Merlin's Dragon

Chapter 1

"I had a dream that you were mocking me repeatedly," A man with shoulder length, brown hair murmured to a young, dorky, awkward man.

The black haired twenty-year-old smiled down at the older man who was laying on his back, "What are the odds of that?"

"Oh, Balthazar!" A dark haired woman ran over to the man, who, moments ago, was lifeless.

"Veronica. I have a necklace for you," Balthazar grunted as he forced himself into a sitting position.

The black haired man smiled slightly before turning away to give the couple a bit of privacy. He pondered for a moment whether or not he should just leave and let the apprentices of Merlin catch up for the rest of the night. With a slight nod to himself, he took a step, only to be called back.

"Dave," Balthazar, now standing, called to him, "You did well. But you must understand that," he walked to the college student, gingerly putting his hand on the younger's shoulder. "This was all dumb luck."

"What? But, I…no ring, you said—"

"Eh eh eh," Balthazar interjected, shaking a finger in Dave's face, watching dark eyes falter between the movement of his finger, and keeping gaze with the older sorcerer. "I never expected you to learn all this in a matter of days. And I know you couldn't possibly recreate the power you held this night. We still have a long way to go."

Dave seemed depressed for a moment, before the pulling of his shoulder told him it was time to walk home. The three people walked away from the small park that was recently a battle ground of magic. They moved along sidewalks and streets, talking and laughing.

"And he looked utterly shocked!" Dave exclaimed, retelling a story of a training session he had with his mentor/master, Balthazar.

Unbeknownst to the trio, eyes covered by sports sunglasses glanced over a slim shoulder. Black slacks fell to the tops of black sneakers. A black shirt clung to a slender form. One sleeve fell to a pale, right wrist, yet it had no match. A bright purple trimmed the shirt at the end of the sleeves, around the collar, and at the bottom of the shirt. Golden hair was pulled into a low pony tail, which proceeded to fall to the small of the man's back. Golden bangs, tipped with crimson, fell over parts of the sunglasses. The unblemished face turned back to watch where the man was going.

Balthazar, feeling some unknown power, quickly turned his head to try to glimpse the man the trio had just passed. But no one was behind them. Veronica looked to her fellow Merlin apprentice in concern.

"Did you feel that, too?"

"Yeah, there's a disturbance in the force," Balthazar whispered, noting her confused look at his modern joke before continuing, "don't tell Dave. Not yet."

-/-

The golden haired man waited in silence around the corner of an alley. When the trio's footsteps faded, he sighed in relief before deciding to stick to the back alley path to his home. His soft footsteps made virtually no sound as he sauntered through the shadows. The man suddenly stopped at the corner of another alley when a sound sprang into his ears. A body hitting a wall.

People with nothing to hide are never this far into the alleyways, The golden-haired teen thought to himself.

A dark voice then began to taunt, "You little bitch! You just had to be a stubborn one, didn't you? You couldn't just let go, could you? You had to want to live! And for what?" A body is thrown against the opposite wall. "Pathetic 'magic' shows? Fake tricks? You're not even good enough to be worthless. Even 'nothing' is too good of a title for you." The body was thrown into the first wall again. "There's a reason your master left you. There's a reason I chose to use your energy to revive that little Salem bitch and Morgana. You." The body hit a wall. "Are." It hit another wall. "A." Again it hit a wall. "Waste."

A low groan sounded from another voice, a protest was built, then collapsed.

"I'm going to kill you," The first voice stated easily. "Right here in this alleyway." The body hit another wall. "No one will miss the 'great' Drake Stone, will they?" The body was thrown again. "No one cares about you." Again a body was thrown. "No one will miss you."

The man hidden around a corner was turning to leave when a voice stopped him, and had him turn around.

"That's…not," A pained whine sounded, "That's not…true. Just…because assholes like you…push me down…doesn't mean…I won't get back up."

A cold chuckle sounded as the hidden man turned the corner. A man in black leather pants and high heel boots was holding one of his sides. A torn, skin-tight, long tailed, black waist coat clung to the heaving body. Spiked hair, with the tips of the hair on the top and back of his head dyed blonde, was wet and mussed up. An older man in 20th century, mafia-like clothing stood over the other, slim man. A black bowler's hat sent shadows across his face, which was twisted into an ugly scowl. A cane with a glowing blue jewel was being held tightly.

"You just don't know when to stay down, do you?" The silky voice, laced with curiosity, startled the older man. "Why continue to fight when you know you're at your end?" The hidden eyes of the teen watched the wounded man, and took no heed of his abuser. "Curious, very curious."

