Chapter Fourteen

Fairy by Cody Kennedy purple
Gigantic red eyes filled Merry’s vision as he slowly opened his lids. “Whoa!” He started and tried to move away, and found himself buried against Quinn’s chest.

“He wake now, Ye Majesty,” Nolan said with a deep bow on the air.

Merry was on his bed, cradled in Quinn’s lap. And, um, well, still naked except for the corner of the blanket casually thrown over his...well, yeah. He reached down and pulled the blanket around him a little more before looking up at Quinn. “Y-you’re awake.”

“Aye, I be.”

“Are you okay? How do you feel?”

“The question be, how ye feel?”

Merry took a mental inventory of his body. Other than a mild headache, he seemed okay. “I-I’m okay. What happened?”

“Ye fainted from bleedin’ in ye skull and Nolan mend ye.”

Merry looked over at Nolan who floated on the air, alone. He looked around for the other demi-fae and found them huddled in a cloud of color across the room. Sadb looked like she’d swallowed a lemon as she floated, bound, gagged, and all squirmy on the air as she made impolite screeching noises at Conlaoch.

“What happened to her?”

Conlaoch made a face. “She lose she temperament when I permit Nolan in ye home to heal ye. Riotous wench she be, she make a bobbery and wake we Prince from he healin’ sleep. As so, I put an end to it.”

“Oh.” He looked back at Nolan. “Thanks.”

Nolan gave another deep bow. “Be me pleasure, Lord Merry. Though, 'twouldn't be fair to take ye healin’ to me credit. I only provide a daub o’me small magicks. We Prince be providin’ the big magicks to heal ye head.”

Merry looked up at Quinn. “Are you okay?”

Quinn smiled down at him. “Other than a spate o’worry for ye, I be well, me Merry. Thanks in no small part to ye.”

“I-I didn’t do anything.”

“Aye, ye did.” He looked over at Conlaoch and something unspoken passed between them. The demi-fae suddenly cheered and faded away. Nolan’s big red eyes were the last to fade from Merry’s sight.

“What are they all happy about and where'd they go?”

“I send ‘em away to prepare.”

Merry tried to sit up and decided against it when his head began to spin. He settled back into the comfort of Quinn’s arms. “Prepare for what?”

“Ye return to we.”

“What are you talking about?” Merry winced as he turned in Quinn’s lap so he could see his face better. That was when he saw Quinn’s eyes. They weren’t their normal bright emerald green. Well, they were, but an emerald green iris circled the bright gold just like it did Merry's teal his. “Oh my God, your eyes changed, too,” he whispered.

Quinn smiled and shook his head. “Not be me eye that change, Merry. Be ye sight. Ye now see as we do.”

Merry’s lips parted in a small O. “You guys see this way normally? Like, all the time?”

Quinn nodded.

Understanding suddenly filled Merry. “My eyes were always like this and I just couldn’t see it?”

Quinn nodded again.

“No way,” he said softly.

“I speak true.”

Merry reached out and traced the contours of Quinn’s beautiful face with a fingertip. He looked even more beautiful than he did before...before the new sight. “I’m going to see this way forever?”

Quinn nodded again.

“Cool.”

“Ye be careful of ye sun. Be painful to ye if ye look into it.”

“’Kay.” He didn’t normally look into the sun, so no big deal. “Quinn?”

“Aye?”

“How come you said I wasn’t a fairy when you knew I was?”

Quinn be came serious. “Not be me place to tell ye that ye be half fae.”

“Quinn, we're talking about my life here. I mean that kind of information is majorly crucial, you know?”

“Only we Fates can dictate when ye know.”

Another fairy rule?”

“Aye.” Anger knitted his brow. "Though, me wish they be of a mind to permit me to tell ye.”

Stupid rules. He needed to know where the half fae part of him came from. After seeing his dad go all Freddy Krueger on him last night, he hoped like hell it wasn’t from his dad’s side of the family. “Where’d the half come from?”

“Ye know ye answer, Merry.”

“My dad?” His words were but a breath on the air.

Quinn looked deep into his eyes and suddenly Merry knew. “My mom.”

Quinn nodded once.

Myriad thoughts and questions bounced off the walls of Merry’s mind, but one question in particular jumped out at him. He had to know. He had to. “I-is that why s-she left?”

“After a fashion.”

“I hate when you say that! What’s it mean?”

“It mean in a manner of speakin’. Ye would say ‘sort of’.”

“So, it’s part of the reason she left?”

Quinn became grave. “Be nearly the whole of it.”

“Why else did she leave?”

Quinn ignored his question. “I hear ye have a donnybrook with ye da’.”

Merry touched his cheek. It was no longer sore. “He did all the donnybrooking.”

“Conlaoch tell me ye see ye da’ for what he truly be.”

Merry looked away. “Yeah. It was horrible. It was like he was possessed or something.”

“Must be terrifyin’ for ye.”

Merry turned back to Quinn. “Did you know he was like that?”

Quinn shook his head. “I know he be a dark one, but not so dark as to show he other self.”

Huh? “What do you mean, show his other self?”

“Each of us have two self, Merry. Ye see me ugly side afore.”

