Chapter Twenty

Merry nearly swallowed his tongue as he swallowed back the scream and yelled at the horse, “Whoa! Whoa!”

He pulled on the horse’s mane but it ignored him and soared higher and straight into a fluffy cloud. Merry was instantly shrouded in mist and it was eerie and scary, and he was frightened half out of his wits. What if the horse kept going and never came back? Oh, no way! He was not going to be kidnapped by a flying horse! “Quinn! Quinn! Help! The horse won’t sto—!”

“There ye be,” Quinn greeted as Merry’s horse cleared the cloud and slowed to fall into flight with Quinn’s horse.

“H-holy c-c-crap!” Merry looked back at the cloud, then at Quinn. “Why didn’t you make it stop?”

“Why?”

“What if it kept going? Just took off with me and never came back?”

Quinn chuckled. “A creature o’ fae canno’ go beyond we horizon. Must needs be near we magicks o' Fairy to survive.”

“Like I’m going to know that!” Merry dared to look down and his world began to spin. They were miles above the earth. “I-I-I don’t think I want to fly anymore,” he said feebly.

Quinn laughed again and right before he hooked his feet over the horse’s rump and deftly popped to his feet. Merry was speechless. Quinn was...standing...on the...back of a horse...while it flew...in the sky...a million miles above the earth...and...

QUINN. WAS. NOT. HOLDING. ON. TO. ANYTHING!

Quinn leaped and landed deftly behind Merry and slid down to sit behind him.

Merry looked over his shoulder at him. “Holy cow!”

Quinn’s voice was soft in his ear as he encircled Merry’s waist with his arms. “No beast. Be ye Quinn.”

“Weren’t you afraid you were gonna fall?”

Now Quinn burst into laughter. “Merry,” he chided softly as he hooked a thumb over his shoulder.

Oh, yeah. Quinn had wings. Merry’s cheeks went up in flames and he abruptly turned to face forward. God, I am so freakin’ stupid sometimes.

“Enough, me Merry. Ye not be cruel to yeself.” He snuggled close and kissed the side of Merry’s neck.

Quinn’s chest was warm against Merry’s back and he suddenly felt good, and right, and safe again. Then he became aware of just how thin Quinn’s stupid little leaf shorts were. And even more aware of just how thin his stupid little bluebell shorts were. Oh, no. Please, not now, he silently prayed. This cannot be happening. One does not get hard in the sky. It was just plain rude. He was certain this didn’t happen to normal people. Well, okay, normal people didn’t ride flying horses, but he was certain if they did, they would, well, not get hard in the sky. He cursed himself and willed his unruly dick down. The effort was futile. His dick had a mind of its own and he was sure it delighted in embarrassing the crap out of him. He tried to inch forward so Quinn’s, um, yeah, wasn’t against him.

Quinn’s soft laughter filled his ear, and quickly built into a full-bellied laugh.

“W-what’s so f-funny?” Merry glanced over his shoulder to find tears of laughter in Quinn’s eyes. “W-what?”

“Goddess and Consort help ye, Merry. It be a natural thing,” he said through his laughter.

Merry’s cheeks went up in flames for the second time in a matter of moments and he turned forward again. He didn’t think he’d ever felt more humiliated. “C-can I go down now?”

Quinn’s laughter abruptly ceased. “What?”

“Can I go down?”

Quinn burst into laughter again. Merry looked over his shoulder. “What’s so funny?”

“Do ye not hear ye own words?”

Merry silently replayed the words in his mind and nearly died of embarrassment right there on the—in mid-sky. Quinn’s laughter radiated through his back and he couldn’t help it. He began to laugh along with him. Before long, they were both laughing hysterically.

“Okay! All right! Shut up!” Merry eked out through his laughter.

Quinn’s laughter died away and he kissed Merry’s cheek. “Ye bring ye Quinn true joy, mo chroí.”

Merry could only grin and shake his head. Choosing his words carefully, he asked, “Will you please make the horse fly back to the ground?”

At Quinn’s silent command, the rade arced the sky and glided earthward in a slow turning spiral. To Merry, they felt weightless as they rode the thermals, nothing more than a leaf on the breeze. He looked down in time to see nothing but a forest beneath them and nowhere to land. A scream built in his throat as the horse flew into the trees, expertly navigated the narrow passageways between trunks and branches, and landed in the middle of a clearing, its hooves nothing more than a quiet tamp on the earth.

“Holy crap!” Merry shouted.

Quinn dismounted in one fluid motion bringing Merry with him. “Why ye say so?”

“I thought we were going to crash!”

Quinn rolled his eyes as he set Merry down.

When Merry's softly shod feet touched the ground, he was surprised at how odd it felt to support his own weight again.

“Ye need trust in we magicks, Merry. Come. Be time we feast.” Quinn held a hand out to him.

The word feast brought to mind ogres using Merry’s leg bones as toothpicks and he was immediately nervous.

“Be no ogre, Merry,” Quinn scoffed as they followed the rade through the trees. They rounded a small copse and Merry found himself standing on the shore of a vast lake. Except, well, um, the lake was...pink!

Merry raised a hand and made a small pointing gesture. “Let me guess. Fairy magick?”

