Chapter Six

Quinn rested a forearm above Merry’s head against the stall wall, and leaned to him. “Ye listen to ye Quinn, now, Meriadoc McDaniel. ’Tis forbidden.”

Merry swallowed hard, and blinked once, twice, still dazed from his first kiss ever. “What d-do you mean?”

“Be forbidden for one of Fairy to care for a human.”

Quinn’s eyes seemed to plead him. “So, you c-can’t like me?”

“I cannot.”

Quinn’s words crushed Merry anew, and he fought not to burst into tears again. “N-never?”

Quinn was grave as he shook his head slowly.

“I-it’s a fairy rule?”

Quinn nodded. “But it does no' mean I cannot be ye friend.”

Merry’s heart ripped in two and unbidden tears welled again.

“Come on, little fella.”

Quinn took him into his arms and held him against the muscled expanse of his chest. Merry melted into the warmth and comfort and fought to rein in his tears.

“Don’t jump to conclusions. A fairy’s friendship be as deep as he love.”

“I don’t want just your friendship,” Merry mumbled into Quinn’s chest.

“I know, but ‘tis the way it must be.”

“You can’t break it?” Jeez, could he sound any more pathetic?

“Break what?”

“The rule.”

“Put me in dire peril, if I do, Merry. Does no' mean I cannot be with ye.”

Merry leaned back and looked up at him, and wanted nothing more than to kiss him again. “With me how?”

“I be ye friend.”

Merry buried his face against Quinn’s chest again. Merry didn’t want peril to happen to Quinn, especially the dire kind, and he couldn’t lose Quinn’s friendship. He couldn’t stand it if he were all alone again. He felt so safe in Quinn’s arms, his strong, rhythmic heartbeat going a long way to assuage his broken heart. He took a deep, shuddering breath and withdrew from Quinn’s arms. “Okay.” His lower lip quivered on the single word, and he hated himself for it. It was pitiful. He was pitiful.

He turned and tried the door of the stall again. It still wouldn’t budge. “I-I gotta get something to eat and lunch is almost over.”

Quinn turned Merry to him, hugged him tight, and kissed the top of his head. “Nay, me Merry, I stopped time for ye.”

“You can stop time?”

“With good reason.” The door opened on its own.

~*~

Merry kept glancing at Quinn as they walked to the cafeteria. The kiss had left him dazed, breathless, and all tingly inside. Then Quinn’s words had devastated him, leaving him feeling hollow and weak again.

They went through the line and, when Merry put a bag of chips on his tray, Quinn looked down at him. “Ye need to eat more than that.”

Merry had lost his appetite, but he reached for a banana and a salad to make Quinn happy, and added them to the tray.

They headed to an empty table, and Rick ran by and knocked Merry’s tray from his hands. The tray crashed to the floor, and his food fell with a splat.

Fury ignited in Quinn’s eyes, and Rick was suddenly airborne, seemingly having tripped over an invisible step. He face-planted onto a table with a yelp, and food went flying.

Merry stared in shock as Quinn picked Rick up, straightened him out, and brushed food off the front of his shirt. “Now, ye listen and listen well, Rick Adams. Ye come near Merry again, and ye pay the piper, ye will. Ye take me meanin’?”

Quinn’s voice was low and full of menace. Merry had never seen Quinn lose his temper before, and it scared him a little. He bent to pick up his tray and food, and glanced at them, fearful a full-fledged fight would break out.

Rick’s face went red as a beet as he smacked Quinn’s hands away and issued an earsplitting yell. “Get your fucking hands off me!” He shoved Quinn in the chest. Quinn didn’t as much as wobble. In a moment of unmitigated cruelty and gall, Rick moved around Quinn and kicked Merry in the side.

Merry hadn’t seen it coming. Air shot from his lungs as pain bounced off the walls of his mind. His tray went sliding across the floor, stars danced in his vision, and he fell onto his side with a stifled cry. From his pain-filled low place on the floor, he watched as Quinn magically transformed into a raging beast. A clawed hand wrapped around Rick’s neck and lifted him into the air. With a guttural growl, Quinn cursed him. A donkey tail and ears sprouted on Rick right before he was airborne again. He crashed through the cafeteria doors, and landed with a sickening thud in the hallway.

Quinn transformed again, returning to his natural form, and went to Merry on the floor. “Merry, little fella, ye be hurtin' bad?” Quinn’s brogue had thickened commensurate with his concern.

With Quinn’s help, he sat up. “Uh-uh. Just knocked the breath out of me,” he coughed.

“Ye be certain?”

“I’ve had worse.” He tried to get to his feet and slumped to the floor again.

“Here, now.” Quinn lifted Merry from the floor as if he weighed nothing, carried him to an empty table, and carefully set him in a chair. He pulled a chair around from the other side of the table and sat next to Merry. “Ye be all right?”

Merry nodded as he looked around the cafeteria. It was if no one had seen a thing.

“Take a drink of ye juice.”

Merry turned back to find their two trays of food on the table. He looked at Quinn, who offered him an open bottle of cranberry juice. He accepted it and took a swig, then wiped his mouth with the back of a hand. “So, um, so, d-does that h-happen often?”

“What?”

“The, ah, the, ah, well, you k-kind of changed there for a minute.”

“Aye, be me ugly side. It come out when I lose me temper.”

That’s understandable. NOT. “Yeah, okay, no problem. I hope I never piss you off.”

Quinn leaned and placed a soft kiss on Merry’s cheek and it tingled some more. “Ye could never be the cause of me ire, Meriadoc. Sorry ye had to see it.”

“Um, yeah, okay. Are we, like, invisible or something? Because no one’s looking at us.”

Quinn shrugged. “Humans see what they wish to. Not be difficult to tease they minds.”

Merry scratched his head. He was almost afraid to ask. "If you c-can't be my b-boyfriend, h-how come you can kiss me, my cheek, I mean?"

Quinn gave him a long, considering look. "I should not, but cannot help me self."

Merry wasn't surprised. HE. WAS. THUNDERSTRUCK! Quinn couldn't hold himself back? From kissing him? A giggle bubbled up from somewhere deep inside Merry. Man, when was the last time he giggled? 3rd grade?