"Don't," the wounded gasped. "Go, quickly…you don't…know—"

Hidden eyes turned to the abuser, "What's your name?"

"Maxim Horvath, and it'll be the last name you ever learn," The man smirked.

But so did the teen, "Really? Fascinating. I'm curious, though. And how, might I ask, are you going to make do with your threat?" A pale hand adjusted the sunglasses as he purred his challenge.

"Like this," Horvath moved his glowing cane to throw a hidden knife from the inside of his gray, fur coat at the intruder. At the last second, a hand grabbed the knife from the air, holding it in front of the face of the teen, who scoffed tauntingly before throwing the knife back to stick in the ground at Horvath's feet. Hidden eyes calculated silently. The cane moved again to create fireball from nothing. The teen jumped over the attack, landing in a crouched position.

"I wonder…what would happen, if you didn't have that cane," The male calmly wondered out loud. His silent speed suddenly had him in front of Horvath, a pale hand already wrapped around the gem embedded cane. The golden-haired man twisted the cane using the momentum of his attack from the other's hand. Horvath stood shocked as the teen looked at him in curiosity.

"Unhand that, you mortal dog," Horvath growled.

The teen cocked his head, "Why?"

The sorcerer lunged at the younger, who back flipped away from his attacker. Horvath's fingers clenched around the only thing they could: the sunglasses. The teen landed with ease, looking up at the other.

"What is—?" The sorcerer gasped at the otherworldly sight before him.

Glimmering purple eyes watched Horvath as a pale hand plucked the glowing gem from the tip of the cane. The teen held the jewel for a moment, his haunting eyes examining his prize.

"Fetch," The teen demanded as he hurled the stone down the alley. Horvath gave a cry of horror before instantly following it into the black of night. "Heh, woof."

Another pained whine brought the pale teen back to the situation. Silent steps lead him to the tortured man's side. "Do you need emergency medical assistance?"

"What? I…no," The last word came out as a low groan as the magician's handsome face contorted with pain. "No, god…no."

The other shrugged, "Can you stand?"

"I…I don't think so. Not on my own, Mate," Almost black eyes groggily looked at the teen, who reached behind himself to pull his sunglasses back to cover his eyes.

"Here," The shaded man helped Drake to a sitting position, and after a quick examination, threw the magician's right arm around his shoulders and pulled the taller to his feet. "Where should we walk to?"

"Out of these alleys…"

"And then?"

"I don't know," Drake's form shuddered, "I'll give you directions then, Mate."

Purple eyes rolled as the duo began their slow trudging through the dark walls. With each of his steps, Drake hissed or gasped under his breath. The younger sighed slightly as he continued, pulling more of the magician's weight onto him.

"You know…" The illusionist broke the silence with a conversation as his mind began to clear. "Most people aren't calm after they get a fireball thrown at them."

"I'm not most people. And neither are you," The teen turned them sharply. "You're the great Drake Stone. But who knew real magic was right up your alley. For lack of a better phrase." Finally there was a hint of an impressed tone in the teen's voice. As though his mind had just caught up with the events of the night.

"You have me at a disadvantage, mate. What's your name?"

"Callisto," the teen answered, bringing the pair out of the maze of city walls.

"Italian for 'most beautiful'? Take a right."

The teen did so quickly, "You speak Italian?"

"I toured Italy a few years back," Drake clarified. "I still remember some."

"You are world renowned, Drake Stone," Callisto murmured in thought.

The magician scoffed slightly, "You can call me by just my first name."

"Of course, Drake Stone," The teen continued, gathering a sigh from the other.

The silence was renewed between them as they paused at a stop light. The cool night air played about the pair as cars zipped past. The smell of smoke and exhaust stung the lungs of all misfortunate enough to still be out so late at night. The magician turned to look at his companion for the first time since his mind cleared. He took in the perfection of the man, noticing in particular the red tips of the man's bangs.

"Dye your hair?"

"Natural," Callisto answered, "Hate 'em."

"I think—"

"Back off, man-whore," The teen snapped with a teasing tone and a mocking smile.

The illusionist let the sting of the teasing words slip away before he asked, "How old are you, mate?"

The light turned green for them and they began in silence as the teen mulled over the question. Curious of how his answer would make the other react.

"Left on this corner. Well, how many years have you seen?"

"You answer, then I will," the younger turned his head to look at the magician.

