on your mind?”
He asked, softly. Being unsure of how he felt, he tried to brighten the mood and grinned.
He twinkled an eye and added
“Or big butts?”
Seeing the joke fall flat as Drew winced, he changed his tone, quickly. Before he could continue, however, he saw Drew's spoon clatter to the table and recognized a grimace on his half-brother's face. Garrus continued, now even more concerned.
“Sorry, that was… I’m just seeing you like this…”
“What is on your mind? If you don't mind sharing.”
Drew shot out, astonished, then paused and added in confusion.
Drew’s arms clutched around his chest, retreating into his chair, staring at Garrus with big eyes.
Garrus first felt astonishment. Then anger and finally shame and fear washed over him. He grew confused since he knew it was not himself that was experiencing those feelings.
Puzzled by that sensation, Garrus nonetheless looked worried at Drew, inching a bit closer, especially as he retreated further into his seat.
“Hey… that was just a lucky guess… or unlucky? I don't know since now it feels like you're… scared of me? What is this? And why are you scared of me? Even if I somehow hit the nail on the head? I’m not making fun of you.”
Garrus let out a deep sigh. Somehow that seemed to help ease the tension that had been building rapidly inside him from those weird, conflicting feelings that seem to have come from somewhere. Another sigh and yet again, he felt much more at ease with himself again. He thought, inwardly chuckling that some of that might help Drew, as well…
“You should know by now… I do care about you. As do you about me.”
The two mothers just watched in confusion, and then astonishment. Both sat on opposite ends of the table, Drew in front of Garrus, on the other, closer side of its oval shape.
Drew shouted. He cried and huddled himself on the table surface, the coffee shoved to the side, and began sobbing.
“I’m changing into a girl… I think.”
It was silent now, all other three occupants of the room staring at Drew.
He looked up again, still mostly hunched on the table, and glared at Garrus. First, his expression was one of defeat, then of anger.
“How can you joke around about such things!”
Then, as Drew actually looked at Garrus’ face, his expression melted, and Drew’s voice grew soft and husky.
“No, I’m not scared of you. I love…”
After a pause and a look of surprise, he continued.
“… being with you.”
He then lay flat on the table, feeling slight protrusions on his chest and remained there without energy, and sighed.
“What's happening to me?”
He asked, distantly, to no one in particular.
Being affected by Drew’s outbursts of emotions at least to some degree, Garrus was quick to remember how he had managed to handle those, though. Taking deep breaths - more controlled and less hyperventilating now, helped him return to a more relaxed state. He was sure the majority of those feelings were his own, however. Still, all those words flung at him left Garrus at a loss. Most certainly he felt the same about Drew, that much he could easily tell, but having it spoken right in front of their mothers took him by surprise.
“I'm not sure…”
Garrus whispered, though there was also something deep and growly in his voice.
“… but you've grown closer to me over these past weeks in which we were forced to stay in that room. Aside from that, the mutations received… aren't always the ones one wants. Insinuations won't get us anywhere. Let's focus on the issues at hand.”
Looking Drew in the eyes, sternly, Garrus tried his best to give a reassuring feeling to Drew.
“Please know that we all… care deeply about you. You're among friends. And you don't need to be scared of us. Of me… whatever.”
Both mothers still followed the interaction but kept passive for now. There was a look of amusement on Marian’s face, while Hera remained astounded but now only seemed half present.
“I'm not scared of… any of you. I'm scared for myself, about what's happening. And about others, about my future.”
Drew pulled himself up again, some tears rolling down his cheeks, and sighed, feeling a bit more collected now. Maybe Garrus’ composure was helping him, he thought, and there was this odd warmth in his heart that felt soothing.
Marian forced down a chuckle as she returned to seriousness.
“I did not want to say anything earlier, thinking you'd have recognized some of the changes yourself and came to us if needed. I did not know for sure, but during the last week, I did have a few glimpses of your figure. And the hormone levels seem to concur… I'm afraid you are right, it looks like you are changing into a girl, but hormone levels are not conclusive even if you were normal humans.
Your estrogen and progesterone levels are quite pronounced, but testosterone, while lower than in a boy is higher than for a typical girl.
As for you, Garrus, you also show changes, comparing to the levels when you were first checked on. Testosterone has risen moderately, but estrogen has also, but only by a small bit.
What this means in the end… we'll have to be patient, but I'm sure it will work out.”
She looked at Hera, who now seemed fully present again. She returned Marian’s gaze and contributed as well.
“Garrus is right, Drew. And this includes you too, Garrus:
You are among friends… among family. We care about you, and we're here for you.”
Marian continued, now chuckling.
“Well, it looks like now you won't need to pretend anymore when you work as a nurse to do your practical experience in my wing…
It seems we are all tired and drained now though, and maybe you two might still have some things to talk about. Do you want to join me in retiring, Hera?”
Hera looked at Marian and smiled.
“Sure, dear. Let me help Garrus with some stuff in his room first, ok?”
Hera tilted her head at Garrus and then in the direction of his room indicating for him to go. Marian just raised an eyebrow and nodded.
“Maybe Drew can use your help, too?”
Hera twinkled her eye.