Quinn laughed. “Nay. Be the color of we water in these lands.”

“Ah-huh,” Merry said lamely as he stared across the expanse of pink. The setting sun’s rays danced on the water and resembled the glint he’d seen earlier on his skin. Small waves lapped the shore leaving trails of glittered foam as they ebbed away.

They walked along the shore hand-in-hand following the rade and Merry felt strangely at peace in spite of the total weirdness of the past twenty-four hours. He wasn’t sure what was scariest: learning he was half fae or Quinn nearly eating him. Well, actually, it was no contest. The idea of Quinn eating him alive was definitely a ten on his scary weirdness Richter scale. “Hey, Quinn?”

“Aye, me wee dote.”

“Can I, ah, ask you about, um, last night? About the, ah, curse?”

They stopped walking and Quinn sighed as he looked out at the lake. Profound sadness had filled his eyes and he looked lost, forlorn, and broken.

His gloom bled into Merry’s veins, a vicious melancholy on his senses determined to destroy his will to live. The feelings that came roaring back to him were all too familiar and he felt horrid for having brought such misery to bear on Quinn. He moved in front of Quinn, wrapped his arms around his neck, and hugged him tightly. “Sorry,” he whispered. “Forget I said anything.”

Quinn wrapped his arms around Merry and rested his cheek against his hair. “Ye know I love ye true, mo chroí?

“Yeah, and I love you too.”

“Ye must give me ye word on a matter.”

“What matter?”

“Ye must give me ye word ye leave me when ye stop believin’ in me.”

Merry pulled back and looked up at his beautiful Quinn. “I’ll always believe in you.”

Quinn put a finger to Merry’s lips. “Whist, Merry. Ye not say such a thing.”

Merry slowly pulled Quinn’s fingers from his lips and kissed his palm. “I’ll always believe in you, Quinn. No matter what.”

Quinn rested his forehead against Merry’s and closed his eyes. “Ye not say such a thing,” he repeated, his voice a mere whisper on the air.

“I will always—”

Quinn’s fingers covered Merry’s lips cutting off his words. “Whist. Not be thrice said.”

Merry gently pulled his fingers away and hugged him tightly again. “I will always believe in you, Quinn. Forever.”

With a nearly inaudible sob, Quinn relaxed in Merry’s arms and the melancholy died away leaving Merry feeling small and scared. It took a moment before he realized they weren’t his feelings at all, but Quinn’s. “I’m here, Quinn. I’m your wee dote. I’m the pulse of your heart, remember? Talk to me.”

With a deep, pain-filled sigh, he began, “Once upon a time....”

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 Nineteen                                       Table of Contents                                    Chapter Twenty-One

©2012-2015 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Nineteen


Cymbals clashed, a drumbeat began, and music filled the air. Quinn wrapped an arm around Merry’s waist and lifted him up and onto his winged horse. Led by Ethne the Wee riding Nolan, they formed a sloppy, crooked line and took to the heavens in a cacophonous flight. The sky filled with what seemed to be millions of fae. Unconcerned with any semblance of order, their brilliant colors filled a cornflower-blue sky and the late afternoon sun shimmered on their delicate wings.

Though he was terrified and held on to the horse’s mane for dear life, Merry couldn’t ignore the vision of loveliness around him. Where all the fae came from, Merry didn’t know, but he didn’t care. They laughed, sang, and spun on the air leaving glitter to trail in the wake of their revelry. Their mirth filled Merry's veins with a happiness so pure it made him feel giddy and he giggled. Like a girl. He quickly stifled his laugh with a small groan and glanced at Quinn.

Quinn paid no mind to his horse, their fanciful flight, or the rade as he watched Merry with nothing but adoration in his eyes. Merry’s face heated and he turned away. Man, I have to be the lamest guy that ever existed. Of course, other than Quinn, he didn’t know any other guys, so he really had no one to compare himself to, but giggling like a girl and blushing all the time? Those were symptoms of, like, a really, totally, very, exceptionally, extremely freakin’ awkward and definitely uncool kind of guy.

The sun was warm on Merry’s skin and felt good, and he tried to remember when he last sat outside and enjoyed it. He searched the sky for the sun and, as Quinn had warned, pain seared his eyes when he found it.

Bí cúramach, Merry,” Quinn cautioned.

Merry rubbed his eyes. “Yeah, I forgot.” When he opened them again, the world looked different. Colors were fuzzy but sparkly in some places. He rubbed his eyes and opened them again. Still fuzzy and sparkly in places. Now his vision was all screwed up. Typical. He couldn’t do anything right.

“Close ye eye. Let ‘em rest a nonce.”

Merry closed his eyes. Colors stained the backs of his lids and ebbed away, as if a miniature breeze floated the colored splotches across the horizons of his eyes. “What’s a nonce?”

“Ye call it a moment.”

After a few minutes, he opened his eyes again and looked at Quinn. Now his vision was very clear and everything was sparkly around the edges.

Quinn leaned across the expanse between their horses and kissed him chastely. “Ye sight be precious. Ye not look at ye sun again.”

