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Fairy Tales

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Michael was always told he was special since he was born. He was told he was a witch, and that as he grew older, he would learn how to do lots of cool things if he worked hard! It definitely sounded cool, but he could never really focus long enough to the lectures Auntie and Uncle gave him while they took care of him whenever they were around.

 

He started to care more when he was whisked away to a place called New Jersey, where Auntie and Uncle told him he would be raised better. He just hugged them because they told him they’d visit during Christmas, so that was good enough for him. Plus, he ended up liking living with his new Ina and Titi (he tried saying her name and could only say ‘Titi,’ so it stuck and made sense).

 

His Ina was a normal human, though her cooking and hugs told him otherwise. She was able to help him focus on things better and listened to him talk on and on about what he loved. How could someone as awesome as her be ‘ordinary?’ His Titi agreed to that, and the kiss he got from her as she agreed made his cheek feel extra warm, so he knew he was right.

 

Titi, though, was also a witch, so she could teach him magical stuff! He knew a lot from the few months he was with her, and he knew a lot at the ripe old age of five, so he would always show off what he knew to Ina when he could. Michael knew he was really good because she’d always applaud him and give him a big, warm hug.

 

How could he be bored with lovely new moms?

 

 

 

His five year old mind easily became bored one afternoon as he mindlessly mumbled out one of the songs Auntie used to sing to him, walking along the edge of the large garden his Titi tended to. She and Ina were inside, supposedly watching him through the door. He looked back and saw them asleep.

 

While they were nice cuddlers, he wasn’t in the mood to go cuddle. No, he wanted to explore. He only had lived in this house for a few months and hadn’t been outside much (granted, he was still learning English and often got frustrated when he got something wrong, getting upset with himself and almost crying, but still!). He looked back to the forest that wasn’t far, narrowing his eyes before breaking out into a wide, cheeky grin before running in. Ina and Titi never let him go back there, but if they were asleep and he came back before they woke up, he’d be fine, right?

 

Ah well, he didn’t think about that a second later as his sneakers helped him leap into the forest. He made noises as he went along, laughing and using his vivid imagination to entertain himself. Michael imagined he was running from some nasty goblins- no, Bokoblins, like from that game his Ina showed him! He laughed and hollered as he went, picking up a stick (after politely asking the tree it came from) and pretended to fight them off before he got bored of it and just looked around for something cool.

 

He found exactly what he was looking for when there seemed to be shimmering... air(?) up ahead. Letting out a big gasp, Michael ran through it, though frowned when he couldn’t grab any of it. He huffed, but quickly got distracted by something-no, someone else before he could whine about it: a boy.

 

He was sitting close, playing with some weird looking flower as he wore wings. His eyes lit up because they looked better than any costume wings he saw in the Philippines or in that one window of a store he saw. Unable to contain himself at the sight (oh, and also talking to the kid, that’s cool too), he ran over, ignoring how the sleeves of his too-big jacket kept going over his fingers.

 

“H-hi!” he got out, grinning as he pronounced the word right as he jumped into the leaf pile beside the boy, making the leaves fly into the air and scatter about. What? He couldn’t just not jump in! That would be just... the worst thing ever!

 

The boy jumped, eyes wide and frightened. The wings sort of flapped as he moved, almost like they were real. That was so cool! But Michael felt a little bad that he had scared the boy.

 

The boy let out some weird chirping sound, like a bird, and his eyes looked at Michael carefully. He seemed very confused at the fact that Michael didn’t have something on his back and he looked at Michael’s coat curiously. He was dressed in something that looked way too cold for it being autumn, just some blue shorts, darker blue vest and no shoes! How could he not be wearing shoes?! Weren’t his toes cold?

 

Slowly, the boy took a careful step towards Michael, making that weird chirping sound again but this time it sounded almost like a question.

 

Michael just tilted his head to the side then. Well, sometimes he made noises when he couldn’t come up with the right words, so maybe that was it. He just continued to try to talk. Maybe he was nervous and felt confused or something?

 

He held out his hand then and gave a huge grin, showing off how he lost one of his front teeth this morning. “I... I am Michael,” he got out in English, silently cheering for himself for getting it right. His Ina helped him sound out the words properly and it definitely wasn’t easy to say. Reading? Psh, easy as cake! Speaking though? Eugh. “You, erm... who?”

 

The boy stared at his hand, blinking in confusion. Then he cleared his throat and looked up at Michael, a small shy smile on his face. “That’s not how you talk normally, right? You can talk normal if you like,” he said in perfect Tagalog, poking Michael’s hand a little. “Why are you holding your hand out like that?

 

Wait, he knew how to speak Tagalog? Someone in New Jersey besides his Ina and Titi knew? He couldn’t help but bounce on the balls of his feet then, even as this boy poked his hand. “You know it? How? No one here does, and it’s so hard to speak English because it’s so weird and hard- OH! My hand,” he said, as if just now processing the kid’s question. “Well, you shake someone’s hand and tell them your name when you meet them. Auntie said it’s good manners or whatever, so I do it! And I already told you my name, Michael! What’s your name?

 

The boy giggled and made another weird chirping sound before he lightly grabbed Michael’s hand and shaking it side to side. “My name is-” He chirped again.

 

Then he let go of Michael’s hand. “I don’t know what English is, but I’m just speaking Normal. It’s what the grown up speak when they’re talking to humans or to the Queen.” He started walking around Michael, eyes wide, wings flapping. “Are you a human? I’ve never met a proper human before, only the ones who got stuck. Oh no! You’re not stuck, are you?” The boy was almost speaking faster than Michael could understand, even if he was speaking Tagalog.

 

Of course I’m a human! I just walked past the sparkly area-“ He pointed to where the sparkles were in the air. “-and I saw you! I couldn’t grab them though...” Michael thought for a minute about what this boy was saying. “Wait, your name is bird noises?

 

The boy nodded. “Yup! That’s what my mom called me. Like her name is-” The boy made a different bird noise, closer to a squawk than a chirp. “-but since she’s a grown up everyone calls her Mariah. We get human names when we’re all grown up.” The boy started poking Michael’s back. “It’s so weird that you don’t have any wings! It’s really cool!” His wings flapped happily and it looked like he almost hovered for a second, but since he was behind Michael it was kind of hard to tell.

 

Michael just laughed when he was poked before pulling back because he wanted to look at this kid. “OK, so you have a bird name now... Let’s get you a ‘human name.’” He used air quotes around ‘human name.’

 

Michael put on his thinking cap (not literally, it was just something Ina said. How cool would it be to have a thinking cap though- focus) and hummed. He thought to the book Ina was reading to him and having him read out loud to practice English and remembered how much he liked the name of the boy in it. “Your ‘human name’ is Jeremy!

 

The boy said the name a couple of times, trying it out. Then he clapped happily. “Yay! My name is Jeremy!” He was giggling, and it had almost a whistle to it, but it was a nice sound. “Since we know each other’s names now, that means we’re friends.” The boy nodded, obviously certain of this fact. “I’m friends with a human! Wow! I’m the first fairy to actually be friends with a human!” His wings flapped and Jeremy floated into the air, doing a flip before landing back on the ground, grinning.

 

Michael’s eyes went wide as he watched Jeremy flip! In! The! Air! It took him a minute to realize what Jeremy just said. “Wait... you’re a fairy?! Those aren’t just really cool fake wings? Oh my god, that... that makes a lot of sense. Huh...

 

Jeremy giggled again. “They’re real! Look!” He turned around, showing off his back to Michael. The back of his vest was low, letting the shimmery wings easily join Jeremy’s skin just between his shoulder blades. Jeremy flapped then a few times as proof.

 

Mine aren’t as cool as some people ‘cause they’re only frosty. Some people get bird wings, or like flower petals or butterfly wings, and some even have like dragon wings. Mine do have a lot of pretty colors in them though, so I don’t mind.” It was true what Jeremy said about the colors. While they mainly seemed to be blue and see through, Michael could see all sorts of colors in the reflections of his wings, almost like someone froze a rainbow!

 

I think your wings are super cool! They got lots of colors and there’s a lot of blue! I really like blue, but I also like red and green and I see a lot of those in your wings! Plus I don’t think it would look as pretty, well, you wouldn’t if you had those wings. They uh... they suit you! Yeah!” Michael looked at his own back and frowned. He knew he had a lot of powers and would get to do a lot of spells, but he wouldn’t be able to make himself have wings!

 

Jeremy grinned at him as he spun around, but when he saw Michael’s expression he grew concerned. “Are you okay, Michael? You look sad... Are you upset because you don’t have wings? Because humans can do loads more than fairies. Like, humans are a lot stronger and some of them can even do magic. I even heard that there are some humans who have magic as strong as the royal fairies, maybe even stronger! Mom said they’re called... witches. I think that’s right. Maybe if you can find a witch they can help you fly like me or something.

 

Michael’s eyes lit up then as he focused in on Jeremy, bouncing on the balls of his feet again. “Oh! Oh! I’m a witch! I only just started learning through, and it’s hard to focus...” He deflated then before sitting on the ground, resting his head in his hands. “I don’t know if I’ll be good enough to ever do that kinda stuff that you say I could do. I suck at focusing!” With a whine, he used a hand to smack against a small leaf pile, watching as the multi-colored leaves all flew up into the air.

 

Jeremy sat on the ground next to him. “You’re a witch? Wow. You’re even more special than I thought! That means I can teach you to fly one day!” Jeremy sounded rather proud of himself, and he started playing with the leaves next to Michael. “Since you have magic, you can learn to fly. That also explains how you’re here, only magic people can get into the Fairy World on their own. I remember that now.

 

Michael huffed as he played with the hems of his jacket sleeves, glaring down at them like they were the reason he couldn’t focus. “Well, at least it means I can see you, but I won’t be able to if I can’t focus enough to learn anything! Then I won’t be able to learn to fly.” He whined in frustration before smacking his loose sleeve against the ground.

 

Jeremy sighed. “It’s okay. I can’t use my magic properly either.” There was a pause, then Jeremy started bouncing, his wings flapping excitedly. “Maybe we can practice together! We have different sort of magics but I’m sure we can learn together! I can help you learn to focus and you can teach me how to actually use magic, because nothing I’m trying works.

 

Michael’s eyes lit up at that before he turned his head to face Jeremy. “Wait, we could do that? Titi and Ina said that only witches could teach other witches... I guess you’re magic too though, and you’re only helping me learn how to focus...” He narrowed his eyes as he looked back down at his sleeves before grinning and beaming at Jeremy. “Yeah, let's do that! You’re smart, Jeremy!

 

Jeremy blushed, but it looked almost a purple color rather than red. “Really?” Then he frowned. “Maybe they said that because humans and fairies don’t normally get along? I don’t know why, but mom always told me humans are not nice. But you’re really nice so I don’t understand. We can still try learning magic together though.

 

Michael frowned as he moved his arms to let the sleeves flap in front of him. “Well that’s stupid because I like you! I like talking to you.” He said it with finality, like the fact that he liked Jeremy meant that what he thought was law now, which it obviously was. “You’re the first person I’ve met here besides Ina and Titi and some random people they know but can’t understand because they speak English well and don’t know Tagalog, and I get frustrated! But you can speak it so it’s nice, since Ina and Titi are trying to get me to speak English... What was I saying?

 

Jeremy giggled. “I like you, Michael. Let’s be best friends!” He opened his mouth to say more, but there was a sudden, loud chirping sound. It sounded kind of like how Jeremy said his name was. He paled and looked to the sky. “That’s my mom! I can’t let her find you, she doesn’t like humans! You gotta go now!” Jeremy sounded really worried, and he was trying to pick Michael up and drag him to the sparkly thing. “Please! I don’t want her to find you!

 

Michael frowned at that, because he didn’t want to leave, but he didn’t want to get in trouble or Jeremy in trouble. “OK, when can I see you again?” he asked as he walked over to where the sparkly thing in the air was, looking over his shoulder and to the sky, in the direction that Jeremy looked at beforehand.

 

Jeremy stopped, thinking, then kept pulling Michael to the sparkly thing. “I’ll be back here in three days. That’s when mom has her next meeting.” There was another chirp and Jeremy froze. “Hide!” He pushed Michael behind a tree right by the sparkles and he jumped into the air and flew back over to the flower he was playing with when Michael first came into the clearing.

 

A tall woman with big, blue bird wings landed only a few seconds after Jeremy got back. There was some angry chirps and squawks from her and Jeremy looked up at her, eyes wide, responding in the same bird sounds. She roughly grabbed his hand and started to fly off. Jeremy looked back to where Michael was as he started flying away, smiling a little and giving a little wave before he vanished over the tree line.

 

Michael watched him go, waving back until he vanished completely. After that, he rolled his sleeves up before going back through the sparkles. His brain yelled at him to try to catch the sparkles again, but he couldn’t. Well, at least if it’s still there, he could go back to the Fairy World and see Jeremy in three days! He could mark it on the calendar in their kitchen. Hopefully he wasn’t gone for too long though, that Ina and Titi were still asleep.

 

He leaped over logs and jumped into leaf piles, giggling as he went through and pretended like he had wings like Jeremy. If he could teach him how to fly, could he help him have wings? What kind would he have?

 

Michael thought this over as he wandered into the backyard, completely forgetting that Ina and Titi were probably waiting for him. He was just muttering our ideas while playing with his jacket sleeves, picking at some now-loose threads. Whoops.

 

Titi and Ina were waiting for him when he finally got back to the garden. They were outside, looking everywhere in the garden for him, calling out in both English and Tagalog. Michael had kind of forgotten that he was supposed to stay in the garden, and tried to sneak past them behind a big berry bush.

 

Titi noticed him. “Michael! Where have you been? We’ve been so worried!” She strode over and pulled him into a tight hug. Ina hovered just behind, nervously looking him over before hugging him too as soon as Titi let go.

 

Michael hugged them back then before sighing. “Sorry Ina, sorry Titi. I got curious and went to the woods. I was bored and got curious... Am I in trouble? I’m sorry...” He looked down at his feet then, sniffling as his chest got tight.

 

Ina wrapped her arms around him tighter, picking him up and holding him close. She pressed a small kiss to his forehead.

 

You’re not in trouble, sweetheart, we were just worried. There are a lot of bad things in the forest, and not just animals! Fairies and all manner of creatures who might want to take you away from us,” Titi explained, coming up behind him and holding him with Ina.

 

He just nodded before wiping his eyes as they started to tear up. “I... OK.” Michael figured it would be better to not mention Jeremy. He might get in trouble for it, and he didn’t want that. After all of that though, he felt tired and rested his head against his Ina. “Can I nap with you guys please?...

 

Of course, Michael. C’mon, let’s get you all wrapped up nice and cozy and we can have a nice nap. Just promise us you’ll be more careful next time, okay?” Ina asked gently, squeezing her arms around him sweetly.

 

Michael just nodded before glancing back at the woods, mentally promising to Jeremy he’d be back in three days. “Can we have something good to eat for dinner too?” he asked, accidentally forgetting that he didn’t answer Ina’s question.

 

She seemed to not notice either, because she and Titi both smiled down at him. “Of course, sweetheart, we can have your favorite. I’ll start on it while you go and nap with Ina, okay?” Titi pressed a kiss to his cheek before leading everyone inside.

 

 

 

Since he never flat-out promised his Ina and Titi that he wouldn’t go to the woods again, he went and snuck out. Thankfully, it got easier to do when he went to school. Since Ina and Titi worked later, he would go hang with Jeremy after school. He did that even until now, at the ripe old age of eight.

 

Currently, he was sitting with Jeremy in their normal clearing spot, playing Pokemon Leaf Green on his GameBoy Advanced that he got for his birthday recently. He had on a new jacket (he often had to get a new one, he kept making the sleeves too frayed) too as he sat right beside Jeremy, letting him rest his head onto his shoulder as he focused down at the game. He did check the time too on his super cool TMNT Velcro watch, but he checked it recently and he still had until it was 6:00, and it was 4:45.

 

Jeremy was unhappy about something, that much was clear. He would occasionally sigh, and his wings were all droopy. That only happened when he was really upset about something.

 

He poked Jeremy when he sighed again, causing the fairy to jump. “Oh, sorry Mikey. I’m just thinking. I’m starting my training for... my job I’ll have when I’m a grown up. It’s kinda like how you go to school, but only I get this type of training. I really don’t wanna do it,” he grumbled, crossing his arms and moving so he was behind Michael, leaning against his back to keep watching him play. His wings stayed droopy, not even fluttering a little.

 

Michael frowned at that, stopping his game and pausing it before looking back at him. “Well, if you don’t like it, why don’t you just do a different job? Titi told me that, even if I’m a witch, I can still go to normal school and learn so I can get a normal job or a witch job. You can just use your powers for whatever job you actually wanna get.”

 

Jeremy shook his head, pouting. “That sounds awesome, but fairies don’t get that. Our jobs are based on our powers. Like-“ Jeremy held out his palm towards a patch of grass, his eyebrows furrowed. For a minute, nothing happened. Then suddenly a small cloud of mist poured out of his palm and the grass there froze, covered in a thick layer of frost. “-I’m supposed to be just a frost fairy. No other type of fairy could do that. Except I’m not just a frost fairy so I gotta do all this other stuff too. I get a different job whether I want it or not.” He didn’t even seem all that happy that he managed to do a little magic (he still really struggled with doing any magic at all, even as Michael’s focus had improved).

 

Michael couldn’t help but still be in awe at Jeremy’s power before humming. “Well... are you the only person who could do it? You could just come with me and we can have you get a job you want! Well, you might have to go to school with me, which isn’t fun, but you could get a job you like! Yeah!” Michael gasped then before clapping a few times, his GameBoy in his lap. “Then we could go to school together! There are some mean jerks but I could keep you safe from them and we can have a lot of fun! Yeah!”

 

Jeremy was obviously thinking this over very carefully. “I mean... I’m not the only person who could do it... I’m just the best choice... but if I came with you he could do it instead and then we could finally spend more time together! And I could get a proper job!” Jeremy wings perked up, fluttering happily at the idea as he sat a little straighter. Then the grin slipped off his face and he slumped down against Michael’s back again. “I can’t. There one big problem.” Jeremy sighed, flapping his wings and pointing to them with his thumb. “Humans don’t have wings.”

 

At that, Michael just poked Jeremy’s cheek. “We could hide them in clothes or I could use magic on them! I’m a witch, remember? I could learn that kinda spell while we hide your wings!”

 

Jeremy perked up a little. “Well you’d better get practicing... dude-” He was still learning slang. “-because having them covered is not nice at all. I don’t like having them squished.”

 

He cocked his head at that before humming. “Oh yeah, that probably wouldn’t feel nice... I don’t like it when I get squished between people in crowds or at school...”

 

Jeremy shook his head. “No, it’s worse than that. It’s like... have you ever squished your fingers in a door? Like that. Soft touches are fine, just not squishes or grabs.” Jeremy sighed, pouting. “It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t a frost fairy, but my wings are more fragile than other types. So they hurt more if something happens to them.”

 

“Oh, that makes sense...” He looked down at his fingers, where he had gotten a few band-aids on from getting them stuck in Ina’s car door. “Well, then I’ll just have to learn fast to figure that out! Then you can come live with me and Ina and Titi! They’d love you, like how they love me! I’ll look it up when I get back, then you can live with me!”

 

“That sounds awesome!” Jeremy’s wings perked up fully, flapping excitedly. “I really would like that, thank you Mikey!” Jeremy wrapped his arms around Michael in a big hug, almost hovering with how much his wings were fluttering.

 

Michael couldn’t help but laugh at that, holding onto Jeremy’s arms with one hand while the other held onto his GameBoy. “Of course! You’re my best friend, and school would be a lot better if you were there. I do have some kids who deal with me but no real friends like you. Like, Jenna whose in my class doesn’t think I’m too weird and will listen to me ramble, but she doesn’t like all the stuff I do, and she hangs with some other girls during recess and lunch... I’d like to hang out and play and eat with you at school!”

 

Jeremy sort of nuzzled against him, kinda like a cat. “You’re my best friend too, Mikey. I just really wish the other fairies were nicer though, I wanna show you where I’m from. There are some other people I know, like Jake and Chrissy who are nice enough but all the other fairies would be so mean. They don’t treat humans very well at all, not even the changelings.”

 

“Yeah... I don’t know, but if we hid your wings, you could pass for a human! A very pale one, but a human!” Michael giggled before shifting around to give him a full hug. “Oh, I could show you so many things! Like the arcade I go to and then my room and a nice park nearby! I could also show you more video games that I can’t show you here and have you get some good food!”

 

Jeremy pouted. “I’m not that pale, am I? I’ve seen paler humans in the court... or were those the visiting vampires? Well they were human once, so it counts!” He snuggled closer to Michael happily. “I really wanna see it all! And I wanna try human food too! I like cooking so it’ll be super interesting! I wanna come live with you now. You’ll start learning that spell soon, right?”

 

He nodded eagerly before picking back up his game. “I think vampires are so pale because they don’t have blood in them anymore, but you got some kinda blood stuff in you so you have no excuse. But I wanna finish my battle with Misty!”

 

Jeremy focused back on the game again. “Oh, yes! I just know you can kick her butt, your team is really strong already.” He settled back against Michael’s shoulders, peaking over and watching intently, a lot happier than he was.

 

 

 

Michael found out that creating something to hide Jeremy’s wings was a spell he wouldn’t be able to learn for a long time. Thankfully, he knew that he’d be able to do it eventually, before college, so maybe he could go to college with Jeremy?

 

Michael kept updating Jeremy every so often about his magic, but they mostly just talked and enjoyed each other’s company. This continued up to high school too, talking about new things and their interests. Michael wasn’t even able to sit still today though, he had to pace and mess with the sleeves of his new red hoodie he got to commemorate starting high school next month.

 

“-her names gonna be Buddy because she’s gonna be my little buddy! She’s a labradoodle and she’s a puppy and super fluffy and she’s apricot colored! I didn’t know that a fur color could be named after a fruit! It’s super weird, right? But she’s super cute and I love her so much, even if I haven’t met her yet! God, you’d love her too and you haven’t even met her either. I wish you could meet her though...”

 

Jeremy giggled, and it still had that little whistling chirp to it no matter how old he got. “Dude, I haven’t seen you this excited since you told me you got Apocalypse of the Damned back when you were like, nine.” He was sort of following Michael around has he paced, hovering alongside him. The cool breeze from Jeremy’s wings helped him to not overheat from the summer sun and his hoodie with all of his movement. “Don’t worry, I’ll meet her one day. You’ve been working on the spell still, right? Only a couple more years and I’ll finally be able to come with you! She won’t be a puppy anymore but she’ll still be adorable, I bet!”

 

“Yeah, but I want you to be there with her as she grows up! I wish I knew the spell now,” he grumbled before shoving his hands into his hoodie pocket up front. “I wish Titi could teach it to me now and there wasn’t that age restriction for spells and stuff... I mean I get it, safety and all, but I’d rather you come than have to go do more job stuff!” He peered over at Jeremy then and pouted playfully. “Are you sure you can’t tell me what it is?”

 

Jeremy almost fell to the ground with that question, only just catching himself. Really, he should have been expecting it, it’s not like Michael didn’t ask about it regularly. “No way. From what you’ve told me about human culture, it would be ridiculous to you. Besides, all that matters is that I hate it and I still don’t deserve it because I can’t do more than a little frost and the occasional curse. The only thing I can do well is glamour, and that’s a skill every fairy has, even if I’m extra good at it,” Jeremy grumbled, landing lightly on his feet. He still didn’t wear shoes, but his shorts and vest combo made a little more sense in the summer heat.

 

Michael shrugged as he kicked at some of the dirt he scuffed up earlier. “Well, even if you aren’t ‘good’ at it now, you were chosen for this big role for a reason. They couldn’t have made a mistake in choosing you. I mean, you’re my best friend, my Player Two, so that’s gotta count for something, right?” He asked this before huffing and standing in place with a goofy grin, his hands out of his pockets and resting sassily on his hips. “Riiight?

 

Jeremy sighed heavily. “Riiiight...” he responded, a little reluctantly, rolling his eyes. Then he brightened considerably. “Actually, you wanna see some of the Changing Glamour I’ve been working on? I’m kinda proud of this one.”

 

His eyes widened at that before nodding. It wasn’t too often that Jeremy showed off to him, especially since he was so insecure about his powers. “Yeah, show me what you got, Jere! Woo!”

 

Jeremy hovered a little higher into the air and sort of curled himself into a ball. There was a sort of popping, crack sound, like when you drop an ice cube into water, and Jeremy burst out of his ball, except he was now about five inches tall. The usual deep beats of his wings turning into a small hum. He zipped right into Michael’s face, tapping his nose. He was close enough for Michael to see his cheeky grin.

 

Michael's eyes widened as he watched him go, puffing his cheeks out when he tapped his nose. "Hey! You booped me!" He tried his best to hide his snickering at that before cupping his hands up for Jeremy to land in them. "You're fucking fun-sized, Jere!"

 

Jeremy knelt down in Michael’s hands. He felt as light as a feather which sort of made sense, he was really light anyways, but Michael was worried he might be blown away with too strong a breath.

 

Jeremy cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, but it came out at almost normal volume. “This doesn’t last very long yet but it’s a cool trick, right?” Then Jeremy zoomed out of his hands and landed in his hair, playing with it a bit. He leaned down and spoke next to Michael’s ear, his voice as soft as a whisper. “The only problem is communicating while I’m this small.”

 

"Yeah, I get that. It's still super cool though! You could sneak and zoom around easy without having to worry." He reached up and gently poked at Jeremy, not enough to do anything besides mess with his hair. "Also, why are you in my hair?"

 

“It’s fluffy, that’s why.” Jeremy giggled and it felt like him lay down on it for a minute. He flew back to Michael’s hand again, tapping it to let him know to open it. “I’m gonna really practice this one, then maybe one day I could sneak out with you for a bit in your pocket. It wouldn’t be perfect, but at least we can go somewhere together,” he shouted, swinging his legs off the side of Michael’s palm.

 

"That'd be so cool! I could show you some of the stuff near my house and you'd love it!" Michael smiled down at Jeremy as he slowly settled down, not sure if him being smaller would make him sitting down at normal speed be terrifying or something.

 

Jeremy sort of held onto his thumb and hopped off as soon as Michael was sitting. He vanished into the grass for a second before reappearing, full sized, with that same snapping pop. He looked really tired but exceedingly proud of himself. “It’s gonna take me a while before I can keep it up for more than a few minutes, but what do you think?” He leaned against Michael’s shoulder, still grinning.

 

"I think that that's amazing!" he exclaimed before wrapping his arm around Jeremy's shoulder. "That's gonna be so cool while I wait for Titi to teach me the spell. Plus, new charm! I told you that you're amazing, didn't I?"

 

Jeremy blushed that strange, plum purple color and buried his face into Michael’s shoulder. “S’not that cool, just high level glamour. Anyone could learn it if they wanted to,” he grumbled, poking Michael playfully.

 

"Not anyone because I can't do that," Michael countered before poking him back just as playfully. "Other witches can't, humans can’t, and no other magical creature can. And it's cool because you learned how to do that high level glamour, so shush."

 

Jeremy grumbled something intelligible but then fell silent. Eventually, he pulled back just enough to speak. “Hey Mikey? I gotta ask you some stuff.” He sounded shy, unsure.

 

Michael, not wanting his best bud to be unsure, just rested his head on top of Jeremy's before squeezing him. "What stuff do you gotta ask, Jere?"

 

“Michael’s your true name, right? It’s how you think of yourself?” When Michael nodded, Jeremy sucked in a harsh breath. “Don’t tell any other fairies if you ever meet them. Give them a fake name, okay? And... thank you. For trusting me with it.”

 

He looked down at Jeremy curiously before squeezing him once more. "Of course! And why wouldn't I give them my real name?"

 

“Names are powerful. A fairy knowing a human’s name can give them power over that human. S’how so many humans get stuck. And if someone knows a fairy’s true name, they can have power over that fairy. But you gotta hear it from them, someone else saying it won’t work. So just please be careful, Mikey.”

 

He just smiled and nodded then. "Yeah, of course! Careful is my middle name!" No it wasn't, but he went along with it for the sake of this little gag.

 

Jeremy snorted, relaxing a lot. “No it’s not, it’s Oliver.” He looked up at Michael, a small smile on his face. “I’m glad you’re my friend, Michael. We’re gonna be friends forever. I don’t care if it’s childish and we’re supposed to be almost adults, it’s the truth!” He grinned over at Michael. “Also, my naming ceremony is coming up soon, so I’ll officially be Jeremy back home instead of-“ He chirped.

 

"Yeah, instead of your bird name," Michael said as he looked at Jeremy with a warm smile. "I'm glad you're finally going to get that name, because it's honestly weird and every time I try to pronounce it, I sound like a dying animal."

 

Jeremy grinned and leaned back, plopping his head into Michael’s lap happily. He looked up from his perch, his wings spread out just before Michael’s legs, resting lightly on the grass. “To be fair, I’m pretty sure my name has been Jeremy for a very long time now anyway.” The way he said it, with the same inflection that five year old Michael used, warmed Michael’s heart, even if Jeremy’s tone was teasing.

 

Michael couldn't help but laugh at that, shutting his eyes. "Oh my god, I haven't said your name like that since I lost my accent when I was, what, seven? Eight? I should figure you could say it perfectly though with your weird human-speak shit."

 

What, you mean like this?” he asked innocently, switching to Tagalog. “Or like this?” he asked in German and Michael only understood it because of the German lessons he was forced to take at school. “I really don’t know what you mean, Michael.

 

"You're going to give me a headache, asshole, my stupid human brain can only switch between so many languages so quickly," he groaned out before leaning back. "You know how hard it was for me to learn English and that I suck at German, so don't tease meee."

 

Jeremy giggled and reached over to poke his cheek. “I’ll stop for now, but only because you’re my favorite person. I don’t want you breaking. Besides, you did really well at learning English, it’s a shitty language to learn.”

 

"Yeah, but it still sucked! And trying to be trilingual? Ugh, it sucks and I have to keep taking German classes if I want to be able to go to college easy..." Michael just groaned again before whapping Jeremy on his leg. "Could I, like, sneak out of class before I have a German test in high school, bring you in when you're tiny, and you give me the answers so I don't absolutely flop the tests? Pleeease."

 

Jeremy outright laughed, his wings fluttering against the ground slightly with the force of it. “If I have the shrinking spell down by then, sure! Otherwise, you’re on your own, buddy.” Upon hearing the playful nickname, Michael was suddenly reminded of the puppy he was going to go and get and he started rambling about that again instead. He could have sworn Jeremy was a little flushed as he told him about how cute she would he, but that could have been his imagination.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the timing never worked out for Jeremy to save his ass from failing some of his German tests (though language wasn't ever his strong suit, so as long as he passed, Titi and Ina were happy). He thankfully only needed to take three years of German, so now, in his senior year, he didn't have to worry about that. Michael made sure to take easy classes, including his last two of the day as online college classes his school offered, so he got to leave during lunch. Eeyup, definitely the best choice he made.

 

Currently, he didn't have to worry about classes. It was Saturday night and he was gaming as Buddy chilled across his lap, pressed close enough for a comforting level of pressure and affection. She was definitely helping since he didn't feel his best. He hadn't seen Jeremy since their last meeting Wednesday after his first day of classes, so he was starting to worry. Hopefully he'd make it tomorrow- well, if the rain would stop downpouring! He couldn't walk into the woods and through the barrier if he kept sinking into the mud of the woods behind his house.

 

Michael metaphorically and literally shook his head, trying to dismiss those thoughts. No, he had to focus on finding this town in the new RPG game he got on his Switch because he so wanted to get Therion as his next party member because he heard his thievery skills were such a blessing after Primrose's charming skills.

 

A flurry of knocking startled him out of his zone. They were light but loud, and they sounded almost panicked. Buddy jumped up and out of his lap, suddenly very focused on the door to his room. She seemed tense, but not angry. More excited than anything else. Her tail was wagging after all…

 

Confusion overtook him, though he was a bit frustrated, pausing the game and setting his Switch gamepad down as he walked to the door to answer. Normally, if his Titi or Ina wanted him, they'd yell across the house for him or text him... But they were out for a dinner date…

 

He got a small stun spell ready as he went to the door, reaching over and slowly, carefully opening it.

 

There was no one outside. For a minute, Michael thought it might just be some kid playing ding-dong-ditch (seriously, who did that anymore, and in this weather?). Then another round of knocking, just as panicked, but very clearly coming from the back door. Buddy bounded over to it, ‘boof’ing quietly and chuffing as she stuck her head out the dog door, her tail wagging madly.

 

Michael groaned as he went to the back of his house, calling out, "This isn't funny, whoever the hell you are! If you're trying to pull some prank or rob me or something, you're doing a very shit job, especially if my dog doesn't think you're a threat!" He walked to the back door, more just aggravated because he so badly wanted to get Therion (he was that stereotypical anime tsundere character and, as cliche as he was, he adored him).

 

When he finally got to the back door, he gently pushed Buddy back with his foot so he wouldn't hurt her when opening the back door before doing just that, preparing himself for the rain that would get all over him.

 

He opened the door and there stood... Jeremy, dripping wet and looking more worn out than Michael had ever seen him. “Michael.” His relief was palpable, a good deal of panic falling away. “I don’t suppose you’ve got that spell ready yet, have you?” he asked, a small smile on his lips before his eyes rolled back into his head and he fell forwards against Michael, blacking out.

Chapter Text

Michael, as he was drying Jeremy off, was trying to figure out what the actual fuck was happening. It didn't help that Buddy kept on sniffing Jeremy, curious. "No, not now Buddy," he grumbled as he finished drying Jeremy’s skin off, moving to quickly dry his hair as best he could, watching as some of it poofed up. He moved him from the floor of his living room then, setting him onto the couch before running his hands over his face, trying to figure this out.

 

Jeremy had never left the Fairy World before, the closest he ever got was when they both met in that weird in between space near the shimmering air (he knew it was a barrier, but shimmering air sounded cooler to him). Why had Jeremy left? How did he know this was Michael's house? What was going on?

 

"Buddy, please help me, I don't know what the hell to do."

 

As he asked for help, Jeremy groaned a little, sitting up and blearily looking around. When his eyes locked onto Michael, he smiled again, relaxing. His wings perked up from where they were folded against his back. “Oh thank goodness I found you. I wasn’t sure if the tracking spell worked properly or not, but I didn’t exactly have much time to waste.”

 

Well, one question answered at least.

 

Michael's eyes honed directly in on him, and he just kneeled right next to him on the couch. "OK, I have so many questions and no answers, so please start explaining. You know how I hate being left out of the loop."

 

Jeremy put his hand on Michael’s shoulder, leaning against him and nodding, eyes half shut. “Okay, I’ll explain. But it’s a bit complicated. You know how fairy culture is very different from human culture?” Michael nodded slowly. “Well that includes succession and royalty. Basically, whoever is most powerful in each generation becomes next in line, along with their partner if they ever get one.” Jeremy took a breath, eyes flitting to Michael but not lingering, a bright blush on his cheeks. “You know how you always ask about my job? That’s it. I’m next in line.”

 

He just stared at Jeremy, trying to process all of this. It didn't take long, honestly, and just nodded. Jeremy told him the truth and it made sense after he thought about it, so why dwell on it when that wasn't the real issue right now. "Alright. I'm guessing that's a part of the big issue about why you suddenly left the Fairy World to find me?"

 

Jeremy nodded, sort of miserably. “There’s another fairy, Squip. He turned bad a while ago, but he got really powerful. Got it in his head that the only way to take the throne is to... to kill me. He wants to kill me. Or control me or something,” he mumbled.

 

OK, yeah, he realized how bad this was right away as soon as 'kill' was put into the equation. Grabbing Jeremy by his shoulders then, even if Jeremy already had a hand on his shoulder, he told him, "Well, that isn't happening. I won't let that stupid dick do anything to you!"

 

Jeremy finally looked at him properly, eyes brimming with trust. “That’s why I came to you, I knew I could count on you. I had to tell the whole council I knew a human, but Jake stood up and said that me being in the human world would be safer than being in the Fairy World for now. Just until they can catch Squip. But some of his minions cornered me on my way out. I managed to freeze them thanks to the rain, but it was a close thing. I had to use a lot of energy. I’m worried they might realize I’m in the human world and come after me.”

 

Michael couldn't help but feel his chest tighten, but in a good, not-anxiety way (there was a good way for your chest to tighten?) at what Jeremy told him before he caught himself up on what he said. "Wait, minions? It's not just this Squip weirdo?"

 

Jeremy shook his head. “Squip is causing chaos, they love the chaos. Their minions are the bad fairies, the goblins, and they follow him. They’re not massively strong but they’re overwhelming in numbers. They have a lot of numbers.” He shivered, curling in on himself a little and leaning against Michael a little more.

 

"Wait, bad fairies and goblins? And there's a lot?" While he knew he could do some stuff, Michael seriously was thinking that Jeremy was severely overestimating how much he could help. He knew he was going to panic, he could feel his chest tightening in that bad way now, but he tried to suppress it (would he regret it later? Yes, yes he would, but Jeremy didn't need him panicking now). "Oh..."

 

“Bad fairies are goblins, remember? I taught you all this when we were like, nine,” he reminded Michael gently. “Besides, I’m not asking you to fight, it’s not your world, I’m just asking for you to hide me, help me blend in, until it’s safe for me to go home.” Jeremy’s blinks were getting longer, and his breathing a little more ragged, but he still seemed mostly okay for now. Which was weird considering the situation.

 

"Jeremy, you have to remember that with half the shit that happens with me, I have the memory retention of a goldfish. I obviously didn't remember that random tidbit from when we were nine," he told Jeremy before leaning back against the couch, trying to kick his feet out and being unable to as he felt the furry side of Buddy smoosh them down. "And, uh, I can try? I sorta know the spell to hide your wings, I've been practicing it but haven't nailed it yet... But is there seriously a chance of goblins busting in while I'm, what, possibly in the middle of showering, or while I'm stuffing my face with Cheetos?"

 

Jeremy shook his head. “Your Titi seems to have warded the house. The only reason I could find it at all was because you already gave me permission to visit. And even then, the wards tried to kick me out until you brought me inside. It’s safe here.”

 

He sighed, looking a little downtrodden. “I... I’m sorry... for dumping this all on you. It’s just I didn’t know who else I could turn to. Anyone else could be working for Squip; you’re the only one I can trust.” Jeremy looked ridiculously guilty, obviously beating himself up about everything. And Michael could hear the start of panic right on the edge of Jeremy’s voice.

 

Michael didn't want that to happen, for Jeremy to panic, so he quickly wrapped him up into a hug, being mindful of his wings (as always). "Well, I'm glad that you could trust me, Jere. I'm going to do my best to keep you safe and sound, don't you worry your curly-haired head about anything."

 

Jeremy nodded and hugged back, even as his breathing got worse and worse. Then suddenly, he poofed out of Michael’s arms, shrinking down on instinct and flying up into his hair. It was pretty normal if Jeremy was freaking out about something, hiding in Michael’s untameable floof seemed to calm him down, but it surprised him every time.

 

He was leaning a little against Jeremy, so the sudden loss of Jeremy to hold had him fall face-first into his couch cushions, which isn't too great when your feet are pinned down weirdly by your dog. Letting out a huff, he hoisted himself up onto his elbows before blowing some loose strands out of his face... for, like, two seconds at most. "Jere, why do you always do that? And warn a guy next time!"

 

“Sorry,” Jeremy’s whisper quiet voice murmured near his ear. “I didn’t mean to let you fall flat like that...” He could feel Jeremy sort of curling up on his head though. “Your hair is really comfy though. Like it’s all poofy.” That was almost a giggle. Good sign if nothing else.

 

"Jeremy, I think you should know how concerning it is that that isn't the weirdest thing I've heard in my life. Maybe today, but not my life." Michael huffed again before trying to tug his feet out from under Buddy. "Buddyyy, please get off my feet. If you're gonna comfort me, please hop up with me onto the couch! I convinced Ina that you were couch-safe!"

 

Jeremy giggled, and made a small sound. Instantly, Buddy stood up and hopped onto the couch. Then Jeremy turned his attention back to Michael.

 

“I’m tiny and scared, and this is the closest I can get to hugging you while also hiding. That’s why your hair is comfy. And I gotta say Mikey, you’ve said some pretty weird stuff yourself and you can’t explain them. So hah. I guess.” Jeremy’s pout was almost visible in the first half by his tone of voice, and his shrug shifted a lock of Michael’s hair lightly for the final comment. God, this was weird.

 

Michael flopped himself over so he was carefully lying against Buddy, making sure they were both comfortable before shutting his eyes. "Hey, I'm a weird kid, sue me."

 

Jeremy sighed, making himself comfortable. “Yeah, you and me both,” he agreed softly, even for his already quiet voice.

 

"That's the understatement of the year if I've ever heard it," Michael said around a laugh. "Also, how long are you gonna be in there? I don't wanna accidentally shake you out or squish you with how I lie down or whatever while you're hiding..."

 

Jeremy paused. “Maybe another minute? I think I’m gonna stay small for longer, but I’m almost calmed down now.” He fell silent for a few seconds before rubbing Michael’s head a little to get his attention again; it was quite the relaxing sensation. He giggled a little.“You were right about Buddy, by the way. She really is the cutest dog ever.”

 

In response, Michael just hummed, relaxed by the soothing touch before reaching a hand up and gently patting Buddy's snout, which she just gently huffed about. "Yeah, she is. Oh my god, you should've just seen her as a puppy. She's super cute now, but now-cute and puppy-cute are two different kinds of cute."

