The night noisily raged on around Korina who sat cross-leggedly in the library—the dim illumination of his computer screen lighting up his weary face. Every so often from the corner he resided in, he glanced up and out the giant window nearby to gaze upon the sheets of rain pelting it, along with the occasional clap of lightning and thunder. It was early morning, and he hadn’t slept at all. The storm kept him up. His right eye twitched slightly as he reached for the mug of coffee residing on the small table next to him. Taking a slow sip from it, he ran his other paw through his messy brown hair. The night was getting to him already, and he hadn’t even started yet. He looked up at the window as another lightning bolt illuminated the sky and winced. Closing his eyes and sighing deeply, Korina pondered if he should just quit and go back to his room to watch some YouTube or something, but quickly decided against it. He had made coffee after all. Why let it go to waste?
Taking another swig from the light caramel-colored liquid, he gently set the mug down once again before rubbing his face. His mind was drawing a blank—it was too early for heavy thinking. He wasn’t even certain why he decided to write—much less make coffee in the first place. It was true he was participating in a writing event—the end-goal of which was to write a staggering fifty-thousand words before the end of the month—and some others joining him had pressured him into joining, but he was having second thoughts. “Do I really need to do the full fifty-thousand?” he softly muttered to himself, taking another swig of coffee. “I mean, no, but why would I settle for less anyways? I know I can do it. It’s just a matter of scheduling properly.”
His muttering came to an abrupt stop as the door at the far end of the library gently swung open. A large burly figure stood in the doorway, their shadow stretching towards Korina like a monster. It was Dave, the gargantuan red dragon. The two of them had an elaborate history together, with Dave serving as Korina’s caretaker and royal advisor to the Oclaxian throne, which Korina was soon to inherit. Even in the harsh glare surrounding Dave like a halo, Korina could make out Dave’s entire face. Locking eyes, Korina noted the placid smirk creeping over Dave’s face as he walked over to him, the door gently swinging shut. The dragon took up a chair nearby the Hetrisini and turned on a small lamp nearby as he stared.
“And what might you be doing awake, drinking coffee at one-thirty in the morning? Should you not be asleep by now?” Dave calmly and sarcastically remarked as he opened the book he clutched, while keeping an eye on Korina.
Korina unamusedly looked up at Dave. “I could ask the same of you Dave, I hope you know that,” Korina wearily remarked, giving the scaly beast a coy wink. “But to answer your question, yes, I should be, but I’m not.”
Dave sarcastically raised his head, mouth open in feigned surprise. “And pray tell, why are you not asleep?” he asked, looking down at the book as he crossed his legs.
“We both know very well why I’m not Dave,” Korina muttered, before jerking his head towards the window. Seemingly as if on cue, another crack of lightning ripped across the sky. “That’s why. I also figured I should try to get a head-start on my writing goal for this month. Fifty-thousand words won’t write itself. But why are you not asleep? What are you doing awake?”
Dave simply smirked back at Korina. “Yes, I am fully aware of that. Admittedly, that is what brought my attention to the fact you might be in here. I knew your father would not dare make coffee at such a late hour—he would rather make tea. Not to mention, your door was open,” he dryly droned on.
Korina wearily smirked at the dragon, softly chuckling to himself. “That all? It wasn’t my incessant muttering and tired rambling, but my crippling caffeine addiction?” he asked, closing the laptop screen by a smidge. Dave replied by cautiously cocking an eyebrow at the hybrid. His look said all he needed. Korina simply laughed before continuing on with “But seriously. What are you doing up this late at night? Isn’t it a bit too late to be reading?”
“Is it not too late to be writing?” Dave instantly retorted.
“Not if you have insomnia, coffee, and a fear of storms,” Korina snapped as he took another sip of his coffee.
“You do not have insomnia. I have taken care of you since you were born. You learned what insomnia was when you were five and started using it as an excuse to avoid sleeping. Your father always chuckled about it when I informed him of it.”
“Hey, you don’t know. What if I’m really good at hiding it?”
“If you have insomnia, then what do I have? Narcolepsy?”
Korina fell silent for a few seconds, lost in thought. “Yes, judging by how much you sleep, you likely do.”