“Yeah.” He blinked a few times trying to rid his vision of the sparkles. It didn’t help. He rubbed his eyes, opened them again and, to his utter astonishment, the palms of his hands glistened as if they were coated in diamond dust. He turned his hands beneath the sun and the backs of them looked as if they were coated in diamond dust too. His gaze traveled quickly up his arm and down his chest and belly. He glistened all over! “Quinn?”

“Aye?”

“What’s wrong with my skin?”

“Naught be wrong. Why ye ask such a thing?”

“You don’t see it?”

“What?”

“I-it, um, sparkles.”

“Aye. Ye skin be beautiful.”

Merry flushed a light rose. “Thanks, but, um, it sparkles. Like, for real.”

“Aye.”

“You’re acting like it’s normal that I’m all...shiny.”

Quinn smiled. “Be ye fae side, Merry. It happen when ye be athas.”

“When I’m what?”

“Happy. Ye be happy and ye glamour show.”

“As in I turn all glitzy when I’m happy now?”

“In a manner of speakin’, be ye charm worn on ye sleeve.”

Charm? He didn’t have any charm. He was the least charming person he knew. “I don’t have any charm,” he blurted.

Quinn only chuckled and leaned across again to kiss his cheek. “If ye say so.”

“I can’t go around with my skin all...all...all like this every time I’m happy! How do I make it go away?”

Quinn’s brows shot to the heavens. “Why ye wish it away?”

“How do I explain it? Chill, everybody. No, really, it’s no big deal. It happens all the time!” he mock explained. Of course, he was never happy, so there was really nothing to worry about.

Quinn chuckled again. “Hold ye whist, Merry. Ye human eye not see it.”

Oh. Well, that made it all okay then. Maybe, sorta. He looked down at his skin again. It glistened beautifully beneath the sun and tiny refractions danced on his skin when he moved making him look as if his whole body was covered in tiny diamonds. It was better than okay. It was freakin’ cool!

“Wow,” he said softly.

“Aye. Ye be fair as we moon.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Beautiful.”

Merry’s cheeks flushed again and he turned away. Man, will I ever stop blushing so much?

“Why ye always be so hard on yeself?”

Quinn’s question startled him and he accidentally dug his heels into the horse. Its massive wings whumped on the air and it took off at a full gallop across the sky leaving the rade in the dust, so to speak, and Merry screamed. Like a girl.

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 Eighteen                                         Table of Contents                                         Chapter Twenty

©2012-2015 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Eighteen

Quinn’s hand tensed in Merry’s and his anger zinged up Merry’s spine. Conlaoch began to back away and Quinn’s eyes searched the air for Sadb.

“Sadb!” his voice boomed on the air.

She floated down through the demi-fae and came to hover in front of Quinn. Though she made the deferential bow, her face held nothing but defiance. “Aye, sire?”

“Ye give ye word ye would spend five minute with Nolan.” “I do it!” she defended.

Quinn’s gaze moved back to Conlaoch.

“Beggin’ ye pardon, ye majesty. She do naught more than sit on a rock with ‘im. When Nolan speak, she ignore him and move away.”

Quinn’s eyes had taken on a dim reddish glow and his muscles twitched beneath the surface of his skin. Fear crept up Merry’s spine alongside Quinn’s anger as he began to worry. The last thing he wanted was for Quinn to change again. Worse yet, for his mom to feed off his anger again. The air suddenly thickened and it became hard to breathe, and demi-fae began to drop out of the sky, their fall only cushioned by the bluebells beneath them.

Oh, no. Merry gently squeezed Quinn’s hand and dared to ask, “Q-quinn?” Quinn turned his glowing eyes on Merry and he became even more afraid. “P-please don’t get m-mad. Y-you’ll ch-change and th-then your m-mom will f-feed off y-your ang....”

Merry’s words died away as the look on Quinn’s face turned from one of anger to one of outright fury. Merry tried to withdraw his hand but Quinn held fast. “Who tell ye?”

“T-tell m-me what?”

“Who tell ye of me curse?” Quinn demanded.

“Um, w-well, when you ch-changed into your other, um, form, last n-night—”

Quinn’s expression seemed to go through a thousand machinations before settling into a mask of infinite sadness. “I show me ugly side in we night together?”

Uh-oh. “Y-you d-don’t remember?”

Quinn shook his head slowly.

How could he not remember? Now Merry was terrified he’d said something all kinds of wrong and his words came fast and furious. “Y-you k-kinda, well, changed, then you d-drooled a little, kinda on me, I guess, and then licked my f-face and I, ah, asked you n-not to eat m-me. Th-then, um, y-you roared a lot and I sorta g-got this feeling that you d-didn’t want to b-be, you know, all m-monstery, but I was kinda afraid you w-would, I don’t know, m-maybe eat me. Well, n-not eat me, y-you wouldn’t d-do that. Or at least I d-don’t think you would. Well, yeah, okay, I-I was afraid you were g-going to eat me, or at least take a b-bite out of me, a b-big one. Well, okay, really I was t-terrified you were g-going to eat me in one b-bite, sorta like swallow m-me whole, you know? And I think you were t-trying really hard n-not to, and so Sadb told me your, ah, m-mom was sort of, you know, f-feeding off you, your anger, I mean, and she said to, um, t-touch you s-so you c-could feel, you know, how I, um, feel about you, and I d-did and the, um, well, you turned b-back into your, um, well, like you are n-now.” He made a nearly indiscernible gesture with his free hand. “Exc-cept, you, um, d-didn’t have the red g-glowy thing g-going on with your eyes k-kinda like you d-do r-right now.”