"Ye needn't be surprised. I be very fond of ye."

Very. OMG. It was that kind of fond. Not just the regular, everyday type of fond. Not just any kind of fond, but the very kind! V-E-R-Y! THAT kind! Quinn was very fond of him! Merry had never been very anything to very anybody and it very thrilled him. Very instantly became his new favorite word. He fought to collect his now very jumbled thoughts. “Ah-huh, okay, um, thanks. I'm very fond of you, too."

"Aye, ye be." Quinn was matter of fact.

"Ah, okay, so Rick has a tail and floppy ears.” Even he was disbelieving of his own words.

“So long as he behave like an arse, he wear ‘em.”

“Aaaaand no one’s going to notice?”

Quinn shook his head as he began to eat salad. “Won’t see ‘em, but can feel ‘em. Teach Rick to stay away from others after a bit.”

“Right.” He watched Quinn for a few moments as he ate.

Quinn finally looked up from his food with a wink, all evidence of anger gone. “Ye need to eat.” He peeled a banana and handed it to Merry.

Merry took a bite and looked around. It was as if absolutely nothing had happened. “How do you do that?”

“What ye mean to ask?”

“You can disappear, walk through doors, stop time, push someone without touching them, make a person grow a tail and ears, and put our food back together. And turn into a-a...” Monster seemed a little harsh considering Quinn had just saved his ass again. “A, ah, well, into another being. How do you do that?”

“Be Fairy magick.”

“Magick. Okay." He was still kinda stuck on the monster thing. "Can you do anything you want to?”

Quinn shook his head. “Nay. They be limits. Eat ye salad.”

Merry opened the bag of chips and ate a few. “What kind of limits?”

“I cannot rid the realm of the perils of Fairy.”

“Fairy perils?”

“Aye. Be things to make we fade.”

“Fade?”

“Lose material form.”

“You’re mortal?”

“Nay.”

“You just said you can lose material form. That sounds like dead to me.”

“Nay, we essence continue to exist in the dark realm. Be like a free-fall in blackness to ye humans.”

That didn’t sound good. “What are the perils?”

“I cannot tell ye. Be forbidden.”

“Why?”

“Humans can use ‘em again’ us.”

“You have a lot of rules.”

Quinn sighed. “Aye, we do.”

Merry ate a few more chips. “Where do you live?”

“Fairy.”

“Not what are you, where do you live?”

“Fairy,” Quinn repeated.

“Fairy is a place?”

“Aye. Ye humans have a likin' for the labels, don’t ye know? They be many an ilk of we fae, but ye humans put us in one kettle and call us by we home.”

Merry knew all too well how people liked their labels. “What ilk are you?”

“Leanán Sidhe.”

“What’s a lah-nan she-uh?”

“We be of the High Court of Fairy.”

That explained it all. Not. “Where is Fairy?”

“Be the Sith.”

“Sith?”

“Aye, the mound.”

“Where’s the mound?”

“Be about.”

Merry rolled his eyes. Here we go again. “How do you get to it?”

“What ye mean to ask?”

“How do you get there? You know, the directions. Like, I don’t know, take the 405 south, then the 10 west until you hit PCH, then north to the California incline, then what?”

Quinn frowned. “I wish it, and I be there.”

“Just like that?”

“Aye. Why ye ask?”

“Can I visit you?”

Quinn’s face darkened. “Nay. Be perilous for ye. Once a human set foot in the Land o’Fairy, he cannot set foot on human lands again. Ye be forever lost to we fae.”

Merry’s heart sank. “So, I can’t ever come over to your house?”

Quinn shook his head.

“Can I have your number?”

“Me number of what?”

“Your cellular phone number. You have a cell, right?”

Quinn laughed. It was a full-bellied laugh and, in spite of Merry’s embarrassment, it was warm and round on his senses. “What’s so funny?”

“Ye simply wish for me and I be here, Merry. Be that simple.”

“I don’t have to call or text you?”

Quinn chuckled again. “Nay.”

That was kinda cool. “So, um, what do you guys do for fun?”

“Feast on humans.”

Merry blanched and Quinn burst into laughter again.

“Ha, ha. Very funny.”

“Ogres think it be.”

Merry’s eyes became saucers. “Ogres are real?”

“Be certain of it. They eat ye alive then use ye leg bones as they toothpicks.”

Merry felt ill. “What do you guys really do for fun?”

“Feasts, parades, balls, rings, duels, spells, curses, hand-fasts, and the like.”

“Hand fasts?”

“Ye call it marriage.”

“Can you marry whoever you want?”

“Must stay within we Court and caste.”

“So, if you’re born on the wrong side of the, the...mound, it’s all over?”

“Ye wouldn’t want to see me hand-fasted to a troll, now, would ye?”

Merry almost choked on a chip. He didn’t want to see Quinn married at all, let alone to a troll. “Ah, yeah, no, that wouldn’t be cool.”

“Aye, they breath smell of rotten blood.” Quinn shivered.

Eeeeeeewwwwww. “Is it okay to, um, to, um.... Can you be gay?”

Quinn finished the last of his food and sat back in his chair. “Gender not be a class. Ye can love who ye wish if they be within ye Court and caste.”

“That’s cool.”

“Aye, but we have a rule. Ye must have ye one bantling.”

Now, Merry did choke on his food. He coughed, cleared his throat, and took a sip of juice. “So, wait. You can marry another guy but you still have to...to do the wild monkey dance with a girl?”

Quinn frowned. “The what?”

“You know,” he leaned in and whispered, “sex.”

Quinn chuckled and nodded. “Aye.”

Merry winced, unsure which was worse, his jealousy or his revulsion at the thought of having sex with a girl. He’d had sex ed and he understood the mechanics, he just soooooo didn’t like where they told him his dick was supposed to go. Hella-gross!

Quinn laughed softly. “Ye be a jealous one, ye be.”

Merry’s cheeks flushed pink, and he turned away.

Quinn turned his face back with gentle fingertips. “Don’t be takin’ a reddener.”

Quinn would know he was lying if he said he wasn’t jealous. They’d already covered that ground. “It’s not only that. It’s just...the whole idea.... It’s just gross.”