 

Jeremy was giggling again, and with him being so small it almost sounded like birdsong. “Oh my gosh, I’ll bet! Do you have any pictures? I wanna see some now I have the real thing to compare to. She’s so pretty.” He cooed the last sentence, and Buddy’s tail thumped once against the couch, showing that she heard him.

 

"Oh, now you're gonna inflate her ego," Michael playfully muttered out as he gently whapped Buddy's tail away, since it practically almost whacked him in the arm with how he was lying. "I will when you're back to normal size, 'm comfy now."

 

Jeremy giggled and finally left Michael’s head, instead moving to lay on top of Buddy’s curly fur. “Oh she’s soft too!” He sort of sank into her mess of fluff a little, giggling as he did. He looked really cozy from what Michael could see. And the fact he left Michael’s hair willingly meant he was calm now.

 

"Hey, don't get lost in the fluff! She's my doggo, so she's gotta love me the most. Don't tempt her or anything." He huffed playfully, no bite or spite in it as he reached over and gently scratched behind Buddy's ears, feeling her tail thump against his free arm rapidly then.

 

“But Mikey, she’s snuggly!” Jeremy whined playfully, nuzzling into her fur. He made some chirps at her and suddenly she was huffing and almost full body wiggling with how happy she was. Not quite, but close. “Awwww, I like you too, Buddy. And you adore your daddy too! Gosh, she has a big heart.”

 

"Oh yeah, she's a love muffin, which is good for when I need a lot of love," he told Jeremy before turning around and pressing a kiss to her wet nose. "But you cannot steal all of her love away from me, otherwise I'll die without constant love and affection!"

 

Jeremy giggled as he flew up and popped back to normal size behind the couch. “I don’t think that’s possible. She has too much to give.” He scrubbed at her ears affectionately, making a couple more chirps and whistles. She turned her head enough to lick Michael firmly on the nose before looking up at Jeremy. “That’s what I thought. He’s still your favorite, as it should be.”

 

"Are you just making noises at her or actually talking animal to her or?" Michael never really asked what creatures he could talk to besides humans, and his brain went on weird thought processes if he wasn't hyper-focused in school or on games or driving, but Jeremy knew that.

 

Jeremy frowned a little. “I’m talking to her, of course. Dogs are intelligent enough to to talk to. Can’t you? I know I heard you talking to her at one point or another this evening.” He genuinely sounded shocked at the idea that Michael couldn’t understand her.

 

"Wait, you can seriously talk to her?" He practically jolted upright then before asking a barrage of questions, including the following: "What does her voice sound like?" "What's her vocabulary like?" "What does she think of me?"

 

Jeremy looked a little overwhelmed, but he leant against the back of the couch and sighed. “Dogs communicate differently from humans and fairies. So her voice and vocabulary are pretty much as you can hear them. They communicate ideas through action, tone and facial expressions. So it’s kinda like talking to someone in sign language I guess.” Jeremy shook his head fondly, looking over at Buddy and chirping again. She ‘boof’ed back, looking at Michael and thumping her tail rapidly. “As for what she thinks of you... well she basically calls you daddy and she adores the ground you walk on. And she wants to make sure you know how much she cares about you.”

 

Michael felt himself melt then as he squatted close down to Buddy, cooing softly to her before holding her close. "Well, I adore her so much, but you know that already, Buddy." He pressed a kiss to her nose again as he shifted so she was lying back against him before looking at Jeremy with a grin.

 

Suddenly, he got hit and remembered something that he realized was very important. "Shit, Ina and Titi will be back in a few hours! What the hell are we gonna do? What are we gonna tell them?" He let out a distressed noise as he held Buddy closer then. "Buddy, help!"

 

“I don’t think she can! Quick! We gotta do something about my wings! And we gotta figure out what we’re gonna tell them!” Jeremy’s wings started flapping wildly, almost causing him to hover in panic.

 

"It's a joke to help me cope, I know she can't actually help," Michael quickly added as he sighed, rubbing his hands against Buddy's sides to try to calm himself before taking a deep breath in. "Well, I'm gonna deal with your wings first. We're somehow going to have to come up with a story that'll convince my wise and smart as shit moms... Yeah, wings first so they at least think you're human."

 

He quickly moved Buddy off of himself, getting up and hurrying up his stairs as he started to think. Well, he did talk to people online a lot, like his WoW buddy, so maybe they'd believe that he met Jeremy online? No, Jeremy didn't understand technology besides his phone and handheld systems, that wouldn't work. Pen-pal through a school system and he just kept calling him an online friend? Yeah, that could work!

 

Jeremy nodded and started follow after Michael, hovering behind him. “I can use some glamour to keep my blush from being less... purple and stuff. And to smooth over my ears a little.” They were kinda pointy. Michael wasn’t sure how he didn’t notice that right away when he was little, but then again, he was focused on the leaves and Jeremy’s wings.

 

"Yeah, that will definitely work. I'm gonna work out the details of a story I have of you being a pen-pal-I'll explain what that is soon, I'm on a thought roll right now-and it'll be great. I just need to find my spell book..." He walked into his room with Jeremy, full of shelves of collectibles in terms of Amiibos, retro sodas (he had one of each bottle in a wine bottle-esque holder style that he fitted himself for soda bottles), and his video game shelf. He let out a small 'aha!' when he picked his most recent spell book off of his desk, dusting off some pretzel crumbs and salt before flipping to one of his color-tabbed pages. "OK, so the spell to hide wings..."

 

Jeremy seemed a little awestruck by the room. “This is where you sleep?” he asked, slowly running his fingers over the covers of his double bed. Michael wasn’t sure why it was such a big deal, his room wasn’t massive or anything, but it was kinda cozy. His desk against one wall with his laptop and gaming PC hooked up, the soda rack and bookshelves against the next, and finally his bed opposite his desk. The wall with the door was for his dresser and posters of musicians and video games. “It’s so... you! It’s amazing!”

 

"I... yeah, it is? And I guess? I wish I had the room to set up for a record player or something, I'd love to collect records and play them, but Titi says it's too vintage and I'm already on the retro path with my games and sodas." He just shrugged before hopping on top of his polar bear-themed sheets (they were his favorite animal and they were cool) before he traced along where he was reading. "Plus, I'd have to take out my mini fridge of retro sodas I allow myself to drink, so that's a big fat 'no.'"

 

“This room is amazing, Michael.” Jeremy nodded, apparently determined to get that point across, slowly lowering himself to sit next to Michael. “It’s so... personal. I really like it.”

 

He just shrugged before looking at Jeremy. "I guess. I sorta was too nervous before high school to really do anything, but Ina and Titi let me splurge since I never really asked for anything with my room. It makes me feel a lot better, really, so I'm glad you like it since you'll sorta be stuck crashing with me."

 

Jeremy looked at him with wide eyes. “I can stay in here too?” He sounded so shocked by the fact, but also really happy. “Thank you, Mikey.”

 

"No need to thank me, I wasn't gonna let you sleep on the couch or anything. Plus, my bed's a double, so it has enough room for two people to sleep comfortably on it." He looked back down at his book then, trying to find his place again. "The spell, the spell... Got it! OK, so I'll need you to be as relaxed as you can, yeah? If I do this right, I can basically make it to where I only have to redo this spell once a week, and once a month if I get really powerful.”

 

“Ummm.... what’s it do? Like you’ve told me it’ll let me walk around normal humans, but what’s it gonna do?” Jeremy didn’t seem like he would relax until he heard the answer. His wings were twitching nervously.

 

"It basically makes it so you can sorta make your wings appear when you want them to," Michael explained as he read over the text, though it was in Tagalog and he basically was giving Jeremy the TL;DR version. "It won't hurt, but I'll be tired after. Like, I'll probably need to nap since it takes a lot of sudden energy outta me, but that's it!"

 

Jeremy relaxed considerably. “Should... should we sort out everything else first then? Before Ina and Titi get home. Otherwise I’m just the boy who randomly showed up in their house while their son is unconscious.” He shrugged, eyes full of trust but also a little apprehension

 

"I mean yeah, that works better." Moving the book to the side of his bed, he watched as Buddy came in, hopped up, and flopped down across his lap. He patted her head before focusing back up on Jeremy.

 

He explained his plan so far before adding what he just thought of. "So we say you're from, uh... Well, I don't know a place yet, but you're here as a part of the program. I forget to tell my moms things sometimes so they'll be upset with me a bit for forgetting a big important thing, but they'll forgive me and love you. They'll... probably be questioning your clothes though, that's not really normal, and the fact you don't have any luggage with you, or a last name..."

 

“I have a last name,” Jeremy supplied helpfully. “It comes with being a royal. Heere. H-E-E-R-E. I just never used it because it would mean I’d have to explain my whole thing. As for my clothes...” He looked down at himself, tugging at his vest lightly. “Can you imagine something you think I’d look okay in? I’ve only ever seen your clothes and I don’t think they’d really suit me very well.”

 

"Like, uh... Do you want me to sketch it out or tell you or? I don't know if I'm really the best with my words," Michael told him, though decided not to comment on how ridiculously funny and punny Jeremy's last name was. He'd tell him later after all this was sorted out.

 

Jeremy shook his head. “Just think about it. Think about me in it. I can do the rest.” Jeremy closed his eyes and rested his index fingers on Michael’s temples. His expression was focused but serene.

 

"Uh... alright? Just one outfit, or like a whole wardrobe full, or...?"

 

Jeremy giggled. “Just one outfit. We can change it every day as we need to, it’s just gonna be illusionary glamour. Now focus. Just like we practiced when we were kids.”

 

Michael just rolled his eyes, sticking his tongue out at Jeremy before shutting his eyes and thinking. Well, he had a lot of outfit choices he'd like for Jeremy, but for now? Hm…

 

The image of a blue cardigan came to mind, a fuzzy one that had a nice texture to rub whenever you'd get nervous. Some nice black jeans too, not the itchy or irritating kind either, and some white ankle socks with grey Converse on, a little worn-in. Oh, and a striped shirt... but how many stripes? What colors? Well, he liked green, blue, and red still, so some variations of those colors? Was that too much? Too little? Would it all match together? He was really bad at matching clothes... Ugh, fashion sucked.

 

Jeremy moved his hands away, making a small, happy sound. “Oh, it’s really comfy!” When Michael opened his eyes, Jeremy was on his feet, looking himself over. It was the outfit he had imagined just... better somehow. And Jeremy’s wings seemed to phase easily through the back of the soft, blue cardigan. He turned to Michael with a grin. “Thanks Mikey! It’s really nice!”

 

Seeing Jeremy like this made Michael's heart flutter a bit, but he didn't really get it, so he ignored it for now. "Yeah, of course! I've thought about you and what kinda clothes you'd like, but I guess you're just able to make your own stuff with magic? Which is weird as hell but also cool as fuck?"

 

Jeremy bounced on the balls of his now covered feet. “They’re not exactly real, per say, they just look and feel real to everyone who sees them. It’s an easy glamour to keep up, I can keep it permanently if I need to, and they’re easy to change. So yay!” Jeremy hovered for a second before landing, sitting back on the bed. “As for the... luggage? I can conjure something up for that if they ask.”

 

Michael nodded in understanding to that before lying back on his bed then, letting Buddy stay comfortable in his lap. "Well, I should probably text Ina and Titi so they know all about this so they aren't so confused when I'm passed out. I'll also take a pic of us together so they know to put a face to a name when they come in, y'know?" He patted his hoodie down before yanking out his phone with its Sheikah Slate phone case before tapping in his password. "C'mon, lie next to me so I can take one!"

 

Jeremy carefully folded his wings against his back and lied down, leaning his head next to Michael’s. He put on a small smile, both of them well aware this was his first actually picture being taken of him. Michael had never risked it before.

 

"OK, so look at this-" He pointed to the small, tiny camera on his phone. "-and smile however you want. I naturally just put up that peace sign you always ask me about, it's a reflex," Michael explained as he shifted until he got a good angle of the two of them. "I'm gonna snap it after I say 'three,' got it?"

 

Jeremy nodded and smiled again, this time a little bigger. He looked at the camera, naturally throwing up the peace sign he always saw Michael do in pictures. When Michael said three, he took the picture. Jeremy looked a little surprised to see how he looked in it. “I actually look human with all my extra little glamour. This is so cool!”

 

"Yeah, I would've told you otherwise, dingus," Michael said before poking his cheek. He quickly opened his text app, sending the pictures to his group chat with Titi and Ina, adding something along the lines of 'I just realized I forgot to tell you about Jeremy, whoops! He's staying for the year as a part of this program the school's doing, hope that's OK. It was one of those things you guys signed off for me without reading this summer, love ya both! XOXO' before sending the message and picture, dropping his phone onto his chest with a groan. "Can't wait for this to be buzzing like crazy when they see it, but we just gotta hide your wings now!"

 

“Okay! So I just need to relax, right? Just tell me if there is anything else you need me to do, I trust you Michael.” Jeremy sat up, closed his eyes and relaxed. Like seriously relaxed. Every ounce of tension melted away and even his wings drooped, but in a nice way for once rather than a sad one. He looked very peaceful.

 

Lots of ideas to mess with Jeremy filled his head, but he couldn't just betray his trust, not when it was something very serious. Maybe later when they got more relaxed and comfortable with this kinda stuff? Yeah, then, not now.

 

Sitting up then, Michael stretched his arms above his head before taking the book back into his arms, finding where the spell was before he muttered out the chant. He hadn't really had anything to practice this on, so he put all of his focus and energy into this.

 

Once he finished, however, he was so exhausted. He basically tossed the book and flopped back, already feeling his eyes drooping and his mind felt like it was felt with cotton (was this how stuffed animals felt?). "Mm... Did it work?" he asked around a yawn.

 

Jeremy perked up and sort of squirmed, as if trying to find a comfortable position. Then, slowly but surely, his wings were sort of sucked into has back, vanishing from view entirely. “I think so. They feel sorta weird now, like they’re out but they’re also sorta being touched? It’s not totally unpleasant, I’ll be honest. Just different. I can definitely live with this.” He stretched and yawned. “S’made me a little tired though. Might nap too.” Jeremy toed off his shoes and climbed into bed, pulling the comforter up over both of them. “S’this okay?”

 

Buddy, from under the comforter now, let out a small 'boof' before shifting in bed so her head popped out, though she was still lying plenty across Michael, not that he cared (he loved it). "Mm, yeah... 'm prob gonna be asleep for a bit, so if y'wake up before I do and deal with Tita and Ina... sorry?"

 

“S’okay. Deal with that later. Sleepy now,” Jeremy mumbled, scooting closer towards Michael and Buddy. Despite being a Frost fairy, he seemed to really like the warmth. He sighed happily as he nuzzled against his bed-mates.

 

Michael just hummed, too exhausted to even be distracted by random thoughts that normally kept him up, even when tired. God, did it really make him that exhausted? Well, if he went to bed right away, maybe he wouldn't mind using it so much…

 

 

 

Jeremy lightly dozed for what he thought was a few minutes when the sound of the door opening startled him awake. His instant reaction was to summon his crystal dagger to defend himself, but he was glad he suppressed that urge.

 

Two human women poked their heads into Michael’s room and based on Michael’s descriptions, they were his Ina and Titi. “Umm.... hello. Sorry, this must be a bit of a shock. I’m Jeremy, Michael’s... guest? The one who is staying this year. It’s nice to meet you.” Jeremy carefully extracted himself and stood, trying to at least be polite. He repressed his urge to bow and instead offered his hand, like Michael had when they were kids.

 

One woman stepped forward, who was taller than the other with wildly curly hair that was all done up, somehow dry despite the still raging storm outside. Adjusting her shawl, she took his hand and shook it up and down instead of side to side like he had when they were kids. “Hello Jeremy, my name is Tia, I’m Michael’s Titi.” She still seemed a little wary as she shook Jeremy’s hand before pulling back.

 

The other lady, who Jeremy could only guess was his Ina, stepped forward as she took Jeremy’s hand and shook it in the same way Tia did. “I’m Reece, his Ina. I wish we knew about you coming, we would have been here and been better hosts and picked you up with Michael from the airport. Michael didn’t tell us where you’re from.”

 

“Oh, I’m from-“ Think of a place, quick! “-Ohio.” Jeremy had heard of that place through Michael. Apparently a YouTubez person (or whatever they were called) that he liked was from there. And it was still in America. “I’m sorry I didn’t give you more of a warning. I didn’t realize Michael hadn’t told you. Still, it’s lovely to meet you both. Michael holds you both in very high regard.” Jeremy half chuckled, feeling supremely awkward under their scrutinizing gaze. He felt himself blush a little, bit quickly calmed his panic. All his glamour was still up. Thank the Stars.

 

“It’s not your fault, hun, it’s Michael’s. He’s just forgetful sometimes.” Tia sighed after her wife spoke before looking over at Michael, who was promptly passed out still in bed. Buddy was lying on top of him, eyes looking towards the three standing.

 

Jeremy looked back from Michael and adorable Buddy to see Reece quickly picking something-the spellbook- up, keeping it close to her and sighing. When Jeremy saw her as she was moving to leave quickly, she seemed visibly uncomfortable before Tia spoke up. “Michael borrows our stuff sometimes and forgets to give it back, he’s not supposed to leave it lying around. We’ll need to talk to him later, don’t worry Jeremy.” Reece quickly nodded before waving to Jeremy and hurrying out, though Tia continued. “I know it’s late, but are you hungry? I could at least make you a snack or something before you go back to bed. Sorry for waking you up too, we were just worried after getting that sudden text about some new person staying there for a year with our son, you know?”

 

“Oh of course, I’m sure I’d be worried too if I got a message like that...” Jeremy thought for a second, then nodded. He had shared Michael’s food before without any negative effects, so it just only be a one way issue. “Some food would be lovely, if it’s not too much trouble. I haven’t eaten much since before my... flight.”

 

Tia nodded before hesitating. “I know our house isn’t too big, but I don’t know if Michael told you where everything is. Do you want a quick tour?”

 

“That would be great. It’s rather different from my own house. For one thing it’s a lot nicer.” He chuckled, keeping his whistling under control. Yeah, this would mean spending more time with a witch, who might find him out, but he needed to practice. He needed to be convincing. Plus, she seemed really nice.

 

She just nodded before carefully opening the door for him. Jeremy watched as she waved to the dog, who just rested her head back down now, and shut the door before the small tour started. “We have the bathroom to the right, and then that’s really it up here besides a study room.” She pointed each room out, Reece walking in the study putting the spellbook away, but Tia waved to her and shut the door before continuing downstairs. “We have our room on the first floor, the kitchen and living room, and another bathroom for us and then a small half bath. We also have a small basement where Michael goes sometimes to set up his vintage game systems and smokes sometimes to help with his anxiety.”

 

Jeremy nodded, committing the house to memory as best he could. He might need a refresher later, but he could try. “He smokes marijuana, right? I remember he told me that once, I’m glad he has a quick coping mechanism for when it gets too much. Honestly, it’s a very useful plant and I wish it wasn’t as looked down upon.” He sighed. He used it too sometimes, but it wasn’t nearly as demonised by fairies as it was by humans.

 

“Yeah, but it’s thankfully getting better. We had to get him a whole medical license for it, which is ridiculous, but he can legally smoke it here so he can’t get in trouble.” Tia sighed along with him before walking with him into the kitchen.

 

It was big only because there was also a table set up there with four chairs, where they probably all ate together. “Normally Michael insists that Buddy tries to sit in the last chair when we eat dinner since she’s family, but you being here will sorta help with that, so thanks,” Tia said around a laugh before she looked through the fridge (he knew what everything was since they had their own versions of them in the Fairy world, but not as nice). “Alright, so what tickles your fancy? We have some yogurt, cheese, applesauce, apples, grapes, and carrots right now.”

 

Jeremy thought for a moment. “Can I get some apples and cheese? If it’s not too much trouble.” He liked that combo quite a bit back home, hopefully it would be the same here.

 

“Of course, do you want the apple slices? And how do you want the cheese cut? We only have white cheddar, so I hope that’s alright,” Tia said as she got out a wrapped up block of cheese and an apple before getting what she needed to get his food ready.

 

Jeremy perched himself on one of the dining chairs, still facing her. “Umm, can I get apple segments, and the cheese cut into cubes please? And white cheddar is absolutely fine.” He smiled over at her, loving how she seemed to be quite relaxed around him. Certainly more relaxed and much more thoughtful than his own mother. It was a nice change.

 

He swung his legs a little while sitting down, feeling his wings almost squirm under his skin. It was an odd sensation, not having them free, but at least it wasn’t painful.

 

“So, you’ve had Michael since he was about five, right?” he asked after a moment, finding himself relaxing a little too.

 

The woman looked up from where she was working, as she finished cutting off a chunk of cheese to use before wrapping it back up. “Yeah, Reece and I adopted him from the Philippines, though I don’t know how much he’s told you. You’re a pen pal through the school system and stuff. Still can’t believe they use the term ‘pen pal,’ how archaic can they get?”

 

Jeremy chuckled. He actually was familiar with pen pals, because they had them back in the lower levels of school before he started his proper training. “I mean, I’m from a pretty archaic place. We don’t exactly have computers or anything, it’s a pretty small town and everyone there is kind of narrow minded. I’m the oddball of the lot, which is why I’m the only one who really reached out.” Technically, everything he said was true there. His lies from earlier were starting to give him a small headache. Jeremy was insanely glad that royals weren’t bound to the ‘total truths’ thing most fairies were, and that lies only gave him a small headache. He needed to remember to stick to half truths as much as possible, just to be safe.

 

“Wow, that sucks. I’m glad you get to experience the real world for a bit, I just hope it isn’t overwhelming,” Tia said before eating one of the chunks of cheese she cut. “But what do you know about Michael?” She said it in such a casual and curious way, but Jeremy knew she was testing him. Tia was one of his adoptive mothers after all, of course she would be protective over her son.

 

Jeremy hummed, thinking about how best to answer that. “Well we mostly just talk about what we like, and what happened recently. Like he spent ages telling me about every little thing Buddy does, multiple times. But now that I’ve met her I totally get it. And he told me all about his video games and old sodas and everything. And he keeps bringing you and Reece up, he gushes a lot. I gotta say, I’m kinda jealous of him.” Jeremy stopped himself there, blushing and looking away. He wasn’t sure if he had overstepped a boundary or anything with that comment.

 

He saw something in Tia’s eyes soften a bit before she finished cutting up his cheese and apples. “Well, I’m glad you’re here. You seem like a really nice kid. I don’t know why Michael never mentioned you before though, he always gushes about what he likes,” Tia muttered out as she brought over the place with food, sitting down in one of the chairs and pulling it up to sit next to him.

 

Jeremy shrugged. “Maybe because my school wasn’t supposed to be in the program? No one else reached out, it was just me. So maybe he just didn’t tell anyone so he didn’t have to worry about us being cut off from each other, since I’m technically not supposed to be a part of it. As the only candidate, it was hard enough to organize me coming over as it was. Not to mention convincing my mom.” Again, no real lies. Speculation and half truths. And full truths too, his mom had been very hard to convince. She really didn’t like humans, he was glad she never found out about Michael before all of this.

 

Tia just nodded as she took an apple slice and started to nibble on it. “I guess that makes sense.” The woman sighed then as she looked out the window, the rain still pouring, possibly worse than before. “Well, I hope you like it here, Jeremy. Even if you’re sudden and unexpected, you aren’t unwelcome here.”

 

Jeremy took a bite out of an apple slice too, before offering her a small smile. “That really means a lot to me. This place feels... safe. I can’t quite explain why, but it does. It’s nice to know I’m not unwelcome. I just hope I’m not too much of a bother.” He knew why, it was because of the wards, but the sensations were vague anyway. His headache stayed the same for the most part, barely there.

 

He heard Tia laugh at that before patting his back. “Yeah, you’ll be safe as long as you’re in this house. I’m sure Michael will keep you safe outside of here, and Reece and I will too if we’re ever out with you two.” She got up then, but not before taking a few more cheese cubes and apple slices. “Michael can be a heavy sleeper, so he might still be conked out when you go back up, so take your time. Reece and I are going to go to bed since it’s almost midnight. Sleep well, alright?”

 

“You too Tia! And pass on the same to Reece for me, please. I appreciate the apple and cheese too.” He almost chirped, but just kept his tone light and happy. He wasn’t too tired just yet, so he continued to nibble on his food. That... wasn’t too bad. Tia was cautious but nice. And she obviously cared a lot about Michael, so that was something they had in common.

 

Jeremy felt really bad still about bringing him into his mess, but if there was anyone he wanted by his side, it was Michael. There was no one else he trusted more.

Chapter Text

Michael woke up on Sunday with a game plan: get Jeremy somehow registered at his school, get him a backpack, and have him somehow ready to act as normal as some kid from nowhere, Ohio could be (Jeremy told him what happened last night). His mind was going a mile a minute as he sat in his bed, taking out one of his many empty sketchbooks (he liked to draw, OK, and he suffered the sketchbook-buying 'curse' and they were helpful for when he practiced magic too) and writing out some stuff down.

 

He was so hyper-focused the whole day coming up with something for Jeremy that he was surprised when Jeremy piped up that he had something figured out. His gaze lifted from his page he was jotting down ideas on and stared at Jeremy with wide eyes. "Wait, what are you talking about?"

 

Jeremy rolled his eyes, grinning. He was used to Michael by now after thirteen years of being best friends. “I was saying that I could probably use some basic glamour to create the documents. They’ll only really need to last a few days, right? Just to prove I’m a student. If I can see yours, I can match mine with some changes. And it’ll mean we’re put into the same classes. I’ll just put myself down that I need a perpetual guide or something so that we have a reason to leave together if we need to.”

 

"I mean... I don't know if that's entirely how the school documentation system works? Uh... I think I'd have to give you a transcript, I have some leftovers that I never sent when I was applying to colleges last year..." Getting up, Michael looked around through his messy drawers in his desk (hey, it was his organized mess, he knew where everything was) and pulled out a sealed envelope before tossing it to Jeremy. "I mean, there might have to be some mind magic stuff too, this is gonna be a huge mess..." Michael flopped down back onto his bed, not caring how his sketchbook hopped into the air as he groaned. "As long as it works, I won't question it. I trust you."

 

Jeremy grinned over at him as he opened the envelope, looking over the documents. “Yeah, I think I can work with these. I’ll just need some paper. You wanna learn how? I’m pretty sure this type of glamour can actually be learnt by witches too, I found some books mentioning it. So, you wanna learn a little fairy magic?”

 

"Uh, that sounds nice and all, but I don't think I wanna learn how to illegally forge documents," he teased before rolling himself over to look at Jeremy. "But I'll wa- wait, fuck, I have homework! God damnit, I almost forgot about it with everything that's been happening." Michael reached over the side of his bed, pulling his backpack up and groaning. "Pause on teaching me some fairy magic until I've taught myself better time management."

 

Jeremy giggled as he grabbed a clean sheet of paper and a pencil from Michael’s desk. “I mean, it’s got other uses too. I mainly use it for convincing the magpies that my shiny necklaces aren’t shiny, but whatever dude. Mind if I get started? It’ll only take an hour tops, so I can wait.”

 

"You go do that, this'll take a while. I fucking hate Pre-Calc," he muttered out as he took out the problems he needed to do. "And then I have to do something for Astronomy, which isn't hard... But Pre-Calc sucks."

 

“I do not look forward to it.” Jeremy gave him a cheery salute before intently drawing on the paper, looking over Michael’s documents every few minutes. He grabbed a total of five sheets from the desk while Michael worked, and about an hour later, he cheered.

 

“Done it! Check these out!” He handed Michael the papers. Logically, he knew they were just the plain paper Jeremy had drawn onto, but all he could see were the same official looking documents that Michael had given him, all tailored to the identity Jeremy came up with.

 

"Holy shit, that's cool as hell," Michael muttered out as he looked over the sheets before handing them back to Jeremy. "Once I'm done with this shit, please teach me." Looking down at his work, he tried not to feel a little underwhelmed since all he got done was his Astronomy homework (he needed a break from his math) and half of his Pre-Calc work.

 

Jeremy obviously picked up on his mood, because he poked Michael’s arm. “Dude, I’ve spent like half my life learning this sort of shit. It’s easy for me because it’s all I got to do. Just because I got it done quick doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard too, okay?” He had switched to Tagalog, which he only did if he knew Michael was feeling down with something.

 

Sighing, Michael rested against Jeremy then, head on his shoulder. "Yeah, but like I'm having trouble and it's only the start of the year, this is easy stuff. I really hope you're suddenly good at math, because I'm struggling here and I need all the help I can get."

 

I’m a quick study, so I’ll help out as much as I can. You’ve done loads for me, Michael, it’s the least I can do.” He wrapped his arm around Michael’s shoulders. “Have you been practicing the focusing I taught you? It might help. Because I know you’re super smart and that the answers are probably up in your big brain somewhere, you just need to find them.” Jeremy playfully poked Michael’s forehead with his free hand, grinning down at him.

 

A sigh passed Michael's lips before he stuck his tongue out at Jeremy. "Yes I have been practicing, and I just hate math, alright? Complex math at least. I'm not even gonna use math like this in the real world so I just... ugh." Then he just started whining.

 

Jeremy whistled to himself a little, thinking out loud, before smiling down at him. “Well teaching helps people learn, and I’m gonna need to know this stuff for school. Why don’t you teach me what you know and we can work through the problems together? I’ll suffer with you if I can’t help out a different way,” he cried dramatically, shooting Michael a small, cheeky smirk.

 

"Mm... Fine," he muttered out before sitting up, grabbing his notebook as he started to explain the problems and how conics worked. Well, he did as best he could, but if there was one thing he sucked at explaining, it was math.

 

Regardless, Jeremy seemed to be able to pick it up and helped him understand it better. How? Michael had no clue, but he thanked him by the time the problems were done, and he just flopped forward on his bed before checking the time. "We have, what, an hour before I should turn in. Wanna- holy hell, you can play my consoles with me now, holy shit! Wanna learn about Mario Kart? Or Smash? Oh my god, there are so many things you could play!"

 

Jeremy’s eyes lit up but he looked a little overwhelmed. He just let out a small chirp of excitement as his wings popped out with a small shower of snow, which vanished almost as soon as it appeared.

 

Michael sputtered for a second as snow suddenly landed in his face, but he just laughed a bit before hopping off his bed. "Well, we can use my Switch and play some Mario Kart. I'd say Mario Party, but that's a friendship ruiner-" He saw the look of horror on Jeremy's face. "-and that's a joke, people just get very competitive over it."

 

Jeremy’s wings were fluttering excitedly, sending small rainbow reflections all over Michael’s room in the low light from his lamp. “Gosh, I can’t believe it, I’m actually getting to play with you!” He accepted the controller from Michael, but he looked down at it confusedly. “Where’s the screen? Your other things have screens.”

 

"There." He pointed to his TV that he hung on the wall (it wasn't big, but it was his own TV). "Not everything's handheld. I only showed you those because it was the only kind I could bring to you. You have a whole new world of video games to learn, my friend."

 

Jeremy’s eyes went even wider. “That’s the screen? It’s so big! I can definitely see what’s going on properly with that!” He flapped happily, almost vibrating with excitement. “Let’s get going! I wanna learn how to play!”

 

Jeremy was right when he was a quick learner, because he quickly learned how to kick butt in Mario Kart (of course, Michael told Jeremy that he let him win). After almost an hour and another match ending with Jeremy winning, he sighed and got up, stretching his arms high above his head. "Well, time to sleep, I guess 'cause we gotta get up early, like six in the morning."

 

Jeremy looked downright ecstatic, grinning up at Michael, wiggling a little in place as he stretched out. “We don’t have to be up until six?” He giggled as he tucked his wings away, them folding back into his cardigan. “Normally I’m up at sunrise, earlier in winter. So that’s a massive sleep in for me.”

 

Michael raised a brow at that. "Really? Eugh, well that sucks. This is still super early for me, and I'm not much of a morning person, though today wasn't a good example since I slept in." He quickly shut off his system and TV, putting his Switch stuff away before stopping in his tracks. "What do you do to get ready for bed?"

 

Jeremy paused, thinking for a second. “Do you guys have any mint?” Then he hopped up and peered outside, grinning as he saw it was still raining. “I should be fine myself for tonight. I gotta clean myself off, but I can shrink down to make sure no one sees me.”

 

"Well, uh, if you wanna get cleaned off water-wise, I have a shower you can use. Rain water isn't the best way to get clean. I also have some mint downstairs I can grab you," Michael offered as he went to grab some pajamas from his closet cabinet.

 

Jeremy looked confused. “Wait, so you have artificial rain or something? We just have like baths usually, most fairies don’t like their wings wet, but I like it. So I like the rain.” He wandered over to Michael, shifting a little awkwardly from one foot to the other. “Also, yeah. Mint would be great. Just a couple of leaves if you have them. And a cup please.”

 

"Yeah, we do I guess? Huh, never thought of it like that..." He stood up straight after grabbing his pajamas before putting them down on his bed. "If you use mint every night, just follow me and I'll show you where we keep it after we harvest it. Titi has planted it since before I was adopted, it's common for her teas and magic. Oh, and my Titi doesn't like others knowing about my magic or the fact we're witches, so around them, you're gonna have to be ignorant about it, alright?"

 

Jeremy watched Michael as he bounced a little in place, nodding. “Yeah I figured. Reece took away the spell book when she thought I wasn’t looking last night. Also, those look cozy, what are they?”

 

"They're pajamas. Uh, we sorta wear them when we go to bed, they're a lot comfier than normal clothes... Don't ask, society's weird," Michael muttered out. "Do you want me to imagine you in some pajamas so you're comfier when you sleep?"

 

“Yes please!” Jeremy nodded and reached up, almost hesitantly asking to touch Michael’s temples again. He had his two fingers ready, but he wasn’t touching just yet, a small furrow in his brow. He seemed a little off right then, like he was waiting for something.

 

"Uh... You can do the temple touching thing again," Michael reassured him, figuring that might be it even if he hadn't even questioned it yesterday.

 

Jeremy relaxed a little and lightly rested his fingers on Michael’s head, his eyes falling shut. Before Michael closed his eyes to focus on the pajamas, he could have sworn Jeremy was a little red (It was kinda weird the fact he wasn’t turning purple anymore, but it did make him more normal looking).

 

It didn't take long for him to come up with a soft shirt and pajama pants with Pokéballs on them, as well as some fuzzy slippers for him (seriously, how did he not feel weird before when he'd step on rocks and twigs and shit or in pain?).

 

Jeremy pulled away eventually, looking down at himself. “These are really soft and comfy. And they have... Pokéballs on them!” Jeremy seemed a little confused. “So umm, I get you wear shoes normally, but why the fluffy ones? We’re not going outside are we?”

 

"No, they're so your feet can stay comfortable and cozy inside, and if you just wanna stay warm, it helps. Also, uh..." Michael hesitated for a moment. "Uh, how are you with seeing other people naked, because we don't have magic to change outfits and stuff. I don't really care if it's someone I trust, but uh... yeah..."

 

Jeremy shrugged. “Bodies are bodies. S’no big thing for me. I’m pretty sure our species have the same biological build, and we’re both male, so it’s nothing I haven’t really seen before.”

 

"Oh, uh, alright then. Good that that's sorted out." Michael quickly changed then through the semi-awkward air before clearing his throat. "Alright, so what do you need the mint for, anyway?" he asked as he left his bedroom with Jeremy, hurrying downstairs to find where Titi stored it this time.

 

Jeremy tottered behind him. “Well it’s for a mini cleansing potion. Like, I drink it once a day and it keeps me healthy. My teeth, my hair and everything. Makes my breath smell nice too. Lasts a full day night cycle but I can do it whenever, no biggie if I miss one here or there.”

 

"Oh, so you just need mint leaves and water to drink then? That's super easy." With that, Michael hurried into the kitchen, looking through his Titi's cabinet for her harvested goods before taking out three leaves. "There should be cups in the pantry cabinet to the left of the fridge. If you get a cup, you can fill it with water from the fridge filter."

 

Jeremy grabbed the cup but shook his head. “It’s gotta be fresh, natural water. So like, rain water or morning dew or something. I’ll be right back.” Jeremy scooted over to the back door and stuck his hand out, filling the cup with water. When he pulled his hand back, it was sodden. A second later, it froze. He flicked the frost out the door and closed it, grinning.

 

Michael let out a small 'ooo' before handing over the mint leaves. "Your mint leaves, good sir."

 

Jeremy giggled and grabbed the leaves. A puff of steam escaped his closed fist and when he opened it, the leaves were totally frozen. He crushed them and dropped them into the water, and it glowed for a second. Then it turned a light sort of pink. “I have to use some magic on the leaves, then it infuses into the water. And now, I drink.” He downed the potion.

 

"Damn, I wish cleaning up as a human was that easy. You literally drink something to get rid of all the gross shit while I have to wash it all off and clean it off manually." Michael took the glass from Jeremy when he was done and started washing it, still watching Jeremy over his shoulder.

 

Jeremy giggled again, it sounding even more like a whistle now. “Yeah well, I was in the same boat until got my frost under control. It has to be your own magic, so I was kinda fucked until I was like ten. Everyone else was using potions since they were five.” Jeremy let his wings out, shaking them out and letting them stretch properly. The colors seemed brighter. He sighed happily before tucking them away again.

 

"Well hey, lucky you gets to sleep in longer then tomorrow because I have to shower when I wake up and you don't," he told Jeremy before quickly drying and putting the cup away. "Speaking of which, let's get to bed. Tomorrow's gonna be a long day, trust me and just know not everyone's nice and stuff like me. I think I remember reading fairies are similar in some ways but uh... yeah, a lot of people suck."

 

Jeremy hummed as he followed Michael back upstairs. “Well just snap me out of it if I end up getting pissed. Fairies are naturally vengeful creatures, and while I tend to be less so, I can’t stop everything myself.” He snorted and let out a small string of chirps and whistles, and Michael could have sworn he understood at least one of them to mean ‘stupid biology’. Jeremy often complained about his biology when they were kids, blaming his lack of strength on it

 

"I will, don't worry, but also you're so lucky Ina and Titi go to bed early," Michael told him before flopping into bed, where Buddy was already waiting. He made sure to put his phone alarm on though before getting under the covers, though he held them up for Jeremy.

 

Jeremy blushed, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly as he climbed into bed. “I kinda forgot it’s not just us now. I’m so used to being just around you that it’s kinda hard to censor myself.” He curled up next to Michael, letting out a small, happy sigh.

 

"Well I'll help you remember," he promised before letting the sheets flop down. As he took off his glasses, he saw Buddy curl up by the foot of his bed before he finished settling down himself. "Goodnight, Jere."

 

“G’night Michael,” Jeremy murmured, relaxing against him.

 

 

 

When Michael woke up the next morning, Jeremy was wrapped around him, legs tangled with Michael’s as he peacefully slept. He didn’t seem at all bothered by the alarm, nor the fact that Buddy was half lying on him.

 

Michael grumbled as he reached over to turn off his alarm. Jeremy lying around him did help a little, emphasis on a little (he wasn't a morning person if it meant classes). He did his best to carefully get himself out of Jeremy's hold, eventually getting out with enough time to take a good shower like he needed to. Looking at Buddy, he pointed to her and told her, "Stay."

 

She did. "Good girl."

 

Grabbing his change of clothes, he quickly headed to the bathroom, got ready for the day, and came back in to see how Jeremy was doing.

 

Jeremy still wasn’t awake, instead he was clinging to Buddy, his face buried in her soft fur. She looked very content with the situation, even as she looked up at Michael. If he could understand her properly like Jeremy, he would assume that look meant something like ‘I’m not going to turn down cuddles’ or something to that effect.

 

He just rolled his eyes at her before going to get a backpack ready for Jeremy of some supplies he'd need (he wouldn't mind his old backpack from freshman year, right?). Once he got that done, he reached over and gently shook Jeremy. "Jere... Hey Jere, time to get up and go to the hell that is high school."

 

Jeremy flailed weakly, whistling slightly in confusion. When his eyes opened and focused on Michael, he grinned softly. “S’it time to get up, Mikey?” He sat up, detaching himself from Buddy and slipping out of the blankets. “C’n y’help me get dressed please?” He held out his hands in front of him, obviously still a little out of it.

 

Michael sat down on the edge of his bed, sticking his tongue out at the sleepy yet upset dog. "You can't cuddle all the time Buddy, I'm sorry." His focus shifted back over to Jeremy. "Yeah of course." He waited until he felt the two fingers against his temple to shut his eyes and come up with a simple blue cardigan again, a white shirt, black sweats, and some sneakers. "Do I gotta do this every time you wanna get changed, Jere? Doesn't bother me, but I'm just curious," he said as he opened his eyes.

 

Jeremy sort of nodded. “Pretty much. I don’t understand human clothes, even less so than normal. S’cause I’m a frost fairy. Don’t get cold, so I don’t need to wrap up.” Jeremy rubbed his eyes and looked down at himself. “Well this is nice too. You keep coming up with comfy stuff, Mikey. I like ‘em. Specially this.” He rubbed the cardigan between his fingers, grinning fondly.

 

"It's because I always try to dress comfy," Michael told him before getting up off of his bed. "It's a lot nicer than the harsh, itchy or just uncomfortable stuff fashionable clothes can have." Looking around, he grabbed his key ring before handing Jeremy his backpack. "I'm gonna probably just grab us some Poptarts or something downstairs and then let Buddy out in the backyard for a few minutes to do her thing, so I'll meet you down there, yeah?"

 

Jeremy nodded. “I’ll be there in a second. I actually think I need to stretch out my wings a little before we go. If I go small, think I could risk a lap or two around the garden?” he asked stretching a little and running his fingers through his hair, obviously trying to style it a little. It was sort of working.