“Only once, and that was ‘cause you got seriously pissed off at Rick, which was totally fine with me.”

“Aye, but we all have an ability to show we ugly side.”

“Nothing like that ever happens to me when I get mad. I usually just yell.” Long beat. “Or cry.”

Quinn hugged him. “I know it of ye, me Merry, I know.”

Merry melted into the comfort of Quinn’s arms. He felt more peaceful than he had in years and wanted to stay in Quinn’s arms forever. “What are the demi-fae doing?”

“They make a rade.”

“What’s a rah-yay?”

“Ye call it a parade.”

Merry sat up, his eyes wide with surprise. “Why?”

“By the cause we wish to celebrate. Nary a fae allow a celebration to come to pass without participation. Be a way of life for we.”

Merry couldn’t help it. He suddenly snorted and began to laugh.

“What be humorous to ye?”

“I put sugar on your wing to help you get better and when your wing healed, the demi-fae got drunk and passed out all over you!”

“Over me?”

“On you! They were all over your wing!”

Quinn’s expression turned angry. “Be unforgivable.”

Merry’s laughter died away. “Don’t be mad at them. They helped mend you, and helped me a lot.”

A shrieking and babbling Sadb suddenly appeared. Within seconds, Conlaoch and Nolan followed. Sparks flew from Sadb’s now yellow and orange wings as she shrieked at Conlaoch.

Ho-ly crap! She’s on fire!

She hurled tiny fireballs at Nolan, which he silently, expertly dodged.

“Sadb!” Quinn shouted.

Sadb abruptly ceased her tirade.

“Stop ye shitefire!”

“Oh, me apologies, me Prince.”

“What in the name o’Goddess and Consort be the matter?”

“I come to ask ye say-so. Conlaoch say I must ride Nolan’s back to lead we rade.”

“What of it? He be dragon and we oft ride ‘em.”

“Nay, nay! He be unclean! I not do it!”

“Then ye not lead we rade.”

“Be what I tell she, Ye Majesty,” Conlaoch said evenly.

Merry had had enough of this unclean business. “Lady Sadb?”

“What?”

“What exactly is unclean about being part dragonfly?”

She paused in thought, a tiny finger tapping her chin. “Everyone say it be.”

Merry gaped at her. “You think he’s unclean just because everyone says so? Because of rumors?”

“Aye,” she nodded emphatically.

Oh. My. God. Merry rubbed his forehead. “Lady Sadb?”

“What?”

“What if I told you that Nolan is not only perfectly clean, but he’s totally cool?”

“Ye mean to say he not be hot?”

“I mean to say I think he’s the finest looking out of all of you and the nicest. If you took five minutes to talk to him instead of yelling at him and trying to...to fireball him, you might find that out.”

Her face scrunched in thought. “Nay. I not believe so.”

“Just talk to him!”

Sadb shuddered on the air. “Ye not raise ye voice to a Lady of we High Court!”

How dare I forget. “Okay.” Merry took a deep, calming breath. “Lady Sadb, would you please indulge me and simply take a little time to talk to Nolan and get to know him before you decide not to ride him.”

Her eyes brightened and her little pointed teeth showed bright in her grin. “Ye mean to ask a favor of me?”

“No! No trixie! It’s a simple request.”

Her face fell. “Why ye never fall for me trixie?”

“I have no freakin’ idea! Will you please take a little time to talk to Nolan and get to know him?”

“How much be little?”

Ohmygod. “Five minutes.”

“Three,” she countered.

“Six,” Merry shot back.

“Four,” she growled.

“Five,” Merry insisted.

“Done!” she shouted her triumph on the air.

Merry smiled. “Cool.”

The three of them disappeared.

Quinn was lying on the bed dying in laughter as he pulled Merry down on top of him. “Ye be learnin’ we ways all too well, me Merry.”

Merry couldn’t help but laugh along with him. “The first time my mom did that to me, it took me weeks to figure out where I went wrong.”

Quinn’s laughter died away and he looked up at Merry. “Kiss ye Quinn, me Merry.”

It was Merry’s turn to take Quinn’s delicious mouth in a blistering kiss. Quinn’s adoration flowed over him, a soothing balm on his once lonely and beleaguered soul, and Merry knew he was home at last, where he belonged, in Quinn’s arms.

Quinn’s kiss became urgent, almost needy, and an agonizing sadness filled Merry. Filled with unbearable shame, anguished regret, and a feeling of tormented isolation, it nearly tore Merry’s heart in two. After all Quinn did for Merry, he never once allowed Merry to see his pain and loneliness. Quinn had been alone for... centuries.

I’m here, Quinn. I’ll never leave you. I promise, Merry thought hard.

Aye, me wee dote, ye be.

When the kiss ended, Merry looked down at his gorgeous Quinn, and Quinn’s eyes twinkled for real. Merry gasped. “Your eyes! They, they just sparkled. What’s that mean?”

Quinn’s smile was suddenly shy, his cheeks flushed rose, and he bit his lower lip and turned away.

Merry turned Quinn’s face back with gentle fingertips.

Quinn’s growing interest between them made itself known and he rolled them so Merry was beneath him. “I show ye exactly what it mean, me love.”