“Ye not worry of it. Be a century or more before it be required of me.”

Merry gaped. “How old are you?”

“Draw nigh seventeen. Same as ye.”

“Draw nigh?”

“Ye would say draw near.”

“Yeah, right. Almost seventeen what?”

Quinn’s emerald eyes twinkled with ancient knowledge as the bell rang overhead signaling that lunch had ended. “Time we go.”

“Wait. Is there, um, is there a way for a human to become a fairy?” When Merry saw the look of shock on Quinn’s face, he wanted to crawl into a hole.

“Why would ye want to be fae?”

“S-s-so we could, I mean, y-y-you could like me.”

A sad smile replaced the surprise on Quinn’s face. “I tell ye I be fond of ye, Merry. I speak true.”

“No, I mean so you could be m-my boyfriend?”

Sadness flickered in Quinn’s eyes and was gone before it came to fruition. “Be that important to ye?”

Merry looked away again. “Yeah.”

A long moment passed before Quinn spoke. “Ye needn’t be fae to be mo chuisle mo chroí.”

Merry turned back to him. “Muh kush-leh muh-cree?”

“The pulse of me heart. Ye be the pulse of me heart, Merry.”

Without warning, Quinn’s adoration imbued every fiber of Merry’s being, a tidal wave of affection against a careworn shore. Merry had never been in love before, but somehow he knew that’s what it was.  

~*~

Author's note:
     I wrote the first draft of this story on a flight returning to the United States from the United Kingdom. I fell asleep on the plane, had a nightmare, and woke with a start. I felt small after a particularly hostile business meeting in London, the hostility no fault of mine or my client. The meeting dredged up ancient feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem, and memories of my brutal days in school during my youth. I often wished I had superpowers, or magick, anything to protect me. And someone who cared for me.
     As fate would have it, someone did care for me in the end, and we remain good friends to this day. I also know now that I am not defined by what heartless others have done to me.
     This story originally ended here, but has grown since. I must break from Quinn and Merry due to my writing and editing schedule,  but rest assured, they will return.
      Thank you for reading this story.

The first chapter of Fairy was originally published in
Harmony Ink’s May 2013 newsletter.
Be sure to sign up for Inklings Newsletter and receive
news about new releases, free reads, and more!

Chapter Five                                                 Table of Contents                                                  Chapter Seven

©2012-2014 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter Five

Merry was out of breath by the time he made it through the front doors of the school. He’d seen Rick outside, but Rick hadn’t seen him. Thank gawd. Determined to make it to class before Rick caught him, he made his way to his locker and unloaded his backpack at the speed of light.

“How be me Meriadoc on this fine morn?"

Merry jumped, his heart filled his throat, and he turned to Quinn. “Don’t do that!” His voice shook in the harsh whisper.

“I can’t ask how ye be?”

“No! I mean, yes, but don’t sneak up on me like that!”

“I did not. I merely appeared.”

“Exactly!” Merry took deep, even breaths willing his pounding heart back into his chest.

Quinn’s brow knitted in concern. “Ye be truly frightened.”

“Ah, yeah! Rick’s outside and I thought you were he, or him, or whatever. I thought he found me.” He took another deep, calming breath and closed his locker door. “I swear, Quinn, Rick’s gonna kill me one day.”

Quinn’s frown deepened. “Well, now. We can’t have that, can we? I see ye to class, then.” He put an arm around Merry and guided him away.

OMG! Quinn had his arm around him. In school. In the hall. In front of everybody! Merry looked around nervously and waited for the taunting to begin. When no one said a thing, he relaxed a little into the comfort of Quinn’s arm. He felt safe, cared for, and wished he could stay there all day. He was also dying to ask Quinn if he was gay but still couldn’t work up the courage.

“Ye not swear such a thing, Merry, lest ye make it true.”

He glanced up at Quinn as they wended their way through the throng of students. “What are you talking about?”

“Ye don’t swear Rick will kill ye lest ye wish it to be true.”

“Seriously?”

“Aye. Truly.”

“Is that, like, a fairy thing?” Before Quinn could answer, Rick and his goons appeared in the hallway ahead of them. Merry stopped walking, fear filling every fiber of his being and causing his bones to turn jelly.

“Come on, now, Meriadoc. Ye be fine,” Quinn reassured.

Merry numbly put one rubbery foot before the other, and waited for an attack that never came. Rick and his jerk friends walked by without as much as a glance in their direction. “H-he didn’t see me,” he breathed, his voice a mere quaver on the air.

Quinn winked at him. He actually winked. What did that mean? They reached Merry’s classroom and stopped just outside the door.

“I see ye at lunch, little fella."

“Can, can we meet outside the cafeteria doors?”

“Why?”

“I-it’s safer. Rick might see me in the cafeteria. It’s like I’m a magnet for him.”

Quinn frowned. “Truly?”

“Yeah, it’s as if my electrons are screwed up or something. No matter where I am, he finds me.”

“It be a problem of polarization, then?” Quinn was grave.

Merry looked up at him, and realized Quinn was screwing with him. “You’re making fun of me.”

“Wouldn’t think of it,” he said with a smile.

Merry couldn’t help it. He laughed for the first time in as long as he could remember. “Stop,” he said shyly and looked away.

Quinn chuckled. “If that be ye wish, so be it. I’ll see ye outside the café door.” With a peck to Merry’s cheek, Quinn was gone.

Merry flushed crimson, and his eyes darted the hallway as he waited for the eeews, disgusted looks, slurs, and maybe even a shriek to fill the air. Nothing happened. No one in the hall noticed him. At all. Rick hadn’t seen him either. It was as if Quinn had made him...invisible. Oh, no freakin’ way! He shot through the door into class.
~*~
Merry rounded the corner to the cafeteria and saw Quinn just outside the doors as promised. He was talking to a girl. One who was obviously crushing on himhard. She may as well have been drooling on him. When she stood on tiptoe and kissed his lips, Merry froze. His hopes weren’t dashed. No, of course not. His hopes were callously thrown to the ground, crushed under the weight of heartrending anguish, and ground into the earth under the heel of jealousy.