Quinn stared at Merry.

Merry waited, truly frightened Quinn would lose it right then and there and change and DEVOUR.HIM.WHOLE. “Are you g-gonna eat m-me?” His voice was small and high-pitched and he cursed himself for sounding so freakin’ pathetic.

Quinn continued to stare at him as the air around them thinned to a breathable thickness again and the red glow left Quinn’s eyes.

“Nay, me we dote,” Quinn said softly.

Merry breathed a sigh of relief and dared to speak again. “Ok-kay, change of subject. D-do you want me to t-talk to Sadb and Nolan t-together? If it’s all r-right with you, I-I mean.”

“Nolan!” Quinn boomed again.

Merry started and nearly fell off his horse. The horse that had wings. The horse that was frozen in mid-air. The horse that waited for the rade to continue. With a leader. Un-freakin’-believable!

Nolan appeared immediately. “Aye, sire?” he said with a deep bow.

“Ye be up to givin’ Sadb a second go?”

Nolan paused in thought, seeming to choose his words carefully. “Far be it from me to disappoint me prince as I exist only to serve ye, sire. Yet, t’would be slapdashery of me if I did no’ confess she whinging try me patience and I be affronted if we make no progression of sorts.”

Sadb opened her mouth to speak but was quickly silenced by a brief, magical wave of Conlaoch’s hand. She made odd noises as she flailed on the air and fought the invisible gag. She bent backwards and forwards, flipped upside down, spun in all different directions, her body contorting and shuddering as she fought to speak and tiny sparks flew. She looked like an electrified Tasmanian devil.

Merry looked away quickly and covered a laugh with a portended cough.

“Ye think ye can give ye wan a second time with help from me Merry?” Quinn asked.

Nolan smiled wide. “T'would be me pleasure to give it me utmost, sire.”

Quinn turned to Merry, his eyes kind, and full of love again. “Ye be willin’ to help, Merry?”

Merry’s heart melted and he felt all mushy inside. After all Quinn did for him, the least he could do was to try to talk some sense into Sadb. “Sure. Um, can you make the horse go, like, down to the ground?”

The horse leaped skyward and, unprepared for the sudden burst into action, Merry tumbled off the back of it with a loud cry. The tiara spun away as he spun ass over teakettle high in the air, certain he’d land with a sickening thud and break every bone in his body. He prayed it wouldn’t hurt too much. He didn’t want to cry in front of Quinn.

“We Consort’s crown!” Ethne the Wee shrieked.

A cloud of demi-fae swarmed the crown and, within seconds, Quinn’s arms were around him holding him close and slowing his spinning descent.

“Ye be a right muppet, ye be, mo chroí.”

They floated on the air, turning slowly, Quinn’s large, soft wings a beautiful iridescent green wafting above them.

“We’re flying,” Merry breathed.

Quinn smiled. “Seem I be aloft, and ye be takin’ ye pleasure in me transportation.”

Merry smiled shyly. “Thanks for, um, catching me.”

Quinn landed deftly, bringing Merry safely to the ground, and set him on his feet. “When I tell ye to take ye hold on, ye need heed me warnin’ lest ye put yeself in peril again.”

“I kinda forgot. Sorry.”

Ethne the Wee flew to Merry and set the rescued tiara on his head.

“All be right. Where be the rock, Conlaoch?”

“Be in we dell, ye majesty.”

“Sadb! Nolan! To the rock! Come now, Merry. What be ye intentions?” Quinn asked as he guided Merry around the giant tree and down into a grassy ravine.

“Well, I thought I would just get the two of them to talk.”

“About what?”

“I don’t know. Anything. Doesn’t have to be anything special.”

Nolan whizzed by Merry’s head at light speed and Conlaoch followed at a much slower pace dragging a now bound and gagged Sadb by her antennas. She fought and squirmed and shrieked on the air and Conlaoch ignored her has he followed Nolan to the rock.

Quinn shook his head. “Ye have ye work cut out for ye. Ye be certain ye wish to do it?”

Merry shrugged as they came to a large boulder boldly situated beside a small stream. Nolan sat on one end of the rock, and Sadb squirmed on the other as Conlaoch held her firmly by the antennas.

Merry sighed. “Can’t hurt to try.”

“Ye be a brave one. Sadb like to bite the head off ye.”

Merry’s eyes went wide. “She bites?”

Quinn laughed softly. “Only with she words.”

“Ah, yeah, okay. Good to know.” Merry looked at Sadb. “Lady Sadb?” She glared at him and he fought not to cringe. “Do you think if Lord Conlaoch removed your gag you could sort of sit there quietly for a few minutes?”

A long moment passed before she nodded once. With the wave of his hand, Conlaoch’s gag was gone. Sadb sat there, sullen and sour as a rotten lemon.

