Title: Days Gone By
Co-authors and/or betas: N/A
Genre/s: Romance, Hurt/Comfort
Summary: Katja reminisces on the man who broke her heart a year ago.
Main character/s: Katja Hytzenrider, Savah, Artha Penn
Warnings: Angst, sadness, OC/Canon ship
Word Count: 1756 words
No. of Chapters: 1
Disclaimer: I don’t own Dragon Booster or the rights to Artha Penn. Those belong to the Story Hat.
A/N: First Dragon Booster thing I’ve written in a while. C: Never written for Artha before, so please let me know how I did!
The laughter of children rang through the courtyard of Penn Stables. Two young kids were chasing each other and fighting with some long twigs, probably pulled from a nearby tree from the garden. Two dragonets hovered nearby, watching the children play and begin on alert for any dangers.
“Haha, I got you Katja!” The you boy laughed, his blue eyes closing as he did so. The young girl puffed her cheeks in mock anger, and responded with a quick swipe at his left arm.
“No you didn’t! I had a mag-shield up!” She responded triumphantly, posing proudly. “I got you!” The boy furrowed his brows and put his twig-sword in his other hand.
“I can still get you, even with the wrong hand!” He lunged at her and swiped her leg quickly, exciting a squeal from the girl who then pretended to limp away on a “broken” leg.
“No! You’re too strong!” She laughed, slowly limping away. “I give up!” The boy didn’t give her mercy however, as he poked her right in the stomach, effectively “killing” her. With a cry of exasperation, the girl fell over, her eyes closed and her tongue hanging out of her mouth for dramatic effect. The boy took his turn to pose.
“Hah! The forces of evil will never defeat DragonMan!” He cried, pretending to be his favorite superhero. Sitting up slowly, the girl stuck her tongue out at him.
“Artha, you’re always DragonMan! Let me be him next time!” Katja pouted, being a sore loser as always. Artha groaned.
“Fine, but I get to borrow your toy that you brought today.” He was referring to a little plush dragon that her action figures would use as a mount. She had brought it to show him. Katja rolled her eyes as she got up off the ground, dusting off her trousers.
“Deal! Don’t let my momma know, though. She doesn’t like it when I leave toys here.”
“She’ll never know!” The two kids smiled brightly at each other before laughing.
“Katja! Artha! Come on inside, it’s time for lunch!” A familiar voice called from the open window of the Penn House – Connor Penn, Artha’s father. The two kids, just now realizing how hungry they were after a morning of play, sprinting inside as fast as their little legs could carry them, eager to see what food that Fira had made them.
“I never did get that dragon toy back…” Katja mused aloud to herself. The night air was hot and carried the scent of rain, a warning of what was to come. She was sitting on the roof of some building in Down City, she wasn’t sure which one. Behind her, Savah grumbled sleepily as she rolled onto her side, something having disrupted her from her nap. Katja turned to look at the dragon, a soft smile playing on her lips. It must be nice to be a dragon – to not have to suffer heartbreak, to not feel lonely all the time. Katja shook her head. She wasn’t alone, she had Savah. Dominik. Her father. All these people to support her… Why did she still feel so alone?
Dangling a foot off the edge of the building, and pulling her other knee close to her chest to rest her chin on it, Katja watched the city down below. People walked, dragons ran. Shop keepers were doing their closing chores. It was sometimes hard to tell it was night in Dragon City, especially in the lower levels, due to a lack of sunlight from up above. But the whole town seemed to slow down as the day went on, and the shadows seemed to grow larger and darker with every hour. With a sigh, Katja ran a hand through her hair. Her chest hurt, and she was having trouble distracting herself from the pain.
“Artha, are you free? Can we talk?” Katja’s voice went into her commlink, but she wasn’t sure if Artha was listening to her words. He had his video display turned off, so she was just looking at a blank display. Moments tretched out, the silence making the seconds fee like hours. She was amazed he answered her call at all – after his father’s disappearance and the fire at Penn Stables, she hadn’t talked to her childhood friend. The last time they talked was over a month ago, but she could see him race every day in the All-City Races. She was starting to get angry with him – how dare he ignore her?! After all they’d been through together! Artha was her best friend, and to be treated like this by him struck a deep nerve with her.