He made it into a bathroom stall before he fell apart, leaned his forehead against the cool metal of the door, and let the tears fall. He should have known not to hope. Even if Quinn were to be gay, Quinn wouldn’t want someone like pathetic, weak, spineless, nerdy, plain Merry the Fairy. He was a care package in the extreme with seriously heavy baggage, and offered nothing of value to anyone. He was a total waste of space. Why had he been so stupid as to hope Quinn might actually like him?

“Merry,” Quinn’s deep voice sounded on the other side of the door.

Great. Just freakin’ great. How’d Quinn know where he was?

“Open the door, Merry.”

He quickly dried his face with the hem of his shirt.

“Open the door, Meriadoc.”

“How’d you know where I was?”

“I always know where ye be.”

Merry jumped and turned to find Quinn standing right behind him. “Don’t do that!” He turned away quickly. He didn’t want Quinn to know he’d been crying, utterly feeble excuse for a human specimen that he was.

Quinn brushed a wisp of Merry’s brown hair from his temple with a gentle fingertip. “Tell me what upset ye so? Ye be in one piece, so I know Rick didn’t find ye.”

“Nothing.” Merry reached for the toilet paper to blow his nose and it tore beneath his fingers. He grabbed at it and only succeeded in knocking the whole roll to the floor. Great.

“Come now. Tell ye Quinn what be the matter.”

“Nothing.” He bent and picked up the roll and gathered tissue in a hand. The roll flipped from his grasp and landed in the toilet bowl, immediately swelling in the water, sure to become a monstrous marshmallow within seconds. The Blob now loomed large in the water. Crap. Even the toilet paper mocked him. He dared to blow his nose with the toilet paper in his hand and hoped it didn’t do something totally weird. Like catch fire. And fricassee his eyebrows right off his face. Worse yet, fry his measly five whiskers. That would be a tragedy he couldn’t overcome. Man, he hated his life. No one had a life like this but him. It was like he lived in his own personal hell. A toilet paper hell at the moment. Like, who fights with toilet paper? Was he doomed not only to be a victim of life, but of toilet paper as well? When toilet paper could best you, well, that said it all, didn’t it?

Quinn cupped Merry’s chin with a gentle hand and Merry closed his eyes, refusing to look at him.

“Open ye eyes, Merry.”

“No,” he whispered with what little strength he had left. The T.P. feud had taken the last of his reserves.

“Aye, open ‘em for ye Quinn.”

Against Merry’s will, his eyes slowly opened to Quinn’s emerald gaze. WTH?

“Ahhhh,” Quinn said with a soft, deep laugh. “Ye be green with envy.”

Merry pulled away quickly, his shoulder connecting with the metal wall of the stall with a dull thud.

“Why ye be jealous?”

“I'm not.”

Quinn gave him a dubious look. “Aye, ye be.” He looked deep into Merry’s eyes again then began to laugh. “That? Ye be jealous of a kiss? From a lass, no less?” Quinn laughed harder, the sound of it echoing off the tile walls of the bathroom.

Merry flushed crimson. Great. Quinn could read minds, too? That meant Quinn knew he had a crush on him the size of the continental U.S. The air in the small stall was suddenly hot and he needed to go. NOW! He tried to open the door and it wouldn’t budge. He fought with it until he realized Quinn was holding it closed. “Let me out!”

Quinn’s laughter died away and he shook his head slowly. “Ye be jealous of a kiss from a lass,” he repeated, his voice now full of wonder.

Merry fought the door again. “No. Let go of the door!”

“Aye, ye be.”

“Am not. Let me out!”

“Aye. Ye cannot hide these things from ye Quinn.”

Merry gave up on the door and kicked it. “Is kissing, like, some kind of fairy thing? Because you go around kissing everybody!”

“I do not!” Quinn feigned mock indignation through a smile.

“Is it a fairy thing?” Merry demanded.

“Is it a human thing?” Quinn countered.

“Yeah, when you like someone!”

“Well, then, ye have ye answer, don’t ye?”

Merry stilled, his heart twisting in agony. “So, you like her?” His question was but a breath on the air.

“Nay.”

Merry dared to look up at him now. “Then why’d you kiss her?”

“I did not.”

“I saw it!”

“Uh, uh, uh. You saw the lass kiss me.”

“You let it happen!” Merry sounded petulant again. What was it about Quinn that made him so damn emotional? He wanted to kick the door again.

“Aye, I did. I can only interfere with fate when doin’ me job.”

“So, it’s your job to let girls—” worse yet “people kiss you?”

“Don’t be daft.”

Merry stifled a growl. “What’s daft mean?”

“Silly. The important thing be, I did not kiss the lass. She not be Fairy Kissed.”

OMG, back to the stupid Fairy Kiss! This needed to stop, or he really would go nuts. He took a deep breath and lowered his now-tremulous voice. “Quinn?”

“Aye?”

“Why is a Fairy Kiss different from a regular kiss?” Back to Stupid-sounding Questions 101.

“Be special.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Just what I said. It be special.”

Merry gritted his teeth. “What. Kind. Of. Special?” he asked as evenly as he could.

Quinn cupped Merry’s chin again and Merry dared to meet his eyes this time. “Ye know in ye heart of hearts what I mean to say, Meriadoc.”

Merry prepared to fire back then stilled at the look in Quinn’s eyes. Did Quinn like him? In that way? Fragile tendrils of hope brushed his heart again. Oh, man...could it be true?

“Aye, little fella, now ye understand.”

“You like me?”

“I tell ye I did.”

“You said fond. Fond can mean a lot of things. What kind of fond?” Merry was bordering on belligerent again. This sort of behavior was a definite first for him.

Quinn laughed softly. “Aye, ye have fight in ye.”

“Answer the question, please.”

Now Quinn did frown, all humor lost. Merry waited, pensive, terrified he’d pushed it too far.

Then Quinn kissed Merry in earnest.

Merry started at first then eased, all but dissolving into the warmth of Quinn’s arms. He had never been kissed, much less kissed like this. He had never been held like this. No one had ever cared for him like this. A profound sense of belonging pushed away the ancient loneliness and hurt that had lain like an ugly wet blanket over his pathetic existence. Quinn’s lips were soft, a sweet velvet against Merry’s, and Merry couldn’t help but to open to him. Their tongues danced a slow, tender waltz, and Merry didn’t want the kiss to end. Ever. He wanted to freeze time, to stay in Quinn’s arms, and kiss him forever.

