Finding the Pearl 4

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Six days after my Uncle's funeral and Detective Ayers called us in for a talk. At least that's what he called it. What it turned out to be was a bit of a confession on his part. And I was not a happy camper, when I found out that he and my Uncle were..

"Working together! How could you two be working together and he's dead and there's not a scratch on you? What does your boss have to say about this?!"

"I had been reprimanded two days before your Uncle's death for working with him on my own time. My supervisor told me if he caught me working with him again I would be suspended without pay. He found out through the computer records that someone was checking on Chinese-American families who used the meeting hall in the past and told me while he couldn't prove it was me, he would be able to if I tried anything else like that. I have a history of being very good with computers. And he knew just how easy it was for me to hide my tracks. Hell he was proud of that fact when he wanted us to investigate a few federal government officials that were under investigation. He'd called in a few favors from a different department, to put a few traps on the search systems we use and I couldn't help your Uncle anymore."

"Until, of course, after he's dead. Then it's official and you guys are all over it. But you still don't have a clue who killed him, do you?"

"No, but we will find out who did this. My boss won't be playing any more games with who should be doing what. At least about this case. I told him if he tried to pull me off of it again, his boss would learn about my little reprimand that disappeared from my records and how a good man died because I was pulled off of the investigation. Even if I wasn't officially on the Assault case, I could have been assigned and his boss doesn't like it when people die and we could have prevented it. Hell, for all I know, I could have ended up on a slab in the morgue right by your Uncle. But he wouldn't have died alone. He'd have had somebody backing him up. And I'll have to live with that for the rest of my life. Your Uncle was a good man, and I'll be damned if I let whoever did it, get away with it. We will find out who murdered your Uncle and we'll bring them to justice. But from here on out, we have to make sure that all the evidence is kept pure and unquestionable. I want these people to be convicted and put away for the rest of their lives. So anymore appearances from the mystery lady, have to be recorded and witnessed by more people than us three. Luckily Officer Wells witnessed the disappearance of Magalee Slovak, so I'm not locked up in a Psych ward right now. My Boss passed it off as an illusion the lady pulled on us, but we three all know she really did transform into mist and vanished from the room. Or I should say, us four, but Wells asked to be reassigned to a different department. He really got spooked by the whole disappearing thing."

Mark snaughed. "Like Rus and I didn't? Sure Rus has been pushed around by a real Dragon, but we don't just laugh that off like it happens all the time. I wake up to find him guarding me in his sleep. We still don't know if some body is out to get us for talking about Dragons, and your department hasn't offered one bit of protection for us."

"That isn't entirely true. The moment my boss found out your Uncle was dead he had plain clothed detail watching your house and where you both work and work out, when ever you were there. He didn't want his own boss to find out I was pulled from the case, but he also didn't want another civilian winding up dead when he could have stopped it."

I was the one who had notice them but thought nothing of it. "The moving van. It has been on the street and moved around. But it has been there since Uncle Nick died."

Mark saw the pattern now. "That new guy at the Gym that was always there before us and there after we left."

Ayers nodded his head. "Michaelson. He's an ex-Navy Seal. You might want to include him in your work out. He says he's really impressed with you two. So don't bust his chops, next time you go to the gym. He's just there for your protection. OK?"

I frowned and saw the same expression on Mark's face. That silent exchange Mark and I do, went on in front of Ayers and we both shrugged. "OK. But I want to see pictures of the people watching us, so I can tell if it's really them, or somebody posing as them. By all rights, we should have been notified the minute you people thought we were in danger and needed protection. You left us out there like bait, for the tiger. And what about my family and Mark's family?"

"With the phone calls and the two letters being the only evidence of why they are harassing you, we don't think anybody else is in danger as long as they refrain from investigating the Dragon assault. We'd like a few more days of normal investigation, before we try a news conference to flush out the perps. If you're willing, we'd like you to talk to the press and explain why your Uncle was here in LA, and that you think his death was related to your being assaulted by a real honest to god Dragon. We can have the Emergency Med Tech that worked on you there, with the Officer who recorded the first bit of evidence that there really was a Dragon. Or he might say something with real long real sharp claws that poked into the asphalt as it ran away. Hell, it even left a Paw and claw print on the metal door that clipped your shoulder. It's still in the evidence locker. That wasn't manufactured by some Movie FX studio. There were real reptile scales imbedded in the paint on the door. It had our forensic experts spitting nails. They thought we had a fifteen foot long, Komodo Dragon to worry about."