 

"Yeah, my moms are asleep right now. Don't go too close to where Buddy'll be though, she might chase you," he warned Jeremy. "She loves chasing things in the backyard." With a whistle and a pat to his thigh, Buddy carefully got out of bed and followed him downstairs. He let her go outside, watching her through the window as he quickly got some Poptarts out and some water, though made sure to pick the crusts off of his own.

 

Jeremy was down a minutes later, shaking out his wings as he headed to the door. Jeremy grinned at him before shrinking down and darting out the dog door. He could hear him chirping and whistling to Buddy, and she started bouncing happily, running around with him in the garden but very clearly not trying to catch him. With the sounds he made, and the fact he was so small and hard to see, it was almost believable that she was just chasing a small bird.

 

Michael couldn't help but smile at the sight, feeling his chest warm in an odd way. Unsure on what it was, he wanted to dwell on it, but then his alarm on his phone went off, reminding him he had five minutes before he had to leave. He sighed as he tapped on the window, waiting until he saw Buddy stopping and looking over to put up an open hand to indicate he had five minutes.

 

He heard a flowing chirp that he knew meant Jeremy understood (he picked up on some of the weird bird language after knowing him for so long... did that mean he was quadrilingual?) before going to finish packing Jeremy some more food, including some snack bags since he wasn't sure if he'd get hungry during class. Was he definitely mother-henning him? Yes, but he knew Jeremy didn't mind. He'd be doing that for a long while anyway until he got settled, and maybe even more after that since he didn't know what to expect in terms of Squip stuff.

 

Before he knew it, his alarm to tell him to go went off, and he shut that off before calling Buddy in, whistling for her. Once she was in and he heard Jeremy fly in after her, he shut the doggy door with a special lock before patting her head. "Be a good girl, and we'll be back around noon."

 

Jeremy popped up to his normal size right next to his backpack, and he squirmed a little as he pulled his wings in. “The paperwork is all in my bag, yeah?” he asked, slipping it on.

 

“Yeah, I made sure of it. Oh, and here.” Michael gave him his Poptart and a bottle of water. “I put snacks in your bag in case you get hungry, but this is breakfast.” He left the house with Jeremy then, locking the door as he saw Buddy rolling around on the carpet, before heading to his PT Cruiser and unlocking it.

 

Jeremy nibbled on his Poptart happily with a small, happy comment of, “It’s sweet!” before he followed Michael. Upon seeing the car though, he looked a little apprehensive. “That’s made of metal...” He actually sounded a little scared.

 

“Oh shit, you probably don’t have cars, right. Uh, this is a car, it is made of metal and I drive it around so we go places, like to school.” He affectionately patted the hood of it before opening the door and sitting inside. “C’mon, it’s safe! I know how to drive it and I promised I’d protect you. I wouldn’t put you in danger.”

 

Jeremy shook his head, still staring at the car. His genuine fear was more apparent now. “No, I trust you, I just don’t trust that. It’s made of metal. Fairies don’t have a good relationship with certain metals. Just-“ Jeremy took a deep breath, running his hand through his hair nervously. “Just what sort of metal is it? I can at least deal with most.”

 

"Well, what metals? Because the interior of this car where you'll be sitting has none, and I think the exterior of the car is steel and a little bit of aluminum? The rest of the metal is interior and you won't ever have to worry about touching them, trust me," Michael reassured.

 

Jeremy took another deep breath and stepped closer to the car. “So long as there is no pure iron, I can manage. I’ll just... avoid touching the steel as much as possible.” Jeremy nodded to himself and he grabbed the door handle to the car, slipping inside and shutting the door quickly. “Okay, so now what?” He was breathing kind of harshly, but he wasn’t panicking or even seemed close to that stage.

 

"Nothing is pure anything, so don't worry about that, first off," Michael said before buckling himself in. "Second, you need to mimic what I just did with your own seat belt. It's the law to wear it but it keeps you safe. Here, hold on." Reaching over, he grabbed the seat belt before buckling Jeremy in. "You can just put your backpack down by your feet and eat breakfast on the way to school. I'm gonna play some music from my CD player, you've heard some of it from when I brought my MP3 when we were younger and from my phone, alright?"

 

Jeremy nodded and slipped off his backpack as instructed. He shot Michael a shaky smile. “Press play on the music I guess.” He started nibbling at the Poptart again

 

Michael gave him a reassuring smile back before turning on his CD player, humming as the sounds of the CD he burned last week (he liked picking and choosing his own songs) started playing, starting with songs from this playlist of music from a guy named George Salazar and Joe Iconis. They were really great, and he was sure Jeremy would agree. "I'm gonna turn on the car, it's gonna make some noise as it starts up, but it'll be fine," Michael reassured Jeremy before putting the keys in the ignition, starting his car, and beginning to back out of the driveway and started his drive to school.

 

Jeremy clung to the seat at first, but he slowly relaxed a little, going back to nibbling on his Poptart. “I am travelling in a massive hunk of metal. This is probably not what the queen had intended when she agreed to let me live with you but here we are.” Jeremy paused in his monologue. “I actually like this music, it’s cool.”

 

"Probably not, but I wouldn't put you into danger. This is the only way I can get anywhere since I don't have wings like you." He reached over at a stoplight and turned up the music a little. "Yeah, they're really good. I have some other songs I used to show you as well as some ones you might not know, like these dudes. You gotta tell me what you think of 'em." Michael kept driving once the light turned green, humming along with the music under his breath, but not loud enough to where Jeremy felt he couldn't talk.

 

“I trust you, Michael.” Jeremy repeated, looking out the window excitedly. Now he wasn’t freaking out, he seemed to be enjoying himself a little. “Okay, so quick question. What is your timetable like? Because I’ll be getting the same as you. What classes are there and what do you learn in them usually?”

 

Michael went through describing his classes, including how he left after his fifth class before going back home because of his online college classes. "It's nice though, since I have Home-Ec fifth. I'm basically just either learning about cooking or I'm cooking, so I'm making myself food for part of my lunch the days we do cook. Either that or I give it to Brooke and Jenna while they're in the cafeteria before I go if it's something I don't like."

 

Jeremy paled a little at that. “Okay, I’m going to have to make sure to set up-what did you call it? A free period?-for that one. I cannot be allowed to cook.” He sounded very determined.

 

"Wait, why? If you're bad at cooking, I can help you out there." Michael glanced over as he stopped by a stop sign before taking a right.

 

Jeremy actually sounded a little offended. “I am very good at cooking, thank you very much. But fairy food, or any food made by fairies, is not good to have around humans. I just don’t want to risk someone trying it.” He shrugged, as if that explained everything.

 

"Why is fairy food bad for humans? What does it do to them?" As he asked, Michael turned down the long-ass street that lead to the school.

 

Jeremy shot Michael an incredulous look. “Dude, your best friend is a fairy, did you not do any research ever?”

 

"Hey, the last time I tried with an accurate book when I was seven, Titi saw it before I even opened it and snatched it away from me. The internet is full of too much unreliable information to get anything concrete! Sue me!”

 

Jeremy sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “If a human eats fairy food, they become bound to that fairy. As in, can’t leave their side and want to dote on them forever, sort of bound. Some people say it’s like no food will be satisfying enough or whatever, but it’s literally that they can’t leave the fairy who fed them. And they don’t want to either. I don’t want that happening by accident! I don’t want it happening at all!”

 

Michael raised a hand in defense as he turned on his blinker, waiting for his turn to turn into the student parking lot. "I got it, I understand. I think stopping you from having an army of juniors and seniors after you is a good thing." He quickly parked before putting his car into park itself. "Well, I don't think you should be left alone though, y'know, 'cause of the whole Squip-and-goblin-minions thing. I could change my elective, it's only the first full week of classes-"

 

“No, that’s not fair on you. I’ll just take a free period, shrink down and chill in your pocket or something. That way you don’t have to worry.” Jeremy interrupted, giving him a sharp look. “I’m already inserting myself into your life, dude. Don’t change it up too much just to suit me.”

 

"Alright, whatever, just be sure to show up for attendance and sign yourself in first. You'll understand what that is after first period," Michael reassured him. "Just... Go to the bathroom or something so no one sees you shrink down, and wait until you're alone to do it. Not saying that 'cause I don't think you'll do it, more just for my own reassurance."

 

Jeremy nodded, apparently satisfied. “Okay, I’ll be careful. Promise.” He stayed sitting, not moving to undo his belt or anything. Possibly because he didn’t know how. “So, where do I go to set myself up as a student?”

 

"Well, that's in the front office." He unbuckled himself before turning off his car, grabbing his backpack from the backseat after undoing Jeremy's seatbelt. "Only open the door enough to get out, I don't want my doors to hit the car on your side, OK?"

 

Jeremy nodded, picked up his bag and slipped out of the car carefully. Even as he closed the door, he was careful to make as little contact with it at possible, and he didn’t touch it again until he was standing over by Michael. “So, where to, oh great and wise human?”

 

Rolling his eyes at that, Michael took his hand and walked with him across the parking lot, avoiding any cars coming in as he walked to the front office. "Here, to the front office. I know where the people who deal with student records works." He waved to a few of the school staff before knocking and walking into a room where one lady was typing away at her computer.

 

She smiled up at Michael from behind her desk, pausing what she was doing before raising a brow at Jeremy. "Hi Michael, it's nice to see you."

 

"Hi Ms. Tsu. I, uh, brought in someone who moved here recently, he needs some help."

 

Ms. Tsu just raised a brow as she looked at Jeremy then, which made Michael's stomach churn. "I mean... I can try do something, but if he isn't registered into the school system-"

 

“I have my documents here! I don’t know if my registration went through digitally yet, but I’m sure you can sort something out, Ms. Tsu. It’s just been a hectic few days getting here.” Jeremy’s voice had a slightly different tone, one Michael had never heard before, almost like a little reverb to it. Still, when Jeremy pulled out his documents, Ms. Tsu seemed to accept them as real.

 

She looked through his papers quickly before humming, her tone a bit unnatural compared to what he normally heard when he'd come see her. "I'll make sure you're all registered before making photocopies of your documents and filing it away. We don't have a schedule for you though. What classes would you like?" How she was talking made Michael a little more nervous, but he just let this happen because holy fuck, how was this working? Was it working?

 

“I was hoping I might have the same classes as Michael? I have a special requirement that I need to have someone with me most of the time, and Michael is the only one who’s been trained to help me. I don’t think I can do home economics though, I really shouldn’t be cooking.” Jeremy seemed relaxed and happy, his movements fluid and calm. Something still seemed off and very wrong about all of this.

 

"Alright, I'll have to put you in our versions of the college online classes Michael's taking because you aren't at the same academic status as him," Ms. Tsu muttered out as she started to type away for a minute before printing something out and handing it over to Jeremy. "This is your schedule, show it to your teachers. By the time your lunch period happens, you should be enrolled in your online classes."

 

Michael tried to get a glimpse of Ms. Tsu's eyes, and he felt a bit uneasy when he saw there was a slight vacancy in them.

 

Jeremy looked down at his schedule, smiling brightly back at Ms. Tsu. “This looks perfect, and you even gave me a free during fifth. I really appreciate this, Ms. Tsu. I’m very grateful. We’ll see you later!” Jeremy grabbed Michael’s hand and lead him outside, his posture instantly slumping and going back to something more familiar as soon as they left the room. “Well, she seemed nice enough. And once the documents have been photocopied, the copies should all hold the image of the glamour, so we’re set!”

 

Michael tried to think back on what just happened, waiting until they were outside away from students and staff before asking, "Um, what did you do to have Ms. Tsu do all that? Like, I'm really happy that worked, but she shouldn't have been able to do all that but she did."

 

Jeremy looked confused and shrugged. “I just asked nicely? I mean, I was using my training a little from the ‘how to deal with humans’ class just for the manners but otherwise nothing? That class was kinda useless anyway, it was literally just: be nice and they’ll usually help. If they don’t, be nicer.” He shrugged again, as if not realizing the implications.

 

Thinking on this for a minute, Michael gasped in realization. "You basically used charmspeak on her! Holy shit!... Holy shit," he muttered out as how messed up that was washed over him. The fairies just considered manipulating humans as 'being nice' to them?

 

“I did what now?” Jeremy looked over again, growing concerned. “Dude, are you okay? You’re looking really pale. That’s supposed to be my job, remember?” He joked weakly, obviously resisting the urge to fuss over him.

 

"I don't know if you realize it, but you basically used your fairy charm and magic and all in your voice to get Ms. Tsu to do what you want, that is what they taught you in those classes." Michael sat down then, plopping his butt right down onto the concrete of the ground before running his hands through his hair. "And they made you think manipulating humans is 'being nice,' holy fuck that's not cool. I'm not saying you're messed up, Jere, they're messed up, dear god."

 

Jeremy staggered, then half fell to the ground next to him, landing firmly on his rump. “I was manipulating her? And I didn’t even know?” Jeremy was staring off at a random point, his hand reaching up and tugging at his hair not too lightly. “Fuck, that is messed up.”

 

Reaching over, Michael grabbed Jeremy's hand and gently stopped him. "Hey, it's not your fault, they sorta conditioned that into you. I'll help you to make sure it doesn't happen again. Plus, now you know. Like, I know you told me your mom and other people didn't like humans, but I didn't realize they thought about us like that."

 

Jeremy almost reluctantly released his hair, lacing his fingers with Michael’s before slowly turning to look at him. “I tried to tell you, they’re horrible! S’why I never brought you further than the clearing by the barrier. I thought that the class was being run by someone not so bad. Looks like I was wrong...” He took a breath, eyes properly refocusing. “You gotta stop me if I start doing it again. Please. I don’t wanna do that to people.”

 

"I will, don't worry," Michael told him with a smile before hearing a bell ring. He sighed, checking the time on his phone before getting up. "Well, that's the bell telling us to get to class. Just follow me and you'll be good, OK?" A reassuring smile was given to Jeremy as he squeezed their interlaced fingers before helping the both of them up.

 

Jeremy nodded, looking more than a little lost as he trailed behind Michael, his grip as tight as Michael had ever felt it. Which, admittedly, wasn’t too tight. Jeremy hadn’t been lying when he said humans were a lot stronger than fairies.

 

As they weaved through the halls, through crowds of kids either going to class, chatting, or just delaying going to class, Michael would reassuringly grip his hand before they eventually made it to his first period: Honors English for Seniors. He went up to the teacher and smiled, still holding Jeremy's hand as he informed the teacher of the situation. He checked the updated attendance sheet before nodding, telling him that Jeremy could sit with him and that he'd just switch his partner somewhere else (honestly, a big bonus since it was Rich).

 

Jeremy copied Michael when he pulled out a notebook and a pen, setting them on the desk. He seemed a lot calmer now, since he was smiling up at Michael. It was small and weak, but it was a smile. Jeremy leant in close. “So, what do we learn in this class again? I’m kinda forgetting after everything that just happened,” he whispered in Tagalog, obviously not wanting to risk being understood by the other students.

 

"It's basically learning about English, like books and literature and stuff. I think the teacher's gonna hand out copies of, uh... 'The Great Gatsby' today, it's an easier read compared to the other stuff we'll have this year, but still enjoyable," he told him, reassuringly patting his shoulder before glancing at the door as students came in.

 

He saw when Rich came in, who glanced at his now former seat and looked annoyed before going to the teacher. Rich wasn't quiet by any means, so he could hear him asking about why there was some random kid in his seat before being explained the situation and told his new seat. Michael just put the date in the corner of his paper as Rich came by, though was able to easily see the calculated gaze he had on him and Jeremy. A sigh passed his lips once he heard Rich sit down before running a hand through his hair. "Also, don't let that guy who just passed get under your skin. He's one of those not nice people I told you about, so just let me handle him if he ever comes over, yeah?"

 

Jeremy nodded, copying Michael in writing the date. His handwriting was neat and almost excessively loopy, but it fit him well. “Sure, I guess. I’ll do my best.” This time, Jeremy’s smile was a lot stronger and a lot happier. Michael heard someone nearby gasp.

 

Jeremy obviously noticed too, because he looked around in in surprise. A girl, Michael recognized her but couldn’t remember her name, came over, carrying a stack of books. She looked more than a little flustered, her cheeks flaming red.

 

“Ummm, here’s the book you’ll need. I umm- I hope you enjoy it!” She passed them both a copy and quickly darted off to finish handing them out. Michael noted that Jeremy’s copy looked a lot nicer than his did, in fact it was probably the nicest copy that he could see on any table nearby.

 

“I hope you do too?” Jeremy shot back after awkwardly, obviously confused by that whole interaction.

 

Michael had the gears in his head turning and knew why this happened, it was obvious: the girl thought Jeremy was cute and was flustered after trying to do something nice for him. For a split second, he felt his chest tighten, but it went away quick so he just shrugged it off as he opened his copy he got. He frowned as some of the excess doodles in there, taking his pencil out and erasing them with a quick sigh.

 

 

 

Class went by without a hitch, and so did the next few. Jeremy needed a reminder of what the class was. He seemed to get the hang of each one rather quick. There was always someone in class who seemed to be totally crushing on Jeremy and did something for him. Well, Jeremy was pretty, so it made sense, especially since he was this random new kid.

 

Michael just hummed as he walked through the halls with Jeremy, knowing he was holding onto his arm as he went. He had his headphones on, though only had one ear covered in case Jeremy needed him. Once he saw it, Michael stopped at his locker, which he let Jeremy know about before, as he put away some notebooks he wouldn’t need for homework. His next class was Home-Ec, so his plan was to basically finish it, find Jeremy after he turned back to normal, then go home.

 

Jeremy stumbled into him, seemingly out of nowhere, with a small yelp.

 

“Watch where you’re going, tall ass.” Michael heard Rich’s voice from behind him. Oh no.

 

“I’m, er, sorry? I didn’t mean to get in the way?” Jeremy didn’t seem to really pick up on the hostilities, carefully righting himself.

 

“You speak weird, pretty boy. What, you some kind of fairy or something?” Jeremy instantly tensed, and Michael could almost feel his temperature drop in fear.

 

Michael quickly turned himself around then, locker door shutting as he turned around and stepped toward Jeremy. He ignored the look Rich gave him as he stuck his hands in his pocket and raised a brow at his bully. “Uh, seriously Rich? You’re copying the insult from the bullies everyone hates in Stranger Things? I know you keep constantly running out of fresh material, but that’s really sad.”

 

Rich looked a little shocked for a second, probably because it was the first time Michael had actually responded to any of his taunts in ages, before he burst out laughing.

 

“Oh, I see how it is, the anti-social headphones kid got himself a boyfriend. How’d you manage that, Mell? Blackmail? He’s too good looking to be with you willingly, that’s for sure.” His laughter turned to a cruel smirk. “I’ll catch you two fairies later. Damn, this is too good.” And with that, he left.

 

Jeremy was staring after him, his expression unreadable and a strange look in his eyes. Michael could feel power building up inside him, bubbling just below the surface. It was more than he had ever displayed before, and Michael instantly grew worried about what he might be about to do.

 

He remembered what Jeremy warned him about with fairies being so vengeful. Well fuck.

 

Thinking on his feet, Michael grabbed Jeremy and tugged him into the nearby bathroom, the single person one, and locked the door before focusing on his friend. Hands resting on his shoulders, the taller of the two let out a sigh. “Jeremy, I warned you about guys like him. Not everyone’s nice, but I deal with it, it’s alright. I get made fun of but it doesn’t bother me anymore, I typically tune them out with music anyway. Don’t do anything, yeah? We can’t use our magic, not unless we were doing some magic-specific job away from normal society, got it? So don’t do anything to Rich.”

 

The contact seemed to ground Jeremy a little, because he took a slow, shuddering breath. He blinked and shook his head. Slowly, his slightly stiff posture relaxed and he grew more present in his own eyes. Another couple of slow blinks and he was back.

 

“Ugh, yes, sorry. I sort of lost it there a little when he insulted you. I’m glad you stopped me, even if he does kinda deserve a small curse up his ass.”

 

Michael poked his nose then. “We aren’t dealers of justice here, karma will get him. Also he doesn’t know who you really are, he used an old, outdated insult to call you gay.” A sigh passed Michael’s lips as he finally felt the tension he didn’t realize was building in him passed. “We should get going though, you gotta get to class and I do too.”

 

Jeremy’s brow furrowed a little but he nodded. “If you sit by a window I’ll be able to slip in no problem. Just give me five minutes or so after class starts so I can get to you.”

 

“I do, so it’ll be all good. I’m gonna be the kid with headphones and a hoodie on.” He gave Jeremy two thumbs up before unlocking the bathroom door. Once Jeremy left, he did too, showing him to where his free period check in was before hurrying to class and making it into his seat just as the bell rang. Sighing, he read what he needed to do for busy work today, grabbing a textbook and starting his work. The window next to him was quickly opened a crack after he asked if he could, and Michael put his headphones on and played music as he waited.

 

After about five minutes, as promised, he felt a sudden breeze rush past him and a small weight on his lap. Looking down, he saw a flash of blue dart into his hoodie pocket and felt something small wiggle in there. Seemed like Jeremy was here.

 

He just hummed softly before focusing back down at his work and quickly beginning that.

 

 

 

The period, thankfully, went by quick, and while the other kids went to go eat, Michael went to the bathroom, thankfully devoid of students, as he waited for Jeremy to change back.

 

Jeremy hung out of his pocket and Michael noticed his wings were missing. They quickly reappeared and he flew into the ground and popped back up to normal size, tucking his wings away again as he grinned at Michael. “So, how was class? My bag’s hidden outside so let’s go grab it before we go.”

 

“I mean you saw me doing book work and were with me during the entire thing,” Michael pointed out as he walked out with Jeremy, ignoring any assuming looks. “It was boring but easy work. What were you even doing in there during class?”

 

“Practicing some stuff, I can show you in a sec. And like, I couldn’t exactly see what you were doing; s’not like I could really stick my head out.” Jeremy shrugged, still grinning. “Turns out your pocket’s really quite big inside.” He was practically (not literally) glowing with happiness, and there was a certain spring to his step as he walked alongside Michael.

 

“I mean yeah, I get big pockets for a reason,” Michael elaborated with a shrug of his own, gently bumping shoulders with Jeremy.

 

Just as he was taking out his car keys, he heard a familiar voice call out,” Mi-ikey!” He blinked, turning around and smiling as he saw the approaching form of a capped girl with her baggy cardigan, followed by a girl busy in her phone.

 

Smiling, Michael waved. “Hey Brooke! Hi Jen!”

 

Jeremy looked a little panicked for a second and he grabbed Michael’s sleeve lightly. Then he relaxed, eyes still a little wary. “Please tell me their names, introduce me before they have a chance to, please!” Jeremy whispered, putting on a small smile which only half hid his worry. “Umm... hi,” he called over to the girls.

 

Michael nodded to what Jeremy asked before the girls made it over. “Their names are Brooke and Jenna. Hey, sorry, gonna not be staying for lunch today.”

 

“Is it because of him?” The girl in the cap wiggled her brows playfully before sticking her hand out to Jeremy. “I’m sure Michael told you all about us already. I’m Brookie, like he said, and Jen’s busy sticking her nose in her phone,” Brooke teased with a smile.

 

“Hey, she’s doing good work by staying up-to-date on the school gossip, Brookie, it’s hard work.” Michael had to do his best to keep from bursting out into a fit of giggles as he continued to tease their friend.

 

Jeremy relaxed further, his small smile slipping into a big grin. “Hi, I’m Jeremy. Yeah, Mikey’s mentioned you guys quite a bit, it’s great to meet you both in the flesh! You’re the one on the swim team, right? Best swimmer in school?” He grabbed Brooke’s hand and shook it, before swinging it side to side a little, giggling. Michael was sure that if Jeremy’s wings were out, they would be buzzing with excitement.

 

“I mean, I don’t think I’m that good-“

 

“Brooke, you don’t need to be modest,” Michael reassured her before Brooke broke out into a big grin.

 

“Yeah, alright, I am. Since I’m on the varsity team this year, I’m hoping to go to nationals,” she told him before sipping her La Croix. “And I better see both of you there when I make it.”

 

Jeremy nodded eagerly. “I definitely want to see that! Can’t say I’m much of a swimmer myself, but I do enjoy watching it.”

 

Jenna finally stuffed her phone into her pocket, holding her hand out for Jeremy. “Nice to meet you Jeremy, though I wish Michael could have told us you were visiting.” She shot Michael a hard look once she released Jeremy’s hand. He just shrugged helplessly. It’s not like he knew either.

 

When Jenna looked back to Jeremy, she was smiling slyly. “You’re the talk of the school, you know. Everyone’s asking for more info about you.” Jeremy flailed a little at that, looking helplessly at Michael.

 

“It’s only because everyone thinks he’s pretty, they won’t get to know the real Jeremy,” Michael said with a pout. Brooke nodded in agreement to that.

 

“Everyone just wants to get to know enough about him to add to their infatuation or to try to find a way to bang you.” Brooke just continues to drink, ignoring Jeremy’s squawking and sputtering. “Hey, it’s true. People had to be trying to do the same thing from whenever you’re from too. You’re, like, almost mythically pretty.”

 

Jeremy was very clearly freaking out, as he shook his head and waved his arm in a way that clearly said ‘No!’. “I’m kinda average where I’m from, maybe on the slightly prettier side but nothing compared to some of my friends! I mean, there were people trying to... flirt with me? But I’m not interested in any of that! I’m very much just waiting for the right person!” He was bright red and Michael could almost see his wings quivering in panic. “Besides, I’m not that pretty, am I? I mean, I don’t really compare to you or Jenna or Michael!”

 

“Jeremy, hun, literally everyone at school admits you’re pretty. You’re even making some of the homophobic people question themselves,” Brooke said before patting his arm reassuringly. “You’re, like, ethereally pretty. It’s flattering that you think we’re all pretty too, but you’re wrong, subjectively and objectively.”

 

Jeremy flailed and covered his face with a small whine. Jenna laughed and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to let everyone know that you don’t know how pretty you are, and how it gets such a good reaction if we bring it up.” She cackled when Jeremy whined even more, but he didn’t try to move away. Well, at least they all seemed to be getting along.

 

“You’re so mean, Jenna! Leave me be, what did I ever do to you to deserve such treatment?” Jeremy grumbled into his hands. Jenna patted his shoulder reassuringly.

 

“You became hot gossip.”

 

“Hey, leave the boy be,” Michael said before gently tugging Jeremy away. “Don’t you two have lunch and more classes to worry about?”

 

“Ugh, and then try-outs after school. I’m already on the team, but I gotta watch them. Jen’s thankfully gonna make sure I’m not bored alone but yeah.” Brooke hugged him before Jeremy. “Bye Mikey, bye Jerry! Hopefully we’ll get to talk more later!” She grabbed Jenna’s hand and tugged then. “C’mon, I wanna see if they refilled the vending machine with good snacks.”

 

Jenna eyed Michael’s hand on Jeremy’s arm and smirked. “Noted.” Then she turned back to Brooke. “Okay, let’s go Brookie.” She let herself be dragged away.

 

Michael just waved to their retreating forms before walking out of the school with Jeremy. “Those are the girls, and Jenna’s the one I told you about that talked to me when I was eight after she moved here. Brooke’s been friends with us since we were in the fifth grade, and we’ve suffered through puberty and everything together. I can tell they like you, so I hope you like them too.”

 

Jeremy leant against Michael, nodding and letting his hands drop properly. “I remember. And I do like them. It feels like I’ve always known them from how they treated me. It was... nice.” He smiled over at Michael, a sweet, eyes-closed smile that just oozed fondness. Then he paused. “Oh, my bag is just over there, one sec.” Jeremy trotted over to the edge of the student parking lot and pulled out his bag from some bushes. It had blended in perfectly, despite being bright red.

 

“Did you use some charm or something to help hide it?” Michael asked as he unlocked his car, walking with him to his Cruiser before opening the passenger door for Jeremy. If he didn’t like touching the door, he’d just do this to help him out.

 

Jeremy smiled gratefully as he climbed in. “Yeah, just some basic glamour. I could even use it to hide in an emergency if I really had to, but it feels really gross to use.” Jeremy actually put his seatbelt on by himself and waited patiently for Michael to climb in too. “Also, once we get home I can show you what I was practicing if you like.”

 

“Please do,” Michael said before shutting his door and getting in on the driver’s side, but not before tossing his backpack into the backseat. “Can you at least tell me about it on the way back?” The car was started as he asked, and he quickly pulled out after buckling up and started the drive home.

 

Jeremy nodded excitedly. “I was working on my frost, sort of. Like making something look frosty but not cold or wet. I pretty much managed to get it by the end of the period, but I won’t be able to show you until we get home.”

 

“So is your free period just going to be your magic-practicing period?” While asking, Michael glanced before turning. “I wish I could do that, but you can do it in the comfort of my hoodie.”

 

He shrugged. “Well I can only practice small things, literally.” He giggled, letting his whistle show through. “But yeah, I can only do things relating directly to my personal magic. And as you know, I can only really do frost and glamour.” Jeremy huffed, pouting a little as he thought it over. “Still don’t know why I’m the Prince, my magic is kinda standard and not massively strong.”

 

“Jeremy, they picked you for a reason. Plus, you’re still learning. Hell, if I was amazing at everything at eighteen, I would’ve peaked so soon and it’s not good to peak early, y’know?” As he stopped at stop sign, he patted Jeremy’s leg in reassurance. “Don’t under-sell yourself.”

 

Jeremy smiled over at him, but it was a little sad. “Fairies are different to witches, Michael. We might not ‘peak’ until we’re older, but there are always tells and indications. Like, the occasional display of magic that shows how strong they will be, even if it’s not on purpose. I couldn’t even use my magic until I was almost eight, and that was for the most basic of my natural powers.” He sighed, looking out the window. “Every other fairy of my generation, in my entire village even, could use magic from the get go, even if it was just the occasional sparkle. I couldn’t even do that.”

 

“Hey, maybe it’s because you’re so powerful and it takes a while to tap into your powers. It’s not bad to be different and late to bloom and show,” Michael offered as best he could, but he could only do so much while he was driving.

 

Jeremy sighed again, it coming out as a small puff of steam. “I guess.” He looked back over at Michael, a small, exceedingly fond smile on his lips. “Oh well, me not being able to use my powers did have one good thing come from it. I got to meet you.”

 

“Yeah, I’m glad. If not, I probably would’ve wandered around in the Fairy world and run into someone else, so thanks for that.” Michael returned the fondness, but in his tone of voice as he turned down his street.

 

Jeremy shivered, but snorted as well. “Yeah, definitely glad that didn’t happen. You’re lucky I’ve always been the weird kid, I tell you.”

 

“You’re lucky I’ve always been a weird kid too who just accepted everything,” Michael almost hummed out as he turned into the driveway at the house on the very end of the street, the only home that had the woods behind it. “I’m glad I got bored and wandered into the woods.”

 

“I’m glad you did too...” When Michael looked over after parking the car, Jeremy had a strange expression on his face. It was fond, but it looked almost like he wanted something and Michael couldn’t place what. Jeremy was just looking at him softly, so it was impossible to tell.

 

Michael just smiled back, not sure really what to do. It made his chest feel good, and he wanted to ask why Jeremy was looking at him like that.

 

As soon as he opened his mouth to ask, he heard Buddy. His eyes looked over to see Buddy waiting by the big front window. “Oh, she’s gonna be so happy to see you coming back.”

 

Jeremy looked over, giggling. “I’m happy to see her too.” Jeremy grinned, that odd expression falling away in an instant. “Before we go in, though, watch this!” Jeremy undid his belt and leaned over Michael, touching a single finger to the window next to Michael. Instantly, it frosted over, creating beautiful spirals and patterns. It faded a few seconds later, leaving not even a droplet of water.

 

“Holy shit, that’s so cool!” Michael practically gasped out as he looked over the patterns until they vanished. “Can you do that on bigger windows too? You gotta try that on the big front window,” he almost begged before shutting the engine off, remembering to grab his bag before rushing up the front yard.

 

If things worked out as well as they did today once he and Jeremy talked everything out like they had earlier, they could get through this until Squip was dealt with, right?

Chapter Text

About a week later, Jeremy was settling in well. Michael had managed to get them both into a strong rhythm for getting everything done (patterns were something he was good at setting up), and by the time the weekend had come around, both Michael and Jeremy had managed to get all their homework done. It turned out Jeremy was a very diligent student, which helped Michael to keep to the plans that he made.

 

In celebration of their free time, Michael took Jeremy to the local Seven-Eleven, which was only about a ten minute walk from his house. The rain had long since cleared from last weekend and the sun had finally returned and Michael was enjoying basking in the warmth of it all. Jeremy was too, by the sound of it as he slurped up his slushie.

 

“This is really good, Mikey! I can’t believe we have nothing like this back home, especially when everyone loves sweet things.” He was bouncing along side Michael, drinking his blue raspberry slushie happily. Michael had gotten red cherry, as usual. Jeremy’s cup stayed abnormally frosty, and Michael couldn’t decide if he was jealous or not.

 

“Yeah, it’s something I get when I want to treat myself,” Michael admitted as he sipped on his melting slushie. “Your tongue and teeth might be blue for a little bit after, just a warning.” He swung the plastic bag he had of snacks, including some candy and chips. Hey, since they were going to be having a gaming session, he was going to do it right and show Jeremy how it was properly done.

 

Jeremy looked surprised, and he stuck his tongue out, eyes crossed, as if trying to see it. Michael couldn’t hold back his giggles at the sight.

 

Jeremy pouted. “Well if you’re going to laugh at me, maybe I won’t help keep your cup extra cool and mixed.” He took a long slurp, staring directly at Michael. It was long enough for a normal person to get brain freeze. Jeremy just grinned, immune to the cold. He was displaying his Elsa like attitude.

 

“You are? It’s melting like normal though, and yours is perfect,” Michael muttered out playfully before taking a normal, human-like sip of his drink.

 

“I mean I was gonna but-“ Jeremy cut off, suddenly staring down the road. His easy grin slipped off his face, his entire body tensing up. His already pale features went almost paperwhite and his eyes were as wide as dinner plates. He didn’t look over to Michael, too focused of what he was seeing. He looked like he might be hyperventilating.

 

At that, he raised a brow as he finished another sip. “What is it?” His gaze followed Jeremy’s, curious as to what made him so freaked and to figure out what to do to help.

 

A writhing mass of brown, green, and grey was rapidly making its way towards them, and Michael quickly became aware of a cacophony of voices, all squawking and hissing. As the mass got closer, Michael could pick out individual figures, hunched and almost toad-like, all carrying sticks and ready to attack.

 

“Goblins...” Jeremy murmured, his voice hoarse but quickly growing to a scream of fear. “They’ve found me. Michael, they’ve found me!”

 

Michael so badly wanted to point out that they were just a smaller mass of toad-like things with sticks and that they couldn’t do much, but he wasn’t going to undermine Jeremy’s genuine fear. Instead, he just muttered out, “God, they look like uglier toad gremlins,” before he cast a simple paralysis spell on the general lot. Just in case of anything like this happening, he had spells prepared. They were mainly evasive ones or ones like this, but he had one or two that did actual damage. “Just don’t feed those things after midnight, eugh.”

 

“What? Ugh, tell me later.” His joking comment seemed to be enough to snap Jeremy out of his fear induced panic for now. “These ones might be fine, but if they know I’m here, they’ll send stronger ones! This is just a scouting party!”

 

Within seconds of being paralyzed, they started charging again at full speed. Which was actually pretty quick. Like, those things could move because they quickly surrounded the boys before Michael could react further. Jeremy stopped forwards, held out one had and shot a burst of mist at a couple of the nearest ones.

 

Despite being about half the height of a normal human, they froze instantly. That was a lot of powerful frost. Jeremy kicked them over, scowling and ready for more.

 

“Wouldn’t you think that Squip would want to send out strong ones to just easily take you out?” Michael couldn’t help but ask as he sent out a few sleep spells to some of the goblins. Noises of disgust escaped him as he had to kick one back, getting something on his nice white kicks. “God, eugh! It better not be slimy, it looks slimy,” he almost whined out before blowing a large gust of wind at some more of them, watching as they flew far back into the forest.

 

“They’re slimy,” Jeremy confirmed grimly, freezing a couple more. “These are only newly turned, so they’re not so good for killing, they can barely follow basic instructions. I’d say he’s crazy enough to want to kill me himself, so he’s sending out scouting parties to try to bring me back!” He kicked over a few frozen ones, sending them rolling into a couple of goblins ready to pounce.

 

"Ewww, OK I definitely hate these things," Michael whined out for sure this time as he blew a few more away, really not wanting to touch anymore if he didn't have to. "OK, yeah, that Squip guy's definitely crazy, but he's even crazier if he thinks these fuckers will work to take you back. When I tell you to, hold onto me, OK?"

 

Jeremy nodded, freezing a row of them in a smooth pass. Except, instead of his usual mist, the frost crackled between the goblins like lightning inside a cloud. It was subtle, and it didn’t seem like Jeremy noticed, but Michael was certain it was different from normal. And it seemed stronger than normal too, considering that the goblins he hit seemed to be frozen solid rather than just a frost casing.

 

Keeping that as a mental note for later to mention, Michael reached into his pants pocket, feeling around for a small ball. When he found it, he grinned despite kicking another gross goblin in the face, eugh. "OK, hold onto me!"

 

Jeremy latched onto Michael’s arm, linking them while blowing out a gust of freeze mist at another bunch of goblins.

 

As Jeremy did that, Michael tossed the ball onto the ground in front of them. It was charmed with a smokescreen spell, and it went off as soon as it hit the ground. Black smoke filled the air, and Michael muttered out a small, "Come on," before dragging Jeremy out, not stopping until they were in his house.

 

Buddy was barking as they came in, sniffing them before stopping and whimpering at the scent she picked up. Michael looked down at Jeremy then, momentarily forgetting about himself and the bag of goodies as he asked, "Are you OK?"

 

Jeremy was blinking sort of heavily. “Ask me again in a minute. My panic is starting to catch up with me again,” he muttered out, falling gently onto his ass and leaning against the door. “They found me so quickly. And now you’re in danger because they saw you with me! Damnit! This was supposed to last longer!” he cried, placing his slushie down. He pulled his knees to his chest, wrapping his arm around them and resting his face against them.

 

Putting down his bag and slushie and gently shushing Buddy, Michael sat down next to him and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. "Hey, it's gonna be alright. They can't get in here, and we can figure something out. That's why I had spells prepared. I'll just have bigger, stronger ones on-the-ready," he reassured Jeremy before running his hand gently along his spine, where he knew Jeremy liked since it was right between where his wings formed.

 

Jeremy arched into the touch, sighing. “I just... I thought I’d have longer before they left the Fairy World, before they actually came looking for me. Fairies hate crossing the barrier most of the time, they wouldn’t do it without reason or just on a hunch. That means there is someone in the court or out here who knows about me and who is working with Squip.” Jeremy leaned closer to Michael, resting his head on Michael’s shoulder and letting go of his knees. “I just feel bad because it means they know about you now. You’re in as much danger as I am now.”

 

"Hey, it's fine. When I took you in, I sorta promised to protect you, so I figured this was gonna be coming. Maybe not so soon, but I was still expecting this," Michael elaborated with a shrug. "We'll figure out something, Jere. You're smart and I am too, we can work through this. Plus, like I said, they can't get in here, so we're safe here for now."

 

Jeremy sat in silence for a moment, obviously thinking. “I... I think I need to go back, actually warn them. I have a friend who’s a royal guard, the next head of the guards actually. He’ll find out if it’s someone in there. And we have something that might be able to help you out too.” Jeremy’s voice was quiet but certain, tinged with the smallest hint of a whistle. He was being serious. “Not me going back properly, just me stopping by.”

 

Looking at Jeremy then, Michael continued to gently rub along his spine before resting his head on top of Jeremy's. "When? We should probably sit and calm down for a bit. My moms'll be back soon, they only went shopping, and if they see us come back from the woods, they'll lose their shit."

 

“Soon. Very soon. I’ll need to run you through some safety things first, but we need to go as soon as possible to get the thing for you and to warn Jake.” Jeremy slowly unfurled his wings, letting one of them rest lightly against Michael’s arms. It was the first time he had ever touched them. They felt like a thick sort of icy satin; soft, smooth and cold.

 

Some new layer of trust was built with this, Michael could just feel how intimate this was. He just hummed softly in response to Jeremy's question before glancing down at Jeremy. "Can you, uh... run those safety things while we snack? Wait, what safety things do I need to run through? What?"

 

Jeremy sighed, scooting closer to him. The shift caused his wing to rub lightly against Michael’s skin, and it felt sort of really nice in a foreign way. “You’re coming with me, obviously. I physically cannot handle the back up plan. The Fairy World isn’t safe for humans, not deeper than the clearing, so I’ll need to go over some stuff with you to keep you safe and free. And yeah, we can talk and snack. In a minute though, I need a little more time,” Jeremy fluttered his wings a little causing it to lightly brush against his skin. The motion felt like a butterfly kiss, but colder. It was kinda relaxing in a way.

 

"I uh... yeah, alright," Michael muttered back, just feeling himself relax with the little motions Jeremy's wings gave him against his exposed arms (he rolled up his sleeves for once). He almost shut his eyes before he heard Buddy chuff. He looked up to see her inches away from his face. "Hi, silly girl."

 

Jeremy chuckled, looking up at her too before letting out a little chirp. Buddy’s tail started wagging a little more. “Thank you for looking out for us, girl,” Jeremy murmured, reaching up to pet her behind her ears. Buddy’s tongue lolled out and she gave both Jeremy and Michael a quick kiss on the nose. “She knows what happened. Apparently we smell funny but she just wants to know if we’re okay.”

 

"Yeah, those goblins probably smell real gross." He reached over and scratched her snout. "We're good, I just..." Looking down at his shoe, Michael grimaced at the slime. "My shoes... I know I can clean them off, but the texture just makes me physically cringe. Could you help me wash 'em off, Jere?"