Merry turned to Nolan. “Hey, Nolan.”

“Lord Merry,” he greeted with a bow.

“We’re gonna start this off simple, okay? Like, what’s your favorite color?”

Nolan grinned wide. “Be me red.”

Merry smiled. Of course it is. Dumb question. “Cool. What’s your favorite thing to eat?”

“Ye not answer such a query!”

Sadb’s shriek sliced through Merry’s nervous system like serrated knife. “Why not?” he asked.

She pointed an accusatory finger at Nolan. “He be a predator! He eat he first cousin, if ye let ‘im!”

Merry turned back to Nolan who looked genuinely offended. “You, um, eat your relatives?”

“Be one or two occasion it happen, but only for cause. Be the way of me ilk.”

Right. “Ah-huh. Okay. Sadb, what’s your favorite color?”

She gestured to Nolan as if to say “what he said” then turned her nose up at him.

“Ah, okay. If Nolan’s favorite color is red, then yours must be yellow.”

“Ye be an eejit if ye not figure that for yeself.”

Merry frowned. “Please don’t call me an idiot.”

“I not name ye an eejit. I say ye be an eejit if ye not figure me favorite color.”

Merry sighed again. “Okay. What’s your favorite thing to eat?”

She looked at him in disgust. “Ye be a right useless human. Have ye no memory?”

Merry glared at her. He did feel useless and worthless most of the time but that didn’t mean Sadb could say he was. “Can you get through one sentence without a criticism?”

“What ye mean to ask?”

“Every one of your sentences contains a criticism. Are you always so negative?”

“When must needs be.”

“And when would that be?”

“When I be within a shoe’s shadow of such a horrid thing as ‘im!” She pointed at Nolan again.

Oh, my God. “He is not a thing! How would you like it if he called you a...a...PITA?”

“A what?”

“A pain in the ass.”

Sadb gaped at Merry in horror before launching into a tirade. “Ye be on the side o' the dragon! Ye be unclean! Ye not be fit for me prince!”

“I’m not taking Nolan’s side.”

“Ye be! Ye be! Ye not be fit for me prince!”

“Oh, my God! I am not! You know what, Sadb? You need a shrink!”

“A what?” Quinn asked.

“A shrink! You know, a head shrinker!”

Quinn frowned. “Ye mean to say a shrink of she head be a cure for she poor attitude?”

“Yes!”

Quinn thought for a moment. “Ye be certain of it?”

“Yes! She’s missing a food group!”

Quinn was dour. “What food it be?”

Oh, my God! “I mean she’s nuts!”

“Ye be certain?”

“Yes!”

“All be right then. Conlaoch, ye see to it quicksmart she have three meal o’ nuts a day from now on.” In the blink of an eye, Sadb’s head shrank to the size of a pea. Quinn nodded once in satisfaction. “Ye give ye Quinn right fine advice, me Merry. She be far less riotous with she small head.”

Oh, no. Merry felt faint. He should have known better than to use colloquialisms with Quinn.

Quinn turned to Conlaoch. “Ethne the Wee lead with Nolan! We rade!

No one noticed the black butterfly lurking at the side of the ravine.


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 Seventeen                                     Table of Contents                                        Chapter Nineteen

©2012-2015 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Seventeen

Bright emerald green and bluebells filled Merry's 3-D vision and demi-fae in every color of the rainbow dotted the horizon. The sudden disappearance from his bedroom and reappearance in a field of bluebells left Merry dizzy and he held onto Quinn's arm to steady himself until his vision cleared. When it did, he realized they were standing in a sea of blue beneath the largest tree Merry had ever seen. It stood proud in the midst of the flowers, its massive limbs bowing low to the ground and resting gently in the flowers. The tree branches spanned nearly the entire field.

"Wow," Merry breathed, as he looked up into the canopy.

"Be we oak," Quinn said with pride. "She be as old as time heself."

"How tall is it?"

"She reach the heavens."

Sometimes Merry had trouble reading facial expressions, like right now, and he couldn't tell whether Quinn was serious.

"I spake true," Quinn assured, as he put and arm around Merry and guided him beneath the tree.

Its trunk was massive and Merry guessed it to be at least fifty feet wide. "Wow," he said again as he looked up into the canopy with appreciation, fully enchanted by the tree. Something tapped his shoulder and he turned, thinking it was Quinn.


Quinn leaned against the tree, arms crossed over his chest, watching Merry from six feet away. Merry figured his mind was playing tricks on him and he went back to studying the tree. He turned slowly, admiring the massive branches and rich green leaves of the canopy. Overcome with a sudden desire to spread his arms and spin, he extended his arms, closed his eyes, and began to turn.

Warm sunlight filtered through the tree and felt warm on his skin as he breathed in the fresh air around him. The bluebells parted, allowing his softly shod feet to feel the soft earth beneath him. Bliss filled him as nature seemed to take him into her arms, as if to welcome him home again. He felt secure, no longer afraid, at peace within for the first time in as long as he could remember.

Mid-twirl, something tapped him on the shoulder again. He stopped spinning, momentarily dizzy, and looked around. Nothing. Surely, it was Sadb up to her usual antics. "Stop it, Lady Sadb," he said as he began to twirl again.