Chapter Thirteen                                             Table of Contents                                               Chapter Fifteen
©2012-2017 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Thirteen

Merry woke on the worn carpeting outside his bedroom door. His head throbbed and he tasted dried blood on his lips. It was still dark so he didn’t think he’d been passed out for long. When he rose to his hands and knees, nausea assailed him and he barely made it to the bathroom before he lost what little was in his stomach.

With a stifled groan, he rested his forehead on the cool, damp edge of the porcelain bowl. His dad had been a great dad when Merry was little, and he wanted that dad back. Since his mom left, his dad had steadily grown worse. And now he was... it was like he was freakin’ possessed or something. He sat there for a few moments and tried to puzzle it out. Nothing made sense. In fact, nothing had made sense for a week. Well, except for Quinn. Quinn cared for him. Quinn loved him—him—he was Quinn’s wee dote. And Quinn kept him safe. Except when Fairy things interfered.

His brow knitted in thought. In fact, there seemed to be an awful lot of Fairy interference since Quinn kissed him. The real kiss, not the Fairy Kiss.

He still didn’t know what the significance of a Fairy Kiss was. Quinn called it special, but that didn’t tell him anything. It didn’t tell him the true meaning or the magnitude of it. But something about it seemed to have set bad things in motion for Quinn, not the least of which was his mom’s anger. Man, what a cruel biatch. Then there was that whole bit about his hand. What had the demi-fae boss called it? A healing hand? He looked at his palm, then at the back of his hand. It looked normal. He sighed. Another thing that didn’t make sense.

He slowly got to his feet, opened the medicine cabinet, and reached for the Tylenol. He downed a couple of tablets and thought, not for the first time, he should own stock in the company that made it. He brushed his teeth as he admired his bruised and swollen cheek in the mirror. Perfect. Yet another bruise for people at school to stare at right before they said something mean. He took a quick shower and realized he had nothing to wear as he dried off. Crap. He wrapped the towel around his waist, and threw his bloodied clothes in the hamper. At least he hadn’t had to explain Quinn’s blood all over his clothes. His dad’s fist had taken care of that.

He went to the bathroom door, put his ear against it, and listened. Once his dad was passed out in bed, he didn’t wake, but something had been way different about his dad tonight and he didn’t want to take any chances. When he didn’t hear anything, he opened the door ajar and peeked down the hallway. Only his dad’s loud snoring filled the space. He was good to go. He made his way to his bedroom door and slowly turned the doorknob, worried that he might scare the demi-fae in his room. “It’s Merry,” he whispered as he opened the door and slipped inside.

Bright, silvery moonlight cascaded through the window and afforded him enough light to see almost as clearly as if it were day. Man, this vision thing is weird. He focused his eyes, looked around and, to his utter astonishment, the room was empty.

He didn’t know the demi-fae boss’s name, so he whispered, “Lady Sadb?” No response. He stepped forward and his knee bumped something. He looked down and saw nothing. He bent and felt the air and his hand touched the air mattress. Invisible? He moved his hand along the edge and his fingers met with the soft velvet of Quinn’s wing. Wow. Everyone and everything out of the ordinary was invisible! He took small, shuffling steps, afraid he would step on a demi-fae.

“Ye be well, lad?” the boss demi-fae asked from the shadows.

Merry almost jumped out of his skin. “Ah, yeah. Where are you?” he whispered.

The moonlight suddenly brightened and everyone and everything reappeared in the room. Demi-fae littered Quinn’s hurt wing, sprawled out, fast asleep. “What are you guys doing on his wing?” Merry’s whisper was a harsh demand on the quiet night air.

“We partook o’sugar.”

Anger instantly filled Merry. “You got drunk?”

“Aye. We Prince’s wing be mended. Be cause for celebration.”

Merry’s quick intake of breath sounded loud in the quiet of the room. “He’s all better?”

“Nay all, but most. A few deep wounds in he chest and back be needin' more healin’.”

Merry was so relieved he felt faint. He sat at the end of the bed carefully so as not to disturb Quinn. “When will he wake?”

“Take much o’he magicks to heal he wounds and he be weak. May not wake for a day or so.”

Oh, no. He couldn’t hide Quinn in his room for the night, let alone a couple of days. What if his dad came home in the middle of the day? His dad had never done that before but knowing Merry’s luck, it would happen now. “Are you going to take him home?”

“Ye dare not move a fae once he settle in he healin’ sleep.”

“I can’t keep him here! What if my dad sees him?”

“Ye need not worry of it, lad. I put a spell on ye door. Ye da’ not enter nor see us.”

“Seriously?”

“Aye.”

Merry relaxed a little. That was cool. Maybe. Mostly. If it worked. He looked at his sleeping Quinn. With his features relaxed in sleep, he looked much younger than he was. The red-auburn waves of his hair were vibrant across the pillow. Soft and silky, and Merry wanted to run his fingers through them. His lily-white skin was pure in the moonlight, almost luminescent in its shine, and was marred only by the few wounds that remained. They were deep, and looked tender and raw, and the memory of Quinn’s excruciating pain made him shudder. He wanted to lie down next to Quinn and hold him. He wanted to make sure Quinn would be all right. And he sure as hell didn’t want Quinn to defy his mom again. Ever.