"Instead we have a fifteen foot long, flying Dragon and her friends, who are shy and homicidal."

"Basically. Let me show you the pictures of the officers assigned to protecting you two, and then you can get out of here. We'll contact you two about the news conference, but it wont be for another week or so. We still might be able to catch them through the normal forms of investigation. Then we don't have to involve you two in this thing. I think you've all suffered enough from your involvement with Dragons."

My lover was the one who summed it up for us both. "Me, too!"

Ayers couldn't let us have copies of the pictures, but we both were good at remembering faces, so Mark and I were out of there in about fifteen more minutes.

Once again, I got behind the wheel and headed towards home. "Soak in the Hot Tub when we get home?"

"That sounds just about perfect. Just as long as you're soaking with me."

"I don't know why they don't hire you to write some of the dialog for the games we make, cause you sure do say the right things, Babe." He took my hand and squeezed it in reply. Then he rolled it around, like he does, when there's a lot more love than he can talk about. I did the same back to him with my fingers and then paid attention to the road.

We lapsed into a quiet camaraderie, as I drove us home. We got to a large intersection and were passing through it, when time seemed to become thick and slow. One hand on the wheel and one in Marks hand, and my head whipped to my left, to see a Cement Truck headed for us and not slowing down. Even though it seemed to be slowly inching towards us, my mind knew the speed it was really moving at and calculated our trajectories. My inner dialog was not reassuring.


~Can we get out of the way in time?~

Ping !


~ No Way. Even with both hands on the wheel, I couldn't change directions in time to avoid it.~


~Can we survive the crash?~

Ping !!


~No Way. The Truck was too big, moving too fast and at an angle that would cause it to run over and crush us both. Even in a Volvo with side impact airbags, the Cement Truck's weight and velocity would flatten us.~


~Is there anything I can do?~

Ping !!!

Before my mind could form the answer, time sped back up. With no time to save us, I turned to Mark and ripped my seat belt out of the bracket. My hands knew exactly where to go to get Mark's seat belt snapped off of him as I...

As I...?!

What the hell did I just do??

I had Mark in my arms. My body seemed to flow around him in a protective ball of flesh. I dimly felt the car's sides split open as my shoulder and back pushed against them. I was almost all the way out when the Cement Truck hit my car and then me. Mark was safe in my arms, but I got hit like a pinball gets hit by a paddle or a bumper. And I was pushed across the street, through on coming traffic, with the same speed a pinball takes after bouncing between two bumpers. I think I hit a parked car and then a brick wall but by that time I was passing out from the pain of the collisions.

Dimly I heard sirens and thought 'Not again!' I thought I was back in China Town as the wall burst out at me. But this time, it felt like a dragon had marched across my back with all it's claws out, instead of just pushing me down and biting me. But I could feel Mark in my arms and his breath on my chest as he took a breath and let it out. I can not describe the feeling that gave me. Mark was safe!

The sirens cut off and the sound of a crowd of people talking drowned out the bird sound and the crackling of slowly cooling metal. Then a distant siren was joined with another from a different direction. They got louder and closer, but still didn't give me any urge to open my eyes and see what was going on. Uncle Nick would have pointed out that my denial thing was rearing it's ugly head again, but my eyes were not going to take the hint.

The sirens cut off and then more people talking. Someone walked over to us and I could hear his rapid breathing. Then a muttered "Shit"

Mark's breathing sped up and I felt something brush past my arms. Somebody just poked Mark! But I still couldn't open my eyes. My mind could save us but still refused to let me see how I did it. Now that is classic denial.

Another poke and Mark groaned. If that guy poked Mark again, I was going to poke him across the street. On his head!

"Hey buddy!. It looks like it's still knocked out. Let go of it and we'll pull you out."


"Let go. Well get you out of it's hold on you."

Mark snaughed and rubbed his face against my chest. What the hell was that guy talking about?

"You can't make me let go. I'll never let go!" Then Mark snuggled up closer to me.

Now that got my eyes open. "Aww. You always say the best things. I love you, too" Where the hell did that deep voice come from. I looked into Mark's eyes and then saw how small he was.

