There weren't always dragons in the valley.
Unlike most supernatural beings, they were solitary creatures, and not drawn to civilisation. Outside of the most remote regions, to see one was a rare sight. Some might even call it a portent or omen.
Far above the quiet suburban neighborhood, the sun and moon shared a darkening sky in the growing twilight.
The moon was full, tinged a faint red by the light of the setting sun. Some would make jokes about full moons and the effect on people's behavior. Others knew better.
It was a peaceful evening, the soft background noise occasionally punctuated by excited yipping and the occasional loud cheers or cursing that most idle listeners would attribute to a BallSport Final. All told, there was little to set this neighborhood apart from any other during a sleepy autumn evening.
Inside one particular house, it was a very different story. Leah, freshly home from a shift, had barely put down the takeaway and cardboard drink tray before she felt cold, harsh eyes on her, and froze in place. She turned, trying to paste on a hesitant smile to counter the malevolent snarl distorting the half-wolf, half-human face in the other doorway. “Er... hi?”
The voice was female, the words only just distinguishable through the angry, literal snarling. “Don’t you ‘hi’ me, after what you did!”
Sighing in exasperation would not help, Leah knew. Still, were they really going to keep on this? It had been two days, for heaven’s sake! “Is this because I only pretended to throw the stick and really hid it behind my back?”
This time the snarling really was unintelligible, along with fully-bared fangs. Now Leah did sigh, “Babe, I’d been throwing that stick for two hours, and it was barely more than splinters! You still had fun racing all over the lawn looking for it.”
The half-human face did come in handy for recognizing the pure affront beneath the fur. “That’s not the point! It was a filthy lie! Betrayal of the worst sort!”
Hm, they were still in the mostly-wolf stage, then, not the mostly-human that Leah had originally assumed. She reached out, scratching behind one lupine ear and smiling as her girlfriend tried not to melt into a furry puddle of pleasure. “I’m very sorry. Let me change, and we can go for a run in the woods so you can find another stick.”
The werewolf, who went by the very un-threatening name of Susan, relaxed her hostile stance. “You should eat first; I know how they run you ragged at work.”
Leah pressed her cheek against the top of her girlfriends head, thus avoiding a full-face lick from the long, wet tongue. “You’re the best.”
They both bit back a litany of curses as the phone rang. Susan manage to snarl a stream of invective in the seconds between Leah picking up the cordless and pressing it to her ear. The voice on the other end was very apologetic as they explained, and not just because no-one wanted to face an irate Susan during that time of the month.
Leah put down the phone, hiding relief. “It's a first transformation. We’re closest, if we cut through the woods and don’t stop for sticks.”
Susan considered. “Just one stick? It’s like a graduation gift for the baby werewolf.”
Leah smiled, running to grab the backpack that lived in their hall closet and wriggling the straps over her shoulders as Susan stuck her nose under the kitchen cupboard, a full-body sneeze transforming her all the way into a pony-sized wolf. “If you say ‘mush’, I will not be held responsible for my actions.”
Leah hid a smirk as she climbed onto her girlfriend’s back, “I wouldn’t dream of it.”
They shot off into the forest that bordered their yard, following the plaintive howls that echoed through the night.