 

“Course Mikey. M’happy to help.” Jeremy nuzzled close for a moment before pausing. “‘Fore we do anything, can I ask something kinda weird? Can you... stroke my wings please? It’s... calming. Means I’m safe sort of thing. It’ll help me calm down quicker.” He trailed off, and Michael could tell that if he wasn’t leaning against him, he’d be turning his head away. “Sorry. It’s a weird request, I know.”

 

"It's not weird," he reassured Jeremy before pulling the hand that was running along his spine back. His eyes looked at the wings before he ever so gently placed his fingers against the wings. They looked so fragile, he didn't want to hurt him, so he gently ran his fingers along them, humming softly as he did so. "I realized that I've never actually felt your wings until today, so I'm happy you asked me to do this for you."

 

Jeremy half melted against him under his gentle fingers. “I trust you more than anyone, Mikey. S’why I know it’ll be okay for you to touch them. It feels nice.” His wings fluttered a little but fell still once again. “It helps remind me m’safe.”

 

At that, his heart couldn't help but beat a little faster. Jeremy trusted him more than anyone? Holy hell. "Well, I'm glad to do that for you," he reassured Jeremy before glancing over at Buddy, who was sitting there and watching. "If you want some scratches, I'll give them to you while Jeremy cleans my shoes off after this."

 

Jeremy hummed contentedly, his wings shifting slightly under Michael’s gentle touches. “M’kay. I think I’m calm enough now, Mikey. Y’can stop if you want,” he murmured after a minute more. “Thank you for that.”

 

"Of course," Michael told him, smiling warmly down at his friend as he slowly moved back, stretching himself out then before toeing off his shoes, careful not to further spread the slime on them. "What was even coating those things?"

 

Jeremy stretched out too, arms above his head, wings expanding to their full reach before relaxing. “I’m not exactly sure, but I’m pretty sure it’s similar to mucus. They tend to produce a lot of that stuff when they’re freshly turned, which is why they’re easy for me to freeze and why they left goop on your shoes.” Jeremy climbed to his feet and scooped up the shoes. “I’ll be back in a minute.” He smiled softly at Michael, then scowled at the shoes as he carried them to the kitchen.

 

"Thaaank you!" Michael called out before flopping over to lie on his back, reaching up for Buddy after. "Come, let me love you while I have the chance, my precious Buddy!"

 

 

 

“Okay, so remember: Stay close to me, don’t eat any food, and don’t give anyone your real name. Those are the three biggest, most important things to keep in mind. Anything else we can work around but not those,” Jeremy stated firmly, back in his usual fairy clothes, hovering along side Michael as they approached the barrier between the human and Fairy Worlds.

 

"I got you," Michael told him with a hum as he stuffed his hands into his hoodie pocket. "Is there anything else I should be wary of though? Y'know, a brief, last minute 'just in case' kinda thing?"

 

Jeremy sighed heavily, looking a little sick. “Yeah, most fairies are indifferent to humans for the most part, although they lean towards disdain. However, some might try to enchant you, worse than what I did with Ms. Tsu. Try to get your name or feed you to keep you. They... sometimes in the court they would keep humans around as trophies or servants. I hated it, but they exist. It’s a status thing I think. So just be careful, I don’t want you ending up like them.”

 

Despite feeling his stomach churning, Michael nodded as he looked towards the barrier, watching where it shimmered in the air. "Alright, I'll be careful. Uh, if I get a little overwhelmed, would they look at me weirdly if I chewed on my strings or something? If they do, I'll just keep my hands in my pockets and fiddle with my fingers..."

 

“Nah, you should be okay with that. A lot of fairies have weird habits to cope with things too. Just... please don’t judge me while we’re here? I really don’t like having to behave politely when in the court, all things considered, but I’ll need to if I want to get everything we need.” Jeremy’s hovering sort of dropped an inch, and Michael knew his wings were dropping, even if he was still flying.

 

"Jeremy, I won't. You're just following what you need to, I'll follow your lead so I don't mess things up," he promised as he fidgeted where he stood, moving ever so slightly closer to the barrier.

 

Jeremy smiled weakly at him, and held out his hand. “I’m gonna cast some changing glamour on you so I can fly us both to the court, okay? All you gotta do is relax and hold onto my hand.”

 

Nodding, Michael inhaled and exhaled a few times, eyes shut before he took Jeremy's hand. "You promised me when we met that you'd help me fly, don't fail me now."

 

Jeremy chuckled. “If you had access to your own magic instead of borrowing natural magic, I could teach you to do it solo. This’ll have to do for now.” There was a small tugging sensation in Michael’s stomach, like it got left behind on a roller-coaster, and he could feel a slight breeze through his hair and on his face. “You can open your eyes, Mikey, I got you,” Jeremy murmured reassuringly.

 

When he did, he found that they were in the Fairy World a decent way above the trees. Looking back, he could still see the barrier, but they were moving decently fast away from it. He was somehow hovering right next to Jeremy, keeping pace with him as he flew them both... north, if the sun’s position could be trusted.

 

Michael couldn't help but feel a bit giddy as Jeremy helped guide them, looking around with wide eyes and a huge grin. "Holy shit, this is so cool!" He did his best to keep his exclamation to a minimum, though he squeezed Jeremy's hand as he kept looking around and taking in all of the different sights that he could.

 

“Dude, I know, right?” Jeremy looked a little mischievous, then guided them through a little flip before going on, laughing loudly as he did so. “It’s cool, you can chill until we get to the court. No one ever goes further south than that,” he explained with a grin.

 

The Fairy World seemed greener, more alive. Everything was fresh and pulsing with magic, and even the water in the streams below looked almost too perfect. Jagged outcrops of rock and crystal stuck out from the forest below them like knives but even then, they seemed right. In the distance, Michael could make out a golden shape. It looked a little like a golden version of the Kremlin, with beautiful patterns made out of... were those gemstones?!

 

"Holy shit, is that where the court is?" Michael asked as he pointed over with his free hand. "This place is fucking gorgeous! Like, holy shit, if they didn't treat humans so shittily, I'd wanna stay here longer because your world is so pretty and breathtaking."

 

Jeremy hummed. “Yeah, that’s the court. And you think?” Jeremy shot him a fond smile, arching an eyebrow. “It’s not that great. I’m more partial to the human world if I’m honest. Much prettier.”

 

"I mean I guess, but your place has an ethereal kinda beauty, y'know? I like back home a lot more too, but this place would be nice to wander around in and walk for a bit," Michael explained before pointing along one of the streams. "Like that would be a great place to have a picnic by and maybe take a dip in, y'know?"

 

“Eh, I guess.” Jeremy shrugged, then got excited. He pointed over to a snowy capped mountain just appearing in the distance. “You see that place over there? That’s where I was born. All cold related fairies are born around that mountain, in the villages at the top usually.” He grinned over at Michael. “Time passes differently over there. It would have only been about a year or two since I was born for them. It’s really freaky. Luckily, the stretch between the barrier and the court all stays in time with the human world. That’s how I stayed the same age as you. I’ve lived in the court since I was five months old.”

 

"Geez, yeah, I'm glad you were in the court then, even if they sucked," Michael muttered out before looking at the ever-approaching court building. "Uh... When we get there, what should I do? Should I just stay quiet the entire time or...?"

 

Jeremy thought for a bit. “Follow your gut. If you think you should say something, say it. Just don’t talk over the Queen and be polite. Otherwise, just go for it. You’re a guest, not a claimed human. You get the same rights as any other guest.” Jeremy nodded to himself, looking determined. “And if anyone tried to argue against that, well, being a prince has its perks.” His smirk was a little devious but not malicious.

 

He couldn't help but feel a bit glad that Jeremy cared for him so much then as he nodded back at him. "Alright, got it. I'm a socially awkward person, so being quiet and polite isn't a problem for me."

 

Jeremy grinned at him again. “Hey, you managed to charm a prince at the age of five, that’s got to count for something.” They were close enough to the court now, and Jeremy started bringing them down to a large road slowly. “Okay, so at the gate you’re gonna have to give a name. Just use any name you like except your own. I’m not allowed to say anything for you.”

 

They landed in front of a large wooden and silver door, which appeared to be studded with emeralds. A tall fairy with red, scaly wings was standing guard, sword that looked like it was made from rubies in his hand. “Jake! I need to talk to you! And I need to see the Queen!” Jeremy called, sticking to English for some reasons. The fairy looked up, surprised.

 

“Jeremy? What the heck are you doing back?! It’s dangerous! And who is this... human you’ve got with you?” His tone wasn’t malicious, more curious and worried. “State your name human. And Jeremy, I need to check your dagger, just to be safe.” Jeremy groaned but made a simple movement with his free hand. A diamond dagger appeared in it and he handed it over.

 

Michael shuffled on his feet, watching this happen before he said, "My name's George." Well, he did look a lot like that Salazar dude, and it was the first thing that popped into his head.

 

Jake looked him over, then shrugged. He started examining the dagger. “So, George is the human who you’re living with, right Jeremy?” Jeremy nodded. “Well he seems trustworthy; I’m glad I backed you up on this one.” Jake looked up with a grin and handed the weapon back to Jeremy, who instantly made it vanish again. “Now, what is it you need to tell me about?” Jeremy started talking about the attack, and Michael found himself zoning out a little, just appreciating this world a little.

 

He barely noticed the sort of fog settling over his mind, and he couldn’t help but wander a few steps away when a handsome looking fairy carrying a basket full of pies waved him over. “Hey there, you’re a human right?” He asked kindly, looking excited. Even his voice sounded nice, sort of deep and almost echoey.

 

Michael blinked and looked at the fairy then, unable to help but smile. He seemed pretty nice. "Uh, yeah, I'm here for a visit," was all he said as he stuck his hands into his pocket once he stood near the guy.

 

“That’s really cool,” the fairy said, cocking his head. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna ask your name or anything. But erm.... do you want a cherry pie? They’re fresh, made them myself! I kind of made too many, so I’m sharing them with whoever wants them.”

 

Michael felt a nagging sensation in the back of his head at this suggestion. The pie smelt good though and he was a bit hungry. "Well, I've never had a cherry pie, but I guess I could try some?"

 

The fairy lit up in delight, and handed a small pie over to Michael. He felt good that the fairy was happy. Michael bit down, only for his teeth to hit ice. When he looked at the pie, it was covered in a thick layer of ice, his teeth didn’t stand a chance of getting through that even slightly.

 

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Michael spun around, to find Jeremy standing tall and proud, his expression dark and angry. And totally focused on the fairy who had the pies.

 

There was a sort of hissing groan, like a lion would make in a half roar. Turning again, the nice fairy looked a lot less nice. His features seemed a lot more animalistic, and his expression was angry. “The human isn’t claimed, he’s fair game,” he hissed.

 

Suddenly, Jeremy was right by Michael, pulling him back. Except it didn’t look a thing like Jeremy. His skin was too white, his teeth too sharp. And his eyes were totally black. He looked like the definition of terrifying monster in that moment, and even the other fairy seemed to agree. “He’s MINE. Back off.” Even his voice was terrifying. The other fairy dropped his basket and flew away in fear.

 

When he turned back to Michael, his face was his own again, and his blue eyes were worried. “Are you okay? He didn’t get your name, did he? Damnit, I should have stayed closer, I’m so sorry,” he fussed.

 

Michael quickly dropped the pie then, his senses returning to him. It splattered against the ground and he drop-kicked it away before he just quickly nodded. "Y-yeah, 'm fine..." The whole situation hit him then, with the pie, the other fairy, and how frightening Jeremy looked. He did his best he could to not freak the hell out right then and there as all of this hit him, almost overwhelming him as he tried hard not to hyperventilate.

 

He almost got bonded to that random fairy, almost 'claimed,' and Jeremy went and turned scary as fuck protecting him. He was... really terrifying like that. What. The. Fuck.

 

Jeremy’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open a little. Michael could see totally normal teeth. “I- I’m sorry. I forgot you’ve never seen me do that. Fuck I’m sorry. Can- can I touch you? Would you be okay with that? It’s just me. I’m still just me. That was just glamour.” Jeremy was shaking a little, his hands raised, almost touching but not quite. He sounded like he was about to cry.

 

Even as he was still somewhat shaking, Michael just quickly nodded, even as his body was shaking. He couldn't really raise his hands up to reach out, but he just kept nodding so Jeremy would understand, he needed to understand that he needed Jeremy to touch him. He needed to be grounded.

 

The moment he nodded, one of Jeremy’s hands cupped his cheek and the other wrapped around Michael’s waist, pulling him close. Jeremy then rested his forehead against Michael’s, breathing harshly. “I’m sorry. You’re safe, I’ve got you. I won’t let anyone get you, and I won’t ever hurt you. That wasn’t real. You’re safe,” he mumbled, lightly rubbing his thumb over Michael’s cheek.

 

Michael just tried to calm his breathing, even if it hurt his chest to try to do so, as he leaned into Jeremy's touches. He tried to calm himself as he listened to Jeremy's reassurances. After some time, he managed to calm himself down, and he didn't realize that he was gripping onto Jeremy until he was more grounded into reality. "Thank you, thank you," was all he could get out as his breathing was somewhat normal, at least compared to before when he was on the verge of a panic attack.

 

Jeremy pulled him into a proper hug once he spoke, wrapping both his arms and his wings around Michael. They sort of brushed against his cheeks lightly, relaxing him further. “I’m so sorry. I should have paid closer attention and I should have warned you about that whole thing before. I just didn’t think about it. I’m sorry.” He was carefully avoiding using his name.

 

He just nodded, unconsciously having his cheeks rub against his wings before he buried his face into the crook of his neck to try to calm himself further. "You did, I just let myself get distracted, it's alright. I'm alright now, we're both OK," Michael muttered out, though he felt it wasn't just for Jeremy's sake as he said it out loud. "You didn't know anyone was gonna magic me and try to have me eat a cherry pie. I don't even like the texture of cherries, I've had 'em before, so thanks for stopping my texture issues from flaring up." Hopefully a joke would lighten the mood for the both of them.

 

Jeremy chuckled, then chirped a couple of times. The sound was reassuring, even if Michael couldn’t understand it. Then Michael felt a deep rumble in Jeremy’s chest as he purred a little. Legitimately purred like a cat. Okay, that was a new one.

 

"OK, I knew you spoke bird, but you also speak cat?" he couldn't help but ask as he kept clinging to Jeremy, not removing his face from the crook of Jeremy's neck. "Have you been holding out on me?"

 

“I don’t ‘speak bird,’ I speak fairy. Well actually it’s an newer dialect of High Avalorian that’s only really used in the court, but whatever. It just sounds like bird to you,” Jeremy rambled a little, teasingly pinching Michael’s side. “And purring is part of it.” His wings fluttered against him a little, brushing his currently cover arms. The tiny weight rising on his hoodie was pleasant, relaxing.

 

Instead of agreeing like a normal human being would, Michael instead muttered back, "No, it's bird speech. You're a bird." A poke was given to Jeremy's side, and he couldn't help but giggle as he did so. Hey, his side got pinched! This was fair game as far as he was concerned.

 

Jeremy gasped in mock offence before slowly nodding, as if understanding. “I mean, I do have wings. Maybe I am a bird.” He giggled, letting out a very clear whistle.

 

"Maybe you are and you've been lying to me all this time. You've been lying to yourself too your whole life." Yup, this was working. Jeremy's giggling and whistling as well as his own calmed heart rate were enough of an indicator. Finally, he was able to pull his face back as he felt himself starting to laugh a bit as well, just focused in on Jeremy for now.

 

Jeremy’s wings flapped a little, beating before wrapping back around Michael. He was still giggling, the sound intermittent with purrs.

 

Giggling himself, he couldn't help but grin at his friend before he felt his perception widen. He saw that fairy (Jake?) in the corner of his vision, watching them, before he cleared his throat. "But uh, glad you're better. I'm a lot better now," he reassured before patting Jeremy's shoulder and quickly letting go. "We should go back to business. Sorry."

 

Jeremy pouted a little before righting himself. “No, it’s okay, don’t apologize.” Jeremy didn’t let him move far, grabbing his hand and pressing their shoulders together. He never once removed his gaze, or at least, not until Jake spoke up.

 

“Really, Jeremy. Him?” he asked, not unkindly. Jeremy’s eyes snapped towards the other fairy, his face going bright purple and his wings quivering somewhat.

 

“Yeah. And?” He countered, sounding confident and collected even if his face and outfit didn’t really back that up.

 

Jake shrugged. “Nothing. Just wasn’t expecting that. I’m glad to see you happy.”

 

Michael couldn't help but be confused for a minute before figuring he was talking about him being his human host that watched over him, and probably him as a close friend (did Jake know they were best friends?). Instead of saying anything, Michael just gave a weak smile to the other fairy, squeezing Jeremy's hand reassuringly.

 

The look Jeremy shot him was something a little more than fond, but Michael couldn’t place what. He shrugged it off when Jeremy started pulling him to the gate. “Let us in now, Jake?” Jeremy seemed sort of relieved when he addressed the other fairy, but Michael couldn’t figure out why. Jake turned a hard gaze onto Michael.

 

“Just one thing before I do. What do you want with the prince? What is he to you?” Jeremy made a sound of protest, but Jake ignored him, keeping his harsh gaze on Michael.

 

Oh, well there goes him just being quiet for now. Blinking at the sudden harshness, Michael couldn’t help but squirm a little in place. “I just want him to be safe and alright. He’s someone I care for deeply. I would be devastated if anything bad happened to him while I was supposed to be protecting him,” was his answer that he gave while squeezing Jeremy’s hand throughout. He really hated random, unexpected questioning.

 

“That’s enough Jake.” Jeremy scowled, stepping ever so slightly in front of Michael. He knew how uncomfortable this sort of thing made him. Surprisingly, Jake’s harshness melted away, replaced with a bright, honest smile.

 

“I heard enough anyway, Jeremy. I’m just looking out for you.” Jake clapped Jeremy on the shoulder before turning and drawing a pattern over the gate. It swung open and Jake stood to one side to let them through. “I gotta say, Jere, seems like you made a good choice after all.” Jeremy sighed and shot Jake a playful glare, gently smacking him around the head as they went past. Jake’s wings flapped happily.

 

“I could have told you that, Jake.” The gate shut behind them.

 

Michael just stayed quiet, instantly enraptured by the beauty of the courtyard they walked into. It was certainly large for starters, and it was lined with beautiful flowers he had never seen before in his life. There was a walkway that you could walk under on either side of the courtyard, the architecture lined with intricate designs and gemstones. There was also a large fountain in the middle of it, three layers high, with writing engraved along the edges that he didn’t understand. On the top of the fountain, there seemed to be some radiating light instead of a small statue or something similar, and it was just so enchanting and delightful, but he didn’t know why.

 

Jeremy chuckled and started gently pulling Michael along. He didn’t try to distract him from the beauty of the courtyard until he had to pull him out the other side. “Enjoying something there, were you?” he teased lightly, once again looking unbelievably fond. It actually took a second for Michael to realize that Jeremy was talking, and that they had stopped a few steps into a corridor, the courtyard waiting just outside.

 

Michael glanced back over his shoulder to where the courtyard was, humming softly before looking back at Jeremy. “Yeah, the courtyard was so amazing, especially the fountain,” he explained. “It was just so beautiful and enchanting, it was hard for me to take my eyes off of it once I looked at it.”

 

Jeremy chuckled and started them walking again, occasionally making them switch directions down random corridors. “I’m pretty sure Chrissy had the same reaction when she first arrived too. She spent hours out there just relaxing by the fountain.” He sounded nostalgic as he recalled that. “She’s the only person who actually knew about you, because she’s a changeling. Not human, but not fairy either. I think she’s like an elf or a nymph or something. Anyway, she’d cover for me whenever I’d come to see you.”

 

Michael nodded as he listened, gently swinging their arms between them as they went. “I could spend all day by that fountain, honestly... I wish I could meet Chrissy, she sounds super cool. We could both chill by the fountain.”

 

Jeremy hummed. “Maybe its a non-fairy thing...” He shot Michael a small, slightly exasperated smile. “Before we go, I’ll see if I can ask about what charms are on it, I know the person who maintains it. Maybe I can recreate something like that if you like it so much.” He kept leading them deeper and deeper into the Court, occasionally making sudden turns, leading them back on themselves.

 

“That would be cool, but don’t do it all the time because I don’t know if I’d be able to focus on anything but whatever you recreated it onto,” he murmured out, continuing to follow. Eventually, though, he was able to shake the fountain out of his mind and just looked at the passing art and architecture, appreciating it with a wide smile.

 

Jeremy frowned a little, before shrugging and explaining some of the portraits. He had just finished explaining about the one of the two lake mermaids when they reached a set of large, double doors. He stopped them both and turned back to Michael, brushing his clothes and neatening him up a little. “This is the throne room. I need you to just stay focused on me or the queen only, don’t look to the sides of the room. We shouldn’t be here long.” He sighed, resting his hands against Michael’s chest and looking up at him. “Please. Don’t judge me for where I’m from. I don’t agree with it at all.”

 

Of course, Jeremy saying that just made his brain want to look at the sides of the room. This was Jeremy though, he should listen, he only had his best interest at heart. So, with a sigh, Michael nodded his head. “Jeremy, I know you. This isn’t going to make me think bad of you, more so be proud to see how you’re different from where you’re from and how you didn’t let it define you.” He gave a reassuring smile then and reached up to where his hands were, intertwining their fingers and gently squeezing. “Let’s get this done with, yeah?”

 

Jeremy nodded, still looking ashamed. He shot Michael a small, sad smile. “Yeah, let’s get this over and done with.” He turned, letting go of only one of Michael’s hands to knock on the door. It swung open, revealing a large room painting a beautiful green and golden room with an elaborate throne at the far end.

 

Sitting in the throne was a beautiful, young woman who appeared no older than twenty five, but very clearly radiated ancient power. Her rainbow bird wings were spread elegantly and her gown was simple but beautiful.

 

Jeremy led Michael forwards, his wings spread and the colors showing through. His head was held high and there was an almost cold look in his eyes. If it wasn’t for the gentle, regular squeezes of his hand, Michael would have sworn Jeremy was enchanted.

 

He squeezed back whenever Jeremy did, trying to ignore the rising feeling in his chest he got from his friend. Instead, the attention of his gaze tried to shift towards the Queen. Something else caught his eye, he couldn’t help it, and he couldn’t help but glance quickly to the side to see what was moving in such a way to take his focus away from the task at hand.

 

There was a number of people milling about near the walls of the room. Each and every one of them were dressed in what looked to be servant clothes, plain and black, a stark contrast to the finery in the rest of the Court. They all sort of had a dead look in their eyes, and a dazed smile on their lips, as if they weren’t fully present. And each and every one of them had no wings.

 

They were all human.

 

Jeremy squeezed his hand a little tighter, as if in apology.

 

Swallowing down the lump in his throat, Michael just squeezed his hand back a little tighter too. Lingering on the humans for a bit longer, he mouthed out, ‘I’m sorry,’ to them before focusing his gaze back onto the Queen.

 

“Your majesty, I bring grave news.” Jeremy stopped and bent himself into a low bow. Michael scrambled to copy him, keeping his eyes down. “I have been located in the human world.” They both straightened.

 

“And what would you have me do about this, Prince Jeremy?” the Queen asked. Though her voice seemed young, her tone held many more years than you would first assume.

 

“I’ve come to request that my human friend, and current host in the human world, be granted use of the cold iron.” Jeremy looked up at the Queen, his tone almost firm but not quite. Close to a demand without ordering anything.

 

Unsure of what to do, a tug in his gut arose. It wanted him to speak, and Jeremy did say to follow it here. He bowed once more before saying, “Your majesty, I only wish to keep the Prince safe from harm. Whatever you may grant me to do so will be a great service that I would be forever grateful for.” As he was speaking, though, a thought popped into his head: typically, when you think of the phrase like ‘the cold iron,’ you think of a sword... Was Jeremy getting him a fucking sword?!

 

The queen looked surprised at the fact he spoke, and Jeremy was giving off subtle waves of pride.

 

“The human is unclaimed and unbonded, Prince? I would have thought that would be your first action upon being granted safe respite under his roof.” She arched a perfect eyebrow.

 

“With all due respect, your majesty.” Jeremy was scowling. “But I refuse to take away someone’s free will like that, especially a lifelong friend’s. He has been my friend and protected me when no one else would, regardless of our differences. I trust him with my life and I trust him enough to even consider this an option. If anyone is deserving, it is him.”

 

Michael felt like his heart was swelling, in a good way of course, at all of this. He quickly composed himself enough to speak up once more. “I just want him to be safe, despite the dangers he is currently facing, your majesty.”

 

The queen gave him a hard look, then gave Jeremy the same. Once again, she arched an eyebrow, this time with a small, amused smile. Jeremy blushed a little, it was light but he was certainly looking a little purple. “I see...” She flapped her wings a little and a fairy carrying a thick, wooden box stepped towards, towards Michael. “And Prince Jeremy, how far would you trust his human?”

 

“Completely, your majesty. I’d trust him with my name.” Jeremy nodded, no hesitation. The queen smiled.

 

“Very well.” She looked at Michael directly. “Human, once you pick up the cold iron, you must swear an oath on your name. Swear your fidelity to the Prince and you will be granted to leave, should he accept it. And... as I’m feeling kind, you may do it only to him should you so choose. Only he has to hear it.”

 

She clapped her hands and the fairy in front of Michael opened the box. Inside lay a metal wand with a golden handle. Even just glancing at it, Michael could tell it was very powerful, at least in the Fairy World, and the subtle zigzag of the shaft and gems set into the handle showed how much love was put into crafting it.

 

His eyes widened at the loving and breathtaking craftsmanship but into the wand. Hell, this was so much better than a sword! Ever so carefully, he reached inside and picked up the wand, looking it over before turning to Jeremy. The fairy who opened the box took a few steps back. Relaxation filled him as he smiled at Jeremy.

 

In a tone only soft and loud enough for Jeremy to hear, he began. “I, Michael Mell, promise to only use this wand to guarantee your safety and health. I only wish to protect you and keep you safe from all harms and dangers that could arise, so that is what I shall do when I wield this wand.”

 

Jeremy smiled at him, his eyes warm. Gently, he lifted Michael’s hand which was still intertwined with his own and adjusted his grip. Bowing a little, he pressed a gentle kiss to his knuckles, maintaining eye contact with Michael the whole time. “I accept your oath,” he murmured, and Michael felt a rush of power flow through him from the words.

 

It was almost overwhelming as it rushed through him, the power. He almost stumbled, but kept his footing and posture the same as he smiled back at Jeremy. For some reason, he felt like his heart almost leapt out of his chest at that simple action. It had to just be how it was done here, right? Then why was he so overwhelmed now, but in a good way? Why couldn’t he stop thinking about the gesture?

 

Jeremy righted himself and placed a hand on Michael’s other arm, the one holding the wand. He was close, very close, and Michael’s heart didn’t slow down. “Focus on your locker at school. Imagine it and reaching inside it. Imagine a portal to it and push the wand through. It’ll go to the pocket and you can call it back whenever you need just by imagining your locker and reaching for it,” Jeremy instructed quietly, stepping back a little so he didn’t have to be near the wand.

 

Michael just nodded, trying hard not to focus on his racing heart as he followed Jeremy’s instructions. He did what he needed to, and saw it vanish into nothing, though he felt a pulse of energy and magic as he did so. Again, he went to grab it this time, unable to help but smile as he was able to pull it back out before quickly putting it back again. “Holy- oh wow, that’s amazing,” he corrected himself, not wanting to curse in front of the Queen. “Th-“

 

Jeremy was in front of him in an instant, finger to his lips. “Do not thank a fairy,” he whispered, dropping his finger and turning to the Queen. “We greatly appreciate your generosity, your majesty. We will be taking our leave now, should you allow it.” Jeremy bowed, and Michael copied on reflex.

 

“It does. Stay safe, Prince Jeremy, human.” She waved them off, and Jeremy half dragged Michael out of the room. He leaned against the wall as soon as they were out, his wings folded carefully against his back.

 

“Dude, you do not just throw thanks around like that. Not with fairies.” He sighed.

 

He furrowed his brows at that, confused. “But I do that with you and you’ve never stopped me before. It’s, like, a reflex. How am I just supposed to not say it?” As he spoke, a few instances popped into his head. “Wait... you haven’t been saying that to any humans but me either. What the fuck?”

 

Jeremy sighed heavily. “Giving thanks is the equivalent of giving a life debt in fairy terms. You don’t just give it to anyone. The only reason I use it with you is because I know it’s customary for humans and I trust you not to abuse me by ever calling on them.” Jeremy slowly started walking back through the corridors, pulling Michael along. “And I wouldn’t use it against you, obviously.”

 

His heart practically did a somersault as Jeremy told him this. Did he really trust Michael that much? Well, obviously, but still! It was a lot for him, OK, especially with his heart and chest feeling all weird today around Jeremy, starting with him in awe over the slushie machine at Seven-Eleven.

 

Jeremy suddenly leaning against him didn’t help his thoughts. “Let’s go home, yeah? I don’t wanna be here any longer than I have to be, it feels wrong now that I know what your world is like.”

 

Michael just nodded, not trusting his words right now as he held onto Jeremy’s hand a little tighter. He rested his head onto Jeremy’s shoulder, thinking now about how he hoped they’d get back before his Ina and Titi possibly started wondering where they were. He had told them they’d be doing homework and gaming if they finished…

 

A small ball of high energy suddenly launched itself at Jeremy, almost knocking him off his feet. A flurry of chirps and whistles echoed around the corridor. A girl had wrapped herself around Jeremy, chatting excitedly in fairy at him. She didn’t have any wings, but she didn’t appear human either.

 

“Woah, Chrissy! Calm down!” Jeremy was laughing, so this person couldn’t be anyone bad.

 

Wait... Chrissy? The Chrissy he had talked about before! Michael couldn’t help but bounce a little on the balls of his feet as he watched the two. Her energy, though most people with high energy would wear him out and overwhelm him, rubbed off on him. He didn’t want to just be rude and interrupt though, so he stayed quiet for now and waited.

 

Chrissy’s chirps slowed to a stop and she took a deep breath. Slowly she released Jeremy. “Chrissy, I want you to officially meet my best friend, Mikey. Mikey, this is Chrissy.” Jeremy was beaming, the tips of his hair freezing a little with how pleased he was. “And Chrissy, remember. Human, not fairy language please.”

 

She chirped a few times at Jeremy before turning and facing Michael. Feeling the full force of this energy source, even if she was somewhat calmed, filled Michael with more energy, keeping him bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Hi, I’ve heard a lot of good things about you. It’s nice to finally put a face to the name-“

 

“Chrissy! Chill. Too much energy. Just... breathe.” Jeremy sent a puff of mist in her direction, frosting her nose a little. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time Jeremy had this conversation with her, or done this, because she instantly calmed. At last, Chrissy’s energy dropped to a much more manageable level. “There you go.”

 

“Sorry, Mikey. It’s been really sunny and my duties have kept me outside the whole week. It really is lovely to meet you.” She hesitated, then after a nod from Jeremy, she stuck her hand out to shake.

 

Michael couldn’t help but be reminded of a parent teaching their child how to calm down and properly introduce themselves to someone. He grabbed her hand, shaking it as he beamed down at her. “It’s alright, don’t worry. It’s nice to meet you too! It’s also just nice to see someone not staring at me like in some weirdo or like they wanna feed me.”

 

Chrissy wrinkled her nose. “Yeah I know that feeling. Wood nymphs aren’t treated much better than humans here, even with Jeremy helping us all out. He’s made a big difference already though, he’s kept loads of humans from getting claimed when they wander in by accident.” Jeremy was blushing, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.

 

“I just try to help out. I haven’t made that much of an impact.” He sobered up quite a bit. “I just wish I didn’t need to do it at all. When will the rest of my species realise that we’re not that awesome?” he huffed angrily.

 

“I mean-“ The look Jeremy shot him had him raising his hands. “You didn’t let me finish, geez. As I was saying, I’ve met at least two fairies that are cool, you and Jake, and that Chrissy’s pretty cool too. Plus, your landscapes and everything are cool. Awesome place, terrible people. Sounds like a few places I can think of back in the human world.”

 

Jeremy sighed in defeat. “Okay, okay, I get it. That documentary thing you had me watching last night sort of proved that point well enough.” He shot a grin over to Michael. “Also thanks.” Chrissy looked at Jeremy carefully before gasping out a small ‘oh!’ of realization. Jeremy shot her a warning look even as he blushed and she covered her mouth, looking a little sheepish.

 

Michael looked between the two then, not really getting what was happening. “What did I miss? Did I miss something important?” He knew he wasn’t the best with some social cues, so he had to make sure.

 

Jeremy shook his head quickly. “Chrissy just realized something about my magic, I think. Nymphs can see magic in people sometimes.”

 

Chrissy nodded in agreement. “It’s true. And his magic is looking stronger than when I last saw him, and there’s something else in there too. Not totally fairy... have you taught him a spell or two?” she asked slowly, brows furrowing.

 

Letting out his own small ‘oh!’ of understanding, he nodded. “I taught him some witch spells so he could better defend himself or just use them around my house. He says he isn’t good, but he picks up things really quick!”

 

Jeremy was blushing bright purple again and grinning happily, and Chrissy was shooting him another funny look, similarly to how Jake and the Queen all looked at him. What did they all know?

 

“Anyway, Chrissy, it’s been great to see you but we really need to get going. Mikey’s moms will kill us if they don’t find us in the house when they get home.” Jeremy pulled her into a hug, grinning brightly. Then he pressed a small kiss to the top of her forehead. “Bye, Chrissy.”

 

“Bye Jeremy!” Chrissy quickly turned to Michael, seemingly unsure on how to say goodbye. He rolled his eyes and quickly hugged her, which she seemed to eagerly respond to and hugged him back. “Bye Mikey! It was so nice meeting you!” She let go after saying that, waving and rushing off to do something.

 

“She was very nice,” he told Jeremy, but it wasn’t as if he didn’t already know that.

 

Jeremy grinned at him, offering his hand once more. “Eeyup. And she seems to really like you, she normally can’t calm down that quickly after a full week in the sun so she was really making an effort for you.”

 

“Well I’m honored,” he admitted before taking Jeremy’s hand and following him as they went.

 

As they went, Michael listened to Jeremy talk a little more about Chrissy. He continued to listen, though couldn’t help but feel himself mentally trail off a bit. They entered the courtyard again, and Michael couldn’t help but look towards the fountain again. He felt so much more intrigued by it this time, a more pressing pull that had him even let go of Jeremy’s hand and to sit on the edge of the fountain. If this is how Chrissy felt around the fountain, so relaxed by it, he could understand why she stayed close and was at ease for hours on end. He was even tempted to dip his feet in, and he started to take off his shoes as the urge hit him.

 

Michael, stop, keep your shoes on.” A harsh whisper rang through the calm fog. He was helpless but to listen to it. “Now, Michael, follow me. Take my hand and follow me.” Once again, he was helpless but to obey, grabbing the hand now in front of him and letting it lead him away from the fountain, out the front gates and over to the edge of the road. Now that the fountain wasn’t in sight, Michael could see it was Jeremy leading him, and he looked like he was on the verge of tears. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know what else to do! Damnit, Mikey, don’t scare me like that!”

 

He couldn’t understand why what he did was scaring Jeremy. All he wanted to do was dip his feet into the fountain water. It really freaked Jeremy out though, even if he couldn’t get why and as his brain felt a little fuzzy. “I scared you? What did I do to scare you?”

 

Jeremy was shaking a little, looking up at him worriedly. “You went really still for like five whole minutes, just staring at the fountain! And you weren’t responding! I had to use your name to even get a reaction from you! One of the guards said that you were almost claimed, but I don’t get how unless the fountain can do that.” Jeremy was clinging to his hands now, his grip as tight as possibly for a fairy.

 

Well that didn’t make sense. Jeremy said only having someone do the name thing or giving him fairy food would to that. They probably just weren’t thinking right. “No, I just went, glanced at it, and just sat down to dip my feet in.” He was certain he was right, even if Jeremy seemed so certain in himself.

 

“Please, trust me on this, I think it’s a special enchantment. I don’t know how, but I have a feeling that if you actually did touch the water you wouldn’t be you anymore. Please trust me, Mikey.” Jeremy’s eyes were wide with fear, watering slightly, almost crying. He never got like this, not this panicked where it seemed like he could break with the wrong words.

 

Even if he still wanted to go back and dip his feet in because what Jeremy was saying didn't make much sense to him, he decided against it. If Jeremy didn't want him to, he wouldn't. "I won't do it then," was all he said, even if he kept glancing back over his shoulder, as if he'd be able to see the fountain again if he did it.

 

Jeremy rested his head on Michael’s chest, taking a shuddery breath. “Thank you...” he whispered, still clutching Michael’s hands to his own chest. He was still shaking, but he seemed a little calmer now. His wings drooped in relief, twitching a little with every breath.

 

Nodding, Michael looked back down at Jeremy then. Maybe the reason he felt it was so off was because it was a fountain here and not in the human world? He did like it a lot better there... "Maybe we can dip our feet into the river in the woods when we get back."

 

Jeremy nodded. “That sounds great. I... don’t want to fly just yet. Can we start walking back to the barrier? I can fly us in a minute, I just... don’t want to feel like a fairy for a minute.”

 

"Yeah, of course we can," Michael told him as he squeezed his hand once more, though he didn't walk at first. He couldn't help but glance back over his shoulder again at the fountain's direction, a longing filling him again. Michael knew he wasn't going to be going back, but he still couldn't help but whine a little about it.

 

“Mikey, c’mon!” Jeremy grumbled, pulling him along with what little body weight he had. Fairies were very light creatures, something Jeremy never failed to complain about. “I wanna get home and I think we both need a cuddle session with Buddy once we’re properly home.”

 

The allure of going home to his comfort animal helped Michael to nod, even as he glanced back still. He still started to walk along with Jeremy then, casting his longing look for a few more moments before looking back to Jeremy. "Yeah, OK."

 

Jeremy seemed to relax a little more when Michael looked at him, and his wings perked up too, enough that he could pull them away and just sort of walk like a normal human with Michael. “Wait, now we’re done seeing the Queen-“ Jeremy focused and poofed into the first outfit Michael had come up with for him. It seemed to be his favorite. “There, now we’re both comfy!” He was definitely putting some extra energy in his step, it was a little forced, but it did help to pull Michael’s thoughts away from the fountain. “Mikey, I’m a Prince who looks like a human in the Fairy World!” He did the final parts of glamour to make himself seem properly human again.

 

As he watched Jeremy transform back, Michael couldn't help but smile and laugh a little. "Yeah, you definitely are," he agreed as he walked alongside the other. "I'm sure that if anyone else saw you, they'd think you're just another human. You're getting to be really good with your human-looking glamour."

 

Jeremy shrugged. “Well I kinda wish I was, so I guess it bleeds through? For one thing humans are so much more attractive! And resilient! And a good chunk aren’t self entitled assholes! I mean, there are some-“ He shuddered, more than likely thinking about Rich. “-but for the most part, you guys are pretty cool.”

 

"Yeah, I guess so? I don't know, I'm used to living around them all my life, a lot of them are assholes," Michael said with his own shrug as the thoughts of the fountain slipped out of his mind. Distracting him with another topic was definitely a solid way of helping him forget. "But you look nice either way, with or without your glamour."

 

Jeremy blushed, a cute red thanks to his glamour, and opened his mouth to respond. A loud shriek cut him off, like the sound from a bird of prey. Instantly, Jeremy turned from playful to deathly serious, pulling Michael behind him and summoning his dagger.

 

A dark shadow passed over the two, circling. “Shit. It’s her. Why did it have to be her?!” Jeremy muttered, squinting at the sky. “Mikey, no matter what, stay close to me. She’s an absolute bitch so I don’t know what she might try on you.” He let his human glamour drop and his wings pop out, scowling at the sky. His clothes stayed the same.

 

Mind still a little hazed over, Michael just nodded as he stayed behind Jeremy, glancing up above to see what he was trying to see.

 

The 'she' Jeremy was referring to landed in front of them, and he was hit with a brief but powerful snippet of a memory: the woman who dragged Jeremy away and flew off with him when they first met, Jeremy's mother. She definitely looked like a bird of prey with how her eyes bore into the two, her bird-like wings folding a little around her as her beautiful hair settled down against her shoulders and the sharp features of her face. In no way was she happy, and Michael definitely wasn't happy to be a part of the reason why.

 

She let out a string of chirps and whistles, somehow managing to make them sound angry and threatening. Jeremy stood a little straighter, glaring at her.

 

“This is the friend I told you I was staying with in the human world. We came to talk to the Queen and are leaving now.” More chirps, plus a few squawks.

 

“I happen to like it, they’re comfortable. And sometimes I just want to walk with my friend, is that such a crime?” She hissed now, the sound snakelike and angry. Jeremy looked downright sick.

 

“I will not do that, he’s my friend! I am not binding him like that. You know how much I hate the idea of doing it to anyone, let alone my best friend!”

 

The discomfort of the situation to Michael only grew when he felt Jeremy's mom look past Jeremy, over his shoulder and right at him. Another hiss escaped her before he felt an intense need overtake him again, worse than the fountain from before as his already hazy mind went almost blank besides his need. He needed to go to Jeremy's mom, the discomfort and overwhelmingly bad feeling he felt about her from before melting away. His hold he had on Jeremy before, that had been forming as he listened to their conversation, went limp as he started to try to get around Jeremy. Why had he blocked his way to her anyway?

 

Michael, stay behind me. Do not go to her under any circumstances,” Jeremy hissed at him under his breath, and Michael was helpless but to listen, even if he really didn’t want to.