"Twenty-one," Drake flashed an evil grin as he looked back to the other. "Your turn."

"Hmm. I'm seventeen," the teen rolled his shoulders under the other's arm.

"Oh," Drake suggestively raised an eyebrow. "That's the age of con—"

"In one month," Callisto snickered at the twitch that had appeared briefly in the older man's eye. Shaded eyes looked at the hand hanging over his shoulder. "That's an interesting ring. Kinda like that other guy's…er…Horvath's cane top. Where'd ya get it?"

"I've had it for a long time, but recently re-found it in a shop called Arcana Cabana," the magician breathed.

"If I may, Drake Stone, what did he mean, back in the alley, when he said you wanted to live…that you didn't let go?" The teen questioned.

Drake was suddenly and eerily silent, swallowing the pain of the memory, "He…he…tried to….he…"

The teen suddenly switched subjects with a whisper of "curious." His eyes traveled around them, "Where are we going?"

The illusionist gestured to a building, "The top of that."

"I swear, if we have to take the stairs…"

Drake didn't respond to the joke. And, with a sigh, Callisto began to walk again. The silence around the men seemed to have led the magician into the back of his own mind. His dark eyes had clouded over as most of his weight fell onto the other. The duo hobbled into the building that had motioned to earlier. Drake was suddenly dropped onto a bench just inside the glass doors of the skyscraper. His eyes refocused on the teen, now looking down at him from a standing position with curiosity and slight concern.

"Drake, where did you go just now?"

The illusionist turned his head away, trying to stand on his own, only to have Callisto brace the older by putting his pale hands on the other's shoulders. They watched each other for a few moments, a challenge to not look away the longest began instantly.

"Will you be following me to my room?" Drake hissed, his arrogance finally falling back into place.

The teen rolled his eyes, "To see you to bed, yes. Then I'll be on my way, Drake Stone."

"Why do you do that, mate? Call me by my full name," Drake ground out as he limped to an elevator.

Callisto followed him in to the small lift, "Does it bother you that much?"

"Everyone always seemed to be interested in my full name. It's just," He clicked his tongue, "routine."

"And you don't like routine?" The teen glanced to the other.

"Yeah, yeah, I know…curious," dark eyes rolled.

A light lit up on the top of the elevator as the pair reached the final floor. The magician pulled a key card out of a pocket and opened the fancy, black doors to reveal an equally fancy living area. Callisto moved forward slightly, looking farther into the homely place, only to get knocked upside the head when Drake turned to face him. The teen watched the other cautiously before once again examining the apartment. Pictures of the magician lined the walls of the entering hallway.

"Go on," Drake turned his head to look into his place. The teen, however, took one of his arms and walked with the proud magician into the hall. The black walls guided them to a main living room, strewn with couches and chairs.

"Do you spend all your free time here?"

"Where else would I go, mate?"

"I don't know," The teen murmured, "to the park. It certainly describes your personality."

Drake muttered something under his breath, but made no other retort except, "I don't need you to walk." Before pushing the teen away, Callisto stumbled slightly before catching himself and shooting a hidden glare at the older.

"That was mature."

"I don't get you," the magician hissed. "I've been answering all your questions. Now answer mine. Why did you help me? What were you doing in the alley? How did you defeat Horvath? Are you even magical?"

The teen growled, "Tell ya what, Drake Stone. I'll answer all your questions, but then you must go sleep."

"Fine."

"I go home through the alleys. It keeps me away from running into groups of people and having my sunglasses fall off. And just because I have different eyes doesn't mean I'm magical. A very rare group of people on this earth have purple eyes," Callisto began.

"Not like yours. Not that color."

"I beat your 'friend' because I've learned how to fight. One of my close friends is a scrapper, and she's taught me everything she knows because she understands that I don't like the looks I get. I don't like attention." The teen paused, "And I saved you because I think you have potential to be great. Now go to bed."

The magician scoffed, "fine, but I'm going because I'm tired. Not because you told me."

Limping steps took the magician and his follower to his bedroom, where he immediately fell onto his bed with a soft sigh. The soreness of his body covered him like a blanket. He was sure to have cracked bones, at least, but he had, at one time or another, had worse injuries to worry about.

Callisto nodded to himself before moving to close the door to the magician's room, "by the way, I lied."

Drake looked up suddenly, eyes narrowed.

"I'm seventeen," The teen looked at a clock on the illusionist's wall. "Now. Good night, Drake Stone."

And with that the man slipped back into the night.