The kiss left Merry dazed and breathless, his head reeling, and Quinn’s eyes held him rapt, his gaze intense. “Ye have ye answer now, me Meriadoc?”

Merry couldn’t speak. Nary a word left his kiss-swollen lips. He could only nod.

The first chapter of Fairy was originally published in
Harmony Ink’s May 2013 newsletter.
Be sure to sign up for Inklings Newsletter and receive
news about new releases, free reads, and more!

Chapter Four                                                 Table of Contents                                                Chapter Six
©2012-2014 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Four

Incensed, Merry opened the back door with a flourish. “Where were you today?” he demanded without preamble.

Quinn smiled a soft, knowing smile. “Knew ye had fight in ye.”

Merry had no freakin’ idea what Quinn was talking about. “Where were you?” he demanded again.

Quinn’s brows arched at Merry’s tone as he stepped into the kitchen. “Ye needn’t open the door. I can pass through it.”

Merry stared at him, his mouth agape, and then rallied. “Rick almost drowned me in the drinking fountain! Then he threw me in the showers with my clothes on! I had to go to class soaking wet and run all the way home freezing my ass off!"

Quinn frowned. “That be so?”

Gaining momentum, Merry’s words came fast and furious. “And I fell asleep in class! And you made me forget my lunch money!” 

“Did I, now?”

Quinn’s calm only served to fuel Merry’s ire. “And there’s something wrong with my cheek where y-you...k-kissed it!”

“Stands to reason.”

“And I’m beginning to think I’m crazy!”

“Nay, Meriadoc, ye not be touched in the head. This I would know.”

“Just like you know I’m not a f-fairy!” He sounded like a petulant child. A crazy one. It wasn’t Quinn’s fault that Rick bullied him. He shut his mouth, his eyes drifting away to....

His heated anger plummeted and another kind of heat zinged up his spine slamming all thoughts of Rick into his subconscious. Quinn was...well, almost...naked. But for the stupid looking little shorts made out of leaves.... Well, they weren’t really shorts because they didn’t COVER. HIS. HIPS! OMG! But for the leaves in all the right places, Quinn would be nude! Right in front of him! Only inches away! He’d spied on Quinn in the locker room, but hadn’t seen him, well, you know, up close and personal! He took in Quinn’s tall, sinewy figure, and the muscles that rippled beneath the surface of his creamy, white skin as he moved. He was built like a sleek racehorse.

Merry was breathless. OMG. I am so freakin' gay. His body began to do awkward things. Exciting things. Embarrassing things. Great. He had a hard enough time dealing with spontaneous erections. With the image of Quinn’s body now seared into his brain, he was all but ruined. He tore his eyes away, jerked a metal chair from beneath the card table that doubled as their kitchen table and sat, hoping to hide the traitorous bulge in his jeans. Mentally shaking his head to clear it of those kinds of thoughts, he cleared his throat and rallied again. “Where were you today?”

Quinn was immediately solemn. “Fairy business.”

Self-absorbed, Merry hadn’t noticed until then that Quinn’s emerald eyes had lost some of their luster. He looked sad. “What’s wrong?”

Quinn lifted a lean, bare hip and sat on the edge of the card table.

Merry looked away quickly as some far off part of his brain wondered why the rickety thing didn’t give way beneath him.

“Had me a donnybrook.”

Merry scratched his forehead with a thumbnail, mustered his courage to face Quinn again, determined to keep his eyes riveted to Quinn’s face. “A what?”

“Ye’d call it a fight."

Merry was immediately alarmed. “Why? With who?”

Quinn was grave. “’Tis forbidden to tell a human I be of the Land o’Fairy. I shouldn’t have told ye. Cost me fairly, it did.”

Merry groaned inwardly. He didn’t want to be the cause of any trouble for Quinn. Ever. Quinn was the only friend he had, and he couldn’t lose him. Not to mention, he had a humongous crush on him. Despite his anxiety, he had to ask. He just had to. “Are you really a fairy? Because, I mean, you have to know how totally insane that sounds.”

Quinn disappeared.

“Okay! All right! I believe you! Please come back!”

Quinn reappeared.

Merry couldn’t help it. He needed empirical evidence. His hand shot out and he poked Quinn’s thigh with a fingertip. Yep. Quinn was solid. His mind wasn’t playing tricks on him.

Despite his somber mood, Quinn chuckled. “Why’d ye do that?”

Merry’s cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment. “I just...just wanted to make sure you were real.”

Quinn chuckled again. “Ye be certain now?”

Merry nodded reluctantly. “So, who’d you have this donny-whatever with?"

“The Queen Mother.”

A Queen? Merry was incredulous. Knowing his nervous system had ratcheted a thousand notches since Quinn appeared, he tried to ask his question as nonchalantly as he could, “Are you like a prince or something?”

“After a fashion.”

Merry tried to figure out what Quinn meant as he fought not to think about Quinn’s, well, you know. “After a fashion?”

“In a manner of speakin’.”

Oh. “I won’t tell anyone you’re a fairy.” Right. Like anyone would believe him anyway.

Quinn’s face darkened. “Ye give me ye word, Merry?”

Merry’s anger tried to surface again. “Yes and, unlike you, I keep my word.” He regretted the words the moment they left his lips.

Sadness filled Quinn’s eyes. “Couldn’t be helped, Merry. I be truly sorry I was not there for ye today. Ye forgive me?”

Merry scrubbed his face with both hands and blew a long breath. What could he say? It wasn’t Quinn’s job to save him from Rick all the time. Or his fault that Rick hated him so much. “Yeah, don’t worry about it.”

“Ye must say it.”

“Say what?”

“That I be forgiven. I need ye to say it.”

It was Merry’s turn to frown as his thoughts jumbled like wild acrobats in his mind. Quinn needed him to say it? He needed him. That was kinda cool, but maybe in an all kinds of wrong way. “Yeah, I forgive you, and I’m sorry you got in trouble because of me.