He tore his eyes from Quinn and looked at the demi-fae sleeping on his wing. Some were stirring, beginning to wake, including Sadb. He could only imagine how safe he would feel wrapped in Quinn’s velvety-soft wings.

“Aye, lad. We Prince keep we safe,” the demi-fae boss said quietly.

Merry was irked. It was rude to read someone’s thoughts without their permission, wasn’t it? “What’s your name?”

The little green guy stood and, with a sweep of an arm and a deep bow, he introduced himself. “Lord Conlaoch an Glas, in the service of we Prince of Fairy, He Majesty Quinn Malloy O’Cuinn, son of we Queen Muirgan of we High Court of Fairy, Queen of Flesh and Bone, Bearer of Hands of Fire and Water.”

Merry rolled his eyes in the dim light of the room. “Please don’t tell me I have to call you all that.”

The demi-fae chuckled. “A gobful, to be certain. Ye may name me Conlaoch lest we be at Court. Then ye must use me title.”

“Nice to meet you, Lord Conlock. Thanks for your help with Quinn. Please don’t read my thoughts.”

Conlauch chuckled again. “Be me job to ensure ye be well in me Prince’s absence. Ye be he Fairy Kiss.”

OMG! Did everybody know? “W-what’s that mean, anyway?” Conlauch laughed outright now, and Merry was immediately defensive. “What’s so funny?”

“Ye should sense what it mean, lad.”

“Well, I-I don’t. So what does it mean?”

Conlauch turned serious. “It mean he claim ye as he own. None in the Land o’Fairy may court ye.”

Court me? “Y-you mean it’s, like, a public statement that w-we’re”—going steady sounded so totally grade school—“um, like, w-we’re together?”

“Be he mark upon ye. A nonce short of a hand-fast, it be, Meriadoc.”

Merry’s heart soared as his mind filled with a million jumbled thoughts. “Wow,” he breathed on the cool night air.

“Aye,” Conlaoch agreed. “By the cause if it, ye must pay due respect and remember he title.”

Merry was defensive again. “I didn’t know he was a real prince until Sadb told me.”

“Surely ye suspect so.”

“Why would I? I asked him if he was a prince and he said ‘after a fashion.’ That’s all. And sometimes it’s kind of hard to understand what he means.”

Conlaoch chuckled softly again. “How be ye sight?”

Merry gaped in the dim light. “How did you know my sight was screwed up?”

“Ye not see ye eye in the mirror?”

No. He hadn’t. He’d been preoccupied with his raspberry-blueberry-bruised face. He rose from the bed as quickly as his aching head would allow and sped to the bathroom. Flipping the light switch on, he all but threw himself at the mirror.

OHMYGOD!

He peered closer, then backed away, and then peered closer again, as if what he saw might change before his very eyes. Or whosever eyes they were. His eyes had turned gold—no, teal—no, gold! No! Gold and teal! And he had two irises! Or, rather two rings of irises. The inner one was bright gold and the outer one was teal! And they moved! Like, dilated independently of one another!

OHMYGOD!

He ran back to the bedroom and slipped inside fighting to keep from imploding with hysteria. “What happened to my eyes?” he demanded.

Now awake, Sadb gasped when she saw him. “He be—!”

Conlauch cut her words off with a slight wave of his hand. She gurgled once, then fell silent. “Whist, Merry. Calm ye self, lest ye wake we Prince.”

“What happened To. My. Eyes!” Merry’s whisper was harsh, demanding.

“What ye see when ye look at ye da’?”

Merry paused in his panic. “Evil,” he whispered.

“Aye. What else there be?”

“H-he didn’t look... normal.”

“Ye see he aura, did ye?”

“Y-yeah. He had this black misty thing happening and it was scarier than hell. But that doesn’t explain anything. What happened to me?

“Not be what happen. Be what a touch o’Fairy set free in ye.”

Sadb almost wailed. “He have the wild mag—!”

“Hold ye tongue, Sadb, lest I cut it from ye gob!” Conlauch growled before turning back to Merry.

Wow. That seemed a little harsh.

“Touch we Prince, Merry. Touch a wound on he back,” Conlaoch encouraged.

“W-why?”

“Ye’ll see.”

“First, tell me what happened to my eyes.”

Conlauch made an exasperated noise. “Ye have magicks in ye, lad. When Sadb give ye a touch o’Fairy, they come alive in ye.”

He didn’t have any magick. He was boring, plain Merry the f-f-non-fairy. “S-so what’s that mean? I’m Fairy Kissed and Touched?”

“Aye.”

“And that’s why you think m-my hand is magick?”

“Now, ye take me meanin’, Meriadoc. Touch we Prince. Heal he wound.”

The part of Merry that thought all this was absolutely freakin’ nuts warred with the part that told him something had definitely changed in him. And the eye thing. Well, he couldn’t think of anything that could explain the freaky eyes. Freaky eyesight maybe, but not the freaky eyes. Nope.

“Touch we Prince,” Conlauch encouraged again.

What he was about to do would prove the demi-fae right or dead wrong. Merry took a deep, filling breath and breathed in courage as he stepped around the corner of the bed and sat on the edge of it next to Quinn.