 

“Fine then, if you’re going to play it that way Mariah, you need to at least switch to the proper form of address when talking to your Prince.” Jeremy’s tone was harsh and his posture was too angry. Why was he so angry? His wings spread wider, blocking Michael even more.

 

Jeremy's mom (Mariah?) hissed back at Jeremy this time, seemingly refusing before eventually speaking. Her voice seemed so nice and soothing when she spoke. Why did Jeremy not want him to go to her?

 

"You are letting this filthy human corrupt you. If you are to be staying with him, you need to go through the proper procedures. Let him come to me now or else so that I may do this for you if you are so reluctant to do it yourself."

 

Jeremy growled. “You’ll do no such thing, Mariah. He stays with me, as he was. It was him who comforted me and it’s been him who has protected me, unlike you. He’s been more of a family than you ever have. So leave. Him. Alone!” Jeremy’s face turned terrifying again, from what little Michael could see of it. Mariah stumbler backwards, her wings puffing out in fear.

 

When Jeremy dropped that piece of glamour, Mariah seemed to come to a realization.

 

Offense overtook her expression as she nearly squawked out, "How could you possibly care for a human like that?! That is just horrible and you know it! I'm-"

 

“Going to release him now. I chose this, you can’t undo it, no matter what you do. Now release him and leave.” Jeremy’s voice was as close to a hiss as Michael had ever heard it.

 

Mariah seemed to think over this for a moment before slipping back into her native tongue, hissing and angrily chirping for a minute before that need vanished. Exhaustion practically overtook Michael, and he almost collapsed against Jeremy, somehow able to keep himself somewhat standing as he saw Jeremy's mother fly off, her offense practically radiating off of her in waves.

 

Jeremy scowled up at her, letting Michael rest against him, against his wings. They were cool and gentle against his cheek, working as a comfort. “Are you okay, Mikey?” Jeremy asked gently. “I’m sorry you had to- LOOK OUT!” In an instant, Jeremy twisted himself, half throwing Michael to the ground and curling protectively over the top of him.

 

He spasmed and screamed as the smell of ozone hit Michael like a ton of bricks.

 

As soon as what happened registered in his brain, seeing Jeremy's mother with her hand outstretched from above and in the air and what just unfolded on top of him, he got a sudden burst of nearly manic energy. His hand reached out, his mind going to his locker, and he pulled back, holding the iron wand. Michael made sure to keep it from touching Jeremy as he pulled him close, sitting up with him pressed against him as he sent pulses of healing magic through his hand to help Jeremy.

 

"I do not care if you are his blood family, you are not his true family. If you try anything else, even move an inch closer in the air, make any more possibly violent attempts towards him, I will personally be sure to make sure you can never do anything again." This anger was sudden, he had no idea where it came from, but he clung to it as he kept the wand pointed at Mariah, his other hand using some of this sudden energy he got to keep consoling and returning some of Jeremy's health to him.

 

To her credit, Mariah looked horrified at what she had done. Jeremy weakly stirred against Michael, tilting his head up to look look up at her. “You won’t win this or any other fight against us. We’re a team. You won’t separate us,” he croaked out, grinning at her. That seemed to take the only energy he had, because he fell back against Michael.

 

Mariah looked furious, but between Jeremy’s injuries and Michael’s wand, she seemed to decide it wasn’t worth it. She flew off with a screech.

 

Looking down properly, Michael saw a spider web of electrical burns over Jeremy’s back through the hole in his now fairy clothes, originating from just between his wings and spreading out about the length of his hand around it. Some even seemed to have traveled up his wings, but they didn’t seem damaged, luckily, just marked.

 

Once he was sure the threat was gone, Michael put his wand away before gently reaching down, scooping Jeremy's face in one hand as the other hovered over where the marks originated from. "Jeremy, holy shit, I'm so sorry. I know you're tired, but I need you to let me know if I can touch where she hit you so I can heal you back up." As he spoke, he used this energy he suddenly got to prepare a healing and energizing spell, because they needed to at least get back with enough energy together to collapse back into his bed.

 

Jeremy’s eyes fluttered open and he stared at Michael blearily. “S’okay. Even if it hurts. Trust you, Mikey.” He sort of nuzzled against Michael’s palm, closing his eyes and arching his back up a little. “M’glad she got me ‘nstead. She’d kill you wit’ dis,” he mumbled against his hand.

 

"And you say fairies, especially you, aren't strong," Michael playfully muttered out as he gently rest his hand on his back. He let the two spells intermingle as he used both, which was especially tiring, but he refused to let himself lose his energy until they were at least back into the human world. "You need to have better self-esteem. We'll work on that later, yeah?"

 

Jeremy was whimpering slightly, but he nodded. “Ah! O-okay, Mikey.”

 

As he let the spells work together, he used his hand cupping Jeremy's cheek to rub into the skin there. "Hey, just focus on me, yeah? What do you want me to talk about? Let my ramblings distract you from the pain."

 

Jeremy took a moment, then nodded. “Tell me y’favorite things. All of ‘em. Wanna check if I know ‘em.”

 

Michael went off on a tangent then, happy to distract Jeremy as he worked on healing him back up. He started talking about Buddy, of course, before moving on to his friends and family, which included Jeremy of course. After eventually derailing to video games, music, and rollerskating, he felt the magic from his healing and energy spell start to taper off. "-don't ever really get to talk about it since there isn't a roller rink nearby. Maybe we can drive out one day and find one. For now, though, 'm done with fixing you back up. You should have a lot more energy now though." A yawn passed his lips. "I know I don't really. The energy boost I got is finally starting to leave me, the traitor."

 

Jeremy slowly detached himself from Michael just enough to give his wings some test flaps. He smiled softly at Michael, helping him stand. “Thank you, Mikey. Just relax for a sec.” Michael did and Jeremy scooped him into his arms like he weighed nothing (probably did thanks to the spell Jeremy was using.) “I’ll get us back home, you just rest. And know that you kept your oath, brave protector. That’s what the energy boost was, your promise to protect me helping you do just that.” Jeremy was already in the air, cradling Michael close to his chest bridal style. As he flew, he put his human glamour back on, and so Michael was very quickly nestled against Jeremy’s soft, blue cardigan.

 

As he settled against Jeremy, feeling his exhaustion hitting him so hard, his sleep-craving mind started to wander. Why did Jeremy calling him his 'brave protector' give him the feeling he could only describe as butterflies in his stomach? Why, all of today, had he noticed how much he was getting... flustered? Now that he had the word in mind, he realized he was flustered so much by his best friend today. But why?

 

Well, when people normally get flustered because of someone, it's because they like them, ri- wait...

 

Michael practically woke up, having almost fallen asleep in Jeremy's arms, as that realization hit him (he knew it would be short lived). Glancing up at Jeremy from where he was held, he couldn't help but feel his heart skip a beat at the sight of the sunlight of the Fairy World hitting him just right, making him seem almost angelic. Even with the faint traces of acne in his glamour, he just... holy shit, he really liked his best friend. Maybe even loved? God, he was an idiot with romance, how was he going to figure this out? If his heart stopped trying to jump out of his throat and abandon him, maybe he'd figure it out.

 

Jeremy obviously felt his gaze, because after a moment, he looked down at Michael and smiled softly. “Don’t worry, Mikey, I’ll get us home. Then we can both have a nap and some Buddy cuddles.” His smile was sweet and gentle and how had Michael never noticed how much he actually adored that soft smile Jeremy only seemed to give to him?

 

Too caught up in the realization of his feelings, Michael just nodded, not trusting his words as he gave as best of a smile back. He couldn't tell what kind of smile he gave, he just knew he tried before resting his head closer against Jeremy's chest, nuzzling against his cardigan before shutting his eyes.

 

Well, he could figure this out better when he wasn't tired and he wasn't about to pass out. Eyes shut, taking in the warm feeling of being held in Jeremy's arms, the wind gently tousling his hair and clothes as he felt himself fall asleep. As he did, he was instantly taken by the dream of him and Jeremy lying together in a more than friendly way, even if it was only different by acknowledgement. If he was awake, he would've known he was smiling sweetly thanks to the dream.

Chapter Text

The boys had made it home before Reece and Tia had luckily, and Jeremy had managed to come up with a half thought out excuse as to why they were both so tired which he didn’t even remember come morning.

 

He wasn’t surprised when he was up before Michael; he had been totally healed and recharged and Michael had given up almost all of his energy healing him and also fought off not one, but three mental attacks. By the Stars, if Michael never went back to the Fairy World, it would still be too soon. Jeremy knew that taking him there had been a risk, but he also knew that Michael left alone would have left him even more at risk.

 

Jeremy sighed as he climbed out of bed, heading over to the mirror Michael had by his drawers. He needed to see how bad the damage actually was. Buddy lifted her head and asked him is he was alright.

 

Yes, I’m fine Buddy. Michael fixed me up,” he chirped, smiling softly at his friend’s sleeping form. Buddy looked unimpressed, sneezing to emphasize her point. “Hey, don’t start that! Emotions are hard!” he complained, slipping his shirt off and letting his wings out.

 

Buddy let out a small chuff of annoyance at his own complaining before flopping her head down, back to rest against Michael's leg as he softly snored in bed.

 

When Jeremy looked at his back, even if it was presumably better than it had been before, he couldn't help but wince at what he saw. There were scars stemming out from the point of impact, almost spider-webbing out. They were faint, as if they had been healing for years, and he knew it was thanks to Michael's spells from yesterday. The webbing stemmed out to a quarter of a way out on his wings, barely a third with some strands of scarring, and while it wasn't the same as before, his wings had a frailer yet more unique look that he could properly appreciate.

 

From where she was, Jeremy heard Buddy sneezing again, and he glanced over to see that she was showing her worry for him in her eyes.

 

It’s alright, girl. I’m fine, thanks to your daddy. He made sure it looks so healthy today,” Jeremy whistled reassuringly, perching on the edge of the bed. He gave her a sweet scratch behind her ears and listened as she melted with a happy groan. “You’re allowed to just ask, sweetheart, I don’t mind. You don’t need to wait for me to find the right spot.

 

Buddy just continued to melt, pressing her head further against Michael's leg. It seemed to jostle him a little, as Michael made some noise from where he lied almost all curled up now before burying half of his face into one of his polar bear-themed pillows.

 

Holy shit, that’s adorable.” Jeremy felt his heart thump. Just a slightly heavier beat thanks to Michael. It was a familiar sensation these days, especially after he admitted that he was in love with his best friend. Whelp, it’s a good thing they had promised to be friends forever since Jeremy was stuck with this unrequited mess for the rest of eternity. Quite literally too, as fairies only ever fell in love once in their entire lifetime, and they never fell out of it.

 

He heard Buddy let out the equivalent of a heavy sigh, causing Jeremy to look down at her for a moment. In her eyes was a look, and it was easily interpreted as 'just tell him already, you dingus' before she rubbed her face against Michael's leg. Whether it was to prove her point and reinforce Jeremy to tell him or to get an itch on her face was anyone's guess.

 

Jeremy shot her the Look, the one where he’s seriously done with this conversation. He and Buddy had done this every morning when Jeremy woke up first. She just thumped her tail once, unconvinced.

 

Jeremy sighed heavily. “You know why I can’t. Humans fall in and out of love, I can’t ask him to be stuck with me romantically forever if he’s not gonna be happy.” This was also too familiar.

 

Normally, he would have been glad to learn that Labradoodles were very expressive dogs. However, he wasn't happy whenever they had these conversations. She let out a small chuff as she stretched her paws out, moving so she started to lie on top of Michael's legs. Her look read 'you never know if he'll fall out of love with you, my daddy isn't like that and you know it' before she sneezed a few times in a row and shaking her head.

 

The action had Michael muttering nonsense as he tried rolling over in bed, though couldn't because of Buddy's position. She seemed to have the dog equivalent of a shit-eating grin on her face at that, like she was trying to get him to wake up by being a cuddly annoyance.

 

Ugh, fine! I swear you’re impossible, girl.” Jeremy slid back into bed, finding that his back was almost tingly now he was aware of it. He quickly glamoured up a new shirt, sighing to himself. At least he now knew what storm magic felt like, which meant he stood a chance against Squip now. And at least Michael was safe, that was the most important fact in his mind.

 

He hummed happily as he curled up next to Michael again. Michael was alive and safe and his mind was still his own. He ignored Buddy’s somewhat smug look and he started to doze.

 

As he was starting to doze, he felt the weight in the bed shifting closer to him until he felt Michael curled up right against him, lying partially against him. Even if he was snoring, it wasn't too bad, softer now as a hand lazily rested over Jeremy's side. From his vision, Jeremy could see Buddy's smug look become almost overbearing.

 

Somehow, having Michael so close like that, Jeremy couldn’t find it on himself to care about her smugness.

 

 

 

“I cannot believe that they let her get away with that dress. It was practically a belt,” Jeremy grumbled at Thursday during lunch time. His presence apparently was requested by Jenna, with him being the only one with eyes on Maisy’s newest dress and latest conquest. Turns out being small during one period helped out a decent amount.

 

"Jenna, is this seriously why you made sure to talk to Michael this morning to ask him to eat lunch with us for once?" Brooke asked as she took a bite from her sandwich she brought from home. The shrug from Jenna was the only answer Brooke got, and it conveyed enough for Brooke to let out a heavy sigh. "You weren't even asking Michael because you wanted to see him, how rude! And you've know him longer than any of us."

 

Currently, Michael was out doing a quick Seven-Eleven run, so it just left Jeremy and the two girls together at one of the senior lunch tables, Jenna and Brooke having claimed the small four-seater for themselves at the start of the year.

 

Jeremy bit his tongue to stop from correcting her on that fact. Instead he just cackled. “Oh trust me, he already knew why we stuck around. Why do you think he’s nowhere to be seen while we gossip? He already knows us too well, Brookie.”

 

"I mean yeah, it's nice to have another person to gossip a bit with, but that's not all we do," Brooke muttered out with faux bitterness before flopping her head down onto the table, though somehow still managed to 'miserably' enjoy her sandwich.

 

As she ate though, she glanced over to the entrance of the cafeteria and groaned. "Ugh, well I'm at least glad that he's not here now. Jenna, look, doorway to the language department."

 

Jeremy turned with Jenna to see someone he vaguely recognized, but had no reason to have the groaning reaction that Jenna did.

 

“Why do you guys not like Dustin Kropp? He’s not in any of our classes besides Pre Calc, and even then he’s on the other side of the room...” Jeremy couldn’t place it. He seemed nice enough, but then so had his mom to Michael when he was enchanted. Looks could be deceiving.

 

"Well, since you've taken Michael's seat beside him, he's been sitting on the other side of the room," Brooke clarified as she narrowed her eyes at Dustin. "He used to be a nice guy, really, he was, but he just can't get a fucking hint. Ever since the eighth grade, he's been trying to woo Michael romantically. Literally we've told him Michael isn't interested and that he does not understand romantic cues because of his ASD, but he kept trying. Last year, he started moving to sexual advances, and we kept telling him to stop. Michael just thinks he's a nice guy who talks to him sometimes and likes helping him out with math and stuff, but he's just..." Brooke let out a huge groan as she buried her face into her scarf around her neck.

 

Jeremy’s mood instantly darkened. He could be selfless and let Michael love who he wanted, but he sure as hell wasn’t letting Michael be unwillingly wooed and being happy about it. Then something else registered. “Wait, what’s ASD?” He has never heard of it, and it was apparently a big enough deal that they had an acronym for it, those things usually were important. That seemed to be how humans worked.

 

Jenna's brows seemed to narrow a little as she began typing something on her phone instead of scrolling like she had been previously. "Wait, you don't know?" Brooke asked, lifting her head up before adjusting her hat, since how she lied down had it halfway off her head. "ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. Did Michael forget to tell you about it? I mean, he was diagnosed a long time ago, but uh... Do you know what that is?"

 

Jeremy shook his head. Fairies didn’t have ‘autism’ or whatever it was, and judging by the name it wasn’t considered a good thing. True, they had their own set of issues like Sparking Syndrome (where you had no control over your magic and it would spark up randomly) and Puppet disorder (where their magic would control them instead of the other way around) but ‘autism’ wasn’t one of them. It did seem like everyone should know about it, so Jeremy decided he should clarify. “No computers growing up, remember? And my mom was... really strict about everything. So I’m still missing a lot in terms of worldly knowledge.” No lies and it helped explain it, double win!

 

"The definition of autism is basically a kinda disorder you have from birth and you can start seeing and identifying it when someone’s growing up, and it affects the development of things like your social skills and communication as well as your thoughts and patterns and behavior. ASD is basically just saying you can be anywhere on the scale of types of autism and you can display different symptoms," Jenna said, eyes looking up from her phone. "Michael's on that scale. It's not a bad thing or anything, but a lot of people think of it like it's some horrible thing. It literally is just how a person develops."

 

"Yeah, what Jenna said. She's been there for most of Michael's sort of discovery journey," Brooke added before taking another bite of her sandwich. "Sometimes people are asses about it and will throw insults his way about it. Dustin just... doesn't get it and Michael's nonexistent understanding of someone being romantic or sexual in any way to him in ways of flirting. Like, he'd probably get it once you told him your feelings-" The way Brooke raised her brows and stared a little more intensely at him as he said that made him squirm for a second. "-then he'd get it. Until then? He literally doesn't understand. You need to be blunt and honest."

 

Jeremy purposefully ignored her final comment for now, focusing on the main topic. “So... it just lets him see the world in a different way? Like he just developed in a different way from other people?” When he got a nod, Jeremy huffed angrily, crossing his arms. “Well why would be people be an ass about that?! He’s literally no different from anybody else, he just experiences things differently. That doesn’t make him weird or bad or anything,” he grumbled, very glad he didn’t have names (even if he suspected) or else he’d be tempted to curse people. “Michael is Michael. That’s the important thing, none of that other junk like how he’s ‘different’ or whatever. He’s an awesome human.” Jeremy had heard others refer to friends or people as human so he knew he likely wouldn’t be picked up on it.

 

Jenna seemed to be unphased by that bit, but Brooke was continually looking at him with that little-more-intense-than-normal stare. "Yeah, so many people put that on the forefront of their mind. It literally doesn't make a difference," Jenna said before she went back to her phone. "I wish you'd been here to help me when I'd tell that to people before Brookie came along."

 

As she finished speaking, Jeremy heard a new voice he hadn't heard before come up as the form he looked at before approached, leaning down against the free spot at the table where Michael would be sitting if he was here. Dustin seemed to want to sit too, but the bundle of three backpacks saving the spot kept him from doing so. "Hey Brooke, Jenna, Jerry?"

 

"His name's Jeremy," Brooke corrected.

 

"Oh, sorry!" Dustin gave Jeremy a smile then before waving. "I wanted to ask you guys if Michael already left for the day. He seemed to be struggling a little with today's Pre-Calc lesson, so I wanted to ask if he wanted to come back after school so I could help him with the homework." Jeremy could practically feel the waves of annoyance coming off from Brooke as she bitterly ate her sandwich.

 

“I’ve got it, thanks,” Jeremy replied icily. “We do the homework together so thanks, but no thanks. He’s good.” Jeremy sized him up, this guy who wasn’t respecting Michael’s ‘issues’ (he needed to find a better word because it wasn’t a problem, it was just a thing)- not issues, thought processes! That was better- as well as lack of interest. Jeremy didn’t like him one bit.

 

Dustin frowned at that before he stood up. "Well, still, I'd like to at least talk with him."

 

"Well he's getting food for Jeremy and I, and he's leaving after. We'll have a full table after. If we remember, we'll let him know. He still isn't into you, by the way," Jenna said, eyes still on her phone.

 

"Uh, alright, I'll just talk to him tomorrow in Pre-Calc I guess. Bye?" Dustin waved after standing up and walking away, seemingly going to join another table that had a spot saved for him.

 

"Ugh, hate him so much." Brooke finished off her sandwich, crumbling up her cling wrap she had around it before tossing it at the trashcan a few feet away. She missed. "See, this is why I signed up for swimming and not basketball."

 

“Ugh, I do not blame you. He’s kinda a persistent creep. I’ll work on keeping Michael away from him until he can take a hint.” Jeremy nodded, bumping shoulders with Brooke. For a moment, he thought he felt a fizzle of magic from her and he found himself blinking in confusion. There was no way, was there? Ugh, question for later. “So um... anyone else I need to be worried about?“

 

"No, no one besides him and Rich. There might be the occasional asshole who makes a comment to him or something, but that's it," Jenna reassured him before putting her phone down. "Hey, at least you haven't seen Dustin try to flirt real bad with Michael. I feel so bad for Michael. We try to tell him he's flirting but he doesn't really see it like that." She shrugged before checking her phone as it vibrated against the table. "Oh, and he just parked. He's gonna bring us the goods and eat but then probably drag you two back home when the bell rings in ten minutes."

 

“Hey, I’m cool with that.” Jeremy shrugged happily. “Who am I to break routine?”

 

 

 

"OK, you got the basic technique down. Now just try it and aim it at, uh..." Michael looked around the room and pointed at a hanging soda can that he had strung up earlier. "Oh, that one's still up. Aim it at that can."

 

They had been training- well, Michael was teaching Jeremy more defensive spells for when the next attack from Squip's minions would happen- in the basement for an hour or so at this point, starting after lunch. It was the next weekend, and Michael insisted they practice. Jeremy only agreed when Michael promised for a video-gaming session as loud as they wanted before Reece and Tia came back.

 

Jeremy focused, then flicked his wrist and sent the stunning spell right at the can, whispering the incantation under his breath. This was witch magic, it worked differently from fairy magic; it took a lot more effort for a lot stronger results.

 

The spell flew straight and hit the can right in the center. It sent it almost flying, and it started spinning wildly.

 

"You got it all down, I just think you might be a little nervous like you were with the other spells. You have to think about what the spell will do, and the spell will work with you to do it. Watch." From beside him, Michael mimicked exactly what Jeremy did, incantation and all, and the wildly spinning can stopped mid-air, the string being the only thing swinging. "Try using it on the string, the force you used before is great to keep it moving! It'll swing for a bit and provide a good moving target."

 

Jeremy took a deep breath and did as Michael instructed. Incantation and movement, then launch! The string stopped swinging, freezing mid movement, and not from frost!

 

At that, Michael let out a huge cheer, causing Buddy to lift her head up and bark and almost howl along with Michael, doing her own version of cheering. His laughter as he finished his whooping felt like it could lift Jeremy into the air without the aid of anything else. "I told you that you could do it, Jere!" Michael wrapped him up into a big hug as he kept laughing and cheering. Buddy's howling and barking not stopping yet.

 

Jeremy was giggling as Michael half lifted him and spun him around, both from the elation that he had actually cast an intermediate witch spell properly and from slight hysterics from how close Michael was and how happy he himself was. Michael was always beautiful, easily the most beautiful person out there, but when he was happy it reached a whole new level. Jeremy felt his stomach flip and he knew that if his wings were out, he would likely be displaying a little. Damn, he was so smitten.

 

Michael put him down after a minute, his face practically glowing with pride and joy. "That was fucking amazing Jeremy, holy shit! I told you that you could do it. I think an hour of practice is good, especially if we’re ending it on such a high note. Do you think you could clean up around here? I'll be right back with my NES, some Bubble Bobble, Super Mario Bros 3, and some snacks!" Before Jeremy could reply, he was already dashing up the stairs.

 

Jeremy stood as frozen as the can had been, trying to calm his racing heartbeat and cool his flushed cheeks. Well at least he had a reason as to why Michael never noticed any of this stuff now. He was kinda obvious considering everyone else seemed to have picked up on it within seconds of seeing him with Michael.

 

Buddy nuzzled his hand, letting out a small ‘boof’ as a way to ground him back to the Heere and now. Heh, Heere. He didn’t realize how punny his name was until Michael had pointed it out. Blinking himself out of his stupor, Jeremy grinned down at Buddy and started cleaning up.

 

Thanks, Buddy. Got a little lost there,” he chirped. Buddy sneezed out a question. “In his eyes and smile, naturally,” he responded, only half serious. Buddy growled a little, obviously not enjoying his joke. “I know, I know! It was cheesy. It was a joke... mostly.

 

Buddy just let out a small huff before going to her claimed spot in the basement, the corner seat in the L-shaped couch the Mells put down there. She just gave Jeremy a knowing look before curling up.

 

Jeremy rolled his eyes, grinning over at her. “Being my therapist now, are you? Well fine, be prepared for a massive gush all about your daddy.” Jeremy popped out his wings and started hovering, taking down the strings still attached to the ceiling. “Well firstly, did you see how good of a teacher he is? Not only am I learning spells which are supposed to be impossible for fairies to learn, I’m actually getting good at them really quick! He’s patient enough and understanding enough to actually teach rather than just expect me to figure it out. Not to mention smart enough to figure out how to adapt these so I can use them!” If Buddy was going to play this game, he could play it harder.

 

Buddy let out a small series of chuffs that he understood as her saying 'I know, he taught me how to do a lot of things in my training as a puppy' before curling up closer on the couch.

 

Proof positive! Also I swear he’s the most good looking person on the planet? Like people say I’m pretty, still don’t see it, but have they even looked at Michael? He’s gorgeous! Just everything about him is... warm. Yeah, warm. His eyes, his skin tone even his hair. And don’t get me started on how warm he is as a person. Help me Buddy. I’m dying of feelings!” Jeremy joked, hovering and throwing his hand over his eye dramatically. “My chosen partner is just too amazing! I’m so lucky he likes me even as a friend, Buddy, I swear.”

 

Buddy just huffed again before whapping her tail against the couch cushions to show her slight annoyance. He could understand that she was trying to tell him 'we get it, Michael's great, but he likes you more than just as a friend.'

 

No he doesn’t.” He landed gently on the ground. “I don’t know what I did to deserve him in my life...

 

He saw Buddy roll her eyes (he had no idea dogs could be so expressive) before huffing again. She looked like she was about to say something else before the sound of footsteps could be heard near the stairwell.

 

"Uh, Jeremy, could I have some help please? I have a lot of stuff and can't hold it all in my arms safely..."

 

Jeremy was up the stairs in an instant, stowing his wings as he landed lightly in front of Michael, a bright grin on his face. “What do you need?”

 

Downstairs, Jeremy heard Buddy chuffing out a laugh, but he ignored it. Michael was smiling at him.

 

 

 

“So there I was, minding my own business, when suddenly this kid comes over and starts talking Normal to me, yeah? And he had no wings and was dressed super weirdly and he kept chattering in Normal which no other kids my age did. I was freaked but also just like ‘omg you’re a human! That’s awesome!’” Jeremy giggled as he reminisced. “Gah, even back then he was just... enchanting. I swear, he’s had me wrapped around his little finger from the get go.”

 

Jeremy was lounging by the stream in the chunk of woods by the school, with Brooke dipping her feet in. She giggled at his story.

 

Jeremy’s wings were spread, stretching out and getting some sun for once. It had been ages since he had felt comfortable enough to have them out so casually outside. Luckily, Brooke had set up a small spell that would warn her if any unfriendly eyes were approaching, so Jeremy didn’t need to worry. It was nice having someone other than Michael know the whole truth.

 

“I could tell the first time I saw you two that he did. He’s talked about you a lot too, so it’s definitely mutual,” Brooke teased as she nudged Jeremy. “Trust me, I may gossip sometimes, but I’d never lie about that kinda stu-“

 

“Jeremy, seriously, where the hell are you? I got lunch and the breaks almost ov-“ His voice, suddenly there and close, paused. Looking over, he saw Michael a few feet away, staring at the scene with wide eyes. His eyes quickly darted between Jeremy’s wings and Brooke a few times before looking directly at Jeremy.

 

“Hi Mikey!” Brooke said unhelpfully as she waved, ignoring the fact it looked like he was going to lose his shit in a minute.

 

“Erm... hi Mikey. Now look, before you explode, let me explain-“

 

“Oh, please do.” Michael put the slushies he had in his hands down, along with the Seven-Eleven bag, before clapping his hands together in front of his face where they were resting against his lips. “Because I love to come out here, freaking out about where you are, and then seeing you so casually having your wings out and having told Brookie about it! I would really really love to know what made this happen before I freak the fuck out and lose it! Also, hi Brookie.”

 

“She came to me! She figured it out!” Jeremy defended, sitting up straight. “She’s not human either and she pulled me out here where there are some wards so we could talk! I just lost track of time, I’m sorry.” He really was, he didn’t mean to worry Michael. He felt really bad about it.

 

At that, Michael seemed even more shocked, looking between Jeremy and Brooke now. “Wait... what?”

 

“I knew you were human so I didn’t tell you. I could feel some magic off of you but I didn’t know if it was residual or your own, so I’m sorry for not telling you,” Brooke apologized with a soft smile.

 

“I... what?”

 

“She’s a nymph like Chrissy! Except she’s a water nymph, not a wood nymph.” Jeremy grinned, wings perking back up a little from where they were drooping. He flew over to Michael, head bowed a little in shame. “I’m sorry for worrying you, Mikey. I really thought we had more time before you got back. I was just excited to actually be totally myself with another friend...” he looked up at Michael, feeling a little selfish.

 

True, fairies tended to be quite selfish creatures, but Jeremy tried to distance himself from that. And the only time a fairy was usually unselfish was when their chosen partner was involved, which of course, Michael was to Jeremy. Which made things even worse.

 

Michael seemed to be thinking all of this over before slowly picking his things back up and handing Jeremy his slushie. “I wish you had a phone so you could text me this stuff. Once you’re more tech-savvy, we could invest in one for you. Brooke, why didn’t you text me?”

 

She just shrugged. “Forgot?”

 

“Ugh. I know Jenna’s out sick today, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s time keeping can go out the window. I literally text you five minutes ago Brooke, asking where you two were.”

 

“Hey, Jerry has good stories, especially ones about you two as kids.” There was no malice or bite in either of their tones, a more playful hint as Michael kept holding Jeremy’s slushie our towards him, as if he had forgiven him already. Hell, it seemed like he already did.

 

Jeremy reached out took the slushie gratefully with a small murmur of “Thanks”. He was so glad Michael wasn’t too upset about all of this. Before he took his customary long slurp, he reached over and pressed a finger to Michael’s cup, causing the pretty frost patterns to swirl over the outside and for the partially melted slushie to refreeze perfectly mixed.

 

He giggled at Michael’s wide eyed stare directed at the red slushie. It wasn’t that big a deal, he just knew that Michael preferred his slushie before they had a chance to melt. He took a long, innocent slurp from his own cup.

 

Michael just grinned at him before taking his own sip, which he seemed to call a ‘normal, human-appropriate slurp.’ He let out a content hum, probably because it was a ‘fresh pour,’ as Michael also liked to call it, and shut his eyes in joy.

 

He’s totally into you,” Brooke chirped out from behind as Jeremy heard her get up, feet probably out of the river now.

 

Jeremy snorted, looking over at her. “Sure he is.” He rolled his eyes. He didn’t believe it, but even if it were true, he doubted he would act on it. Humans weren’t forever like fairies, not even nymphs were. Jeremy refused to be selfish.

 

“By the way Brooke, your accent is horrible. Stick to Normal for now,” he giggled, letting his wings brush against Michael’s arm. Hey, even if he wouldn’t act he could still indulge.

 

“Sue me, I’ve been exclusively speaking in Normal for almost half my life.”

 

“Wait, there are accents for your bird language?” Michael asked with wide eyes, staring between the two with confusion and awe mixed into his expression.

 

Jeremy shrugged. “Well yeah. It’s just a language you don’t understand. Like, when you speak Tagalog and Tia speaks it, you sound slightly different to anyone who understands but the same to someone who doesn’t.” He turned his attention back to Brooke. “And excuse me miss ‘my family lives in the human world’, as if I wasn’t jealous enough. Let me find some things to pick on!” he teased, accidentally sending a small flurry of snowflakes at her. They got caught in her hair and eyelashes. Jeremy blinked. He had never done that before.

 

Brooke blinked in surprise, getting some of the snow out of her short strands of hair. “Geez, Jerry, don’t Elsa me,” she joked before she started tugging on her sandals.

 

“My god Brooke, anything but Frozen references please. Having to relive it in the sequel trailer and the new Kingdom Hearts game is hell enough, I don’t need more reminders.” There was more misery than anything else in his tone. “But that’s really cool Jeremy, holy hell. You haven’t done that before. How’d you do that?”

 

“I... I don’t know. I just-“ Jeremy held out his hand, palm up, and tried to focus on the feelings he had as he did it last time. Fondness, exasperation, happiness, belonging. For a second, nothing happened, then all of a sudden a small burst of snowflakes poofed out of his hand and a little way into the air, snowing down gently. “I’m not supposed to be able to do that.” He stated, a little in shock. Frost fairies could freeze things, only snow fairies could make snowflakes like this. Did this mean his actual powers were starting to come through?

 

Brooke looked surprised as she was tucking her hair in a bandanna while Michael was full of some kind of joy. “Yes you are. Maybe not as a frost fairy, but as a Jeremy.”

 

Jeremy burst out laughing, his whistles and chirps flickering through uncontrollably. That was just such a Michael thing to say and it made his heart soar. He leant back lightly against Michael as he tried desperately to calm down. The urge to say those three words was undeniably strong, but he resisted. It would be wrong to say them.

 

As he laughed, the snow kept falling, seemingly coming out of nowhere. That, of course, made him laugh harder. “It’s finally started, Mikey! They’re finally coming through!”

 

“I told you that it would happen! But nooo, you had to be a Debby Downer and say it was never happening.” He felt Michael gently prod at his cheek, and when he looked up at Michael, there was nothing but fondness in his gaze.

 

He felt another poke, his time on his arm. Looking up, Brooke was there, hat now on as she smiled softly at the pair. “As much as I don’t wanna ruin this, I have to go to class and you two should get going and eat. Also, I know you won’t say it, but just think about what I told you. I promise I’m not lying when I say the feelings you have with Michael are mutual.

 

“Hey, no leaving me outta this,” Michael whined. “Brooookie!” Despite his whining, the water nymph said nothing as she left, waving with a soft and knowing smile before walking over a fallen tree and disappearing.

 

Jeremy shook his head, hearing what she was saying and wanting to believe it, but also not willing to put himself out there like that. If he said it and it wasn’t mutual, well that would be so wrong. He couldn’t risk it.

 

“Don’t worry, Mikey. She’s just teasing me.” He patted Michael’s arm affectionately.

 

“I still wanna know what she said,” Michael grumbled out before he grabbed Jeremy’s hand and tugging him. “Tell me in the car, I have to take an online test for one of my college courses after lunch so we gotta get going.”

 

Jeremy’s eyes widened but he started to think as he pulled his wings back in. He couldn’t admit his feelings for Michael, but he couldn’t lie either. There was one thing he could try though.

 

Once they were in the car, Michael looked over at Jeremy expectantly before they pulled out. “It wasn’t mean or anything, it’s just... Brooke forgets that fairies and humans, heck even fairies and nymphs are very different in some respects. And she thinks I should try something that I really can’t do. I think she thinks that I am scared or just being stubborn but... it’s more than that.” He sighed, trying to leave it vague. Michael might be bad at social cues but he was very good at reading when Jeremy was uncomfortable or upset.

 

Michael reached over a hand and patted Jeremy’s knee briefly before it returned to the wheel. “Well, just do what you’re comfortable with. If you need to wait, then wait. If you need to figure things out, then do that. Brooke has good intentions though, so I’m sure she has a good reason for trying to push you. Never once has she been wrong. She has really good insight and people-reading skills.” At a red light, Michael looked at Jeremy and gave him a warm, reassuring smile. “But you know yourself better than anyone else would, Jere. Trust yourself.”

 

Jeremy returned the smile, feeling a little better. Maybe... maybe Brooke was right. Maybe Michael could have feelings for Jeremy, if everyone else was so confident in her people skills. Maybe Jeremy would be allowed to be a little selfish with this. He knew that Michael wouldn’t be cruel about it, if nothing else.

 

“You’re right, Mikey. I... I’ll think about it. Thank you.” He grinned, knowing that Michael understood the significance of that phrase these days. The soft smile he got in return certainly seemed to indicate that the answer was still a resounding yes.

 

Maybe he could confess. He would need to explain some things first, see how Michael would take the idea, and the moment would need to be right. But he could do it. Maybe. He could try.

 

 

 

“-are seriously so pathetic. You’re just having him around to have people actually notice you for once, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Everyone’s noticing how fucked up you are compared to everyone else.” Jeremy was rounding the corner, having spent his free period today with Brooke in her acting class when Rich’s voice, which seemed to be so much harsher than normal, invade his hearing.

 

He saw Rich leaning against the locker beside Michael as he was shuffling through his things, seemingly just trying to ignore Rich. For once, he seemed to be bothering him. He never showed how Rich bothered him, if he did at all, but the irritation and hurt were evident in his eyes today.

 

Rich seemed to be off too, more tired than anything else as he gave off seemingly harsher words to Michael. “Seriously, how do you get someone like him hanging around you? I only mess with him because he’s hanging around you, you know. I wouldn’t mess with him if it wasn’t for you.”

 

Jeremy felt his instincts flare up, both vengeful and possessive, and for once he didn’t try to stop them. Rich was going too far, trying to turn Michael against Jeremy or make it seem like Jeremy didn’t care. No one would ever tear them apart, and that included some short ass human bully.

 

Jeremy allowed a little of his glamour to fade, just enough to make him seem subtly inhuman without making it obvious that anything was different. Then he pulled on his title of Prince and strode on over into battle. Fairies were known to have sharp, Silver tongues for a reason. If he wanted a lashing, he would get one.

 

“I think you’ll find, Richard, that I stick with him because he’s my best friend.” Jeremy kept his tone even, but allowed a hint of ice to drip into it. He loomed over Rich, using his height to his advantage. “Of course, you don’t know what that is, do you? You push everyone away with this pathetic attempt at a show of strength so no one wants to be around you. Maybe if you fixed up your brain, acted a bit more like Michael, people might actually like you. Just because he works and understands differently to how you do doesn’t make him less. He’s worth a thousand of you any day, Goranski, so maybe chew on that before you start acting so high and mighty.” His senses were working overtime in his anger, but he decided to sort out all the extra things he was noticing in a minute.

 

Michael looked back at him as he spoke, eyes wide as Jeremy verbally lashed Rich before said bully scoffed, seemingly mostly unphased by what Jeremy was saying. “Look at that, you loser, you can’t even stand up for yourself. Heere has to do it for you.” His eyes, so clearly showing how tired he was, weren’t even looking at Michael as he spoke, they were locked onto Jeremy. “He acts like he gets you, you know he doesn’t.”

 

Before leaving, he shoved Michael a little. “Don’t forget what I told you, you worthless shit,” he almost hissed out before vanishing into the throng of students making their way to lunch or leaving.

 

Michael let out a heavy sigh, looking tired himself as he quickly finished sorting his backpack and locker out. “Sorry ‘bout that, Jere, guess he was having a real bad day...”

 

Jeremy instantly reformed his glamour and dropped the attitude, gently resting a hand on Michael’s shoulder. “It’s not your fault, he’s just an ass.” He shot small smile at Michael, something niggling at his brain but he was too focused on dealing with this to pay attention to right then. Sort it out in a minute. “You know he’s wrong about you, right? You’re not pathetic, or fucked up. You’re kind and honest and strong. And yeah, I might not understand every little thing you do, but no one does for anyone because we’re all different. You’re my best friend, and that isn’t gonna change because some vertically challenged louse of a human being decides that you’re not good enough.” His tone was kind but firm, quiet enough that only Michael could hear him above the crowd.

 

Michael seemed to be somewhat relaxed by his words, but with Rich now gone, eyes still showed how he felt, though only hurt shone through. Well, with a mix of something else Jeremy couldn’t figure out just yet. “I... thanks,” he muttered out, his mood seemingly not improving much. It did get better, Jeremy could tell that much, but it was still rather shit compared to earlier when he was cracking jokes and almost snorting from how much he was laughing. “Let’s just get going. It’s Friday, woo, gotta go home and relax.”

 

Jeremy fought back a frown and instead nodded, offering small smile. Surely, there had to be something he could do to help... wait. There was that one spell Brooke had taught him, which he had been getting really good at. It didn’t last long, but it would be enough to make it to the car at the very least.

 

“Let’s go.” He grabbed Michael’s hand, as he often did, and started leading them both to the car. Quietly, he started mumbling the spell. He hadn’t told Michael about it yet, wanting to surprise him. Now was as good a time as any.

 

Michael just followed him along, slipping on his headphones he had around his neck. Jenna told Jeremy that he only ever did that if he got overwhelmed or needed to block something out, whether it was the outside world or his own thoughts. He was just letting himself be led, just looking almost blankly ahead as his free hand was in his hoodie pocket. Yup, this was definitely a good time to try this out.

 

When he finished mumbling the incantation, he felt a shiver travel up his spine. Yup, it had worked! Slowly, he unfurled his wings, proud to feel them out but not be able to see them. They were invisible. He stepped a little closer to Michael and wrapped the nearest wing around him, letting it rest lightly against his cheek. He watched him carefully, smiling softly.

 

Surprise and confusion definitely surfaced at the initial touch, Michael’s eyes widening before he seemed to really relax. His eyes almost shut, but then Michael seemed to remember they were walking, blinking a few times before glancing over at Jeremy. “Are they out? I can’t see them,” he asked as he slid one of the ear pads off, the one closest to Jeremy.

 

Yup. It’s a spell I’ve been working on to surprise you. It doesn’t last very long, but you looked like you could use a hug.” Jeremy grinned, leaning a little closer so he could wrap him up tighter. Something felt... off about this. Like there was something he was missing, some vital feeling he was not understanding. And it was emanating from where his wings were in contact with Michael. He shook it off for now. He could think about it once they were in the car.