Something tapped him on the shoulder yet again. He stopped abruptly, nearly tripping over his feet in the process. This time Quinn laughed. "What?" Merry was defensive.

"Do ye not see what be right above ye?"

Merry looked up to find the very tip of a branch poised to tap his shoulder again. It withdrew quickly, seemingly embarrassed for having been caught in the act.

Merry turned and gaped at Quinn. "No freakin' way!"

Quinn chuckled and nodded. "She wish ye attention."

"I-it's alive?"

"Be certain she be. Top o' the morn to ye, Dáira," he greeted the tree. The tiny branch reached down and began to play with Quinn's hair. A second little branch coyly reached out to meet the first and together they gave a small tug on a lock. Quinn swatted them away. "She be a bit of a prankster, if I do say so meself. Don't be a stone, say hi."

Merry snorted. "Right. Like I'm going to talk to a tree."

"Ye don't greet the lady, she take it as effrontery."

"A whatery?"

"She take offense to ye."

Merry gave Quinn a sidelong glance before looking up into the canopy and offering the tree a small wave. "Hi, Dara," he said softly, skeptically.

The annoying little branch reached out, tickled his ear, and quickly withdrew again. Merry laughed as he shied from it with a hand to his ear.

Quinn put an arm around him and kissed the side of his head. "If ye wish 'im to take a likin' to ye, don't be givin' 'im grief, Dáira."

Suddenly, the bluebells came alive with a cacophony of sounds, an orchestra abruptly set to tuning. Merry winced as the noise filled his ears and looked around for the offending ensemble, but saw only bluebells.

"Th-the bluebells play music?"

"The demi-fae be preparin' for we rade."

"In the bluebells?"

"To be certain. We bells have a fine part in we music."

Ah, okay, that explained everything. NOT. "We're gonna have music?"

Quinn's brows shot up as he looked down at Merry. "How ye expect to have ye a rade with no music?"

"I-I don't know. I've never been to a rah-yay before," he said lamely.

"Surely ye have seen a parade?"

Merry had been to a parade once. His mom took him to the Rose Parade on New Year's Day when he was ten years old. She'd also arranged for him to help build a float. After a week of nearly freezing his ass off in the refrigerated warehouse of the Rose Palace, and coming home every night with flower glue stuck to every part of his being, it was a thrill to finally see the float he helped build in the parade. And Quinn was right. Nearly every float played music as it passed by and there were a ton of marching bands in the parade.

"Yeah, and there was music."

Of course, after seeing the Rose Queen's float, all he could dream about after that was becoming a Rose Parade Queen and wearing a tiara.

Conlaoch suddenly appeared, hovering on the air in front of them. "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, reporting, Ye Majesty! We be ready to begin!" he shouted over the dissonance of the tuning instruments.

Quinn winced at the noise. "Ye be sure we instruments be ready?"

"Aye, Sire!"

As if on cue, the cacophony quieted and formed the beginning of something resembling music, and demi-fae floated up from the bells, each bearing an instrument as they set to flight on the air.

The tiny little demi-fae who had dared to question Quinn about the crown appeared, trembling yet again, as she faced him. "I bring he crown, Sire."

"Ye be a good lass, Ethne the Wee."

Out of nowhere, a small crown, well, a tiara really, made of glass and diamonds appeared hovering on the air. Merry didn't think he'd ever seen anything more beautiful.

"Álainn!" Quinn exclaimed.

Merry couldn't help it. He reached out and touched it with a fingertip. "Beautiful," he breathed.

"Aye, be what I say. Álainn."

"Ay-lin," Merry repeated in a whisper.

"Aye, and it be for ye, me Merry." Quinn went to place it on Merry's head and he leaned away.

"M-me? W-why? I'm not a p-prince or anything."

"Ye be me wee dote, me Consort."

The demi-fae gasped and swarmed Merry. They lit on his head, his shoulders, even the tips of his ears, and began to pet his cheek and stroke his hair. It took every ounce of strength Merry possessed not to bat them away.

"What's a Consort?"

"Be what I say," Quinn said with pride. "Ye move off me Merry, now," he ordered the demi-fae as he set the beautiful tiara on Merry's head. It fit perfectly. Quinn stepped back, his eyes twinkling just like they did right before, well, when they did that.

The demi-fae froze mid-air as if someone had stopped time and silence descended on the air. Quinn admired Merry and, after a long moment, he leaned in and kissed Merry's cheek. The cheek that hadn't before been Fairy Kissed, and it began to tingle. "Ye be beautiful, Merry."

Time began again and collective "awwwws" followed by long sighs filled the air.

"We rade!Quinn shouted so abruptly, Merry nearly jumped out of his skin, and music began.
Two white horses flew down to meet them. Flew. Flew. OHMYGOD! Flying horses!

Before Merry could panic, demi-fae carried him aloft and gently placed him on the back of one of the winged creatures. He'd never ridden a horse before, let alone a winged one, and he had no idea what to do. Quinn mounted his horse and, sensing Merry's fear, reached and took Merry's hand in his.

"Use ye other hand to hold he mane, me love." Quinn demonstrated with a fist full of white mane.