Soft murmurs filled the air as the demi-fae woke and looked on.

“Just touch him,” Merry breathed to himself. With a tentative hand, Merry set a fingertip to one of Quinn's wounds. His cheek began to tingle, his fingertip warmed, and Quinn’s skin began to glow violet beneath his touch. “W-what’s h-happening?”

“Ye be healin’ we Prince.”

“No way!” Merry’s voice was nearly inaudible on the air.

“Aye, Meriadoc. Ye magicks come alive in ye.”

Merry withdrew his fingertip and Quinn’s wound was healed. Suddenly, the part of him that knew the demi-fae was right loomed large in his mind.

I have magicks.

He was no longer plain Merry the Fairy. Rather, he was plain Merry the Fairy. Ohmygod! Could it be any more confusing? He looked at Conlauch, disbelieving and fighting the question that wanted to fly off his tongue. “Quinn s-said I wasn’t a fairy.”

“He mean ye not be full fae, lad. Ye be half fae.”

Those were the last words Merry heard before he fainted.

Chapter Twelve                                              Table of Contents                                             Chapter Fourteen
©2012-2017 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Twelve

“I tell the lad he be dragon!” Sadb defended.

Merry glanced at her and wanted to choke her again. Her criticism of the helpful demi-fae who simply didn’t look like the others royally pissed him off. Working to keep his anger in check, he turned to the guy who seemed to be the boss of the demi-fae. “Where do you want me to put Sadb? She’s hurt.”

“Set she on ye pillow near we Prince.”

Merry set her gently near Quinn’s splash of red-auburn hair. Truthfully, he wanted to dump her on her ass. “What do you want me to do now?”

“More flower, lad.” He paused before continuing. “And more dandiflies, if ye be willin'.”

Sadb glared at the guy, but kept her mouth shut.

“Be right back.”

Merry grabbed another brown paper bag and headed back to the garden. Nolan flew erratically through the tall grass, collecting as many dandelions as he could hold in his arms. He added them to a growing pile near the tree stump, and shot away to gather more.

“Thanks, Nolan.” Merry clipped more roses, sharp thorns pricking his fingers and palms, his hands now painted in blood. When the bag was half full of roses, he went to the now vast pile of dandelions. “Wow. That’s great.”

“Aye, Lord Merry. Ye set ‘em on he wing and add a wee bit o' sugar. He feel less pain as he mend. But only a wee bit o’the sugar, lest he be bladdered.”

Now he was "Lord Merry?" Where the heck did that come from? He didn't know what to ask first. “Bladdered?”

“Ye call it drunk. Truth be told, we fae be takin’ a likin’ to sugar. Ye not say I say so. Be forbidden to tell a human.”

“You get drunk on sugar?”

“When it be plenty, aye.”

“But it deadens pain, right?”

“Aye.”

This was seriously important information. “Thanks, Nolan.”

A smile filled Nolan’s brilliant red face. “Ye not be thankin’ me, lad. Be me job as a healer.”

A healer? “Why aren’t you in there with everybody else?”

“Ye hear what we Lady say of me. I be one o’ we unclean ones.”

“Because you’re dra—” Was it impolite to call a demi-fae a dragonfly? Who knew? “Because you’re sort of dragonflyish?”

Nolan smiled again. “Ye may say it. It not offend me. I be proud of me lineage.”

A smile played at the corners of Merry’s lips. He was happy he hadn’t offended the nice demi-fae and thought it was cool that Nolan was proud of what he was in spite of what the others thought of him. “C’mon. Help me get these into the bag.”

Before Merry could lift a single dandelion, the bag brimmed with them.

“There ye be, lad. Go, now, and don’t forget the sugar.” Nolan pressed a tiny hand to Merry’s shoulder, urging him away.

“I’ll come back,” Merry promised as he sped back to the house.

“Here.” Merry set the bag next to the bowl and noticed the first bag had fallen off the desk, now empty of its contents. Flower petals littered Quinn’s back, the stems and leaves but remnants left to the floor. So much for a spotless room. He didn’t care one bit. “I’m going to put the dandelions on his wing. Can you straighten it out?”

“On what?” the boss demi-fae asked.

On what? Good question. On what, on what, on what? An idea suddenly came to him. He opened the closet door and pulled an air mattress from inside. They’d used it on camping trips when his mom was still around. Their camping trips were some of the best memories he had of his mom and he’d kept the gear in the hope she’d return one day. He yanked the heavy thing from the box, plugged the cord to the small air pump into the electric socket, and pumped the air mattress nearly full. He needed it soft so he could fold it.

He ran to the kitchen. His mom had turned a lower drawer into what she called the tool drawer”because it contained all the miscellaneous things she periodically needed around the house. He dug through it until he found packaging tape and ran back to the room. He folded the air mattress in half and taped the ends together. Filled mostly with air and folded, it matched the height of his bed, and he shoved it to meet the edge of the bed. “Will that work?”

The boss of the demi-fae surveyed his efforts thoughtfully. “Be a start.” He gave orders and the demi-fae went to work. In coordinated movements and gestures to each other, they slowly, painstakingly, unfolded layer by layer of the red lace mountain that was Quinn’s mutilated wing, and spread it on the improvised mattress. The mattress wobbled and a group of fae flew to it and steadied it as more and more of Quinn’s wing was revealed. 