Dave rolled his eyes before resting his elbow on the arm, while staring at Korina. “I would not sleep as much as I do if you went to bed at a reasonable hour.”
“And what exactly is a reasonable hour?”
“Ten, at the latest.”
Korina blankly and unamusedly stared at Dave. “Dave,” he slowly began. “We both know I will not go to bed that early.”
“And why would you not?”
“Because of a thing called revenge bedtime procrastination.”
“You are simply making that up,” Dave said with an amused smile.
“No, I’m not! It’s an actual thing! It’s when people who don’t have a lot of control over their life purposefully go to bed later out of spite!” Korina emphatically exclaimed before flipping his computer around to show a google search for it.
“You have plenty of control over your life during the day. I do not see why this is relevant. You have no position to be criticizing me for how little I sleep.”
“Then you’re in no position to complain about how much I don’t sleep!”
“What would your father think about that?”
Korina didn’t have a chance to respond before the doors to the room swung open. A figure stood in the doorway, their shadow stretching towards the two as they wearily chimed in with “I believe he would tell both of you to go to sleep.” Both Korina and Dave looked to the figure, who started to walk towards them, as another crack of lightning pierced the sky. It was Elon, Korina’s dad. Apart from walking with a slight limp, he looked nearly identical to Korina in all regards, just older, and without the red stripes or beige horns. “What are the two of you doing up this late at night anyways—especially drinking coffee at one-thirty in the morning, Korina,” he sternly inquired as he pulled up a small stool and sat down.
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m writing!” Korina exclaimed as he drank some more coffee.
“It looks like you are talking with Dave in all honesty,” he softly muttered before turning to face the dragon. “And you, Dave. Pray tell, what are you doing up at such an ungodly hour? I would have expected you of all people to be asleep.”
“I originally went to check on Korina, but could not find him, so I came into here. I thought if he was not in his room, he would certainly be in here, and if he was in here, I should at the very least ensure we do not have another… *incident*,” Dave calmly explained as he coyly looked at Korina, who was wildly flailing his arms around in disagreement and bewilderment. “We all know what happened Korina. Do not try to deny it. Regardless, I could ask you the same question too Elon.”
Elon simply smiled. “For the same reasons my son would be awake,” he gently explained as he nodded towards Korina, who wasn’t paying attention and instead typing on his computer. He absentmindedly looked up and simply hummed in question, as a crack of thunder echoed through the room. Korina softly, and fearfully, yelped, his tail curling up next to his neck. It was only then he turned to face the other two, who shared a knowing look amongst themselves. It was Elon who finally broke the silence by simply inquiring “If I am not mistaken, the storm should continue until sunrise. Certainly neither of you are planning to weather it? Well, maybe Korina will…”
Korina angrily looked up at Elon, who just smiled. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Korina demanded.
“You did claim you have insomnia, and you are currently drinking caffeine,” Elon joked. Dave stifled a small chuckle as Korina stared at Elon with feigned disbelief. “I mean, yes, I do have insomnia,” Korina quickly muttered. “But uh… no, I’m totally not planning on staying up all night. Totally not.”
Elon gave him a disapproving glare, with the faintest trace of a smile, before turning to Dave. “I take it you will remain with him?” he softly asked.
Dave wearily nodded. “Yes, I will. I will make him go to bed sooner or later.”
Elon nodded in approval. “Then I shall take my leave. I bid both of you a good night,” he triumphantly remarked before exiting the library. Both Korina and Dave bid their good-nights, and then they were both alone. Korina glared at Dave and finally remarked with “You’re not going to get me to go to sleep.”
Dave amusedly chuckled. “Yes I will. Maybe I will let stay up all night if you can explain what you are even writing about in the first place,” he dryly remarked. Korina’s eyes suddenly lit up as he started to explain everything he had in mind, and everything he wanted to do. It all came out as a jumbled mess, with bits contradicting one another until Dave finally raised a hand and silenced Korina. He smiled. “I think you will figure it out. You are smart. I believe in you. Just focus on your writing. I will be here if you need me.”
Korina dutifully nodded before resuming typing. After a few seconds, he paused and looked up at the dragon. “Hey Dave?”
Dave smiled. “Do not mention it.”