Now, Quinn smiled, sudden and bright, and he ruffled Merry’s hair with a gentle hand. “I feel it in ye, Meriadoc. Ye speak true.”

Speak true? Merry guessed that he meant honest. Talking to Quinn, especially when he was upset, was hard. Really hard. “Why are you in high school? Or do fairies have to suffer the hell of high school just like us mere mortals?”

“I be a Watcher. Be me job to look after humans. Though, I be assigned to bantlings.” Quinn’s face darkened again. “But the Mother demoted me.”

“Bantlings?”

“Wee ones.”

Babies. He had to be talking about babies. Merry gritted his teeth and stifled his irritation at having to ask Quinn what he meant after every other sentence. “Babies?”

“Aye, babes.”

“You were demoted from babies to teens?” Could his question sound any more stupid? He waited, positive Quinn would ridicule him.

“Aye.”

Merry breathed an internal sigh of relief when Quinn didn’t laugh at him. “W-why’d you get demoted?”

“’Tis unimportant. What say we work on keepin’ ye safe tomorrow?”

A tiny glimmer of hope blossomed in Merry. “You’re going to be at school tomorrow?”

“Aye.”

Yes! Relief flooded Merry. WATCH. OUT. RICK! Merry’s cheek tingled and he rubbed it again, seriously annoyed. “What’s wrong with my cheek?”

“Nothin’. Ye be Fairy Kissed, is all.”

“What’s that mean?”

“What I said. A fairy kissed ye.”

“I know that! But what does it mean?

“It mean a fae from the Land o’Fairy kissed ye cheek.”

OMG! What in hell was a fae? Tears of frustration pricked Merry’s eyes. “What’s a fae?” He was surprised at the calm in his voice given his incredible frustration.

“A fairy.”

O.M.G! Sometimes talking to Quinn was like trying to chew the bumper off a Hummer with your bare teeth. Not that he would know anything about that, but Rick had slammed his face into a car bumper once. Mustering his nearly non-existent courage, he tried a different tack. “W-why’d you kiss me?”

gold kiss“I wished to.”

“Yeah, but why?

“I be fond of ye.”

A faint tendril of hope tried to wend its way into Merry’s heart. Fond? Did that mean Quinn liked him? Liked him in that way? “Fond?” he dared to ask.

“Aye, I be fond of ye. I must leave ye now.”

Merry’s shoulders slumped. He couldn’t help it. This was the most in-depth conversation they’d ever had, not to mention the longest, and they were finally getting to the important stuff, the things that really mattered to Merry. And he had a thousand more questions. Vital questions. “Do you have to leave?” He turned away in humiliation. He sounded weak, so damn pitiful.

“Aye. Ye be a good lad and I see ye on the morrow.” Quinn hopped off the table and stood.

“Are you going to be at school for sure?”

“Aye, little fella. I give ye me word.” With another quick kiss to Merry’s cheek, Quinn was gone.

Merry shot from the chair and made it to the window in time to see Quinn fade into the mist.

~*~

The cursor blinked out at Merry from the empty white page on the computer screen. His conversation with Quinn played over and again in his mind and he hadn’t been able to concentrate on his homework. Quinn had kissed him. Again. Was Quinn gay? Or was kissing just a fairy thing? Maybe they went around kissing everybody, or at least those whom they were fond of. Fond. What exactly did that mean?
He closed the vacant document, brought Google up on the screen, and typed 'define fond.' Results filled the page instantly. 1. Affection; 2. French archival term used to describe a collection of papers that originate from the same source; 3. Background design in lace; 4. Residue in a pan after cooking meat usually used to make gravy. He clicked on number one.

         a) To care for sincerely. As a mother, she was fond of her children. Bleh.

         b) A predisposition to like something. He had a fondness for whiskey. More bleh.

         c) Absurd or silly because unlikely. Fond hopes of becoming President. All wrong.

         d) A strong preference or liking for.

Strong. Now that Merry could get into. On that note, Merry went to bed and dreamed of kissing Quinn.

The first chapter of Fairy was originally published in
Harmony Ink’s May 2013 newsletter.
Be sure to sign up for Inklings Newsletter and receive
news about new releases, free reads, and more!

Chapter Three                                                Table of Contents                                              Chapter Five

©2012-2014 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Three



Merry looked around in the dark of his room. “Quinn?” Nothing. “I am not nuts,” he whispered with conviction as he lay down and pulled the covers over his head again.

~*~

Merry woke the next morning to an overcast day and stretched, and then stilled when pain from yesterday’s beating shot through him. With a groan, he slowly pushed the covers back and got out of bed.

He ate a bowl of Fruit Loops, the irony not lost on him. Sometimes he wanted to tell his dad he was gay just to see the inevitable shock on his face. A small snort escaped him at the thought. HIS. DAD. WOULD. FREAK.

Merry’s cheek tingled and he rubbed it with purpose. It tingled more, feeling like small pinpricks on his skin. Tenuous as it was, it was the only evidence of Quinn’s kiss and, in a way, it kept him from believing he’d totally lost it. If his mom were still around, he could ask what she thought about it. He’d always been able to talk to her about anything. He looked out the kitchen window at the backyard, now shrouded in fog.

“Did you leave because I told you I was gay?” he whispered to the window. When the view from the window offered no answer, he headed to his room.

The ancient, familiar fear built as he dressed for school and thought of Rick. Rick would probably kill him after what happened yesterday.

He studied his reflection in the bathroom mirror as he brushed his teeth. Large brown eyes looked back at him from beneath mousy brown curls. He’d never seen a more boring face in his life. A light shade of plumb encircled an eye and he looked tired. He contemplated shaving the whole five whiskers he sported on his chin. Every guy he knew shaved, even the freshmen, but not him. Puberty was taking its agonizingly sweet time with him. And he hadn’t grown an inch since ninth grade. Typical. What was short on top of everything else? He rinsed his mouth and ran a disposable razor over his chin not bothering to lather his skin with soap.

~*~

He made it to school safely, and dared to hope that Rick would be absent today. He passed through the doors of what he'd come to regard as his own private purgatory, rounded the corner, and stopped dead in his tracks, his hopes dashed. Rick leaned against his locker and laughed with his friends. Crap. No way was he going to his locker now. He’d go to class with a full backpack. He turned on a heel to make a hasty retreat, but not fast enough.