Merry cringed at what he saw and a burning hatred for the Queen slowly began to churn within. Much like his hatred for Rick. How could she do this to him? Her own son, no less? Having an evil mother was beyond Merry’s comprehension. His mother had always been kind and loving. Nolan’s instructions about sugar returned, pushing away the raw anger, and he left the room.

He rummaged through the pantry and finally found a five-pound bag of sugar behind a bag of flour and a box of pancake mix. Never opened, it was hard as a rock, fused by the dampness of the California coast. He bashed it brutally against the kitchen counter, desperately needing it to return to its former self, and carried the broken, leaking bag back to the room. “Here.”

The demi-fae broke into excited chatter and the boss silenced them with a fierce look. “Put a wee bit on he wing, lad. A wee bit, mind ye.”

Paying heed to the instruction, Merry scooped sugar into a hand and began to sprinkle it lightly on Quinn’s ravaged wing. “Like this?” 

“Aye.”

He worked his way slowly from the tip to the root of the wing where it met Quinn’s bloodied and devastated back. His hand still bled from the vicious rose thorns and the sugar stuck to his palm. It built until a large clump of sugar and blood oozed away and landed with a silent splat on Quinn’s back. “S-sorry,” Merry excused as he looked down at the mess.

Then Quinn’s back began to heal outward from where the clump fell. 

Oohs and ahhs filled the air as Merry watched Quinn’s ruined back begin to smooth into his lily-white, untarnished skin.

“Ye hand, lad! Let we see ye hand!” the boss of the demi-fae shouted at Merry.

Fearful he’d done something horribly wrong, Merry held his hand out for inspection.

“He bear a healing hand!” the boss of the demi-fae shouted. 

The demi-fae cheered and went into a frenzy of epic proportions leaving Merry stunned and confused. What was so freakin’ exciting about his hand?

Then Merry heard his dad’s car pull into the driveway. “Oh my God,” he breathed, suddenly terrified. 

“Ye look shook. What be the matter?” the boss demi-fae asked. 

“You have to hide! My dad’s home!”

The demi-fae scattered in every direction.

“Go, go, go! Delay he but a nonce!” the boss demi-fae ordered and shoved his shoulder with a small, but forceful hand.

Merry left the room, closed the door, and ran to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and pretended to rummage for something to eat just as his dad came through the front door. By the sound of his unsteady footsteps, Merry knew he was drunk again. Fear filled his veins as he pulled the milk and chocolate syrup from the refrigerator.

His dad entered the kitchen, clearly displeased to find him there.

When Merry looked at him, he was horror-stricken. It wasn’t his dad. Well, it was, but he was...different. Merry rubbed his eyes and silently cursed his weird vision and looked at his dad again. Haloed in a dark aura of moving black mist, his features distorted and eye sockets hollow, he looked downright evil. “H-h-hi, D-d-dad.”

“What are you still doing up?” he grumbled.

“H-had a l-lot of homework and g-got hungry.”

His dad glared at him. “Go to bed.”

Merry began to return the milk and chocolate syrup to the refrigerator and his dad grabbed the back of his shirt. He cowered in preparation for a blow and the half-gallon of milk slipped from his grasp. It hit the floor with a thud, and milk splattered their small kitchen, and dripped from the tips of his dad’s black hair.

“Damn you!” his dad swore as he dragged Merry down the short hall and slammed him against his bedroom door. “Go to bed!”

“I-I-I need to c-c-clean up the m-m-milk.” Merry tried to pull away but his dad held fast to his shirt.

“I said go to bed, mister!”

Merry cowered again as he tried to turn the doorknob behind him. His hand, now wet with milk as well as blood and covered in sugar, slipped from the knob. The mist around his dad began to boil on the air and his face seemed to turn grey with rage. Merry struggled frantically to turn the knob as his dad's face grew black in the mist, but couldn't get the door open before the first blow landed.

Chapter Eleven                                             Table of Contents                                               Chapter Thirteen
©2012-2017 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Eleven

Quinn roared and launched off the bed of flora. The colorful cloud above him exploded sending myriad petals and demi-fae to flight on the air. Airborne, Quinn rushed Merry. Or, not Merry, but Sadb. Or, maybe not Sadb, but her vision of him, or her projection of him, or her...whatever.

In the blink of an eye, Merry found himself on his back in his overgrown backyard. Air whooshed from his lungs as a gravely injured and bleeding Quinn landed on top of him. Merry struggled to regain his breath as a rainbow of demi-fae and petals rained down around them. Everything was überclear, garishly colored, and painfully bright. Enough to make Merry squint and want to shield his eyes as he would from the sun. And everything was three-dimensional, as if he were seeing through the glasses they gave you to watch a 3-D movie. Maybe he was still seeing through Sadb’s eyes.

“Curse ye, Sadb!” Quinn’s voice thundered loud enough to leave Merry deaf in one ear.

Sadb shuddered and quivered, truly stricken by Quinn’s curse, and her flight became a chaotic zigzag through the air.