Not entirely sure what the two women were up to, Garrus nodded in agreement, quickly getting up. At that point, he noticed he probably shouldn't move so quickly as he was beginning to feel dizzy again. However, the effect was small enough to play it down and keep his footing and so Hera, Drew and he headed up to Drew’s and his own room. Up there, he turned around towards Hera and looked at her inquisitively but with a chuckle and a grin.
“What was that about?”
Still in the hall, Hera responded.
“Just come, alright?”
She indicated the door to his room. He followed her into the room and after closing the door, she sat on the only chair, waiting until Garrus sat on his bed.
“We need to talk about a few things…”
Looking at her with even more curiosity, Garrus sat down on the bed and pulled his legs up to his chest. He moaned silently, still feeling a bit sore. Garrus noticed his skin was still softer than it used to be.
“Sorry… Yes? What is it you wanted to talk about?”
“This is hard for me…”
Hera started. Garrus noticed her blushing. She, however, took heart and continued.
“My own life has changed so much for me… and you too… and my horizons have broadened… living in a same-sex relationship, something that I have barely ever dreamed about…
But you are pushing my limits, and I'm not sure how to handle it. I guess I can deal with you being a mutant… somehow…
She sighed and paused for a bit.
“What is it with Drew and you? Are you a couple now?”
Taking a moment to let that question sink in, Garrus stared at the floor in front of him. As the moment passed and he turned his head directly to her, looking her straight in the eyes.
”I cannot talk for Drew. I will not talk for Drew, so you will have to ask him about this, as well. I know my feelings. I know what feelings can do to people… what they can make them do. This is affection. Drew has been there for me. He has been someone I could talk to, and he listened after being talked down to for the longest time those last months ‘at work’.”
More quietly and sheepish, he added “You haven’t been one of them, no worries.”
He paused, finding his train of thought again.
“Ehm… Yeah, someone to talk to. Someone who I’ve had the privilege of sharing a room with for the last month. Aside from the fact that I never knew I could be into guys before, I think this was bound to happen, given Drew's predisposition of being so… heart-warming. You of all people know what kind of feeling I’m talking about. I’m not sure if our father would know, but I’m getting a feeling he might, as well. It's universal after all.
After a while of listening to Garrus and then saying nothing, Hera looked at him again.
“Thank you for your honesty, Garrus.”
She came over, sat beside Garrus and gave him a hug.
“You know… I missed… something like this.
I was not sure how much has happened between the both of you, and I guess since it is still rather undefined it's a bit premature to act - if any acting is even necessary. I'm not sure if I can be comfortable with this, but we will see…
I think your father did know that feeling, very well.”
She smiled for a moment, and looked into nothingness but then caught herself again.
“As we were speaking about your father, we come to the other topic I need to talk to you about.
Your father has contacted me. He wishes to speak to you, and maybe spend time with you - possibly Drew, too, I imagine, but Marian will handle that. You are an adult and I can only pass it on, however.
I'm not sure how I feel about it myself, but I guess that’s not the point here. He has stressed that it is important… and I actually believe him. I think you should at least hear him out.
Will you do that?”
As she started mentioning his father, Garrus started to frown a bit, which only got more serious as she continued. After she finished, Garrus pondered for a moment before responding, setting his feet down on the floor in the process.
”I was about to decline, actually. But seeing how we've … changed, and him stressing the importance, I guess it's alright to talk to him. I won't promise any hugs or stuff like that. We didn't part on the most… amicable of terms, what with him wanting me to study law, like you. But alright. I will hear him out. Did he have a preferred date and time?
Marian responded, somewhat relieved by his attitude.
“Oh, he just said I should call him about that.”
She took out her phone - a new one apparently, though not one of the elite ones - and made a call.
“Hi, Horst. I was just talking to Garrus… Yea, he's willing to talk to you. Why is it relevant where we are? Um… in Garrus new Room, on his bed. Yea, the one beside Drew’s. Why is that relevant? Um… ok…? Well, if you say so…”
She ended the call and turned to Garrus in confusion.
“He would like to talk to you, right now actually.
He was acting rather strange… He said we should just wait for him on the bed and remain calm, whatever happened.”
A few moments later, in an empty space on the other side of the room, a shimmering transparent sphere appeared. It hovered in the air and became bigger until it hit the floor. The inner space of the sphere changed to black, and then a moment later, a figure appeared in it. As the sphere dissolved, the opaque darkness vanished as well, allowing a shocked Drew and Hera to see the room again, aside from a clear view of the figure, standing there.
He was large. About two meters. He was covered with deep blue scales, walked digitigrade, had claws on both hands and feet and sported a tail covered in those same deep blue scales that started slightly thick but still nimble. It would have reached the floor if it’s thinner tip was not poised up slightly, hovering inch above it. The figure looked a bit like a lizard, but made Garrus think more of a dragon, and somewhat of himself. His eyes were orange and he wore casual clothes - a shirt and jeans, but no shoes. His features reminded Garrus of his father.
“Hello, Hera… Garrus.
I'm sorry to barge in like this… but I think we have quite a bit to talk about.”
 Goulash with bread dumplings
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