“Hey, Merry Fairy!”

Double crap! Merry bolted and made it to the door of his AP English lit class as Rick grabbed the back of his shirt. Panic stung his spine and terror filled his veins turning his bones to liquid. This was it. He was going to die.

Quinn, please be close by. His prayer went unanswered.

Rick dragged him to the drinking fountain and held his face to the stainless steel bowl while someone turned the water on. Merry choked and gagged as he fought Rick’s grasp, and tried not to drown. Students walked by and teachers were never around when Rick terrorized him. No one ever came to his rescue except Quinn.

Merry’s hair and the front of his clothes were soaked by the time Rick released him. He gasped and wheezed, desperately gulping air as fast as he could. Rick smacked the back of his head hard. “There ya go, fairy. All nice and clean.” Rick walked away laughing his ass off.

Traitorous tears pricked Merry’s eyes, but he refused to cry as he headed to class.

~*~

Quinn held Merry’s face gently as he kissed his bruised eye and each tear away. “All be right now, little fella.” Merry melted into Quinn’s comforting touch, and wished he could stay there forever. He was safe. Quinn leaned in and—

“Mr. McDaniel!”

Merry’s head shot up from the desk. He’d fallen asleep in Calculus. He wasn’t sure if he was more startled by Mr. Williams’ shout or disappointed to realize Quinn’s comfort had only been a dream.

“Are you back with us?”

Merry wiped his mouth, hoping he hadn’t drooled in his sleep. “Sorry, sir—”

“What is the Pythagorean Theorem?”

Mr. Williams was being a jerk. It was a question for an eighth grader. “The theorem to determine the area of a right-angled triangle and the equation is A squared plus B squared equals C squared.”

Mr. Williams moved on to the next vict–er, student.

~*~

Merry stowed his books in his locker and thought about ditching his fourth period class. His clothes were still damp and he felt drained. This morning’s Rick episode had sapped his energy and left him depressed. He hadn’t seen Quinn all day either and that made him feel even more depressed. He needed to see him, if for no reason other than to reassure himself that Quinn was real. His one class with Quinn was gym, but he usually saw him in the halls. Always surrounded by a bunch of giggling girls. A light bulb went on in his head. Girls. Girls. The final bell rang overhead telling him he was late for class and he sped off shoving the horrible thought from his mind.

~*~

Merry scrounged for change and managed to pull together two dollars and twenty-five cents from his pockets. His dad hadn’t left lunch money for him this morning, which happened more and more frequently these days. He had enough for a slice of pizza and an apple. He’d forego the juice and drink water and added an empty cup to his lunch tray.

“Two dollars thirty-five cents,” the cashier announced.

“It should be two-twenty-five.”

“Ten cents for the cup.”

Merry handed the cup over with his coin and headed to an empty table in the corner of the cafeteria. He tried to analyze the events of the past twenty-four hours objectively as he sat and ate alone. Quinn saved him from Rick. Quinn walked him home. Quinn kissed his cheek. Whoa, whoa, whoa, back up. Quinn said he knew Merry wasn’t a fairy because he, Quinn, was one, then he kissed Merry’s cheek and...and... vanished.

Then there had been Quinn’s promise in the dark of his bedroom. Where was Quinn when Rick nearly drowned him in the water fountain this morning? Merry’s anger rose, and then ebbed as quickly as it had risen leaving him feeling deflated and lonely again. In all fairness to Quinn, he could have dreamed Quinn’s promise. He tried again with a simple review of the facts: Quinn saved him, walked him home, said Merry wasn’t a fairy but that he wastotally weird, and kissed his cheekkind of, well, really cool weird, then vanishedseriously, insanely weird. And his cheek tingledweirdest of all.

After the objective analysis, Merry concluded that the probability that he’d lost his mind was high. Could one lose his mind from a beating? From living in terror five days a week? From shyness? From aloneness and loneliness? From being gay? Merry didn’t know, but the weirdnesses were piling up and definitely didn’t bode well for him.

~*~

When Merry changed back into his clothes after gym, Rick threw him into the showers fully dressed. His clothes, shoes, and jacket were soaked. Even his backpack got wet. It would be a cold walk home and a fitting end to another loser day in the life of Merry the Fairy. His teeth chattered all the way home.

~*~

He took a hot shower in a futile effort to get warm, and went to his room. He tugged a pair of jeans on, buttoned them with shaky fingers, and thought for the millionth time that it hurt like hell when Rick beat him up. He whacked his face with an awkward hand as he threaded aching arms into a sweatshirt and pulled it over his head. His limbs were user unfriendly in the extreme, his lack of coordination a permanent affliction. Moments like this made it hard to stifle the self-loathing that whispered a constant, dull roar in his mind.

Making his way to the end if his bed, he sat gingerly, and lifted his rucksack onto his milk-crate desk. When he unzipped it, his heart sank. Everything in it was wet. His World History paper, his report for Physics, and the draft of his English essay were smeared blue with ink. Fury zinged his spine and burst like bright fireworks in his mind and he cursed Rick at the top of his lungs. He shot to his feet and dumped the contents on the floor, viciously shaking the bag until the last pen fell.

“I hate you!” he shouted at the ceiling.

He’d endured Rick’s reign of terror for three, going on four, years and it had to stop. It had to or he’d never graduate from high school in one piece. Feeling defeated, bereft, and ignoring the tears that fell, he headed to the kitchen to forage for food. He was starving.

He opened a can of ravioli, and ate it cold out of the can as he stared out the kitchen window. The grey miasma that filled their backyard mirrored the color of his day, his mood, his whole damn life.

Swallowing the last bite, he rinsed the can, peeled the label off, and threw it in the recycle bin. Turning back to the window, he glimpsed a five-dollar bill on the kitchen counter. Crap. He'd been preoccupied with thoughts of Quinn and hadn't seen it this morning. Wearily, he shoved it into his jeans pocket.

Movement beyond the window caught his eye as he washed his spoon. The dense fog swirled and heaved, then slowly coalesced to form a vortex. He'd never seen fog do that before. As tiny lightening permeated the grey in every color of the rainbow, and fear began to creep into his veins, Quinn emerged from the mist.