“Look, Kat…” The words were painfully slow, and his tone already told Kat everything she needed to know. “I’ve just been… busy. I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and I-“
“Don’t shut me out, Artha!” Kat cried into the commlink, cutting him off. She tried to keep desperation out of her voice, but it seemed to poison her words uncontrollably. “I know that things have been hard on you, so let me help you! Artha, please. You were there for me when my mother left, so let me be here for you now!” She couldn’t help but yell. She was desperate to keep him in her life.
More silence. More pain.
“Kat, listen. There’s… a lot we have to talk about. Can I meet you at the Dragon Burger on Third? The one in Mid City, near my house?” Finally. Katja wanted to scream with glee. Finally! A chance to meet with him again! To talk!
“I’ll be there. What time?” She couldn’t help but smile from behind her commlink.
“Meet me there in about three hours? I’ve got some things to take care of first, but then I’ll be there.”
“See you then.” She was grinning like an idiot.
“I’m… sorry. I didn’t mean to shut you out.” Artha’s voice sounded sincere, and it nearly broke Kat’s heart.
“It’s… I understand. Why have you been avoiding me, though?” She asked, wanting to understand if it was something that she had done to offend him.
“I haven’t been – at least, not on purpose. Look, I’ll tell you more at the Dragon Burger. It’s… not safe to talk over the commlink about it.” This gave Katja pause, but did she have a choice but to go along with it?
“Alright then. We’ll talk more about it there.” This discussion was not over, and she wasn’t going to let him forget it. Her tone was a bit unintentionally sharp, though.
“Alright. Be seeing you.” He sounded distant and sad, and Katja couldn’t help but kick herself for being mad at him.
“See ya.” She hung up, not wanting to deal with potentially hurting his feeling with her sharp tone. Underneath her, Savah grumbled and shifted her walking pace. They were heading home after a day of race training, and Savah was exhausted. And Kat knew that she was asking a lot of her partner to stay up for at least another three hours. She reached down and gently patted the side of Savah’s head, exciting a happy rumble from the dragoness.
“Are you upset? I need to see him…” Her voice was soft, and she wondered at first if Savah could hear her. The large dragon shook her head gently, making Katja’s saddle sway with her movement. With a smile Katja chuckled.
“Thank you for understanding. Let’s swing by the Fill Station, and get you a treat. Draconee-Yum bars sound good to you?” Kata smiled cheekily down at her now-excited dragon partner, who grinner back at her rider and picked up her pace into a light trot.
He was supposed to be here.
Katja sat next to Savah at an outside booth at the Dragon Burger, idly eating a small order of fries that had long since turned cold. They had been sitting here for over an hour, and were now getting weird looks from the waitstaff. With a sigh, Katja tried dialing Artha for the fourth time, her nimble fingers dialing the familiar number by muscle-memory.
She slumped against her chair with a sad sigh, and her heart began to hurt her. “I can’t believe he stood me up like this.” She groaned. Savah grunted in response, lifting her head and nuzzling her rider gently. Katja’s eyes felt a bit misty, and it was with sorrow that she realized that the burger joint was going to be closing in about a half hour. Leaving some drakkals on the table as a tip for whichever waiter had to sit and watch Katja be sad and lonely for an hour as he refilled her drink repeatedly, she stood up and let Savah mag her into her saddle.
“Let’s go home, girl.” Her voice held no enthusiasm, only pain.
It was the wetness on her cheeks that snapped Katja back to reality. She looked down at the photo she held in her hand – when did I pull this out of my pocket? She wondered. The photo was folded and getting worn, but she could still make out the image clearly despite the wrinkles in the paper.
Artha, Lance, and her at the local DragFaire, two year ago. Lance was only 8 then… he was holding a stuffed animal Katja had won him at the ball toss, and Katja was wearing Artha’s jacket to shield her from the cold of the evening. The color was starting to fade in the image, bright colors being replaced with shades of brown, and she found herself longing for those days again. To be a family again.
Ever since that day, Artha had never answered her calls. Never came by her house to see her. And whenever she went to Penn Stables, the only people she could ever find were Parmon Sean and Kitt Wonn. Two members of his “racing crew.” The thought made her sick – how could he just… throw her away like this?
With an aching heart, Katja stood up. She was tired of hurting. With deep breaths, she calmed herself, stopping her flow of tears and easing the pain in her chest. A new seed of emotion found itself blooming in Katja’s heart: anger. If she didn’t mean anything to him, then fine. She was tired of letting him hurt her. From this day on, she was never going to care about him.
“C’mon Savah. Let’s go home. I want to start training early tomorrow.”