Copyright Laura Morrigan 2018
I'm doing paperwork when they bring him in. I'm always in trouble, the rule breaker. No one wants to be my partner. I look up from my groaning desk under its pile of papers.
He's tall, skinny as a whip but I can tell he's strong too, I can see it in his movements. His loose black hair brushes his shoulders like silk. His skin is a burnished copper. Like all of them, he is beyond beautiful. Dragons always are.
His eyes find me, hold me and I am frozen, floating in their molten gold glow. My heart beats faster. It seems to last forever and in that eternity I see myself, a warrior in an old style robe, weilding a sword. I see myself as he sees me. Not the freckled half Chinese cop sitting behind the desk, in trouble again, but a warrior.
They drag him away to Holding and I blink, the spell broken. I remind myself dragons are tricksters. Not to be trusted. But the warmth of his gaze stays with me.
The chief calls me into his office just as I’m about to go on my lunch break. I can't help thinking it's purposeful, although I try to repress such rebellious thoughts. My attitude is always getting me into trouble.
Sitting behind his desk, police superintendent Wong is a hulk of a man, stomach straining the buttons of his uniform. I try to think honourable thoughts. He's the one who stopped me being fired after the firebird incident, who argued that I did my best under pressure. Still, I find his smirk insulting.
"You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Ling, I have great news, we're letting you off suspension early! No more desk duty! What do you think of that?"
I want to ask what the catch is but I’m trying to be polite, so I force a smile.
"Thank you sir, that's great news."
"We've even found you a new partner!"
My heart can’t resist a jump of excitement. To be out in the field again. But who would take me? My last three partners all asked to be reassigned. Perhaps it's some new recruit who doesnt know my reputation as a loose cannon yet.
"Don't you want to know who it is?" The superintendent's grin widens and I know there's something nasty up his sleeve.
"Fine, I'll play along. Who is it?"
He lopes into the room soundlessly as a cat, his dark hair hides his face but I already recognise him.
It's the dragon.
I look at the beautiful man leaning against the wall. He's glumly examining his police uniform. Dragons are famously vain, he must hate the cheap scratchy fabric. I can't help noticing the perfect curve of his abs through the thin material. It's ok to look but I know not to touch. Dragons can never be trusted.
"Are you kidding? " I ask the chief, "You brought him in earlier this morning! You arrested him and now he's my partner?"
"He's not a criminal, just a minor troublemaker, the fiftieth bastard son of a minor dragon lord. His father asked us to get him off the street, find him something useful to do. So here we are."
I know better than to ask how much he paid the chief. If I made allegations of corruption I'd be out on my ass. Even I know theres some lines I can't cross.
"His name is Jinze. I'm sure you two will get along fabulously."
Jinze. It means Golden. I think of his molten gold eyes burning into my soul. I feel confused, angry and excited at the same time.
"I'll leave you two to get acquainted", the chief says, heaving himself out of his seat. The door slams behind him. I'm alone with a dragon.
As soon as the door closes Golden looks up, fixing me with those hypnotic eyes.
"Think the chief keeps anything interesting in his office? "
"I've been through it before," I reply, "there's nothing personal, but there's some Scotch Whiskey in the bottom drawer if you want it."
Golden grins at me. It's not the sly, calculating grin of a dragon, more like the cheeky smile of a naughty school boy. He crosses to the desk, finds the Scotch and swigs straight from the bottle. When he lowers the bottle he exhales a thin blue tongue of flame. Dragons do like to show off.
He offers me the bottle, "want some?"
"Sure, but dont expect me to do the flame trick."
He gives a throaty laugh, very human.
"I like you, Ling."
Before I know it, I'm half drunk in my bosses’ office with a dragon. Golden is only a few years older than me, a baby as far as dragons go. He tells me about his dragon lord father, a thousand years old and so immovable in his opinions it's like arguing with a rock. He has fifty older brothers. I cant imagine that.
I tell him about becoming a cop to try and impress my cold, distant father. Of course, all I do is disappoint him.
Golden's eyes meet mine, the colour seems softer somehow. More like a field of sunflowers. I know he understands. We both know what it's like to be a disappointment.
I realise pretty early on I'm basically a babysitter. My job is to ferry Golden around wherever he wants to go, but keep him from the places his father wants him kept from. Casinos, opium dens, brothels. Dragons are all too well known for indulging their vices, but then again, who are humans to talk?