 

I... yeah, I definitely needed it. Thank you,” Michael muttered out, still seeming troubled and not himself but at least a bit better. He even managed to get a hint of a smile out despite his downcast demeanor.

 

By the time they made it into the car, doors shut, the invisibility spell wore off. “I’m sure it won’t be comfortable to h- holy shit what happened to your wings?” Michael almost cried out, eyes wide as his hands were hovering above the keys he stuck in his ignition.

 

Jeremy frowned and wrapped his wings forwards, only to stifle a yelp of fear. His wing tip, the part which was pressed against Michael’s cheek, had a purple and grey stain dripping down it, like ink bleeding along paper. He lightly ran his fingers along it, finding that it felt hot, almost burning hot, in comparison to its usual temperature.

 

“They... they’re stained. I don’t... I don’t- wait. W-witch. And storm fairy.” As he ran his fingers over the stain, Jeremy found himself spacing out, his words running away from him. He wasn’t even sure what he was saying, only that he somehow got a static shock from his wing and he quickly released it. “Ow!”

 

“I... Holy shit, did that happen because of me? What the fuck? Are you alright?” Michael asked, his mother-hen side showing as he leaned a little over the middle console. “I don’t know what I did, holy fuck, I’m so sorry.”

 

Jeremy frowned, pulling his wings away so he could sit normally. “Don’t apologize. I’ve hugged you like that before when you’re upset and nothing’s happened, I don’t think it’s your fault. I just got... shocked. Like something in the stain zapped me? It felt sort of like static, but worse...” The niggling feeling finally made itself known. “And it smells like ozone!”

 

“How did you even get stained though? It’s literally only stained where you touched me, but I’ve never done any kinda magic like your mom does. I’ve also just never stained you, even though you mentioned ‘witch.’ Holy shit, did I do something wrong last time I practiced with Titi? Did I accidentally corrupt myself? Oh fuck-“

 

“Michael, calm down! I think I understand!” Michael stopped, looking at him worriedly. “There are old stories about stained wings, and if I said witch and I’m sensing storm magic, I think I get it. You’ve been enchanted, something to bring down your mood. My wings sucked it away or a bit of it.” Jeremy frowned, thinking hard. “It doesn’t work on other fairies so I’ve never seen it, but we did briefly touch on it in lessons. It’s a side effect of being a royal, the ability to absorb negative energies. I’ll just need to vent them when we get home... I think.”

 

“I... alright,” Michael muttered, still looking at Jeremy with worry. “So... are you implying that Rich did this? That he’s a witch who corroborated with some storm fairy? Because I didn’t feel anything like this until Rich confronted me when I got to my locker, a few minutes before you got there.”

 

Jeremy shrugged. “Or they are acting through him. For all we know, he could just be a bound human acting as a vent or conduit. But something is certainly up with him. I didn’t realize it earlier, but did you smell ozone when he was near you?” This was starting to make sense!

 

“I mean, I don’t have a good sense of smell unless it’s something I really hate or adore, but I think maybe?” Michael let out a sigh of frustration before running a hand through his hair. “Ugh, stupid nose...”

 

“It’s okay. I’m pretty damn certain I did. And Rich looked tired, like bone tired. I... I’m wondering if he’s seen Squip. That’s the only thing that makes sense...” Jeremy faced forwards, tugging at his hair lightly as he did whenever he was scared or worried. The electrical scar on his back tingled at the thought. He flinched a little, naturally cringing away from it.

 

“Wait what?! What do you mean it’s the only thing that makes sense? How? I thought he was only sending out his weird gremlin minions. Ugh, gross slimy fuckers,” Michael grumbled out. Shit, that’s right, he never told Michael too much about Squip, including what kind of fairy he was.

 

“He’s a storm fairy, and he’s not above enchanting people to get what he wants... the goblins follow him willingly but some fairies have been caught and turned to his cause. That’s why I had to get away, anyone could be his.” Jeremy shivered again, curling in on himself a little. He had lost his friend Chloe to him already, a snarky flower fairy from the Summer side. “Squip has no respect for anyone, so if he found Rich and found that he bullied us, I doubt that he wouldn’t take the chance at wearing us down.” He wasn’t really sure what language he was speaking now, losing focus on directing his Normal to English instead of his Tagalog default (since he talked to Michael so much in Tagalog at first). This was his fault. Michael had been hurt, even emotionally, because Jeremy had come to him.

 

A warm hand rested on his shoulder, and he looked up to see Michael giving him the best look of reassurance he could. Even if he was still enchanted, he was trying for him. “Hey, that just means we have more of a reason to kick his ass later. We aren’t going to let him do that. And hey, if he’s going out of his way to wear me down, at least that means he thinks I’m a threat to him, so that counts for something, right?

 

You are really strong, Michael. You could probably take him down yourself, especially with the wand.” Jeremy looked up at him, trying to project as much trust and honesty into those words as he could. “Wait... Michael try summoning the wand. It might help clear out any remaining fairy magic, if there is any in you still. Iron dispels it, just as much as it burns fairies.

 

Michael furrowed his brows as he went and reached into the air before sighing and stopping. "I don't know if I should do that when I still need to drive us back home. Remember last time I fought off fairy enchantments and was exhausted after?" It seemed like he was being honest, but Jeremy could feel a little bit of the enchantment lingering in his words.

 

Jeremy frowned but nodded slowly. “Okay. But you’ll pull it out after, right? When we get home.” Now he realized that Michael was enchanted, he could clearly hear it in his words. And it sounded strong, Jeremy wasn’t sure if he would have even would be able to get through to Michael at all if it wasn’t for him sapping some of it away.

 

Hesitation was obvious in Michael's expression as his hand hovered back over his car keys. "I... yeah," he muttered out, though there was obvious reluctance as he turned the car on. "If I'm not tired when we're back. I can sleep it off if I'm too tired."

 

Jeremy’s frown deepened. He could now hear the enchantment ringing clearly in every word and see it twitching through every action. “Michael... do you need me to help us get home? You’re barely moving at all. I... I’ll ask you properly, okay? Only to help us get home.

 

"I... yeah, sure, if you think I need it," Michael said, not even glancing over at Jeremy as he seemed to be staring right out the windshield.

 

Jeremy nodded. “Michael, drive us home please.” He tried for a small smile, not sure if it came through but he tried.

 

Then, he watched Michael nod before he started properly driving. Even if he was just driving, Jeremy could see the huge difference using his name made. If his theory was right, Squip definitely viewed Michael as a large threat, perhaps a menacing one even, if he did this to him.

 

They drove in silence. Jeremy could feel the stain on his wing spreading, even if it was still tucked away. It was likely affecting him too, dragging him down. The thought wasn’t comforting.

 

When they got home, Jeremy climbed out the car and grabbed both his and Michael’s backpacks and took them round to the backyard. When he got back, Michael was still sort of listlessly staring out the window.

 

He opened the door, ignoring the slight prickly twinge that ran through his fingers upon touching the car, and undid Michael’s seatbelt. Then he gently guided Michael out of the car and into the backyard. Michael didn’t resist, just sort of glumly followed, not all that involved in anything. His dark mood hovered above him, making him seem even more melancholy.

 

“Michael, you need to summon the wand now.” Jeremy nodded, feeling like he was forgetting to do something but being more focused on Michael right now.

 

He seemed to try to do it before ultimately just dropping his hand to his side. "Jere, I'm just really tired. Can we just go in and nap?" he asked, looking at Jeremy with tired eyes. It reminded him a little of how Rich looked, but that was a thought for later. Now, he was focused on Michael.

 

Barking could be heard from inside, and Jeremy picked up on the faint scratching against the doggy door.

 

Jeremy ignored the sounds. “No, this is important. You can nap after. Just summon the wand and then we can both go sleep.”

 

"I'll sleep this off, I'll be fine," Michael insisted as he looked at Jeremy. As they talked, Jeremy could hear the barking become more insistent, howling making its way into the mix.

 

“Sleeping makes enchantments worse, Michael.” Jeremy frowned, surely Michael knew that. “If you won’t summon it, I will. It’ll help you.” There was a reason he shouldn’t normally, but he couldn’t quite remember why. He grabbed Michael’s hand, and reached out his other hand, feeling around the pocket where things were stored. He felt his own dagger in it, but he kept reaching. He needed Michael’s pocket.

 

Michael seemed to flare up with energy then, reaching into where he was grabbing and practically slapping his hand away from something. "No, you dumbass, you can't touch iron!" he almost yelled out before pulling out the wand. He seemed to gather himself enough to mutter something under his breath and wave, and Jeremy recognized as the witch spell to remove enchantments.

 

As soon as it was dispelled, he felt a lot better, a lot more present, while Michael practically fell back on his ass. He probably would have fallen completely if not for Jeremy's hand, because his grip was gone and he realized Michael was passed out, his wand now dropped on the ground.

 

Jeremy felt his glamour melt away along with all the enchantments on them both. Jeremy had to pop his now normal wings out and flap hard to keep Michael upright. He wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to hold up the weight of a human. Quickly, he let a pulse of changing glamour run through him and Michael became weightless again, hovering where he was.

 

Jeremy frowned, redoing his glamour in case anyone saw. He carefully removed Michael’s hoodie and use it to pick up the wand, hissing slightly as the iron burnt him even through the thick fabric. Nothing too bad, just quite uncomfortable. He really had to invest in some enchanted gloves or something. Then, he pulled Michael’s floating body into the house, holding him almost bridal style and holding the wand clutched in one fist.

 

Buddy was not happy with him when he got the door open.

 

She was continually whining and chuffing as she was practically on Jeremy’s heels. Before Jeremy could do anything, she grabbed the wrapped bundle in her mouth, her chuffing now muffled as she was obviously asking what the fuck happened.

 

He got enchanted. I got a hit of it and thought it would be a good idea to use the wand to help him. That was enough to snap him out of it to save me, but it knocked him out.” Jeremy carefully carried him upstairs, letting the glamour drop as soon as he was over his bed. “This was strong stuff, Buddy. Like seriously strong. A depression spell if I had to guess but- gah. I’m scared. They hurt him bad this time. And I was basically useless!” He carefully removed Michael’s shoes and glasses. “Put the wand onto his desk, please.” Jeremy tugged on his hair as he looked over Michael, hissing a little at the sting on his hands. They were burnt, not too badly, but enough to sting for a few days at least.

 

He heard the soft 'plop' from Buddy placing down Michael's wand wrapped in his hoodie before he felt Buddy's nose nudge against his leg. She let out a soft huff then, trying to reassure him before hopping up on Michael's bed as she stared up at Jeremy. Her eyes read 'you know now, so you can be prepared' as Michael silently slept, no snores yet.

 

Yeah I know but stuff like this is witch magic! I can’t counter it, just lessen its effects.” He sat down heavily next to Buddy, stroking her with the back of his hands. “If I had stayed in the Fairy World, Michael would have been fine. He wouldn’t be a target at all. This is all my fault, so much shit is happening to him because I came to him.” Jeremy sighed, still feeling the remains of the spell clearing out. He let his wings out, seeing purple and grey steam pouring off of them in a small, steady curl.

 

She growled and softly barked a few times, telling him the equivalency of 'but you wouldn't have been fine, and Michael wouldn't have been upset, and he was already getting upset and worried when he didn't see you during that last meeting time you set up.' A small noise escaped Michael from her barking, a slight shift in how he was lying on top of his sheets, but nothing else for now.

 

I don’t care about myself! If me dying would protect him, I would! A thousand times over if that is what it would take!” he almost shouted, tears starting to gather. “Do you know what depression spells do to people? They push them to their limits until they can’t take it anymore. It’s dark magic, and this was really fast acting...” He bent over, resting his face in one hand, not caring about the pain.

 

Buddy whimpered then, her head resting against Jeremy's thigh now as she shifted where she was lying. He could tell she didn't want either of those things, for Michael getting hurt or Jeremy.

 

From behind him, he heard a soft grumble before feeling a shift in the bed. A hand touched him gently, and he looked back to see Michael having shifted, mostly asleep but seemingly gaining some energy. "Jere, stop it, y're hurting yourself by doin' that," Michael muttered out before resting his head down next to Jeremy.

 

“Don’t care,” Jeremy grumbled but lifted his head anyway. Jeremy scrubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand before resting his hands face up on him legs. “H-how are you feeling?”

 

"Tired, like really tired, but it's just from removin' the enchantment and fighting 'gainst it with that burst of energy," Michael explained around a yawn. "Please don't hurt yourself though, Jere..." He lifted himself up to sit, even if it was slow, and wrapped his arms around his shoulder before resting his head against him. "Please..."

 

Jeremy squirmed a little from the pressure against his wings but as usual, Michael’s touch didn’t hurt. It didn’t matter how hard he was leaning against them (case and point: when he was fighting off the last enchantment on him from Jeremy’s own mother), Michael couldn’t seem to cause any pain to them.

 

“I... Okay. I won’t on purpose.” Jeremy sighed, leaning back a little against him. “It’s still making its way out of my system. See?” He looked up at the steam still curling off his wings. “M’just sorry I couldn’t do more to help.”

 

"Don't blame y'self, neither of us knew. Now we do, and we can prepare..." Jeremy saw Buddy shoot him an 'I told you so' look from where she was lying. "I can use a loophole of protecting m'self with spells from my wand to keep you safe since 'm supposed t'protect you, as well as just on you."

 

Oh don’t you start.” Jeremy scowled at her, no heat behind his chirps. “Michael, I don’t know if that’ll be enough all the time. If I don’t realize something’s wrong I can’t almost do something stupid to get you out of trouble.” He sighed heavily. “M’just scared. I don’t want to lose you, you’re too special to me Mikey.”

 

"And I don't wanna lose you either, Jere," Michael countered before nuzzling his cheek against Jeremy's shoulder. "I promised I'd protect you. We both just need t'get stronger and be more on-guard."

 

Jeremy rested his head on Michael’s, nuzzling lightly. “If you’re protecting me, who’s protecting you? I was almost useless today.” Jeremy let his wings shift enough that they were resting lightly against Michael’s arms, feeling no remains of the spell anywhere now. These were just his own thoughts.

 

"Jere, you realized what was happenin', got us home, and brought me back to enough to fix it. You weren't almost useless 't all," Michael countered before yawning. "Your brain 's being useless by telling you that y'were useless."

 

“And I’m being useless now by keeping you awake. You need to rest, Mikey, that was a seriously strong spell. It had to have been boosted by fairy magic, which is why I got a whiff of storm fairy mixed in with witch.” Jeremy didn’t move to lay him down, as much as he wanted to. His hands were still too sore to use.

 

"No y'arent." He felt Michael shift, sitting up now as his hands reached over to scoop Jeremy's hands into his own. His slender, paler fingers were starkly contrasted by Michael's calloused, darker digits as they carefully ran along the sides of them. "B'fore I heal y'up and pass out for possibly the rest of the day, yay for Friday, 'm gonna tell y'this: you are not useless, I will fight y'on this. You're amazing, wonderful, 'n my closest 'n most favorite person. I care f'you, so let me do it."

 

Jeremy sighed. “I... we can talk about this properly when you’re not about to pass out on me, Mikey.” He resisted the urge to turn his hands over and interlock them, even if it hurt. He wanted the contact. He wanted to say the words. He didn’t do either.

 

He felt Michael huff, his breath running against his skin. "We better, or I'll fight you," was the last thing Michael said before healing Jeremy's hands back to their original state before he slumped against Jeremy, no longer conscious.

 

Jeremy half chuckled as he pulled his wings away. Slowly, he turned and held Michael in his arms, slowly lowering him down on to the bed properly. It was difficult, but he managed it without letting Michael flop to hard.

 

Once he was lying down, Jeremy pulled the blankets up over Michael’s form. For a moment, he let himself hover just above him, looking down at him. He looked peaceful now.

 

Jeremy couldn’t help himself, after everything that had happened and all he emotional turmoil they had been through, his filters were a little damaged. He pressed a small kiss to Michael’s forehead, just a tiny kiss just to ground himself a little. It was selfish but he didn’t care in that moment.

Chapter Text

Thankfully, there weren't anymore scares like that since. Michael had been extra cautious, but Rich went back to his normal bullying tactics, no magic involved (thank god, because he literally slept until the next morning after all of that, and he passed out at one in the afternoon!).

 

After all of that, though, with the trust he had in Jeremy and his earlier realization from over a month ago, he felt the need to tell Jeremy that he wasn't straight. Granted, he didn't know if that was a thing in his culture (he wished he could ask, but then it would've gone into questions that he wouldn't have been ready to answer at the time). He kept thinking about it, even now as he was working on that Illusionary Glamour that Jeremy promised to help teach him when he first arrived.

 

Sitting in bed, he was using one of his favorite Magic: the Gathering cards as a point of reference to mimic as he was scribbling on a piece of paper. "Uh, like this?"

 

Jeremy looked over from where he was working on his own version. “Yup, just like that. It’s just about creating the main shapes and ideas.” Jeremy picked up his own ‘card.’ “See? I’ve just made the basic outline for the picture and showed where the text will be.” He had indeed done just that, like Michael had, except his was a lot neater, a lot more accurate to the original, even if everything was vague.

 

Looking over Jeremy's 'card' himself, he hummed softly before looking his own over. Granted, Jeremy had this down-pat, but he wanted to do better. "Lemme try again then," he muttered out, replying to his own thoughts as he took another sheet of paper to make a new 'card.'

 

Jeremy grabbed his hand, stopping him. “No, what you’ve done is more than enough. You’ve got the concept in there, I can tell what it’s supposed to be. That’s the important part.”

 

"But I could do better if I tried again," Michael argued, though made no real motion to keep going and actually try again.

 

“You don’t need to do better. It’s already perfect for what we need,” Jeremy assured him with a small, sweet smile. “Trust me. The only reason mine is more detailed than yours is because I don’t know this thing very well. You do, you’ve been showing me them since we were seven. So yours could almost be a few scribbles on paper and it would still work.”

 

The smile and reassurance only reminded him of the issue that he was trying to distract himself from. Michael just quickly nodded as he looked down at the 'card' then. "Y-yeah, that makes sense, I guess..."

 

Jeremy let go of his hand, grinning. He held up his ‘card’ for Michael to see. “Okay, now for the fun bit. You need to imagine what you want it to be, right? So you just imagine how it’s supposed to look, what it’s supposed to be. Then you use your magic to push that idea onto your base. Sometimes it helps to make a physical grabbing motion, like you grab the idea and push it onto your paper.” As he spoke, paper in his hand seemed to grow more solid and colored, and within seconds he was looking at an exact replica of the card sitting next to his own paper, down to the thickness of it.

 

Michael's eyes widened as he watched the paper seemingly transform into the card. "Holy..." He looked at the original card for a moment, doubting himself for a moment, before shutting his eyes and trying, doing the motion Jeremy described just in case. He didn't want to look at it in case he messed it up.

 

A gentle touch on his forehead helped smooth out his furrowed brow. “Relax, Mikey. It won’t work if you don’t believe it. I know you can do this, just believe it yourself. You’re so close already, you just gotta believe it.”

 

He felt his heart beat a bit faster, though he also relaxed against the touch. Instead of freaking out further, he imagined and pushed the idea mentally onto the paper like Jeremy suggested. Jeremy thought he could, he believed in him, so he could believe in himself.

 

There was a pause, then a whooping cheer from Jeremy. “Mikey, look! You did it!” When Michael opened his eyes, two copies of the card lay side by side. If he didn’t have his fingers on one of them, he wouldn’t have been able to tell which was real. “I told you! I knew you could do it!”

 

Buddy was practically howling from where she was settled, as if congratulating him. From everything Jeremy had told him about her and what she said, he could actually believe it. "Yeah, but you definitely helped," Michael said in a cooing tone before resting his head over on Jeremy's shoulder.

 

Buddy sneezed at him and Jeremy chuckled, wrapping his arms around Michael and pulling him a little closer. “She says ‘thanks, but that was all you.’ And... she’s rolling her eyes at us again.” Jeremy let out a small string of whistles and chirps and Buddy sneezed again. “Ugh, you’re impossible.”

 

Jeremy poked Michael’s side, giggling again. “Hey! You did it! You cast your first piece of illusionary glamour. You’re probably the first human to be able to do that in centuries!”

 

Michael rolled his eyes at Buddy before poking Jeremy's side back. "Well, I did have an amazing teacher," he pointed out before reaching up and poking his cheek. "Also, you need to tell me everything my dog is saying, please."

 

“She is making assumptions about things she cannot understand.” He deadpanned, looking straight at her. She sneezed. Jeremy giggled and reached over, stroking her head gently. “Awww, I like you too, girl.”

 

Letting out a sigh, Michael pouted over at Buddy. "What, do you not like me either? Rude, I raised you. You should, at the very least, like me, but hopefully you love me."

 

Jeremy chuckled again, a little whistle showing through. “Oh she likes you loads and she absolutely adores you and doesn’t hesitate to say it. A lot. I just can’t... translate that whole thing properly. It’s difficult to find the right words to use.”

 

He couldn't help but raise a brow at that. "What, you can't say stuff around love?"

 

Jeremy flushed a deep purple and averted his gaze. “I can say it. But it’s... special. Fairies don’t use that word unless they really, truly mean it. To say it any other way, and to have it not reciprocated, is the equivalent of... I don’t know, forced intimacy? Like groping someone or something. It’s... a sacred thing. Even Squip respects that bond to a point. I get that it’s different for humans, but I just can’t bring myself to change it.”

 

He was silent as he listened, nodding. "That makes sense, cultural differences and all. I'd never force you to break your cultural important things like that." This was definitely a huge thing for Jeremy to talk about, and maybe he could…

 

"Humans are weird in a lot of ways with love and stuff," Michael started as he picked at his fingers. "Like how most people think the norm is to be only attracted to the 'opposite gender' and stuff, even if it's way more complex than that and a lot of people aren't like that. Forced intimacy in a different way I guess but to try to be intimate in a different way, even if it isn't what you want? I don't know if it makes sense, but, um..."

 

Jeremy looked confused, his brow furrowed. “What do you mean by the norm? Opposite... gender? What?”

 

Michael took a deep breath. Well, he dug himself into his own grave, time to bury himself in it.

 

He went on to explain the intricacies (well, they weren't really that intricate) of the general consensus of LGBT+ views on relationships before lying back in bed, exhausted. "People can be really fucking stupid, especially humans in general, so yeah... Like, I'm gay, meaning I only like guys." Welp, hopefully that worked and Jeremy didn't suddenly hate him.

 

“You only like guys? That’s so...” There were a number of things that Michael could imagine him saying, most of them not very nice. “-limiting.” That was not one of them. “I mean, if that’s what you like, more power to you, but I just can’t imagine such... limitations. And you’re telling me most humans only like one type of person? And that there is all this stigma? Wow, that’s just so ridiculous. You promise you’re not tugging my wing here?”

 

"Well, I... uh..." He was a little shell-shocked by Jeremy's reaction. "No, there are different kinds of attraction, but the stereotype is to only like the other gender, like boys only like girls or girls only like boys, which isn't the norm, but media and everyone acts like it is. But, uh... what?"

 

“But you only like guys,” Jeremy pointed out, apparently struggling with that idea. “Like, I’ve never heard of anyone liking just one type of person before. It’s... a bit of a shock?” He shrugged helplessly.

 

"I mean... There's a lot of other sexualities that like people." Michael took out his phone, typing something up and showing Jeremy the huge list of sexualities. "See, look. There's a lot more. Is that, like, not heard of in fairy culture?"

 

Jeremy shook his head, eyes wide as he was reading over some of list. He flushed dark purple again, looking away after taking a deep breath. “Fairies get one person. It doesn’t matter how they present themselves, what parts they have, nothing. It’s just one person, forever. And it’s a conscious choice, you can feel yourself falling, and you can stop it if you really don’t want to. But if you let yourself fall, that’s it. You don’t get a do over,” he half whispered, eyes closed.

 

As he listened to this, Michael couldn't help but feel how the mood definitely changed. He fiddled with the strings of his hoodie then, disregarding the three copies they now had of his favorite MTG card (he didn't know now which was his original). "Well... I hope that whoever you fall for doesn't treat you badly or something. I'll fight them, one-vee-one, and kick their ass!" He held up his hands then, as if to further prove his point, in a fighting position.

 

Jeremy’s blush darkened and he groaned, hiding his face against Michael’s shoulder. “I don’t think you need to worry about that... most fairies never actually find anyone, and sometimes they never confess because it’s not reciprocated. So it’s likely not someone you’ll need to worry about fighting.”

 

"Well, if you do find someone who catches your eye, they have to get through my careful inspection process first or they're in a world of hurt, no matter who they are. No one is allowed to hurt my best friend, my favorite person, emotionally or physically. Hell, I'd kick my own ass if I did that." He tried to hide the fact that, with Jeremy's wording, it didn't sound like he thought of him in that way at all. Even so, he wouldn't let his unreciprocated feelings ruin his friendship with Jeremy. He was too important.

 

Jeremy giggled and wrapped his arms around Michael a little tighter, turning his head to look up at him with soft eyes. “I don’t think you need to worry about that, Mikey. The only time I’d let myself fall is if they were the right person. Trust and respect and friendship have to exist first before I’d even let it start.”

 

He paused, resting his chin on Michael’s shoulder. Then he let out a small string of quiet, gentle whistles, and Buddy lifted her head to stare at him, as if shocked.

 

Michael looked down at Jeremy then, unable to help but feel fondness in his chest for some reason. "Hey, you can't leave me out of the loop. If Buddy's looking at you with wide doggo eyes, I need to know what you said."

 

“I said I’m apparently a bisexual mess according to those definitions,” Jeremy deadpanned, but the tiniest flinch told Michael everything he needed to know. He had a headache. He just told a lie.

 

He could tell that he wasn't at least lying about being bisexual, he was just supplying it instead of what he actually said. Michael tried to think for a second before laughing. "Well it's good to know, I guess, what you are in human terms. But, uh..." Hesitation before taking a deep breath. "Will you eventually tell me what you actually said?"

 

Jeremy instantly froze, then turned to hide his face against Michael’s shoulder again, chirping out what Michael knew was a curse under his breath. For a second, he was silent. Then he nodded. “Yeah. I will,” he whispered, his voice cracking slightly. “Promise.”

 

He didn't flinch at all. He was telling the truth.

 

"Just... tell me when you're ready, no pressure," Michael reassured before he ran a hand through Jeremy's hair.

 

It took a second, but Jeremy eventually melted against him, purring a little as all his glamour fell away and his wings eased out. He totally relaxed against him, nuzzling lightly against his shoulder and his hand.

 

Michael wished he could have kissed the top of his head then, it was just so perfect... But he didn't.

 

Instead, he just sat there, letting Jeremy relax as he tried to do the same. With his adrenaline pumping, he couldn't. If Jeremy could, that was enough for him.

 

 

 

The rest of the week passed quietly. The glamour eventually faded and Michael found his real card again, even if he had now learnt how to make more, and things went back to normal.

 

Except on Friday, when Michael arrived to pick Jeremy up with their lunches, he overheard something rather odd. “You can do it, Jerry! We’re so proud of you,” Brooke cooed happily, patting Jeremy lightly on the back. Jenna was fully focused on him, phone nowhere in sight, nodding and smiling.

 

"What is it that he can do?" Michael asked as he dropped the bag of Seven-Eleven goodies that he picked up for the girls, the other slung around one arm before he handed Jeremy his customary blue slush.

 

With wide eyes, Jeremy grabbed the slushie and took a long (but more human) slurp from it. Jenna covered his silence quickly, grinning up at Michael. “Something he’s been really nervous to do for ages. I’m sure he’ll explain once you two get home... it’s a little complicated.”

 

Raising a curious brow, Michael shrugged for now before sipping some slush. "Eh, well Jeremy's good at explaining things." With his free hand, he patted Jeremy's shoulder, giving him an encouraging smile. "C'mon, let's get going. If I can help you out with this, I definitely will!"

 

Jeremy blushed a little before nodding brightly, shooting the girls a happy if somewhat nervous grin. “Let’s get home, I’ll explain then. For the car though, I wanna hear all about what you were cooking today in home ec, it smelled delicious!”

 

"You can try some in the car," Michael reassured him as he tugged him out of the cafeteria and quickly to his car. "I have it set in your seat, I figured you'd want first dibs. We made homemade cookies, and I made strawberry cookies because doing normal cookies are just boring, y'know? Everyone said I wouldn't be able to do it, but then when I was cooking, everyone wanted some. I told them nope, only some for my best friend who supported me and then the rest for me!"

 

“You made me strawberry cookies?” Jeremy asked, eyes lighting up. He loved sweets and he really loved strawberries. “Thank you, Mikey!” Jeremy half launched himself at Michael, careful of both their slushies and bags, wrapping him in a one-armed hug.

 

Michael couldn't help but laugh as he returned the one-armed hug, trying to continue their walk to his car that was now in-sight since they exited into the student parking lot. "Of course, Jere. I told you I'd be making a sweet treat today for us both!"

 

Jeremy giggled, careful to keep his whistling under control. “Well yeah, but I didn’t realize you were making strawberry cookies! Like, wow! That’s so awesome! You’re so awesome, Mikey!” He didn’t try to let go or move away until they were right by the car and even then it took a moment for him to detach.

 

"Well I wanted to try making them, and you were really hyped about the idea of them, so of course I was gonna be that one weird kid who did them," he said with a laugh. "They're wrapped in cling, I didn't want you to possibly get irritated by aluminum foil when you'd inevitably rip it off. Please just leave two for me."

 

Jeremy half melted, looking at him softly. The moment they were both in the car, Jeremy let out the small string of whistles under his breath. Then he grinned over at Michael, eyes closed and head tilted adorably. Then he started eagerly unwrapping the cookies, almost drooling when he caught a whiff of them.

 

Michael just smiled wide back at him before starting the car and driving back home. "Like I said, just leave two for me," he reminded Jeremy, glancing at the twelve cookies he made before focusing back on the road.

 

Jeremy hummed and nodded, picking up a cookie almost reverently. When he took a small bite, he groaned with happiness, his wings almost popping back out (they did that whenever he got overwhelmed with a happy feeling). He kept nibbling at the cookie, only pausing long enough to look over to Michael and say, “These are delicious! Thank you!”

 

"Yeah, of course Jere. Thank you for supporting me and my dreams," he teased with a laugh as he let the music he was playing when driving before fill the comfortable silence.

 

Jeremy seemed unwilling to take big bites of the three cookies he made it through, instead nibbling on them happily throughout the drive. When they got home, just as Michael set the car into park, he had an idea. “Oh, this would be so cool if-“ He didn’t finish his thought, instead shrinking down and picking up the cookie, which was almost the same height as he was. His wings fluttered happily as he continued to nibble, which were now actual bites.

 

Looking over, Michael couldn't help but let out a huge laugh that ended with him snorting. "Holy shit Jere, that's so innovative. You don't need to do that though, holy shit, you have like six more cookies left after that one." Shaking his head, Michael got out and grabbed his and Jeremy's bags, as well as their slushies. "If you come out normal, you only have to worry about holding the cookies."

 

Jeremy thought for a second, then poofed back to normal size, wings away. He scooped up his current cookie as well as the rest of them in the clingfilm and followed after Michael, munching on it happily.

 

Michael couldn't help but happily roll his eyes at Jeremy before unlocking the door and walking in, taking the brunt of Buddy's affectionate welcome. "Oof, hi girl, good t'see you too," he said around a laugh before putting his things down so he could properly shower her in the affection she obviously was demanding.

 

Jeremy, on the other hand, wandered into the kitchen, finishing off his current cookie and setting the rest onto a plate, leaving them on the counter for now, staying just within view. When he came back in, Michael was on the floor, Buddy sitting firmly in his lap and looking like she had no intentions of moving.

 

"You just abandoned me, Jeremy, for cookies. Now look at me, I'm trapped," Michael whined out before wrapping his arms around Buddy and resting against her.

 

“I mean, you can’t judge until you’ve tried one. They’re amazing. But to be honest, you look pretty comfy there. If you really want to get up, I know exactly what to tell her to get her to move, but only if you’re down with it.” Jeremy grinned, letting his wings out as he hovered horizontally, dropping to eye level with Michael.

 

"Yes please, because if I'm going to be trapped, I'd rather it be in my bed versus the hardwood flooring of the living room," he grumbled out, though grinned right back at Jeremy as he patted Buddy's sides.

 

Jeremy let out a series of chirps and whistles and Buddy instantly turned to look at him properly, tail wagging madly. When he nodded, she bounded out of Michael’s lap, happily whining and wiggling her whole body, leaving wet, sloppy kisses on Jeremy’s cheeks. He was giggling, even as he fell to the ground in a fit of laughter and a mess of doggie love.

 

Michael got up then, unsure of what he said but grinning at how happy it seemed to make both of them. He picked up the near-empty slushie cups, taking his last sip before tossing them out and grabbing the plate of cookies. "C'mon, you dorks, lets get comfy upstairs instead of on the hardwood floor. It's plush!"

 

Jeremy let out a small chirp and Buddy bounced backwards, letting him up but still wiggling madly. “I’ll catch you in a sec, I’m just going clean up.” Jeremy’s smile turned soft as he looked over to Michael. A second later, he darted into the bathroom.

 

"OK, don't take too long," he called out before whistling for Buddy as he started up the stairs. "C'mon girl!"

 

A couple of minutes later, Jeremy wandered into Michael’s bedroom, chuckling at how Michael was sitting with Buddy in his lap again, half buried in a mountain of fluff. He perched on the edge of the bed, nervously fiddling with his fingers and blushing lightly.

 

"What's gotten you so nervous?" Michael asked as he held his arms around Buddy again, somewhat loosely, as he looked over at him. "Oh, is it the thing the girls mentioned before? How can I help?"

 

Jeremy sighed heavily, blush darkening, and he opened and closed his mouth a few times. After a second, all that came out was a small string of whistles and a small curse of, “Damnit!” muttered under his breath.

 

Frowning at this, Michael gently patted Buddy's sides. She seemed reluctant to move, but eventually did and sat beside Michael once he settled next to Jeremy. He took Jeremy's hand, intertwining their fingers and smiling with reassurance once Jeremy's face shifted to look up at him. "Just... tell me what's on your mind, Jeremy."

 

Jeremy shot him a small smile before taking a deep breath and nodding. “I- erm- I like you.” Upon seeing Michael’s slightly confused face, Jeremy instantly moved to clarify. “Okay so you know how the other day we were talking about... sexualities? That’s the right word, isn’t it? And I whistled something out? That meant ‘I adore you’.” He dropped his glamour, letting the purple in his cheeks shine through as he grinned shyly at Michael.

 

Blinking as he got the meaning of what Jeremy meant, he couldn't help but grin back. "I like you too. I mean, you're my best friend and favorite person, how could you not be? I adore you too, and I know Buddy does too."

 

Jeremy huffed a little, wings twitching with annoyance. “You’re my favorite person too, Mikey, that’s sort of what I’m getting at. But you remember that conversation? You’re my ‘one’.”

 

Michael furrowed his brows as he tried to recall what he was referring to. "Your one what?"

 

“You know, my one. As in my only one? As in I chose you and I’m happy that I did one? The no one else will do one.” Jeremy was obviously getting a little frustrated but was doing his best to contain it. His wings were twitching though.

 

"I... I don't know what you're talking about," Michael tried, frowning as he gently squeezed Jeremy's hands. "I'm trying to think but I don't know, I'm sorry."

 

Jeremy took a deep breath, looking down at his lap. “Damnit, why is this so hard?” He looked up at Michael again, something burning in is his eyes along with the usual fondness. “Fairies only get one person, and you’re that person for me, Michael. You’re the one that I- that I-“ He couldn’t seem to finish the sentence.

 

Michael tried hard to recall what Jeremy told him, thinking back to when he was being taught his Illusionary Glamour. Buddy's judgmental gaze wasn't help him as he tried to remember. He came out as gay, Jeremy sassed him about it, and he talked about fairy culture. "You... you uh..." He was trying hard to remember the exact details. "You chose me?" he tried, still wracking his brain because that seemed right, but not entirely.

 

Jeremy nodded eagerly, looking a little relieved. “Yes! I chose you! I let it happen because why would it happen for anyone else when you’re an option? And everyone has been trying to tell me it’s mutual but I’ve still been nervous because it’s such a big thing for me and-“

 

"Dude, you're my favorite person, so I'm glad you think of me like that. But... how you were sorta saying it before wasn't the most clear. Why would you be nervous about 'choosing' me when we've already been such good friends for so long?" He really was trying to get it, and he felt bad because Jeremy seemed so happy when he thought he understood. He was so happy, he didn't want to ruin that, but he just wasn't sure on what he meant and just couldn’t remember exactly what that meant, even if it was obviously important, and he felt so bad. He tried to hide it from his voice as he spoke up. "I'm sorry, I just... I'm not good unless you're clear and blunt-"

 

“I can’t- I can’t- gah!” Jeremy sounded on the edge of tears as he tugged at his hair. Before Michael could voice his concern, Jeremy shot forward, pressing their lips together in a very brief but fiery kiss. It was almost overwhelming how many feelings were being poured into that single action, but the most notable one was love. Then, in an instant, Jeremy was gone, running to the window and flying out.

 

Michael sat stock-still for a minute as what Jeremy was saying made sense. Oh... Oh! His feelings weren't unrequited. He just didn't get it- fuck, Jeremy got upset because he didn't get it and he flew out. "Jeremy!"

 

Quickly getting up, he went to his window and looked around, calling out to him as he tried to pinpoint where he went. "Fuck... fuck, of course that's what he was trying to say, you fucking idiot. Jeremy!"

 

There was a small sniffling from somewhere above him, but none of the usual sounds of Jeremy flying. So he had landed on the roof somewhere. There was way up there from the attic window.

 

He quickly dashed out of his room, ignoring the look he knew he was getting from Buddy, before heading to his attic by pulling down the string and climbing up the ladder that dropped down. Once in there, he quickly made his way to the little window there before twisting himself out it once he opened it. He saw Jeremy sitting there, curled up around himself, looking miserable. Michael's heart ached at what he caused (he was supposed to protect him, god damnit, and he ended up hurting him).

 

He managed to get himself out, huffing for a second as he got himself seated on the rooftop next to Jeremy. "Jere?..."

 

Jeremy instantly sat up a little straighter, scrubbing at his face and turning to look at Michael. He hadn’t been crying as of yet, but he seemed to be close. “Michael, I’m so sorry. I-I shouldn’t have done that,” he stammered out, looking almost afraid.

 

"I'm sorry," he countered, "I... I didn't get what you were trying to say. My brain just couldn't connect it or remember, and I made the situation a lot worse by making you just get so upset and scared. It makes sense, and I'm really sorry. I'm not mad at you, I swear 'm not, but I just..." Michael hit his hands against his knees in frustration, but only directed towards himself. "I need to beat myself up after this because I hurt you, even if I didn't mean to..."

 

Jeremy relaxed a little, but he still looked devastated. “Please don’t, it’s not your fault. I... I should have kept my own frustration under control. It wasn’t fair on you, you were trying so hard. I should have just done better or just stayed quiet. It wasn’t right for me to force this on you, not when it’s so different for both of us. I get that. Just... please don’t send me away... I don’t care if I’m just being stupid, I’ll keep it to myself I promise, just please don’t make me leave you...” He sounded small and scared, like he might start crying properly just from the thought of that.

 

Confusion overtook him at that. "What? No, I'm not going to do something like that. I didn't even get to tell you how I felt back, Jeremy, you literally just kissed me and flew off." He reached over, waiting until it was alright to for him to take one of Jeremy's hands in his own. "I get what you were trying to say now, and I need to tell you how I feel, how I've realized how I've felt about you since you saved my ass three consecutive times and since I saw you look like the happiest being when you first saw the damn slushie machine at Seven-Eleven." Michael took a deep breath, even if he already knew how he felt was reciprocated. "Jeremy, I finally realized that the feelings I've had for you are more than just best friends, more than like, more than a crush or just infatuation. I love you, Jeremy."

 

Jeremy was sitting perfectly still, it wasn’t clear if he was even breathing and his eyes were wide and hopeful. “I love you, Michael,” he whispered before his wings snapped up and his spine straightened as if he were being shocked. For a split second, Michael could feel magic and love and power radiating off of him, before he melted bonelessly against him with a soft, happy sigh, Jeremy’s wings wrapping around him gently.

 

It took all Michael had to not just freak out for multiple reasons. Worry about Jeremy first, yeah. “Uh, Jere? How’re you feeling?” he tentatively asked after seeing how powerful of a reaction he had to saying those three words that were way more powerful and meaningful for a fairy to say. “You uh... y’good?”

 

“Mhmm,” Jeremy hummed, contentment rolling off of him. “Feelin’ very good. ‘Nd I love you so much, Michael. So so much.” He was slurring slightly, nuzzling against Michael’s arm and purring a little.

 

“Uh... if we’re gonna keep doing this, can we move inside so I don’t have roof tiling indents later?” Michael tried to joke, a bit freaked because he didn’t understand exactly why Jeremy was like this. Was it because of them telling each other they loved each other? The reciprocated love? If so then damn, fairy love was fucking powerful.

 

Jeremy nodded and, in a single, swift motion, scooped him into his arms. Michael didn’t even notice him using the glamour. Jeremy carried Michael bridal style back down through his bedroom window, placing him lightly onto the bed before curling up on his lap, pressing a number of slow kisses to his temple.

 

Michael felt his cheeks warm as Jeremy practically showered him in intimate affection. It was a little overwhelming at first, but he managed to calm down as he lightly wrapped his arms around Jeremy’s waist. Looking over to Buddy, who was staring from the doorway, he gave her a hesitant smile. “Uh... He’s better now? Yay?”