"Mark. You shrank!"

His laughing didn't help. "No I didn't." Then he pulled my whisker. My Whisker !! It looked like it belonged on a catfish. "And I love you, too. Scales, red fur and everything."

Scales? I saw my hands folded around Marks head and they were bigger than Mark's Head! And they had claws on them and a set of leathery pads like a tiger's. I started blinking as I looked at more of my body. I didn't get far before the fireman decided to comment.

"I take it, you're not going to get eaten." I realized that I was as big as Magalee when she was in Dragon form and that's when I finally realized I was a Dragon.

Mark looked into my eyes and we both contemplated the fireman's question. As if on cue, we both looked to Mark's growing bulge between his legs. Wheels were turning in my head. "Not in a bad way." The smile on my face was mirrored by Mark's.

"Ohh! TMI Big Guy. I assume that the bass voice means you are a Male Dragon. And since you can talk, you're something that's not going to cause anymore damage, are you?."

"I'll be good. Besides we were going through the intersection on a green light. The accident wasn't my fault."

"You were driving?!"

"Yeah. So?"

"Oh wow. Is this some of the clothes you were wearing?" The fireman pulled some strip of denim from between my thigh and belly.

I felt a sharp pain in my back side and winced in pain. "Ow, ow, ow. Oooooh. What is that?" There was a piece of metal sticking out of the area that could be called my butt. Just before the tail continued on.

"Well if the human is really alright, then I think you should stretch out and let us remove some of the bits of your car, that decided to poke into you. When you Hulked out of your car. Just before the impact."

"OK." I wasn't convinced that that was a good thing to do, even though I released Mark and started to straighten out. Mark stood up just before I tried to straighten the part that had the most metal in me. "Owww."

Mark tugged on my whisker. "Big Baby!"

"Huh?" Mark's smile stopped me from getting upset.

"We're together. Nothing can hurt you. Nothing can hurt me." Then he kneeled down and kissed me like the first time we kissed.

The fireman let us kiss for half a minute before taking the opportunity to pull the biggest piece of metal out of my flank. "Ow. Oooh. Oh wow. Thanks. That does feel better."

"You're welcome. Part of my job. I think"

I could twist my big head around and I saw a puzzled look on the fireman's face. Then I saw the wound on my butt, slowly close up after weeping some pinkish fluid. My whole body shivered as my breathing sped up a little. Mark looked concerned by my expression. But the fireman came through again. "While that little bit with the fast healing was really neat, it sounds by your rapid breathing and confused look on your face.... That is a confused look, right?'

I nodded my head a few times before I realized I was feeling like a little kid at the doctors office. And my reactions were a bit similar. "The confused look goes along with the confusion I'm feeling right now. I have never changed into a Dragon before this accident. I didn't even consciously know I could."

"Now I get it. My cousin was the guy that treated you on the street in China Town. You're the guy that got bit by a real Dragon. I thought he was just pulling my chain, but I see I was wrong. But about that confusion you're feeling? You may be going into shock. And while your body knows what to do with injuries, it may have some trouble with Shock or the shock of turning into a big red Dragon. Um why don't you two sit over here on the curb and I'll get a few blankets for you, both."

"I'm not gonna get shot for moving am I?"

"Well you haven't eaten anybody or started a brush fire by sneezing so I think you're safe for the moment. But my partner here will walk you over to the curb while I get a few things you may need. OK, Big Guy?'

I nodded and walked my hind quarters closer to my chest as I pulled myself into a smaller space. "Thanks. My name's Rus Parks and this is my partner, Mark Rudnik."

"Oh, sorry about that. I'm Tony Sandoval and this is my work partner, Chris Rima. We're just friends, off the job. I'll be right back." As he went to get the blankets, he was stopped by two police officers and he talked for a good five minutes before they let him go. They still held back from walking over and talking to us. I guess my new height sort of intimidated them. And the claws. Oh and maybe the long teeth they could see when I talked. Chris and Mark both put their hands on my shoulder and back as Chris escorted us over to the curb. I sat my but down and wrapped my tail on the side away from Mark. I pulled my chest to my knees and started to wrap my arms around them, when Mark pulled the one closest to him around his shoulders.