Quinn’s rage shot up Merry’s spine and he was afraid Quinn would change into his other form right on top of him. He wasn’t afraid of Quinn, not at all, but he didn’t want a monster on top of him either. My boyfriend, the monster. Talk about awkward in the extreme. “Quinn!” Merry eked out. “Don’t curse her!” His shout was nothing but a murmur.

Blind with rage, Quinn didn’t hear Merry. “How dare ye risk me Merry’s sight!”

“I did not, Sire! I use me mind’s eye to shield he vision! I swear it!” she shrieked as she zinged by sending a lock of Quinn’s hair to flight on the breeze in her wake.

“Quinn!” Merry tried again, but Quinn’s weight on top of him made it impossible to take in enough air to speak.

“Ye mind’s eye not be strong enough to shield one such as Merry!” Quinn raised himself on hands and arms and Merry took a huge breath before Quinn slumped back onto him, shoving air from his lungs again.

“I be, Sire! I be!” Sadb shrieked back.

“Quinn!” Merry tried again, to no avail.

“Ye not have an inkling of what ye spake!” Quinn roared at her.

Now, deaf in the other ear, Merry could think of only one thing to do. Quinn! Stop! I’m okay! I just can’t breathe with you on top of me! he shouted in his mind.

Quinn stopped yelling at Sadb long enough to look down at Merry.

I’m fine, but I can’t breathe! You have to get off me! Merry thought hard.

Quinn rolled off Merry in an instant and cried out when he landed on his shredded wing.

Like an arrow, his pain-filled cry struck Sadb in the back and carried her aloft. She hit the tree stump in the mist and fell to the ground, still.

Merry gulped air as he raised himself to a sitting position and looked down at Quinn. “Y-you okay?” he breathed.

Quinn’s emerald eyes looked up at him, all glimmer lost, and Merry knew he wasn’t okay. AT. ALL. He reached a hand out and Quinn took it. Indescribable pain instantly crashed over Merry’s senses and he gasped, right before the pain cut off and Quinn passed out.

Merry thought it hurt like hell when Rick beat him up, but it was nothing like this. He’d never imagined such excruciating pain and wondered how Quinn withstood it. Well, obviously he couldn’t. He passed out. “Lady Sadb! Help me! Quinn’s really hurt!”

He received no response. “Lady Sadb!” he called again. Nothing.

Something pinched the hand he leaned on and he looked down. It was another demi-fae. A guy one. His wings were as vibrant green as Sabd’s were vivid yellow, and a long parade of demi-fae arced the air behind him. With Merry’s vision all screwy, they looked like a brilliant rainbow of stars, their colors startling and almost too bright to look at.

Beidh muid ag cabhrú leat!” the little guy shouted.

The fairy’s voice was surprisingly deep for a small guy, er, fairy, and Merry had no freakin’ idea what beg me-add egg cowroo leth meant.

Cabhrú le.” The demi-fae gestured as if to lift something.

Cowroo leh? “You mean help me?”

The little man nodded.

“Lift him?”

The little man nodded again.

Merry looked to the backyards that bordered his and thanked his lucky stars that Quinn’s thunderous accusations hadn’t roused the neighbors from their beds in the middle of the night. “Yeah, okay, let’s get him into the house,” Merry whispered fiercely.

The demi-fae swarmed Quinn en masse and lifted him into the air.

Merry quickly stood and moved to open the door. “Down the hall to the right. Put him on my bed.” He bent to lift Quinn’s one good wing to keep it from dragging on the ground as they carried him down the hall. It was soft, a frail green-tinted velveteen in his hands, yet it was as clear as glass.

Merry watched as the demi-fae deftly turned Quinn in the air and laid him on the bed on his stomach. That was when Merry saw Quinn’s front. It was a red ruin to match his back. He fought to remain calm in his escalating panic. “What happened to is chest?”

The guy demi-fae was grim. “An Bhanríon pionós a ghearradh air.”

“Don’t any of you speak English?” Merry demanded in frustration.

“Ah!” Pain shot through Merry’s skull and he gripped the sides of his head with his hands.

“Ye understand we now?”

“Yeah.” Man, that hurt. “What happened to Quinn’s chest?”

“We Queen punish ‘im.”

Merry was incredulous. “She did that because he didn’t answer her call fast enough?”

“Aye.”

Holy crap. Merry looked down at Quinn. His one shredded wing lay sodden with blood, a mountain of red lace at his side. The other wing wafted slowly above him. The brief glance Merry had in the cavern hadn’t told him how large Quinn’s wings were. Merry supposed they trailed the floor behind him when he stood. He reached a hand out to touch Quinn’s back then hesitated, not wanting to accidentally hurt him. “Is there anything we can do for him?”

“Queen Muirgan take he ability to heal for such a time it be long in returnin’. Well, so, we tend ‘im ‘til he be right to heal heself.”

Merry cursed the Queen silently. “What can I do?”

“Ye bring water, and flower from ye garden. Many flower be grand. More color, more fine he be.”

Merry tapped his foot impatiently and surveyed the flowers in the backyard as he waited for tap water to fill his mom’s largest salad bowl. There were tons of flowers to choose from and he wondered if any in particular might be better or worse for Quinn. When the bowl ran over, he turned the tap off and carried it to his room, careful to spill as little as possible in the process. He set it on the milk-crate desk. “Are there some flowers that are better for him?”