 

A couple of minute expressions passed over Buddy’s face, and she sneezed, but somehow, Michael knew that she had just asked ‘are you okay?’ to Jeremy, who just giggled and let out a string of chirps and whistles to her. Except Michael understood that too.

 

“I’m fine, this is just really nice. I’m going to enjoy it before it wears off.”

 

It took a good bit for Michael to understand that he somehow understood the whistles and chirps. His eyes were wide as he stared at Jeremy, who was facing him as he finished talking. "Did... did I understand what you just said? Wait, did I just understand Buddy?"

 

Jeremy’s eyes, though sleepy, widened in surprise and he gently cupped Michael’s cheeks, stroking his cheekbones with his thumbs. “It must be a side effect from all of this. It’s okay, you’re fine. M’sorry I didn’t explain properly earlier.” Jeremy leaned in hesitantly, then pressed a gentle, almost mind-numbingly sweet kiss against Michael’s lips. “But I can explain now as much as I understand, okay?”

 

Once he realized he trailed after Jeremy as he pulled back from the kiss, seeing that their faces were so close, holy shit, Michael just nodded before relaxing under his gentle, relaxing touches. "A-alright, I'd appreciate that."

 

Jeremy giggled and gave him another quick kiss. “So fairies react to the words ‘I love you.’ S’why they’re so important. ‘Cause if you say it and the person you’re saying it too also says them, it forms a bond. A magic bond. But if you say it and they don’t say it back then it hurts a lot and feels really gross for the person you’re saying it to. S’why I couldn’t just say it to you ‘fore.” As he spoke, Jeremy kept pressing kisses all over Michael’s face, seemingly unable to stop himself. Michael couldn’t say he was going to complain.

 

“Anyways, when the magic bond is formed, it feels really good for the fairies involved. Just wanna snuggle and love the other person and just focus only on them for a while. Spoil ‘em. Only lasts an hour or two usually, but since you’re a human I don’t know exactly how long it’ll last. Or exactly what’s gonna happen. No records of this ever happening before.”

 

"I mean... I'm not gonna complain," Michael muttered out as he melted against his kisses almost. "I'm glad that it's making you feel so good and happy too, you deserve it, especially after how much you must've been struggling before." He tried to make it have a more joking tone, but Jeremy's spoiling was helping him to relax more than he had in a long time.

 

Jeremy wrapped his arms around Michael’s neck. One hand reached up and started playing gently with his hair, the other reaching down to press them even closer together. And with more of his face exposed, Jeremy seemed to decide that it needed to be kissed as well. “Mm, feels so nice to be able to do this now. I love you so much, Michael. So so much. ‘Nd I have for a while. M’so happy you love me too,” he murmured between kisses.

 

Michael couldn't help but laugh as he let Jeremy do his loving thing as he felt himself just melt, so relaxed. "'M glad you like me too. Sorry I was so oblivious until now." He let out a small sigh before asking, "Could we lie down and do this? It'll be a lot more comfortable, I think."

 

Jeremy nodded, his eyes looking a little glazed and sleepy but very, very happy. “Whatever you want, love,” he mumbled against the Michael’s jaw and he let himself be guided down as Michael shifted them both. Jeremy put away his wings so as not to hurt them before tangling their legs together and wrapping himself as closely to Michael as possible, pressing slow, gentle kisses along his neck and jawline.

 

"Uh, if I can ask, how long have you known about how you feel about me? I sorta told you when my dumb brain figured it out." As he settled in with Jeremy, he saw that Buddy was walking out, giving a look of 'finally' before they were really alone.

 

“Started falling that day when I first showed you my shrinking spell, just ‘fore you got Buddy. That’s when I realized and I didn’t wanna stop it. Properly fell jus’ before you helped me make the pajamas.” Jeremy nuzzled a little against Michael’s neck before continuing with his kisses.

 

"Oh... holy shit, that's a while," Michael muttered out as he wrapped his arms around Jeremy's waist, though yawned as he felt himself so at ease from Jeremy's excessive affection.

 

Jeremy nodded. “‘Cause it’s a lot. Takes a while to fall properly. And then I was happy just getting to be close to you. ‘Cause I wanna see you happy ‘cause I love you.” Jeremy giggled as he said the words, his brain seeming to get a little stuck. “I love you. I love you. I love you.” He kept mumbling those three words over and over again as he kissed up Michael’s neck, along his jaw and back up to his lips. Over and over, so many soft, sweet, loving kisses.

 

Michael couldn't help but laugh a little at how adoring Jeremy was being, returning some of the kisses (he wasn't experienced, so he was doing his best) before pulling himself away. "Uh, I think the emotional toll, in a good way, of course, is wiping me out. Is it alright if I take a quick nap while you're still like this, or...?"

 

Jeremy nodded and curled up against him again, tucking himself into the crook of Michael’s neck. “Jus’ wanna be close to you ‘nd make sure you know how much I love you,” he murmured, nuzzling slightly.

 

"I definitely know now, don't worry," Michael reassured him as he rested his head against the pillow, humming softly as he shut his eyes.

 

Michael felt Jeremy’s breathing, which was already quite steady, slow down. He fell asleep within seconds. He couldn’t help but giggle a little at how loving Jeremy was being, even as he drifted off himself.

 

 

 

About an hour later, Jeremy woke up. He was feeling a lot more present, and could feel a subtle curl of embarrassment in his gut from how affectionate he had been. Then again, he was curled up in Michael’s arms now and he had gotten to kiss Michael (a lot) so it wasn’t exactly a bad thing.

 

He felt Michael's arms tighten him around him, lovingly. He could feel the love from Michael now as he was so close to him. Oh yeah, Michael loved him back, he really loved him and he said it first! He had been so gushy and loving in how he told him, holy hell.

 

Jeremy remembered the rush he had felt through him when Michael had first said those words. It was like fireworks in his brain, while also being relaxing, better than any high he had ever experienced.

 

He sighed happily and curled closer to Michael, if that were possible. Still feeling the smallest of hints of the rush from earlier and the relaxation from sleep, he unashamedly pressed a slow kiss to Michael’s neck. If he had been more awake, he might have gotten embarrassed but here, curled up in Michael’s arms having just woken up, here he was safe and happy and relaxed and loved.

 

From his kiss, he felt Michael stir a little under the touch, but did nothing else except smile in his sleep.

 

He heard the soft boofs from behind him, which he easily interpreted as 'you finally did it, I told you it would work out.' Looking over, he saw Buddy sticking her head in from the doorway with the closest thing to a smile that a dog could give.

 

I know, I know. But can you blame me for being scared considering the alternative?” he chuckled, not really moving from his spot.

 

She let out a small chuff as she walked in and hopped up onto the bed, curling up by their feet. What she was saying was easy to read from her expression: 'no, but I knew the alternative wouldn't happen, and you knew too.'

 

I didn’t know, but I decided to be brave and try,” he clarified, shooting her a small, teasing smile. “I’m feeling much more myself now though, thanks for asking.” He nudged her lightly with his foot, affectionately rubbing along her front paws.

 

She let out a soft growl then, one of enjoyment, and her tail thumped hard against the bed. The thumping had Michael stirring a little again, a sleepy sound passing his lips as he pulled Jeremy just a little closer.

 

Jeremy giggled and let himself be moved. “I’m so happy right now, Buddy. Just so, so happy.” He sighed, moving his foot a little over again to keep stroking her.

 

Her soft growls were an indication enough that she was so, so happy right now too, her tail that continually thumped against the bed helping to prove her point as well.

 

With the continued thumping, Michael seemed to finally wake, grumbling a little before burying his face into the crook of Jeremy's neck. "Mm... 'm tryin' t'sleep, Buddy..."

 

Jeremy giggled and started to run his fingers through Michael’s hair. “She’s just happy, Mikey. Besides, wasn’t this supposed to just be a quick nap?” he teased gently.

 

"Yeah, but..." Michael sighed as he leaned into his touch before running his hands gently along Jeremy's back. "I guess bein' up and havin' you close is good too." Jeremy felt Michael start to kiss along his neck then, slow and lazy and loving.

 

Jeremy tilted his head back a little to give him more room purely out of instinct while he tried to process. Oh… OH. Michael must be getting hit by the rush now, he wouldn’t normally be this confident with kisses or anything like that (since they were both kinda shy people, it had taken them both a while before they really became tactile at all). Maybe because he was human? By the Stars, how else would it affect him differently?

 

Then again, Jeremy wasn’t exactly gonna complain simply because this felt really nice. He sighed happily.

 

He could hear Buddy grumbling and complaining about this from the foot of the bed, especially since Jeremy stopped rubbing her paws. "Shhh Buddy," Michael muttered out before pulling Jeremy even closer, pressing a few kisses against his jawline. "You'll get your cuddlin', just not yet. It's Jere's turn for all the lovin'."

 

Jeremy hummed. “You can still understand her?” he asked before giggling and tilting his head down to press a slow kiss to Michael’s lips. “Also hi. I love you.”

 

"Mhmm, I can, 'think it's from the thing you did earlier. I like hearing her, but not as much as kissin' you right now." Michael pressed a slow, lazy kiss against his lips, drawing it out for a good bunch of seconds before pulling back, clearly pleased from his expression and smile. “Also hi, I love you too.”

 

The kiss left him feeling a little dazed as Jeremy smiled up at Michael. “Well I won’t stop you if you wanna kiss me more. I know the feeling rather well,” he teased, rubbing their noses together sweetly. Jeremy wasn’t sure what to expect if he ever confessed. Sure he had seen the final result and he knew about what happened biologically, but he never had anyone new to it to ask about it. Now he was going through it himself, he was almost glad for that fact. It made it even more special somehow.

 

He heard Buddy complain from the foot of the bed, almost wailing with her soft howls. "I said later, Buddy, shhhh," Michael shushed before pressing kisses all across Jeremy’s face. "Yeah, this is definitely good. I have a lot of other ways I wanna show my love f'you now that I can, but oh boy do I love kissin' your cute face, Jere."

 

Jeremy giggled a little, finding it easy to melt into this, letting himself become distracted. Still, the comment did make him blush a little. Red (or was it purple right now? He could barely think enough to check his glamour. It was red, thank goodness.) blossomed on his cheeks, but that just seemed to please Michael even more.

 

"Oh, I love seein' you blush too. You're so cute," Michael murmured out as he pressed a few more kisses to his face. "Do you want some more of the strawberry cookies? You still have a lot left. Actually, you can have the rest of 'em, I'd rather you eat them and be happy."

 

“Mmm, yes please.” Jeremy hummed, smiling. “But I want you to have your two still. You were so excited to have them before, you deserve it. You made them after all.” He pressed a couple of kisses where he could reach, along his cheekbones, before letting Michael move him into a sitting position, still cradled close to Michael’s chest.

 

"Yeah, you're right," Michael muttered out before pressing a few kisses to the top of his head. "God, I've really wanted to do that for a while. It's nice to finally do it, especially since your hair's so soft and fluffy." Buddy huffed from where she now curled at the foot of the bed. "Oh hush, you know there's a difference between dog fluffy and not-dog fluffy. Let me love him without being interrupted, pleeease." The dog huffed once more before silencing herself. "Thank you. Where was I? Oh, right, cookies!"

 

Jeremy felt Michael shift, and when he resettled, he had the plate full of the eight remaining cookies. "Ta-dah!"

 

Jeremy giggled and reached out to take one, nibbling on it happily. He stayed close to Michael’s chest, unwilling to really separate at the moment. He groaned happily at the taste of the cookie though, it was still just so good. “You’re a really good cook, Mikey.”

 

"Well... I made them for you. I know I said I wanted to not do the same boring shit as the other kids, that's true, but I also wanted to impress you." He could hear the flustered tones in Michael's voice as he rewrapped his arms around Jeremy's middle, the cookie plate in front of the two now, before he felt Michael rest his head down on his shoulder. "Also, when you make baked goods, you bake. Meals are when you cook."

 

Jeremy hummed happily, leaning back against him. “Fine, well you’re a good baker then. And you’ve definitely impressed me. These are so yummy.” Jeremy half nuzzled against Michael, grinning a little before going back to nibbling on his cookie. Something this great had to be savoured.

 

As Jeremy stayed close, he just felt Michael’s hands absentmindedly tracing patterns along his skin while he kissed along his skin. He enjoyed this while he could, figuring that it would wear off after an hour or so.

 

Well, by the time Tia and Reece text Michael that they’d be home soon with pizza, he was still being super affectionate. They hadn’t moved much from the bed, though it was a choice that both of them agreed on. Buddy was getting pretty whiney at this point, pawing now at Jeremy to get some loving before asking him if this was normal, since it was over two hours, almost three, since they woke up from their nap.

 

I don’t know, Buddy. I really don’t. There aren’t any records of human-fairy bonds like this, for all I know we’re the first. I don’t think it’s permanent, I just don’t know how long it’s going to last.” Still, to help relax her, Jeremy invited her to lie on his legs and get some cuddles while Michael was still preoccupied with loving Jeremy.

 

She happily accepted, lying on them and curling up close to him as she whimpered softly. They normally gave her so much affection that it was odd to see Buddy begging like her life depended on her getting cuddled. Maybe it was Michael’s extremely affectionate nature rubbing off so much on her since she was a pup.

 

“Do you think my moms would be alright with us just cuddling on the couch while we ate dinner and watched TV?” Michael asked him, seemingly wrapped up in just Jeremy at the moment. He only knew about the pizza and TV plans because Jeremy relayed it to him.

 

“I don’t know, maybe? We do need to tell them we’re together first though, otherwise it might get a bit confusing. I’m pretty sure they knew about me loving you though, everyone seemed to.” He huffed, giving Buddy as much love as he could without ignoring Michael. It was an interesting balance to strike.

 

“Mm, yeah, you’re right,” Michael muttered out as he nuzzled his face against Jeremy’s shoulder. “I’m sure they’ll figure it out though, they’re smart. You’re really smart too. Super smart, and also super pretty and super comfortable.”

 

Buddy seemed to get a little better, though still gently pawed at him from time-to-time. She was feeling a little better, though still voiced her concerns for her dad.

 

Jeremy blushed bright red and nuzzled into Buddy’s fur for a second to calm down. “You’re so sweet, Mikey. Thank you,” he mumbled before turning his attention properly to Buddy’s concern. “It’s not dangerous, and it’s not permanent. He’s just feeling really good right now and it’s kind of removing his filters. Like how I was earlier.” Jeremy sat back up, looking up at Michael “I gotta say though, there is something different going on... your magic is almost sparking, Mikey, like when a fairy first comes into their element. It’s strange.”

 

“Mm? All I know is that my feelings for you are sparkin’,” he practically sung out, pulling Jeremy back against him before he pressed a plentiful amount of kisses to his face. “And I wish this was permanent, lovin’ you like this is making me feel so good. I just wanna love you and make you feel so nice and good, Jere.” A long kiss was pressed to the side of his neck. “Mm...”

 

Jeremy tilted his head, blushing bright red again. “Mm, you are making me feel so nice. I love you, Michael.” The moment it slipped out, his use of Michael’s true name, Jeremy stiffened, worried about how it might affect him. He didn’t mean for it to happen, it just slipped out, as if pushed out by his magic and Michael’s affection.

 

While Jeremy stiffened, Michael melted. He was practically boneless against Jeremy, leaning against his back as he let out the most relaxed noise he had ever heard from Michael. The waves of pure bliss radiating from him were astounding, even Buddy was able to feel it as she stared up at Jeremy with wide eyes. “Oh my... Jeremy... I...” It was like Michael couldn’t even articulate his thoughts well with how blissed out he was from just that. Probably not the best combination when he was already so affected.

 

It wasn’t the effect he was expecting, but Jeremy would be lying if he said he wasn’t enjoying it. The blissful waves were affecting Jeremy a little, making his head feel a little funny, possibly from the magic of the bond forming so recently, and so he wasn’t really thinking when he did it again. He just wanted to make Michael feel good.

 

“Oh was that nice, Michael? Feels good? Well, I love you so much, Michael,” Jeremy cooed, reaching up to play with Michael’s hair, feeling more of those blissful waves roll off of him. He was still careful to not give any instructions, just heap on praise and love.

 

Michael was only letting out soft noises, truly blissed out. Even when he was high, Jeremy had never seen him like this. He really wanted to keep this up, but Buddy softly barked to get Jeremy’s attention (Michael was too relaxed to even care) before she nudged at Michael’s phone, which lit up and showed the text that Tia and Reece would be home in forty-five minutes max, and that was twenty minutes ago.

 

Jeremy grumbled a little but let up... for now. If Michael was still this clingy later, Jeremy would bliss him out again until they both fell asleep.

 

For now, he satisfied his resurfacing urge to just totally indulge in Michael by pressing slow kisses to the side of his face and neck wherever he could reach. Hopefully it would be enough time for Michael to sort of wake up a little bit.

 

He leaned into those kisses, still letting out soft noises as he did so. “Mm...” Michael’s nonexistent grip from before started to return, and he gently squeezed around Jeremy’s middle as he was still lying against Jeremy.

 

Jeremy just kept showering him in affection, lightly massaging his scalp and kissing every inch of available skin, his other hand grabbing Michael’s hand around his waist and pressing it closer. “Mm, so sweet. And handsome. And lovely,” Jeremy mumbled between kisses, losing himself a little in the feelings again. Maybe it was because Michael was still so deep in them and the bond was keeping them flared up in him. Either way, Jeremy liked pampering Michael, that much he was certain of.

 

Before he could get too lost in the feeling, Buddy was literally pawing at his leg. She barked softly, nudging Michael’s phone. The text was sent twenty-five minutes ago at this point. Too lost in the affection, though, was Michael as he hummed in an almost love-struck manner, leaning into Jeremy’s fingers massaging his head.

 

I’m pulling him back slowly, Buddy, we can get up in a minute,” Jeremy grumbled, not stopping his hands. He did decide to take a little action though, to sooth Buddy’s nerves if nothing else (when did he let a dog start shaping his choices so much?).

 

“Mikey? We gotta get up soon. S’almost dinner time and Ina and Titi are bringing pizza,” he cooed softly, nuzzling at Michael’s cheek softly.

 

Michael lifted his face up a little at that, though still leaning into his touch. “Mm? Pizza?” he asked around a yawn before he blinked a few times. “Can I still keep holdin’ you if we go eat? I just wanna hold you an’ snuggle you. Oh, could you feed me while I hold you and we’re watching TV with Ina and Titi?”

 

Jeremy giggled a little, still a little drunk off the feeling of having Michael completely blissed out against him. “I’m sure we can sort something out, me feeding you should be okay so long as I don’t prepare the food. It’ll be just human food I’m passing you,” he mused softly, pressing a couple of kisses to Michael’s lips. “Besides, I don’t think they’ll mind up being all lovey-dovey, we did just get together a few hours ago.”

 

Michael chased after his lips when he pulled away before running his hands sleepily along his sides. “You didn’t make it, some fast food or pizza place did,” he muttered out before pressing a few lazy kisses to Jeremy’s covered shoulder.

 

“‘Xactly. So it should be fine for me to feed you if you really want me to.” Jeremy half melted into the sensations, only staying preset thanks to Buddy’s paw on his leg. “C’mon. Let’s move downstairs to the couch. It’ll make things easier when your moms come home.”

 

“Mm... fine,” Michael reluctantly agreed, shifting to get up while still having his arms wrapped around Jeremy. It took a good minute for them to actually get up, and it was only with Buddy’s insistent head butting against Jeremy that he really got downstairs with Michael.

 

Once down there, Michael collapsed onto the couch with Jeremy. He grabbed one of the blankets hanging over the back of the couch and tossed it over them before burying his face into Jeremy’s neck. “Mm... so soft an’ cuddly,” Michael muttered out, voice muffled from where he was positioned.

 

Buddy seemed to take a role of keeping Jeremy aware, present, and alert by lying over a good portion of his legs. It definitely helped, since he stayed extremely present, especially when he heard Ina and Titi outside, doors shutting as they were talking about something or another.

 

Jeremy was very glad that he felt no shame in any of this. He couldn’t. Michael had returned the sentiment willingly and of his own volition, it wasn’t possible to feel even slightly embarrassed by the fact that they were totally wrapped up in each other now. Thank god for biology.

 

He did, however, feel a little guilty for not warning them beforehand. He figured the best way to deal with this would be to just call them into the living room as soon as the food was out of the way and put down in the kitchen.

 

Once he heard the appropriate noises, Jeremy raised his voice just loud enough. “Tia? Reece? Could you come to the living room please? Michael and I have, erm... something to tell you?” Jeremy giggled a little when Michael pressed another small kiss to his neck. “Hey, we’re gonna tell your moms now. You gotta tell them too, not just me,” he whispered, pressing a quick kiss to his temple before they came in.

 

Tia came in first, hands stuffed into the pockets of the blazer she was wearing. “We’re gonna change after from our wo- Oh...” Her eyes looked over the scene, Buddy softly letting out a boof as she looked up at her.

 

“‘Oh’ what?” Reece asked from the kitchen, coming out as well after having set the food down. “What’s so- oh... OK, I get it.”

 

Michael lifted his head up enough to mutter out, “We’re together,” before burying his face back into the crook of Jeremy’s neck. Both moms had wide eyes as they looked between each other and their son.

 

Jeremy couldn’t help by giggle and blush a little at his bluntness. “Michael, I thought you might at least be a little smoother,” Jeremy complained playfully, poking his cheek. Buddy subtly gave him a look which clearly said ‘this is your fault.’ Jeremy sighed dramatically, leaning against Michael’s head and looked up at the two women watching them. “He, erm, asked me out after I tried confessing this afternoon. And it turns out he’s really cuddly.” He giggled, looking back at Michael fondly. He was sure the ‘heart eyes’ were out, as his friends kept call it, but he didn’t care. Michael wrapped around him just felt right.

 

The two were quiet for a few moments before Tia muttered out, “Well finally.”

 

“Tia!” Reece almost gasped out before gently swatting her arm.

 

Tia just shrugged as she started to walk down the hall to their room. “I’ve been waiting, honestly. I know you have too, hun! Congrats, you two, but be sure to eat with us when we watch TV!”

 

Reece huffed softly before looking at Jeremy and Michael, even if Michael was too preoccupied snuggling Jeremy. “Congrats, though I think I’ll say that again later when Michael’s more... present?” She gave them a smile, and Jeremy almost didn’t notice that there was something a smidge off about it before she followed after her wife. “Please be good to my boy, Jeremy.”

 

Jeremy nodded to her retreating form. “I will be. Thank you.” Even if she didn’t know how important those words were, Jeremy did. They fact that she was, that they both were, okay with this meant the world to Jeremy. He filed away the strange edge to her smile to sort out later, his own mind still a little fuzzy from everything.

 

“Well that went well,” Jeremy hummed, pressing a kiss to Michael’s temple. “I think they liked the idea of us together already.”

 

Michael just nuzzled his face against the crook of Jeremy’s neck and hummed back. Buddy looked up at Jeremy, her expression happy for them but also a little unimpressed as she tried to reach up and paw his hand.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry girl,” Jeremy cooed, going back to petting her. He quickly found himself sandwiched between a very clingy human and a very demanding dog. He couldn’t help but giggle at the situation, especially when Michael stared kissing his neck again.

 

Tia wandered back in and instantly started giggling as well when Jeremy shot her a jokingly pleading look. “They won’t let me go! I’ve become a Jeremy sandwich!”

 

“That’s what happens when you let your guard down,” Tia said around a laugh before walking into the kitchen. “Is he able to tell you how many slices of pizza he wants, or is he too clingy to do that?”

 

Michael grumbled from his position. “‘M present enough, geez... Three slices,” he told Jeremy before pressing a kiss to his cheek and stopping. Jeremy knew that food almost always came first, especially favorites like pizza.

 

Jeremy sniggered and called to Tia to let her know, asking for two slices for himself. “I don’t think either of them will let me go long enough to get it myself.”

 

Reece wandered in, an odd look on her face. “Are... you okay Reece? Something bothering you?” Jeremy asked gently, looking over at her.

 

“Oh, I’m fine, just a long day at work,” Reece reassured with a warm smile. “Working as an elementary school principal gets tiring, especially on Fridays.”

 

“But you’re an amazing principal, honey,” Tia told her as she came in, plates of pizza lined along her arms like a pro waitress. Well, Michael mentioned to him once how she had been one for a while, so it made sense. “Let’s just sit down and eat while Michael’s all clung to Jeremy like a koala.”

 

Michael just pouted but didn’t argue, making a grabby hand for his cheese pizza that Tia teasingly kept away from his grasp.

 

Jeremy pressed a quick kiss to his temple again before grabbing both plates and transferring his slices onto Michael’s plate. He then proceeded to pick up a slice and feed it to Michael over his shoulder, giggling.

 

“Dork,” he cooed affectionately, completely forgetting that they weren’t alone.

 

Buddy huffed from her place along Jeremy’s legs, but it was more so in just a teasing way that anything else. From the side, he heard Tia ask, purposefully loud enough for Jeremy to hear, “Aww, it’s their first night in, should I take a photo to commemorate it?”

 

“Tia Ingrid Mell, I will slap you with this pizza if you dare do that.”

 

Jeremy turned to look at her. “Wait, please do! If Michael is okay with it anyway. I wanna have something special to commemorate today.” He blushed a little, but just raised the pizza again for Michael to take another bite.

 

Michael just hummed around his bite of pizza, and it was unclear on if it was because he was agreeing or just really liked the pizza or both.

 

“Well, I’m doing it anyway. Don’t you dare actually slap me with greasy pizza, you know I have acne problems under this makeup.”

 

Reece huffed as she took the plates of pizzas left on Tia’s arms before settling in the loveseat. Tia quickly pulled out her phone then, grinning as she stepped back before snapping a few times, as evident by the noises from her phone. “Alright, got it. Continue on with your cute canoodling.”

 

“Tia, you’re terrible.”

 

Jeremy giggled again. “I’d like a copy of that.” Jeremy gestured with the plate before going back to feeding Michael. When Michael had finished one slice, Jeremy quickly downed one himself before going back slowly feeding Michael. They continued like this throughout the rest of dinner, with Jeremy chatting with Tia and Reece about their days at work.

 

Michael just ate and snuggled Jeremy, seemingly content with just that. By the end of dinner, Michael was practically falling asleep where they were on the couch, a soft sigh of contentment escaping him.

 

Jeremy saw the fond looks both Tia and Reece held as they looked down at their adopted son. “I know you care for him, we both do, but thank you for taking good care of him and being so good to our boy. We just want what’s best for him, and you seem to be that.” Buddy whined from where she was relaxed, and both women laughed a little. “We know you are the best dog for him, Buddy, don’t worry,” Reece finished off with a laugh. That seemed to satisfy the dog, as she chuffed softly before lying her head back down.

 

Jeremy blushed with pride. “That- that really means a lot to me. I know you might think it’s a bit early in our relationship, but I really love him. I have for a while, I’ve probably been falling for him since we first started talking, if I’m honest. I... it means a lot that you think I’m good enough for him. Thank you.” He looked up at them both, honestly and happiness rolling off him in waves, which made Buddy’s tail wag a little.

 

“Well, we’ve been able to tell. Both of you have sorta been given each other heart eyes, but we sorta figured it would sort itself out eventually,” Tia told him before eating the rest of her crust.

 

Reece nodded in agreement before getting up, taking the now-empty plates and smiling down at Jeremy. There was still something off about her smile, but he couldn’t tell what and if it was a good or bad thing. “We know he cares for you and you care for him. Just protect each other, yeah?”

 

Jeremy nodded. “Promise. He’s already helped me out loads, I wanna look after him too.” Jeremy nuzzled against Michael, letting his gut guide his words for a bit, trusting his instincts while they’re being guided by the new formed bond. “My mom... doesn’t exactly... approve of my feelings for him. Last time we spoke, we got in a massive argument. Michael stepped in and defended me against her, and he looked after me after she basically disowned me over it. I just wanna look after him as much as he’s helped me,” he trailed off, hiding his face in Michael’s hair a little.

 

“Well, excuse my language Jeremy, but fuck her. We’ll keep you here for as long as you need,” Tia told him while Reece rolled her eyes.

 

“Hun, I thought it was already implied that he’d be with us until he needed to go.”

 

“Hey, better to be safe than sorry.” Reece rolled her eyes again from where she stood before smiling fondly down at Jeremy.

 

“We adore having you here. We’ll be your moms in her place since she seems to be so... Uh...”

 

“Shitty? Horrific?”

 

Tia!”

 

“No I totally agree. She’s terrible, not to mention horrifically racist.” Well technically that was true, she was very prejudiced against humans and anyone who wasn’t a fairy. Then again, most fairies were. “It was pretty much par for the course where I’m from, but still. I’m just glad to be away from there. Thank you for letting me stay.” He grinned up at them. Michael’s arms tightened around his waist a little as he nuzzled against Jeremy’s neck.

 

“Of course. We’re both happy to have you,” Reece told Jeremy, reaching over and ruffling his hair a little before she left to toss things.

 

“Plus, Buddy loves you, so we couldn’t just kick you out. She’s a very good judge of character,” Tia added. Buddy looked quite proud of that as she practically grinned up at Jeremy.

 

Jeremy scrubbed at her ears, tearing up a little. Familial love was a thing for fairies, but it wasn’t something that he had experienced much of. Jeremy buried his face into Buddy’s fur, Michael moving with him. He could obviously feel that Jeremy was getting a little overwhelmed (luckily his wings were staying firmly away for now).

 

Tia seemed to recognize this too, as she got up from her seat. “I’m going to go help Reece out.” Her footsteps faded away into the kitchen then.

 

Even if he was half asleep (well, more than that honestly), Michael squeezed Jeremy’s middle and asked him, “Are you OK?” before yawning. Buddy even let out a soft whine to ask the same.

 

Jeremy nodded, not removing his face from Buddy’s fur. “Yeah. Just... really, really happy. Finally getting to feel what family’s like,” he croaked out.

 

“You’re gonna keep feelin’ it,” Michael reassured him from where he was before pressing a sweet kiss to his cheek. Buddy let out a soft boof of agreement, not moving.

 

Jeremy took a deep breath. “I like it.” He pulled away from Buddy, keeping his hands on her. “I like this.” He leaned back against Michael, staring up at him with adoration. “I love you.” He kissed Michael’s cheek before just leaning his head against Michael’s.

 

“I love you too,” Michael muttered back, another yawn escaping him. “I also love sleeping. Could we just... sleep? Like, go to bed? ‘Cause ‘m comfy.”

 

Jeremy nodded. “Bed sounds good, m’getting sleepy too. And you’re comfy.” Jeremy looked over to Buddy, who rolled her eyes but hopped off with a small huff of complaint. “Okay, let’s go.”

 

It took Michael a good few seconds to try getting up, only because he seemed to be so relaxed. Jeremy walked upstairs with him, but not before they quickly said their ‘goodnights’ to Tia and Reece. The wives smiled fondly at them, especially when Michael waved and said goodnight while holding Jeremy from behind.

 

When they got into Michael’s room, Jeremy curled up into bed, Michael quickly following and holding onto his back and pressing himself close. Buddy hopped up and plopped herself down at the foot of the bed, though Jeremy knew it was only until they fell asleep. She would claim her spot somewhere across one or both of them once they weren’t able to stop her.

 

Jeremy squirmed a little, getting comfortable before melting against Michael. Memories of earlier bubbled back to the surface, and since they had nowhere to be, he didn’t feel guilty about using it to help Michael relax further. “Hey Michael. You’re my favorite person. I love you,” he cooed quietly.

 

Michael quickly melted in the bed and against him, a truly blissed out smile overtaking him. “Mm...” He nuzzled against Jeremy, pulling him close to his patch-covered hoodie he still had on from earlier (well, they never changed).

 

“I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.” Jeremy was mumbling it out in every language he knew Michael would understand, pulling Michael’s hand from his waist and pressing sweet kisses to the back of it and along his wrist. He let himself get a little lost in the sensations again but not caring enough to stop.

 

Michael just hummed happily, even as it was obvious that sleep was beginning to overtake him. Before he seemed to slip off into slumber from all of this, he muttered out a sleepy, “Love you so much, Jeremy, s’much.

Chapter Text

Michael stayed clingy for the rest of the weekend, barely leaving Jeremy’s side for more than a few minutes. As time went on, he became more and more functional independently, but waking up on Monday morning, Jeremy was very concerned about how well Michael would cope.

 

“Mikey,” he cooed gently, lightly shaking him after killing the alarm to wake up, “Time to get up... how you feeling today?” Buddy watched on curiously from her place on Jeremy’s legs.

 

Michael grumbled from where he was lying, reaching his hands up to rub at his eyes. “I’m eugh, don’t wanna go to school,” he huffed out before sitting up, stretching his arms above his head. Michael smacked his lips a few times before whining. “Ew, but I wanna brush my teeth, gross.”

 

Jeremy chuckled and pressed a quick kiss to Michael’s cheek. “We gotta go to school though or you moms will think we stayed home just to make out or something,” he sensibly pointed out. Michael seemed like he was back to normal, but there was no telling how real that was. Guess he just had to wait and see for a few minutes.

 

He saw Michael’s cheeks warm at the kiss before he coughed a few times. “Y-yeah. Ugh...” Jeremy watched as Michael got out of bed, seemingly not hearing Buddy’s remark about how they could still do that, even when not at home. “Do you need the bathroom? I’m gonna freshen up and then come back to change.”

 

Jeremy sat up, shaking his head and grinning. “I’m good. I’m just gonna go collect some dew, I’ll be ready in a couple of minutes.” He stretched a little, letting his wings pop out. They had seemed to have a little bit more pink mixed in to their sheen ever since the bond was formally formed.

 

Michael paused awkwardly before shuffling out to the bathroom. “I think he’s all back to normal now, Buddy. He was blushing when I kissed him and he’s not so clingy. So I might have to go back to translating for you,” Jeremy whistled, hopping out of bed as soon as she shifted.

 

Buddy whined about that as she flopped over on the bed. She definitely did like Michael being able to understand her, though seemed to be glad the clinginess was over with.

 

Don’t worry, girl. Now that we’re bonded, I can teach him. The magic did a little more than just make us feel good for a while,” Jeremy chirped, grinning over at her. “Besides, now you can finally get some proper cuddles.” He wandered over to the window, grabbed the small bottle on the side and shrunk down, darting outside to quickly gather a couple of dew drops. He’d freeze them and stuff them into the bottle, letting them melt once he made it back inside. Within a couple of minutes, he had collected enough, so he flew back to the bedroom, shot back up to normal size and shut the window. Michael and Buddy could still get cold after all, and the snow was fast approaching.

 

Buddy lounged out on the bed, watching Jeremy as he came back in. She let out a series of sneezes that basically was her asking if he could cuddle since Michael took a bit longer to get ready than Jeremy (understandably).

 

Oh, of course sweetie.” Jeremy hopped onto the bed, scooting back and opening his arms for a cuddle. She instantly curled up on his lap, resting her forehead against his chest. “Heya good girl, you’ve been so patient these past couple of days. Such a good girl,” he cooed, piling love on her in just her favorite ways. Her tail wagged madly but she didn’t try to escape his arms once, huffing out her excitement.

 

He continued doing this for a few more minutes before Michael came back in. She was growling softly in Jeremy’s arms when he came back in, not even looking over as she enjoyed the massive amounts of love. “Oh shit, I didn’t even realize I didn’t shower you in love this weekend, Buddy! I’m so sorry, you’re getting so many cuddles when we get back from school,” Michael promised as he hurried to grab some clothes from his closet. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hear her excessive thanks and joy.

 

Yup, back to normal. Sorry girl, but you get more cuddles now so it’s not all bad,” he chirped before switching back to English. “She’s very excited and she say thanks. A lot.”

 

Michael turned to her with a smile once he pulled out some jeans, a t-shirt, and a winter coat. “I’m glad, I’m going to enjoy snuggling you. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until now.” He reached over and kissed her snout a few times before she growled happily.

 

“Yeah. As much as I loved being your snuggle buddy I was feeling a little bad for stealing all of Buddy’s hugs.” Jeremy chuckled, hopping to his feet and holding out his hands. “Now, dress me. I don’t know what humans wear for the wintertime, even if I have the autumn outfits down.” Jeremy tucked away his wings, ready for the outfit change.

 

“You’re gonna have layers, but I trust that you can use your magic to make it look like you’ve taken off your coats and that they’re still there, even if not on you,” Michael muttered out as Jeremy felt Michael take his hands and put it on his temple.

 

He saw the outfit Michael had in mind (hah) for him: a long sleeve shirt that a little enameled cat face over his heart, jeans, and a big, puffy, blue winter coat with tan snow boots and a darker blue hat.

 

It was simple enough to create, and within seconds Jeremy was all dressed. “I take off my ‘shoes’ don’t I?” he asked as he lowered his hands, grinning up at Michael happily. “One thing before we go, how much are you comfortable with doing in public? I’m happy with hugs and kisses and everything, but I know you’re only just coming back to yourself, so I don’t want to push any boundaries. That goes for at home too.” He lightly cupped Michael’s cheeks, the action familiar from even before they were bonded.

 

Michael nodded, but Jeremy saw his cheeks flush as he leaned into his touch. “I, um... hugging like we normally did, hand holding, and like cheek kissin’. If it changes, I’ll let y’know, but uh... Yeah.” Even if he was so full of love, he was still so shy about this. Adorable.

 

Jeremy smiled softly and nodded, pressing a quick kiss to his cheek. “Let’s go let Buddy out while I finish getting ready, then get going.”

 

Buddy’s head popped up, obviously excited to run around and do her thing. At that, Michael snickered before nodding and grabbing their backpacks. “Yeah, I’ll grab us something to eat for breakfast. I got Ina and Titi to get us some to-go cereal bowls, so it’ll be a little more filling than Poptarts.”

 

 

 

A few minutes and a car ride later, Jeremy and Michael were walking hand in hand into school. Michael was hopping along to the music from his headphones, while Jeremy just enjoyed the fact that he and Michael were bonded partners!

 

He happily followed Michael over to his locker, totally oblivious to the approaching figure until they were right next to him.

 

Dustin smiled as he approached, looking over at Jeremy at first since he at least seemed to get that Michael was too preoccupied to notice him. “Hey Jeremy, could you get Michael’s attention for me? I gotta ask him something,” he asked as he looked over to Michael, who was nodding his head along to what he was listening to as he sorted out his backpack and locker.

 

“What do you want with him, Dustin?” Jeremy asked, feeling his annoyance start to flare up. “He’s kinda busy right now if you hadn’t noticed.”

 

“I just said I wanted to ask him something,” Dustin repeated with a raised brow. “Can you please just ask him? I don’t wanna bug him during Pre-Calc.”

 

Jeremy pretended to think it over. “Umm, how about no? Listen, everyone has been trying to tell you for years that he’s not interested and that you have to be blunt if you actually do want to ask him out. For some reason, you can’t seem to take a hint, so I’m going to be nice and be frank with you.” Jeremy stood a little straighter, letting his skin turn a little more pale, his teeth become a tiny bit sharper and his eyes flash black for the smallest fraction of a second. “Stay the fuck away from my boyfriend. He’s not available.” He let the scary parts drop and smiled sweetly at Dustin again. “So, what is it you wanted to ask him?”

 

Dustin just paled considerably at that whole show before taking a step back. “Oh hell no, no guy and no dick’s worth dealing with whatever the hell you are,” he said as he adjusted his leather jacket and backed up a few more steps. “Not dealing with that kinda crazy, hell no.” With that, he hurried off.

 

Michael, after shutting his locker with his snow coat stowed away, looked over to see Dustin turning the corner. “Oh, did I miss him? Damn. Did he talk to you or ask for me?”

 

“I don’t think it was important. He sort of just ran off.” Jeremy shrugged, pressing a kiss to Michael’s cheek. He slipped off his ‘jacket’ and stowed it in his own locker, just one away from Michael’s (he had pulled in a favor from a girl in English). Then he grinned brightly at Michael. “So, to homeroom?”

 

Michael smiled back as he reached out, taking Jeremy’s hand and squeezing it. “To homeroom. Do you think I could get away with eating in there, or am I gonna have to sneak my Fruit Loops?” he asked, completely disregarding Dustin from his mind now.

 

Jeremy waved his free hand absentmindedly, “Eh, you know Mr. Summers doesn’t care about that stuff, and he’s still subbing for Ms. Black. Eat away, my dear.” He chuckled, loving how easy it came to him. He could almost be a real human these days, with how relaxed and how much understanding had. All he needed was a phone and he would be set. Maybe he’d ask Jenna for some advice at lunch.

 

 

 

Jenna was exhausted. Not only had she been asked to tutor over lunch, they hadn’t even bother to turn up! And now none of her friends were in the cafeteria. Ugh, this day sucked. The only good thing was that Jeremy and Michael had finally gotten together over the weekend and were flaunting it a little.

 

“Hey Madeline, do you know where Brooke and everyone is? They said they’d be around for all of lunch but I can’t find them in the cafeteria.” Jenna approached a girl from her English literature class, hoping that she might know. She was the next biggest gossip at school.

 

Madeline looked over at Jenna before giving a warm smile. “Oh, I heard they’re by the creek in the woods by school. They go there if you’re sick or busy during lunch,” she gladly told her before eating some of her fries she must’ve gotten from McDonalds. “Tell Brooke I said hi when you see her and thanks for the help with studying for the test we had in Anatomy please?”

 

“Sure thing, Maddie! Thanks!” Jenna called as she hurried outside. Why would they all go there, especially since it was so close to the first snowfall?

 

Regardless of her doubts, Jenna quickly made her way outside, not really noticing the ring of dewy mushrooms she stepped over or really caring. After about a minute, she found them but had to hold back a scream at what she saw.