The first chapter of Fairy was originally published in
Harmony Ink’s May 2013 newsletter.
Be sure to sign up for Inklings Newsletter and receive
news about new releases, free reads, and more!

Chapter Two                                           Table of Contents                                            Chapter Four
©2012-2014 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Two

 For Deeze who simply couldn’t wait any longer.

Merry was in the middle of a snarky “yeah, right” when Quinn kissed his cheek and vanished. Stunned, Merry blinked, rubbed his eyes, and looked around. He reached out and felt the air where Quinn had just been. Nothing. He looked around again. “Quinn?” Silence reigned supreme save for the angry sound of someone’s lawnmower in the distance. He dared to lean back a little, his side and back killing him after Rick’s beating, and look down the expanse of the wrap-around porch. Nothing. He looked down the other side of the porch. No Quinn. “Quinn, come on. Where’d you go?” The distant lawnmower fell silent and the sound of a weedwacker started up. “Quinn?” Silence, except for the distant whir of the weedwacker. “Quinn!” The old woman who lived across the street looked up from her gardening, a sour look painting her face as she glared at him.

Quinn had vanished. As in disappeared, vamoose, gone. Like, totally, not here! Had Merry imagined that Quinn saved him, walked him home, and...and...? He rubbed his cheek where Quinn had...had...kissed him! Holy crap!

Merry was many things. Shy, spineless, a geek of humongous proportions, not to mention gay, but he was not crazy. Maybe Rick had knocked him unconscious and his brain had rattled so hard against his skull that he was delusional. This had to be some imagination of his figment caused by trauma. Yeah. Trauma sounded good. Then his cheek began to tingle. He rubbed it and the tingle deepened. He rubbed his cheek harder as if to wipe the tingle away and looked at his fingertips. Nothing. Okay, he was not nuts.

He grabbed his backpack and made the mistake of jumping to his feet. He reached for the porch railing as dizziness and nausea assailed him.

Had Quinn really kissed him? Nope. Not possible. Quinn wasn’t gay. There was no way that Quinn had kissed him. No freakin’ way. The only explanation was trauma. Plain and simple. Rick knocked him out and this was just trauma. He could be delusional from trauma. Right? Right?

He fished the house key from his jeans pocket and stared at it in the palm of his hand. First fingering the solid metal then squeezing the key tightly, he told himself again that he wasn’t crazy. He fed the key into the lock, turned the door handle, and pushed through the front door. It creaked softly on its hinges as he closed it behind him and leaned back against it. “I am not nuts,” he said softly.


Merry's California bungalow was small, dark, and dingy, and hadn’t been cleaned since his mom left them three years ago. It was just him and his dad now. Well, really it was just him. His dad worked long hours at the concrete plant then went out drinking with the guys. He was rarely home before midnight and equally as rarely sober. Afternoon sunlight filtered through the gap between the curtains illuminating the dust motes floating on the air and only serving to remind him of his absolute isolation. At nearly seventeen years of age, his life had become one of perfect loneliness.

He slid down the door and came to rest on his sore buttocks. Rick had literally kicked his ass. His forehead came to rest on his knees. His cheek tingled again and he rubbed it absently as the first tear fell. He’d come to hate his life so.

After an indiscernible time he pulled himself to his feet, the soreness from the beating taking hold, and trudged down the short hallway to his ten by ten bedroom. Small as it was, it was his only haven. He kept it spotless and the ancient wood floor polished. Everything in it was his. Everything in it was safe. Including him. He dropped his backpack on his twin bed, reached for the neatly folded pajamas under his pillow, and trudged the short six feet down the hall to their small bathroom. He would take a shower, down some Tylenol, nuke some frozen food of zero nutritional value for dinner, and go to bed. Screw that it was only four in the afternoon.

He set the pajamas on the lid of the commode, undressed and surveyed the damage. The bruises were already starting to turn an ugly shade of purple. Great. More fodder for Rick to hassle him over in gym. He pressed on his lower back with a flat hand and it hurt. Bad. He turned his back to the mirror and looked over his shoulder, but the small mirror over the sink was too high on the wall to show him anything. Screw it. He peered at his cheek. Though it continued to tingle, there was no evidence of Quinn’s kiss. Yep, trauma. Had to be.

He took a hot shower, their small water heater affording him but ten minutes of warmth. He dressed slowly, feeling better now that he was clean and the Tylenol afforded him a modicum of relief. He threw his dirt and grass stained clothes in the hamper, and headed to the kitchen.

Pizza Bites sounded good enough. He tossed them onto a plate, shoved it into the microwave oven, and stared out the window over the sink as the sound of the microwave droned on. Their small backyard looked wild in the twilight, overgrown to the point of being a veritable jungle. He’d watched his mother through this window more times than he could count and could almost see her lithe, ghostly figure tending the garden. She’d loved her bright pansies, crimson bougainvillea, and tender ferns.

Miss you, Mom, he thought wistfully. Her ghost looked back at him with a wink and mouthed “I love you.”

The microwave beeped, he removed the plate, and carried it to his room. He glanced through his homework as he ate, found nothing new, and he was ahead in all his classes anyway. He swallowed the last, bland Pizza Bite and did something he rarely did. He didn’t bother to take the plate to the kitchen. He set it on his deskrather, the four milk crates that made up his desk. He tried to stretch but gave up when pain assailed him. With a sigh, he turned the overhead light off and climbed into bed.

As the night wore on, he became more and more convinced that he had imagined Quinn saving him from Rick, walking him home, and kissing him. His cheek tingled again and he rubbed it, certain it was his imagination acting up again. He yawned, rolled onto his side, and pulled the covers over his head. He hated his life. He hated his loneliness.

“Ye no longer be alone, little fella. I give ye me word.”

Merry shot up in bed. “Quinn?”

The first chapter of Fairy was originally published in
Harmony Ink’s May 2013 newsletter.
Be sure to sign up for Inklings Newsletter and receive
news about new releases, free reads, and more!

Chapter One                                                 Table of Contents                                             Chapter Three
©2012-2014 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.