"I-it won't hurt it? Isn't it kind of like pulling its hair?"

Quinn chuckled softly. "Be fine, Merry, and ye need hold on tight as we take flight."

"F-f-flight?" Panic built quickly in Merry. "Were gonna fly?"

"Aye. Ye be right ready?"

"No!" As the small word escaped him, the demi-fae took to flight and his winged horse leaped into the air.

Conlaoch suddenly called a halt to the rade. Time stopped, the music came to a screeching halt, and everyone froze, including Merry's winged horse. Okay, it was bad enough that he was half-naked, only bluebells covering his essentials, a tree had tapped him on the shoulder, he was wearing a consort hat, or crown, or tiara. Whatever! Now, he was frozen in mid air on a winged horse. He began to wonder if he was hallucinating.

"What be the matter, Conlaoch?" Quinn asked, anger plain on his face.

Conlaoch gestured to Sadb. "She not spend she five minute with Nolan. We rade canno' proceed lest we have we a leader."

Chapter Sixteen                                           Table of Contents                                        Chapter Eighteen
©2012-2017 Cody Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Sixteen

“Hold ye whist, Merry!” Quinn's whisper was fierce.

Merry's dad barged through the bedroom door with an angry grunt, and Quinn clamped a hand over Merry's mouth before he could utter a sound. He cannot see ye. 

Merry watched, trembling with fright, uncertain if his dad couldn't see him, like, right freaking there in front of him!

His dad looked around before turning to the milk-crate desk, clearly having seen nothing but an empty room. He picked up the papers that lay strewn there and perused them gruffly.

They were Merry's notes for his world history paper, and he silently prayed he hadn't doodled Quinn's name on them.

His dad turned the paper sideways. "Where the hell is Quinn?"

Merry nearly fainted.

"Probably some mountain in Timbuktu," his dad grumbled.

Relieved, Merry closed his eyes and thanked his lucky stars his dad thought Quinn was nothing more than a place in the world.

Sadb hovered next to his dad's head, arms crossed over her chest, toe tapping the air angrily. Merry motioned to her to move away and she looked at him defiantly. Suddenly, she darted straight for his dad, whizzing past his ear and dragging her tiny hand through the hair on the side of his head.

Quinn grinned wide and panic filled Merry's veins.

Merry's dad brushed at his ear with a hand as if a mosquito buzzed by. Sadb covered her mouth with both hands and giggled silently.

Merry shook his head rapidly, mouthing an adamant 'no,' and motioned again for her to leave him alone. To his utter astonishment, Quinn encouraged her with a smile and an approving nod. Merry stared at him, incredulous, his mouth agape.

Sadb stuck her tongue out at Merry's dad and flitted around his head making faces at him. She stretched her mouth wide with her fingers bearing her pointed little teeth, her face becoming a miniature mask of horror, before darting at him again. This time she dragged both of her small feet through the hair on the top of his head.

Merry's dad swatted at the top of his head and searched the air around him for the offending creature. Finding nothing, he went back to riffling through the papers on Merry's desk.

Quinn gave Sadb a thumbs-up, and Merry couldn't help the smile that formed on his lips all while he nearly died on the spot. Don't! he thought hard.

Sadb became indignant. Her antennas shot straight into the air and she bugged her eyes out and waggled her long, pink tongue at Merry's dad.

Merry stifled a laugh. Ohmygod, stop it!

Sadb tiptoed on the air to the back of his head and, taking a lock of hair in both hands, she yanked on it. Hard.

Merry's dad slapped at the back of his head and turned around in search of the offending creature again. Sadb continued to annoy the crap out of Merry's dad until she had him dancing a jig and slapping at his head with both hands.

Merry doubled over in laughter, struggling with all his might to remain silent.

"Stupid kid," Merry's dad grumbled before leaving the room and slamming the door behind him.

Merry fell back on the bed dying in silent laughter and Quinn joined him. 

"I can't believe you did that!" Merry whispered, barely able to speak through his laughter.

"A gobshite in need of a good giving out, he be!" Sadb said through a giggle.

"Bí cúramach lest ye find yeself in a right fine bobbery," Quinn cautioned.

"Can my dad hear us?"

Quinn shook his head, still laughing.

"Oh my God, I so can't believe you did that, Lady Sadb," Merry said through another laugh as he sat up. Then he remembered he hadn't cleaned up the spilled milk in the kitchen from the night before. "Oh, no!" He shot to his feet and then realized he was...naked. HOLY CRAP! He sat quickly again and pulled the sheet into his lap.

"Ye look shook. What be the matter?" Quinn asked.

"Get my pajamas, please. They're under the pillow."

Quinn reached beneath the pillow and came out with his T-shirt from the day before. "Why ye have me shirt under ye pilla?"

Merry's cheeks flushed rose. "Um, I-I-I w-was saving it for you."

Quinn gave him a sidelong glance. "Be an odd place for me shirt," he teased.

Merry snatched it from his hand before reaching around Quinn to dig his pajamas from beneath the pillow and shove Quinn's shirt back beneath it.

"Why ye put it there?" Quinn asked.

"Where else am I going to put it?" Merry asked lamely as he pulled his pajama pants on, careful not to reveal his private parts.