Mark and I sat hip to hip as Chris finished his examination of Mark, for any sign of Shock. Once he pronounced Mark as stable and apparently unaffected by the collision he paused and looked into my eyes, before he reached out and took my wrist for my pulse. "Is this to help calm me down? Cause I sort of doubt you have the current stable heart rate for fifteen foot long Dragons."

Chris smiled and chuckled. "Well, yes. That's about the size of it. And so I can tell people I really touched a Dragon with out getting eaten."

Mark snaughed and tilted his head to look at me. "Your loss."

Just then, Tony walked up with about five blankets and as he was draping them across me, Chris wrapped one around Mark. I put my arm back around Mark and he grabbed the arm and leaned into me with a sigh. He pulled my hand..(paw?) into his lap, palm up and started fiddling with my big fingers. I could feel a weird muscle in my fingers and relaxed it. My claws slipped into my fingertips. "Ah. Good. I wanted to hold you but I was afraid of hurting you with my claws."

Tony shook his head. "This really is the first time you turned into a Dragon. That just blows me away."

Mark and I just nodded our heads and then leaned into each other. I was feeling a bit better with the blankets. I hadn't so much been chilled, as exposed. My skin was getting used to the scales and red fur all being out on display. What was really weird was having my junk in a skin pouch. Mark was glancing at the size of it and I was trying not to get all excited by his attention. He looked up at me and I craned my neck and head down so I could face him better. The question on my face got him to ask his. "You're bigger everywhere, so I'm assuming that is, too."

"I think you're right. So?"

"So, we have got to check that out when we get some privacy. That's all I'm sayin."

That got me hugging him while I chuckled. Then I kissed him on the top of his head. He was so much smaller than I was, as a Dragon, it made me appreciate him more.

"Do you think you'll be able to transform back into a human by yourself, or are we going to have to wait for another visit from Magalee?"

"Oh I have a good idea that I can turn back to the way I was when I want to. But that would mean that any of the government types that would love to pull me apart to find out how I do this, could just dart me and take me away. The more news people who get me recorded and on the news channels as a Dragon that they can eventually interview, the less likely I'll get kidnapped for government experimentation."

"Oh. I hadn't thought of that. Then you just stay my Big Red Dragon as long as you want. Cause I love you anyway you look."

"I Love you, Mark" That got us kissing for a little bit and we only stopped when the crowd went "Awww"

Mark chuckled as he glanced at the crowd. "Well I guess we're out to the world, now."

"I hope I'm not giving the world the impression that all Dragons are gay."

"Hey, that might pull some of them out of the woodwork, so we can find Nick's killer."

"Now wouldn't that be wonderful!" Detective Ayers was walking up to us as he said that.

"Hello, Detective."

"Please tell me you didn't know you could do this, back in my office?"

"That is correct. It was the heat of the moment, when I knew we were going to be crushed by the truck. My body knew how to save us."

"Well at least I don't have to ever argue with my boss again, about Dragons being real. Do you mind if we take some blood and tissue samples. Just a few scales and a claw clipping."

"Just to prove that I didn't kill my Uncle, right?"

"Yes. That was my reasoning. I know you loved your Uncle, but the DA might have some doubts. And the last thing we need is an angry Dragon being falsely imprisoned."

"Have your forensics unit poke away. You can have blood, scales and fur, too. Maybe if we can get Magalee to make an appearance, we can get the same things from her. While I believe her when she said she didn't kill my Uncle, I'd still like a little proof to back up that feeling."

"Thanks. Officer Taylor will be doing the sample taking. Can you stay like this till tomorrow morning? I think it's time for a news conference. That can keep you out of the hands of the military medical types and maybe flush out some of the people... Uh. Dragons, who had a hand in your Uncle's death."

"No problem. Just make sure you have a lot of food on hand from now till then, cause I'm starting to get hungry."

"Oh boy. Well I've always wondered how many Barbecue ribs a Dragon could eat."

Mark's eye got a sparkle in them. "Hey can we order from the Bear Pit in the Valley?"

"Oh great. You're still trying to get me in trouble with my boss." But he had one of his officers go out to the Bear Pit for 20 pounds of ribs and ten pounds of those little baby potatoes. That was a good lunch, but dinner was even better. Luckily I was able to pick up the tab on my company credit card. I just had to promise to give my company a few motion capture sessions for their games. The only problem was finding a way to get Mark alone after dinner.

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