The demi-fae looked at him, confusion plain on his face.

“I-I mean, like, stronger?”

“Nay, lad. They all be as kind to ‘im as he be to ‘em. Bring as many as ye can carry.”

Merry grabbed a brown paper grocery bag from their small pantry, a scissor, and ran back into the backyard. The whole vision thing made the foliage loom large at him, a hallucination a thousand times more brilliant than it was in real life. He steeled himself against the Alice in Wonderland feeling, and collected brightly colored pansies, irises, orchids, and roses—and didn’t care that thorns pierced his fingers and hands. He didn't know how Quinn could stand such incredible pain and wanted him healed as fast as hu—er, fairily possible. As he neared the misty corner of the backyard, he heard a tiny shriek.

“Get ye cursed hands off me, ye foul thing!”

It was Sadb and he only now remembered that she had crashed into the tree stump and fallen to the ground. He walked to the stump and found her little, scraped-and-bruised form sitting in the grass, one wing lying terribly askew.

She slapped at the other demi-fae. “Away with ye!”

The demi-fae shot away, narrowly avoiding the slap. “Lady Sadb, allow me to help ye to ye feet, at least,” he pled.

“Ye be foul! Ye not touch me with ye unclean hand!” she shrieked.

Merry glanced back at the house. He needed to get back to Quinn and didn’t have time for this. He squatted next to them. “Lady Sadb? Are you hurt?”

“Not matter if I be! I not want an unclean one to touch me!”

Unclean? Merry looked at the little demi-fae. He looked a little freaky like all the others he’d seen, but he didn’t have horns or a tai—Oh, he has a tail.... And he had kind of a glittery-sugary thing happening. As brilliant and sparkly as he was, he had this whole... well, a whole kinda reddish-bug-thing going on that made Sadb look tame. Like, maybe to an extreme. And his wings weren’t soft and fluttery like those of a butterfly. They were thin and clear with veins—pulsing veins—running through them, and were a little creepy. Okay, yeah, he was a little freakier than the others were. “Hi,” Merry ventured.

The little sugary guy gave a brief bow. “Nolan an Dearg, at ye service, lad.”

“Merry. Nice to meet you,” Merry offered in return.

“Aye, I know of ye.”

“Ye know nothin’ of the sort!” Sadb shrieked.

Merry winced at the sound of Sadb’s high-pitched voice and frowned. “What’s wrong with him, Lady Sadb?”

“Can ye not see, human? He be dragon!”

Dragon? Merry studied the little guy. Ohhhh. Dragon. Yeah, he had a dragonfly thing going on. Merry didn’t find anything wrong with that. He loved dragonflies. “So what?”

She gaped it him. “Ye be daft? He be unclean!”

Merry shook his head ever so slightly, irritated. He didn’t have time for this. “Here.” He set an open palm next to her.

She glanced at Nolan before dragging herself into his palm.

“Do you need help?” he asked Nolan.

“Nay, lad, I be well. I wait in ye garden for all o’they in ye garden ‘til we Prince be mended.”

“Come inside with us.”

Nolan waved his hands at Merry, but before he could speak, Sadb shrieked again.

“Nay, nay! Ye not permit such a thing in ye home!”

Merry was angry now, and he did not have time for this. “C‘mon, Nolan. Follow me,” he said as he stood.

Nolan waved his hands again. “I remain in ye garden.”

Half out of his mind with worry, Merry acquiesced. “You sure?”

“Aye, lad. Plenty o’flower t’keep me company.”

“Okay. I’ll be back.”

Nolan suddenly flew to a dandelion, plucked it, and held it up to Merry. “She spores help we Prince mend.”

Seriously?

“Aye, lad. She healin’ take to the air. Best to mend we Prince’s wing.”

Okay, this little sugary dragon guy could read his mind, too.

“Ye not say we secrets! Be forbidden!” Sadb shrieked.

Merry wanted to choke her as he took it gently from Nolan and added it to the bag of flowers. “How many does he need for his wing? It looks—” Hot tears suddenly stung Merry’s eyes. “He’s really hurt.”

“Ye take ye flora to ‘im and I collect ye many dandiflies ‘til ye return.” The little guy nodded rapidly.

“Thanks.” Merry sped to the door, carefully holding Sadb to his chest so he didn’t drop her. He couldn’t help but look back at the little guy fae. He looked alone and lonely, much like Merry often felt. “It was nice meeting you!” he called back.

Nolan rose in the air and gave him a dragonfly salute with the tip of a veined, cellophane wing.

Merry lifted the hand that held the bag of flowers and gave him a one-fingered salute in return.

“Ye not do such a thing!” Sadb scoffed.

Shut up! Merry thought.

The look of indignation on her face told Merry that she’d heard his thought.

Oops.

“Here.” Merry set the bag of flowers next to the bowl of water on his desk. “Nolan said the dandelion is good for his wing.”

Every demi-fae in the room turned to him, all eyes now too large in their tiny faces. They looked stricken.

Chapter Ten                                                  Table of Contents                                                Chapter Twelve
©2012-2017 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.