"Where ye shirts be?"

Merry pulled his pajama shirt on. "In the closet."

Quinn stood, not a care in the world about his nudity, and it took all of Merry's might to focus on Quinn's intentions rather than, yeah, that...and that...and that.

Quinn opened the closet door.

"What are you doing?"

"Puttin' me shirt where it belong."

A smile threatened to form on Merry's lips. It was kind of nice that Quinn thought his shirt belonged in his closet with his shirts, but he wanted it under his pillow. He went to Quinn and took it from his hand. "I like it under my pillow," he said as he shoved the shirt beneath it again. "I'll be right back."

"Ye needn't clean up the milk," Quinn said as he returned to the bed and sat.

Trying with all his might to ignore Quinn's nudity, Merry said, "If I don't, it will only make things worse."

Sadb clasped her hands to her chest and nearly swooned. "We collect every precious drop!"

"What are you talking about?"

"Cream be a delicacy for we fae, Merry. The milk ye spill be enough to feed 'em for a night. They not have to return to the mound for sustenance. Ye kitchen be spit spot."

"Spit what?"

Quinn reached for Merry's hand and pulled him down to sit on the bed next to him. "Right fine. Ye kitchen be clean, Merry."

"Seriously? Everything's cleaned up?"

"Aye."

Relief flooded Merry. This was a dream come true. He hadn't wanted to face his dad after last night. His dad would act as he always did, as if nothing had happened, as if beating up your kid was just business as usual in the McDaniel household. Which it basically was.

"Time we dress ye for we rade. Sadb, what have ye in mind for me wee dote to wear?"

She tapped her chin with a tiny finger as she thought long and hard. "Flower!"

She shouted so suddenly, Merry started.

Within seconds, demi-fae appeared out of thin air and swarmed Merry. Ignoring the buttons on his shirt, they deftly pulled it over his head. Lifting him into the air, they tugged his pants down. He tugged them back up quickly. They eyed him with consternation before ten more demi-fae joined in and jerked Merry's pants from his hands, and down, and off! Moving at the speed of light, they had his private parts covered in bluebells before he could protest. With a heave-ho, they tipped him in the air, nearly upside down, and fitted his feet with soft suede shoes. As quickly as they’d upended him, they righted him and set him on his feet.

Gathering on the air, they busied furiously, and parted to reveal a wreath of thorns adorned in ivy. They hovered, holding the wreath steady for Quinn's approval.

Quinn considered it for a long moment and, suddenly, the demi-fae gasped in unison, their eyes wide with astonishment. Clearly, a silent communiqué had passed between Quinn and the fae.

The smallest demi-fae Merry had seen yet worked her way through the crowd and hovered, trembling as she faced Quinn. "Not to question ye, Sire, but I must. Ye be certain of it?"

Irritated, Quinn issued a curt, "Aye. Have it afore we proceed. Away with ye," he ordered.

Whispers and murmurs filled the air as the tiny demi-fae bowed and disappeared taking the wreath with them.

Merry turned to find Quinn dressed in the stupid little shorts made out of leaves. His thoughts immediately tangled, unsure if he was more relieved or disappointed.

"Be time we go," Quinn said as he stood and held a hand out to Merry.

The idea of leaving the house dressed in nothing but bluebells forced Merry's unbidden thoughts  of Quinn away. "I can't go out dressed in... in.... Like this!" Merry protested.

"Why not?"

"I'm almost naked!"

"Aye, and a beauty ye be."

Merry's cheeks heated as his mouth gaped. "Be serious! I can't go out like this!"

"Aye, ye can."

"No, I can't."

"Ye can."

"I can't!"

Quinn smiled. "Ye be a stubborn one."

"I'm serious! I can't go out like this! Besides, I'll freeze to death."

"I keep ye warm."

"Can I at least put a shirt on?" Merry cringed. He sounded like a whiny little kid. Pathetic.

"Ye not need ye a shirt. C'mon." Quinn wagged his hand.

Merry quickly reached under his pillow and brought out Quinn's t-shirt. "I need this."

"Me shirt? Why?"

"B-b-because it smells like, well, you."

Quinn's eyes held surprise. "Ye smell me shirt?"

Merry's cheeks flushed rose again. "Yeah," he said lamely.

"Why?"

"Just wanted to."

"Why?" Quinn pressed.

"Why are you getting all hung up on why I smelled your shirt?" Talk about a stupid sounding question.

Quinn eyed him with wonder. "Ye human side be a curious one." He took the shirt from Merry and brought it to his nose. "Ye spake true. It smell like me."

Relieved, Merry rolled his eyes. "Yeah, it does." He snatched it back and pulled it on before Quinn could object. The shirt was enormous and reached Merry's thighs. Cool.

Quinn eyed Merry from head to toe before sighing and shaking his head. "Ye ruin me vision of ye lovely self, me wee dote. C'mon." He held a hand out to Merry again.

"Where are we going?"

"Ye'll see."

"Wait. What do I tell my dad?"

"Nary a word. He sleep on ye couch for the remainder of ye day."

Merry smirked. Typical.

In the blink of an eye, he and Quinn disappeared.

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