 

Brooke was sitting barefoot with her feet dangling into the icy waters of the creek, chatting happily as she munched on some cold slices of pizza. Michael was perched on a branch a little way up one of the trees, staring at Jeremy with very obvious heart eyes. And Jeremy was flying. With wings. And was dressed in barely anything, like just some shorts and a vest. But he was hovering and his wings were flapping wildly to keep him afloat in the air.

 

She must have gasped or something because all three sets of eyes turned to her in unison.

 

“Damnit Brooke, are your wards ever going to work?” Jeremy complained, pouting as he landed softly on the ground. He wasn’t wearing shoes.

 

“Hey, they work if it’s something bad. You calling Jenna bad?” Brooke asked before standing up, shaking her feet off and seemingly instantly drying them. She looked over at Jenna then, giving her a reassuring smile. “Hi, Jenna, we can explain if you let me. It’s, uh... it’s not as crazy as you might think.”

 

“I- er... what?” Jenna was struggling to piece together what she was seeing, especially now that she was actually looked at Jeremy properly. His skin seemed strangely colored, almost with purple undertones instead of pink, and his ears were pointed. And he still had wings. “Are... are you a fairy or something, Jere? Is that what I’m seeing?” Jenna asked slowly, frowning.

 

Jeremy blushed, and yeah he was defiantly turning purple, and nodded. “Umm, yeah. I’m a frost fairy. But I’m still just me, Jen. Nothing to be afraid of, I promise,” he added quickly.

 

“Yeah, and uh... I’m a water nymph. Still the same Brooke, just explains a little more on why I chose swimming?” Well, it made sense on why she could handle almost-freezing waters and handle being barefoot too.

 

“And uh... I’m a witch. And no, wizards and witches are two different things entirely, especially since wizards don’t exist.” Michael hopped down from where he sat in the trees, stumbling a little with his landing before standing straight with a smile. “But uh... surprise?” He gave weakly-delivered jazz hands at that.

 

Jeremy sighed heavily. “I am the least human out of us and have spent the least time with humans out of all of you and even I know that was not the best way to deal with that. I mean, jazz hands? Really, Michael?” Jeremy rolled his eyes, slowly walking over to Jenna and holding his hand out for her. Hesitantly, she took it.

 

“It’s still us, Jen.” He gently squeezed her hand. “We’re still the same as we were last time you saw us.”

 

Jenna took a deep breath. Then another. Okay, all her friends were magical. And they all knew about each other. This was fine. Sure. But Jeremy’s hand still felt the same as ever, even with the slightly foreign tinge to it, and his wings were half drooped, like he was nervous. Yup, this was still Jeremy. “I’m... guessing you’re not really from Ohio then, are you?” she asked slowly, earning a bright grin and a whistling giggle from Jeremy as he shook his head.

 

“Yeah, I had to help him make up his whole backstory. Like... it’s sorta true, but not in the ways we said,” Michael explained with a hesitant smile. “There’s, uh, a lot to explain, so maybe we should start with-“

 

“Nope, no time,” Brooke interrupted, only having one shoe on as she grabbed Jenna’s hand. “Goblins, they’re coming, I gotta hide us. Do you trust me Jen?”

 

Jenna had only heard that tone from Brooke a handful of times, and every time she had ignored it, it had left her in serious trouble. She nodded. “Yeah, I trust you. I just expect an explanation in a minute.”

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jeremy grab what looked like a crystal dagger out of nowhere. She ignored it for now.

 

“I will as soon as I can,” Brooke reassured as Jenna saw Michael take a weirdly shaped iron rod out of thin air. Well, OK, she only had more questions for later.

 

She was quickly dragged into a cluttered area of trees, hidden behind them as Brooke looked through her stuff. “Damn things didn’t let me finish my pizza, ugh. Jenna, just stay here with me, OK?”

 

Jenna nodded, eyes fixated on the boys standing by the creek. Jeremy started hovering again, his posture tense. Michael held the iron rod out to one side, muttering under his breath. With a quick flourish, the ground around him froze in a thick ice, leaving only a small circle for him to stand in.

 

“Thanks love.” Jeremy grinned, landing barefoot on the ice, poised and ready. “Here they come.”

 

Within a few seconds, Jenna saw large, five-foot tall... toad-like gremlin things? They were tall, slimy-looking, and intimidating with claws and weapons at-the-ready. There was some otherworldly determination in their eyes... until the first bunch of them slipped on the ice and fell ass-first. Well, that certainly killed a good bunch of that intimidation factor they had going for them.

 

Jeremy cackled and shot what looked like mist at the nearest one from the palm of his hand. Where it touched the goblin(?), it froze instantly, sticking it to the ice.

 

“So what are we looking at here, Jere?” Michael asked, already moving the iron rod in carefully controlled patterns, being very careful to keep it far away from Jeremy.

 

“I’d say these ones are a few years old, stronger and more intelligent than last time. A lot more dangerous. Still fucking slimy though,” Jeremy called back before muttering something under his breath and shooting a golden spark at another goblin, making it pause mid stride, long enough for him to dart forwards and take out its legs with his knife.

 

Michael nodded before Jenna saw him send a spark to some more goblins that had them fall backwards, as if paralyzed. "Oh, of course they are," he muttered out, "Are they ever not going to be slimy? I will not have a repeat of last time."

 

Brooke, who was looking around, seemed to spot something. Her eyes widened, and Jenna followed her gaze to see a bunch of goblins sneaking up from behind on Michael and Jeremy, seemingly not noticing them. Brooke seemed to think for a minute before muttering an apology under her breath, handing over a slice of pizza to Jenna. "Chuck these at them, trust me."

 

Jenna hesitated, then grabbed a slice. Drawing her arm back, she ended up almost laughing. “Yeet!” she shouted under her breath as she lobbed the slice of pizza, hitting a goblin square in the face. It screamed and the pizza sizzled and steamed before it collapsed to the ground, twitching.

 

Brooke apologized as she tossed hers as well, doing the same thing to the goblin next to it. For a second, Michael got distracted by the screams (seriously, it was hard to ignore) as he looked back, eyes widening at the sudden culmination of goblins as he tried to warn Jeremy. Before he could warn him properly, as he was tossing spells back-and-forth to make sure Jeremy didn't get hit more than himself, he got tackled down against the icy ground, sliding as the goblins that Brooke and Jenna didn't get pinned him down. "Fuckin'- get off! Ewewewewewwww you're just as gross as the last guys! Get off!"

 

The moment Michael started yelling, Jeremy spun around, eyes blazing with anger. “Get the fuck off of him!” he hissed, stomping his foot onto the ice. Spikes shot out from the ground, knocking several goblins off and impaling the limbs of the others. Once they were clear of Michael, the spikes crumbled down to snow.

 

Jeremy zipped over to Michael, offering his hand while keeping his dagger pointed at any nearby goblins, who seemed to be assessing the situation rather than attacking.

 

Michael grabbed his hand then, thanking him as he got helped up before looking around with wide eyes. "Fuck, Jere, d'you see my wand?" he asked, seemingly panicked. Jenna saw where it went off to, saw it slide across the ice when he got pinned down, but there were goblins keeping him from getting it now. She wanted so badly to speak up, but Brooke shook her head as she frowned, seemingly understanding her plight. If they yelled out, they'd get caught and it would just make things worse.

 

Jeremy shook his head, looking around. His eyes widened, and he pointed over to a collection of goblins. “It’s there. I can sense it.”

 

Upon seeing where it went, Michael visibly cringed. "Nope, no, I can't. I'm already covered in their gross gook and I'm trying so hard not to freak the hell out," he said, almost apologetically as he was shaking his hands off from whatever residue they left on him.

 

Jeremy nodded, crouching down. “I’ll break through. You’re gonna have to get it, but I can clear you a path.”

 

Without waiting for an answer, Jeremy launched himself straight at the nearest goblin, slashing and freezing them all in his path. For a minute, it looked like he might be successful, but then one grabbed his wings.

 

Instantly he was yanked backwards with a screech of pain. Half the goblins left around the wand grabbed him as he thrashed and squirmed, screeching out in pain.

 

For a second, Michael looked helpless, then Jeremy screamed. “MICHAEL!

 

In that moment, the tense atmosphere seemed to change. Jenna didn't know how, but she felt herself almost stuck in place, even if she wanted to move to try to help. The helplessness that Michael seemed to have vanished, replaced with an intense desire for a split second before he just seemed to radiate this sudden power. It sent chills down her spine, and she saw Brooke shudder as both were unable to do anything but watch as Michael raised his hand.

 

He seemed to only be able to do powerful magic with that wand, but for that split second that he raised his hand, it seemed like that wand was as useless as a random broken twig. A burst of light shone through his hands, almost encapsulating the goblins surrounding Jeremy and near them. They all screamed like they had before when they got hit by Brooke's lunch, but amplified by at least ten with the pain they felt. The forms of the goblins crumbled to the ground, quickly hissing before just bursting into slime.

 

There were two stragglers who managed to turn tail and run, and Michael didn't even seem to care as he rushed over to Jeremy, cradling him close as he whispered in Tagalog. Finally, Jenna was able to move, and she quickly ran to grab the wand while Brooke rushed over to check on Michael and Jeremy.

 

Jenna made her way over to the group, keeping the wand away from Jeremy. He was whimpering slightly, being cradled against Michael’s chest. His left wing was torn, the tip hanging limply away the main body.

 

Brooke was absolutely trying not to panic at this, but Michael was surprisingly calm. He reached down, apologizing before muttering out something in a mix of Tagalog and that weird bird language (?) Jeremy seemed to be using before. His left hand gently held onto his wing, holding it to where it would be attached as his other hand rang along where the torn area would meet where it was ripped from. A light emanated from his fingers, running along like he was brushing against a seam. The wing seemed to fix itself, looking like it was rezipping before it seemed like nothing had happened, the only indication being a small hint of red shimmering light.

 

Michael, as he pulled his fingers back, looked angelic with the way the light from his hands framed him.

 

Jeremy’s whimpers died down, and he curled quietly against Michael’s chest, grabbing his shirt lightly. He let out a small string of chirps and whistles, almost cooing at him.

 

Jenna knelt down next to him, tapping Michael on the shoulder. “I have your wand,” she murmured, keeping the wand away from Jeremy. She didn’t know why, she just knew it would be bad for him to touch it.

 

Michael glanced over then, and the exhausted look in his eyes made her stomach churn for a second. Still, he seemed to be radiating that same powerful feeling as he reached over and took the wand, thanking her quickly before seemingly having it vanish. He cradled Jeremy, whispering softly to him in the mix of the two languages as Brooke settled down beside Jenna.

 

"I... we didn't mean to tell you this way, but..."

 

“It doesn’t matter, are they going to be okay?” She looked at Brooke. Brooke nodded, and Jenna relaxed, feeling everything start to catch up to her.

 

“We- we’d better get back to class. It’ll be starting soon...” she murmured, tugging at Brooke’s sleeve lightly.

 

Brooke nodded, turning to Michael and saying something in that bird language before he said something in response. After that, she stood up carefully, slipping her other shoe on before picking up her backpack. "C'mon," she muttered out, tugging Jenna now as she took her hand.

 

Jenna let herself be led, adrenaline wearing off and her brain finally catching up to her. Her friends were magic. And apparently Michael was very powerful.

 

Jenna knew she’d be okay. She’d be able to process this and move on. Hell, she’d probably get really into learning about it. But that would take time, and now, she had economics. She knew she wouldn’t be able to focus. Yeah, she’d be stealing Brooke’s notes after all this.

 

 

 

Michael watched as the two girls left before his focus shifted back down to Jeremy. He held him close, but he knew that Jeremy was fine, he fixed him up. He would be fine, he would always be there to fix him up. "Hey, are you alright to move or do you need more time? It might be better if we rest up at home instead of next to the creek."

 

Jeremy nodded, still looking very out of it. “Please. I wanna go home. Wanna sleep.” He nuzzled against Michael’s chest. He seemed to be thinking something but he couldn’t seem to figure out what, his brow furrowing slightly.

 

Shifting Jeremy around in his arms after taking his keys out, Michael managed to pick him up. He was really happy that he had the forethought to stash their things in the car before meeting with Brooke. "What's on your mind?" Michael asked as he started walking.

 

Y’speaking like me. Y’speaking fairy,” he mumbled, hiding his face in Michael’s neck. “’nd that magic was different. Not borrowed. Was yours. Only yours.” He pressed a few kisses to Michael’s neck, apparently not even thinking about it, too caught up in his own head. Luckily, he had the forethought to pull away his wings while they were still away in the forest.

 

This came as a surprise to him as he walked to the car, making sure that Jeremy wasn't seen to anyone who may be straggling to leave (thankfully, there was not). "I... I don't get how, but... Now I can at least say I've spoken bird before," he teased with a laugh, which turned out to be whistling, he later realized, before he unlocked the car and settled Jeremy into the passenger's seat.

 

S’not bird. Fairy,” Jeremy grumbled, letting himself be positioned in the car, even if he was still kinda limp. When Michael climbed into the drivers side, Jeremy looked over at him with bleary eyes. “M’sorry for being reckless. Thought I could do it...

 

"You were trying to help, I don't blame you for trying," Michael reassured as he turned the car on and backed out, starting to drive back home once both were buckled in. "I'll need to wash these clothes when I get back. My poor hoodie..."

 

Jeremy whistled put a small, weak giggle. “Washes out easily, so s’not too bad. Y’hoodie’ll be fine,” he reassured, holding his head up a little better. It seemed that he was starting to recover a little from his healing.

 

"But it's all covered in slime. Fuck, my car seat's gonna be covered in it. I'm gonna have to wash it all out, oh god," Michael whined, only partially joking in his whines as he pouted. Anything to make Jeremy feel better right now.

 

I’ll help you wh’n m’better. Already feelin’ better.” Jeremy smiled sleepily at him. “You did super strong stuff back there, Mikey. You splattered the goblins an’ you healed my wing. That would take years to heal normally.” His voice was sleepy but had a layer of awe in it. Like Jeremy saw Michael as something extra special, almost angelic from the tone.

 

At the look he was being given, Michael couldn't help but flush as he turned a corner. "Well, I promised I'd protect you, keep you safe and healthy, didn't I? I'm gonna keep my promise, no matter what."

 

Jeremy shook his head. “This was more than that,” he protested weakly, “S’like you were...” He searched for the right words, eyes never leaving Michael’s face. “S’like you’re an angel. A real one.” He nodded, apparently satisfied by this explanation. “You’re an Angel. I love an Angel.

 

Michael felt his cheeks warm up even further at Jeremy's statements. "I... Um, thanks," was all he could manage to get out as he focused his eyes solely on the road, even if he was internally melting.

 

Jeremy didn’t look away from him the entire car ride back, staring at him with those wide, adoring and reverent blue eyes. His expression was almost blissful from the idea that Michael might be an ‘angel.’ He didn’t even know fairies had the concept of angels.

 

Regardless, Michael shut the car off once he parked in the driveway, reaching back and slinging their backpacks over his shoulders. "D'you need me to carry you back inside?"

 

Jeremy thought for a second, then nodded. He made grabby hands at Michael but didn’t move to actually grab him. His eyes were still wide and reverent.

 

"Jere, you don't need to look at me like that, I'm not actually an angel," Michael said around a laugh as he opened his door and scooped him up, still managing to have his key ready to unlock the front door as he shut his car and locked it. "It's really flattering, but I'm not."

 

Jeremy poked his cheek “You sure?” he questioned quietly.

 

"Yes Jere, I would know if I was an angel," he reassured Jeremy before unlocking the door and walking in, stepping over Buddy, who he could actually understand. "Easy girl, I gotta put Jere down first, then we can cuddle."

 

Buddy seemed surprised that Michael could understand her, but she focused on Jeremy properly. ‘What happened? He doesn’t smell hurt. And you smell strange,’ she noted, following behind Michael carefully. Luckily, strange didn’t seem to mean stay away in this case.

 

"I healed his wing up, it got torn bad, but he's fine now," Michael reassured her as he walked up the stairs. "He's just recovering from the magic I had to use, he's a lot more present than he was before."

 

‘You smell weird,’ she reiterated, following him up the stairs.

 

Jeremy obviously heard and hummed in agreement. “She’s right. You feel like you’re full of extra magic.” Jeremy lifted his head and nuzzled against Michael’s neck against, pressing some small kisses there.

 

"I mean... I guess from the magic I used, I smell weird? I'll be fine though," he told the two before he opened the door to his room, setting Jeremy down on his bed.

 

Jeremy didn’t let go, clinging to him desperately and letting out small, meaningless chirps that sounded vaguely desperate. He buried his face into Michael’s neck.

 

Michael looked down at Jeremy then, furrowing his brows as he sat down next to him on his bed. "What? What's wrong, Jere?"

 

It took a moment, but he eventually managed to mumble out something. “Don’t leave.

 

"Leave? I'm not leaving, I was just setting you down," he reassured him, though he glanced over at Buddy to try to get some understanding from what was happening.

 

‘He’s scared right now and his brain still thinks he’s hurt even though you fixed him. He’s relying on instinct,’ she replied after sniffing at him. He didn’t flinch away but he didn’t reach out to touch her like usual. ‘You’re his mate, so he wants to stay close to you.’

 

"Holy shit, how did you get all of that by sniffing him, Buddy?" he asked before running his fingers through Jeremy's hair. “Also wait, mate?

 

‘He smells scared. And he smells okay but he’s acting like he’s hurt.’ Her tail wagged and she nuzzled at him gently. Jeremy didn’t let go. ‘And yes, mate.’ She sneezed, a little annoyed.

 

Luckily, Jeremy was present enough to clarify. “Partner. Y’my bonded. My one.” His chirps were quiet, almost bashful.

 

"Oh, that's just your word for it, I get it," Michael murmured out before looking over at Jeremy, worry overtaking him as he tried to think of something to fix this. "I just have to help him think normally again... Let me see if I can try something..."

 

Shutting his eyes, Michael mimicked what Jeremy often did when he wanted Michael to visualize his outfits, resting his fingers against Jeremy's temple. He tried to send over his own messages, to clear up the confusion in his brain and help it catch up.

 

He did this for a good few minutes, focusing and concentrating for as long as he could before he pulled away, feeling (and hoping) that something in Jeremy's understanding changed. As he did pull back though, he felt a sudden nausea hit him, and it was like a metaphorical rug had been pulled out from under his feet. "Jere? Are you OK?" he asked, unaware that he slipped back into English.

 

Jeremy nodded and slowly released him. “...Yeah. I’m okay,” he murmured, eyes much more focused now. He frowned a little when he looked at Michael. “Are you okay though? Here, take your hoodie off, come lie down with me. You look like you might pass out,” he fussed, which only proved that he was back to normal.

 

"What? I'm fine, I don't know what you're talkin' about," Michael argued, trying to keep a reassuring smile on his face despite the fact he was starting to feel light-headed. and unaware of how wiped and faint he sounded. "I'm fine... really..." That was the last thing he said before everything went black.

Chapter Text

Naturally, Jeremy had freaked out when Michael passed out, but he knew that it was likely just a result of him using the strong magic. What he had done was like nothing Jeremy had ever seen, only heard about and even then that was only in children’s stories. Jeremy knew Michael was a special person from how he acted, he was so sweet and kind, and it was starting to seem like he was even more special than that.

 

Ignoring the heaviness in his limbs, Jeremy got to work. Michael had saved him again, he least he could do would be to get him comfortable. Firstly he pulled off Michael’s shoes and glasses, giving them both a quick wipe down before putting them away. Next came Michael’s hoodie and jeans, still covered in the slowly drying slime. Once they were off, Jeremy used a little magic to help him put Michael into bed, under the covers. “Look after him, girl. I’m going to put his hoodie to wash, I’ll be back in a few minutes,” he promised Buddy, who wagged her tail in agreement, curling up next to Michael with her head on his chest.

 

Satisfied that Michael was in good hands- well, paws- Jeremy staggered downstairs and quickly got the hoodie to wash. It wasn’t hard, especially since Michael had taught him how to use the washing machine a few weeks ago. On his way back up, Jeremy grabbed a fresh towel from the bathroom and quickly cleaned himself up, then grabbed a second towel and went back to Michael’s bedroom to clean him up. What he came back to was a little worrying.

 

Michael looked a little flushed, his breathing was a little heavier than it maybe should have been, and Buddy was nuzzling at him worriedly. ‘He smells sick!’ she whined as soon as she spotted Jeremy. Frowning, Jeremy wandered over, quickly and properly cleaning him up and checking his temperature at the same time. While Jeremy usually ran a little colder than Michael, he knew that the stark difference in temperature was not supposed to be so apparent.

 

He’s got a fever...” he chirped quietly. Quickly, he went and grabbed a lighter sheet, swapping it out for the heavier covers. Then he climbed in, dropping his own temperature a little to hopefully siphon a little of Michael’s fever away. He didn’t know how to care for a human when they were sick, and he himself was too exhausted to actually research it right now. He’d ask Reece or Tia when they got home. For now, he just needed to rest. With Buddy on one side of Michael and Jeremy on the other, the group slipped into a fitful sleep.

 

 

 

When he woke up, it was because he felt a shift in the bed. He opened his eyes to see Reece leaning over on the bed, holding something in Michael’s ear. Worry was evident in her eyes before she looked over, seeing Jeremy now awake. “I didn’t mean to wake you Jeremy, sorry. You might want to get out of bed though, Michael seems to have a really bad fever... I don’t want you to catch whatever he’s got.”

 

Jeremy was struggling to process what was going on. Still, he did as she requested, slowly getting to his feet. “Thought he seemed a bit too warm, s’why I got the lighter sheet,” he slurred, still bleary from sleep and the intense healing his body had gone through.

 

“You did good Jeremy,” Reece reassured him as he got up. The thing in Michael’s ear beeped. She looked at the thing when she pulled it out and grimaced before leaning down and pressing a soft kiss to his forehead. “I’ll be right back baby, we just need to get you some medicine...”

 

Standing up, Reece gently patted Buddy’s head. “Buddy, could you watch him for a little bit while I talk to Tia and Jeremy downstairs please? You’re such a good girl.”

 

“Very good girl,” Jeremy confirmed when Buddy shot him an excited but questioning glance.

 

She wiggled happily and nuzzled against Michael again. ‘I’ll look after him.’

 

Jeremy was reluctant to leave Michael’s side, but he followed Reece downstairs and settled onto the couch at her prompting.

 

Tia was seemingly getting her stuff together, grabbing her purse and car keys. “OK, so what’s Michael’s situation?” she asked both Jeremy and Reece.

 

“He has a really high fever, one-oh-three, and is breathing a little heavier and is very flushed,” Reece explained as she was walking into the kitchen to seemingly get something.

 

Nodding at that, Tia turned to Jeremy expectantly.

 

Jeremy realized she was looking for an explanation, and he didn’t have a proper one to give without explaining everything.

 

“I thought he was looking a little out of it when we got home, so we went to bed. He passed out and when I felt how warm he was, I got some cooler sheets. I didn’t think it was anything too bad but it sounds like it’s gotten worse...” No lies in there, but not much to work with. Well shit, this was a problem, hopefully Tia wouldn’t push further than that.

 

Tia just frowned as she seemed to be thinking something over. “I’m gonna go grab some soups and crackers and Gatorades, do we need any medicine that we don’t have?”

 

“I think we have it,” Reece reassured her. “I’ll check our medicine cabinets in a minute, you head to the store.” She came out and pressed a quick kiss to Tia’s cheek. “Love you.”

 

“Love you too. See you both soon.”

 

With that, Tia left and Reece sighed. “Well, this... it’s thankfully not so alarming, but Michael hasn’t gotten sick in a long time. It was bound to happen, but not so intensely...” Reece sat down beside Jeremy before resting the back of her hand against his forehead. “How are you feeling, hun?”

 

He made sure his temperature was back to normal before she touched him, a little on the cool side but not freakishly cold to the touch. And her question brought up an interesting thought: how did he feel?

 

He was tired and a little sore, but after everything his body went through that was to be expected. There were no marks from the goblins, no blood on his skin. And his wing, though pulsing slightly where it was hidden, wasn’t hurting and he knew he would be able to fly. Michael had done more than just heal him, he had fully repaired him, almost on par with having him grow back a limb after the damage his wing had sustained.

 

“I feel... tired. That’s about it really. I’m just worried about Michael.” He shrugged.

 

Reece just hummed as she pulled her hand back. “Just follow me, alright? I need to check our medicine cabinet, but I need a few more things from you. Like, how was Michael before he passed out? Was there anything off about him today before you realized he was sick?” As she asked these questions, Reece walked with Jeremy through the hall and her and Tia’s bedroom, which was a nice, more minimalist-styled room in cool hues, and into her bigger bathroom.

 

Jeremy’s stomach dropped but he tried to be as honest as possible. “He seemed... tired. Like really bone tired, but he kept insisting he was fine. Like, he was functional and he seemed to be present and awake, there was just a sort of... exhaustion about him. That’s why I wanted him to come and have a nap with me.” He nodded. After using so much magic, Michael had looked wiped, even with his own mental state in question he figured that out. It was why Jeremy was so clingy, he was worried about him, even if he was having a hard time explaining it.

 

“Did anything happen during the day to cause that?” she asked as she started looking through their medicine cabinet, back turned to Jeremy. The worry and concern in her voice was heavy.

 

“Nothing during any of the lessons we shared, but he does have Home Ec without me and he went out at lunch, just before he came to take me home.” No lies, half truths. Ugh, maybe it was worth taking the hit and getting a headache instead. This was hard.

 

Reece let out a soft hum at that before turning around with two bottles in her hands. “Alright, thank you Jeremy. I still need to figure out how contagious he is, I don’t want you getting sick from him. I’m gonna have to call out tomorrow at least so I can care for him. I know you two are bound by the hip practically, even before getting together, but... it’s for your own health to not be with him all the time. We might need to set up the inflatable mattress for you somewhere.”

 

Jeremy paused, then nodded. He wouldn’t be able to get around this, not by normal means, so he would have to play along for now. Michael wasn’t sick by conventional means either, so he wasn’t contagious. And every instinct inside Jeremy right now was screaming at him to go and look after his bonded, just in case something happened. He was stable, Jeremy could sense that, but he knew he needed to stay close just in case.

 

“What about school? He’s my ride there, and we usually do the online classes together.”

 

“There’s a bus that Michael used to take that picks up some other kids, you could use that, or I can drive you since I’ll be up early while Tia watches over him until I get back. You could even use Michael’s phone and text Brooke or Jenna... We should really get you a phone, I can’t believe your mother didn’t give you one,” Reece thought out loud. “We can easily figure something out, Jeremy, he isn’t your only option. Plus, you can go to the library and do work there and wait for the last two periods before Jenna or Brooke take you back, or the bus can.”

 

“I- okay... I’ll give Brooke a call in a minute, let her know. Can... can I still help look after him now, though? I wanna help, but I don’t know how. It takes a lot to get me sick.” Jeremy shot her his best puppy eyes, making sure to keep the influence out of his voice. He didn’t want to use it, no matter how much his instincts were telling him to. He refused to influence any humans anymore, especially not his sort of adoptive family.

 

Reece seemed to be looking him over, that off look from the weekend returning for a split second before she nodded. “Alright, but be careful. If you start even feeling a little off, you leave, OK?”

 

Jeremy nodded eagerly. “Promise.” And he would keep it. “So... what can I do to actually help him? I don’t have any siblings and I don’t really remember getting sick very clearly.” Curiously, he peered at the bottles in her hand, trying to see what they were. He knew they were like potions, but different, based in science rather than magic.

 

“Well, I’m still not entirely sure what he has. I’ll have to wait until he’s actually awake to ask. For now though, could you get a cloth from his bathroom and get it wet so we can rest it over his forehead? It might help a little with his fever. We’ll need whatever we can to help reduce it,” she requested as she exited her bathroom with Jeremy, heading upstairs with him.

 

Jeremy nodded and darted into Michael’s bathroom as quickly as he could, pulling out a flannel cloth and wetting it. Checking that Reece wasn’t near enough to notice, he discreetly infused a little magic into the cloth, making it so it would keep cooling itself to remain at this temperature. Kinda like how Jeremy himself stayed cold even in summer. By the time he actually got to Michael, Reece was already sitting next to him. Jeremy wandered over and rested the cloth over Michael’s forehead.

 

Besides a soft sound of relief, Michael didn’t change. He had a more exhausted and fatigued look to him, almost to an extreme level. His body was shivering, like he felt hot and cold at the same time. Brushing his hands against Michael’s skin when placing the cloth, he felt how clammy he was.

 

Reece was looking over Michael with the same off look as before, but it was mixed with a huge heap of concern as she ran her fingers through Michael’s slightly sweat soaked locks. “You’ll be feeling better soon, I promise...”

 

Jeremy could only watch, worry and fear coursing through him. This was much worse than any other time Michael had exhausted himself, and Jeremy needed to know what was going on. Deciding the risk would be worth it, Jeremy made a decision.

 

“I’ll go grab him some water,” he murmured and received a nod from Reece. As soon as he was out of earshot, Jeremy started mumbling the invisibility spell under his breath, even as he started getting the water ready. By the time he was halfway up the stairs again, it was ready. He let his wings out, pleased that they were invisible.

 

He slipped back into Michael’s room and placed the water on his bedside table, then perched on the other side of the bed. He lightly let his wings brush over Michael’s arm, and for a moment, his shivers stopped and his breathing evened out a little. He pulled them back and Michael started just as badly as before.

 

He pulled away his wings, bringing them back into himself, thinking over what he could feel from them. It didn’t seem to be an evil spell or anything, just a feeling of conflict. He needed a few more minutes to analyse it.

 

Reece thanked Jeremy for the water, but seemed to glance at Michael as he relaxed before getting back to his terrible state. Something danced across her eyes as she slowly had Michael sit up, grabbing the cup of water and somehow coaxing Michael into drinking some.

 

As she did that, Buddy looked over at Jeremy with a mix of annoyance (probably because of the notable difference Michael had and Reece’s look) and extreme concern.

 

Jeremy gave her a barely noticeable shrug back. He didn’t know Michael would react like that, and in all honesty, he didn’t care. So long as Michael recovered, he would be happy. He wouldn’t even care if he exposed himself, even if he didn’t want to; if it meant Michael recovered, he would happily do anything.

 

Thinking over the feeling from his wings, he finally got a pinpoint on what he was getting from them. There were two types of magic warring inside Michael right then: witch and fairy. And Jeremy could feel that there was barely any of his own magic doing it, so this wasn’t his fault directly. He needed a little longer to actually get a proper answer.

 

Buddy rested her head in Jeremy’s lap then, whimpering softly. She was extremely concerned for Michael, and if he didn’t know better, he would say she was even scared. ‘The weird smell is still there.’

 

Jeremy lightly stroked her head, nodding a little. “I know, girl. I’m worried too. But he’s strong, he’ll get through this.” He whispered reassurances to her, pressing a gentle kiss to her muzzle. Even if he couldn’t talk to her properly (she struggled a little understanding English but she was getting better every day), she still seemed to understand that his words were more than just that. He could feel through the bond that Michael would be okay, that his body would settle eventually, just not when.

 

“He will, he’s gotten majorly sick before,” Reece explained. “He went through a majorly bad sickness, but I think it was before he came here. His aunt and uncle know more about it, he almost had to go to the hospital, I think... He also got sick after coming here, but he doesn’t really remember that. He just thinks he didn’t do anything and was bored, but he was sick for a good week during the fall.”

 

Jeremy felt his insides freeze painfully. He had met Michael in the fall after he arrived in America. And when Michael hadn’t turn up to that second meeting, and they had found each other completely by accident... a week later. After that, it was rare they ever missed a meeting, but that first time…

 

Maybe this was Jeremy’s fault after all.

 

“I think his aunt and uncle said part of the reason he had to come was because he would get really sick often, but he only had that one sickness and has been fine since. I don’t know what could cause it though... If it’s like that one, he’ll be out of school for at least this week, but I don’t know how different his body will react compared to when he was so young.” There was a deep set frown on Reece’s face as she pressed a kiss to Michael’s forehead, moving the rag so she could do so before sitting back up. “I don’t think he really remembers being sick, he was so out of it then and his uncle told me he would be so out of it in the Philippines too.”

 

That helped settle him a lot. Michael had been better since that last time, which meant this wasn’t likely Jeremy’s fault at all.

 

That feeling of fairy and witch was a lot more clear now, and Jeremy finally realized something important. Both magics felt like Michael. They were both his. Sure, a little of Jeremy’s magic was present in the fairy magic, likely from their bond, but they were both primarily Michael’s magic. And it seemed like the fairy magic was pushing forwards somehow, if the minute feelings were to were to be trusted. Did this mean Michael had natural fairy magic in him from the get-go?

 

“If he wasn’t contagious back then, it’s likely he won’t be now, right?” Jeremy hesitantly suggested. “And if that’s the case, I could still sleep here. I’ll take the floor or something, but I really don’t want to leave him alone if I can help it...” Still using one hand to stroke Buddy, Jeremy reached out and gently took Michael’s hand, which was resting on top of the covers.

 

“I guess... I don’t want you to stress too much and feel unwell yourself though,” Reece told him with a sigh. “It’s not good for your health to just sleep on the floor either. It might still be good to sleep on a couch since we don't have a guest room. I’d suggest the air mattress in here, but it’s not big enough in this room to fit it.” Her eyes watched as Jeremy did that, and both of them saw Michael’s hand twitch for a moment before settling back to its trembling state. His breathing was trembling as well, and beads of sweat dripped down his face and neck.

 

“... I understand. I’ll take the couch downstairs maybe. Or the basement, that ones really comfortable.” He chuckled weakly, pressing a kiss to Michael’s hand. “He’s gonna be fine. But this is hard to see. I... no one really got sick back home. No one I knew anyways.”

 

“I’ve never seen someone get sick like he does, but he will be fine,” she reassured. “I can’t imagine how his aunt and uncle felt, he was apparently bedridden often. Michael wants to go back home too, but his aunt and uncle told him he shouldn’t for his health and visit him instead for Christmas.”

 

“He mentioned them a few times, they sound awesome. And they must be since they found such awesome moms for Michael. They actually sought you and Tia out, didn’t they? Like they approached you.” He didn’t let go of Michael’s hand, resisting the urge to use a little frost magic to help cool him.

 

“Yeah, they did,” Reece admitted. “It was a huge hassle but we ended up adopting him. Definitely one of the best choices we ever made, even if we were real young when we got him.” Her gaze shifted over to Michael, looking fondly down at him before she let out a sigh. “I just wish I could make him better... Medicine helped a little, but not a lot, just with headaches and a tiny bit of fever reduction...”

 

That was something he might be able to help with. “Have you tried any natural remedies? There are so many natural herbs and stuff which help, sometimes better than medicine I’ve found.” If this was a fairy sickness, herbs were the way to go. Herbs and crystals. Jeremy could probably slip one under his pillow later without getting caught, he always kept a couple in his ‘pocket’ just in case.

 

"No, I haven't," she told him as she focused her gaze from her son back to Jeremy. "Do you have any ideas on what could help him?"

 

He remembered his lessons on this thankfully. “Yarrow and ginger tea will get him sweating, which is gross but should help keep him cooler and force out the fever. And... umm-“ Okay, maybe he needed to reread his notes, but it was all still there. “Oh yeah! Some powdered willow bark will help with the headache. It works like... aspirin. Yeah, that was it: aspirin. If you stick it in the tea, it should work pretty well and make it easier to get it in him.” Of course he tripped up on the human medicine. Luckily, aspirin was something he had actually tried since Michael gave him some back when they were kids and Jeremy was discovering he could lie.

 

Reece seemed to think all of that over before nodding. "I'll send a text to Tia to ask her to pick those things up. I think I left my phone downstairs, so I'll be back in a minute." With that, she got up and left the room, leaving Jeremy alone with Buddy and the unconscious Michael for now.

 

As soon as Jeremy was sure she was gone, he reached into the pocket and pulled out a small chunk of rose quartz. One of its main properties was healing, and Michael could certainly use that. He slipped it under Michael pillow, pressing a small kiss to Michael’s forehead. He let a small burst of frost magic run through it, cooling him and the cloth just a little.

 

A soft sigh passed Michael's lips then, and he swore he saw the hint of a smile for a second before his face settled back to how it was before. From beside him, Buddy looked up at Jeremy with the dog equivalent of a frown. 'I know he's going to be OK, but...'

 

Me too, sweetheart,” Jeremy whispered, stroking her again. “...You can feel the conflict, can’t you?

 

'I can smell it, I think that's the weird smell,' she told him, whimpering as she looked at Michael.

 

Reece came back in then, pocketing her phone. "Tia's picking up what you said. Also, did you hear birds? I thought a lot of them migrated down south already, I haven't seen too many around..."

 

“I’ve seen a good number of robins around... maybe that’s what you heard?” he suggested pathetically. Shit, he had really messed up, hasn’t he? Plus, why did everyone think it sounded like birds, he was not a bird! They couldn’t even properly communicate like dogs could! Fairy language was a lot more complex than that!

 

She shrugged before sitting back down, this time at the foot of Michael's bed. "Are there any other ideas you have? This is the best I can think of for now besides keeping him hydrated, since I don't know exactly what he's feeling."

 

Jeremy shook his head. “That’s all I know of, I only learned really basic stuff unfortunately.” Fairy biology was different. He only knew they would work for humans because he specifically asked for that.

 

Reece just nodded as she looked back at Michael. "It might be a good idea to get Michael's phone and text Brooke or Jenna. They should be done with any after school stuff by now," she suggested. "Plus, you still have school work you need to get done."

 

Jeremy sighed, not wanting to leave Michael alone but also understanding that he had to keep up appearances. “Okay, Ina,” he grumbled, then froze. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to, it’s just Michael calls you that and I knew you as that for so long before I met you and-“

 

He saw Reece smile at that, reaching over and ruffling his hair. "It's sweet. You can call me that if you want, I don't mind either way." She seemed to laugh for a moment before she spoke up again. "Just go listen to Ina and do your homework, I'll watch over Michael for now and care for him."

 

Jeremy blushed, feeling a small burst of happiness at that. “Okay, Ina.” He nodded, standing up after getting Buddy to scoot off of him. He hesitated, then leant over and pressed a small kiss to her temple. Then, face flaming, he scooped up Michael’s phone and darted out the room.

 

He could hear Reece's laughter fill the room, though not in a teasing manner. It was full of happiness and sounded pleased. It didn't help that he heard Buddy also laughing at him, but in her typical teasing fashion.

 

 

 

Jeremy had reluctantly been driven to school the next morning by a very affectionate Reece. She kept ruffling his hair and just kept giving him small, affectionate touches. “So, Brooke is driving you home, right? You’re sticking around the library until she’s done with her after school activities,” she confirmed as Jeremy got ready to exit the car.

 

Jeremy nodded, shooting her a small smile. “That’s the plan!” He smiled, which technically wasn’t a lie. He just wasn’t sticking to the plan. He leaned over and pressed a small kiss to her cheek. “I’ll see you later, Ina.”

 

Reece smiled back as she pressed a peck to his cheek in return. "See you, Jeremy. Have a good day at school!" Once Jeremy got out of her car and walked to the entrance, where Brooke was waving at the car, he saw her finally drive away.

 

"Sooo I'm taking your stuff. You owe me for this," Brooke teased as she held a hand out. "You also better keep me and Jenna updated on what's happening with Michael."

 

“Of course I will! And yes, this really means a lot to me. Thank you.” He smiled, handing over his stuff. “Just remember to text me when you’re on your way over to my place. I’ll meet you around the corner.” Jeremy felt bad about not going to school, and for sort of lying to Ina and Tia, but he didn’t think he could handle being apart from Michael for so long. That was normal for newly bonded from what he read, but with Michael being so sick, it was making everything ten times more intense. He didn’t think he would make it through the day without making himself sick, but he couldn’t exactly explain that to Ina or Tia.

 

"I will, just remember to pay attention to Michael's phone. I know you tend to forget about it," Brooke reminded him before reaching over and playfully pinching his cheek. "Now get going to your Sleeping Beauty. Also say hi to Buddy for me."

 

“Will do!” And with that, Jeremy sprinted off into the forest. Once he was sure he was out of sight, he stuffed the phone into the pocket (he wasn’t about to risk trying to shrink it). Then he shrunk down and let his wings out, darting into the air and beginning the flight back to Michael’s house. He kept high and put some glamour so that anyone who saw would see him as a bird, a robin. He loathed the disguise, but if it meant he got back to Michael, he’d do it.

 

Eventually, he made it home. Michael’s window was locked, but he knew that the dog door wasn’t. After checking the windows and finding no one there, Jeremy very quietly slid inside and started creeping his way upstairs. He wouldn’t fly unless he needed to, it made too much noise. Luckily, it seemed that no one was downstairs.

 

Well, there was one someone downstairs, and that someone was finishing eating her food. Buddy lifted her head up from her food bowl, cocking her head at Jeremy before walking over and huffing. 'What are you doing here? I thought you told them that you'd be at school. What if they catch you?'

 

I have to risk it, I’ll get sick if I’m away from him too long, the bond is too new,” he explained quietly. “Think you can help me get back upstairs when you’ve finished?

 

The dog just nodded. 'Titi left for work, but Ina's in Michael's room with him right now,' she explained as she walked over to her food bowl before finishing eating.

 

Jeremy nodded, and as soon as she was ready, he hopped up on to her back. “If you keep one side to her, I can climb off and slip under the bed,” he whispered, stroking her affectionately.

 

Buddy just nodded to that, sneezing as she did so, before starting to walk up the stairs. It didn't take long, and she told Jeremy to stay on her right side before she walked in.

 

Reece was currently sitting on the edge of the bed, checking Michael's temperature again. A sigh of frustration passed her lips before she placed the cloth Jeremy had charmed back onto his forehead. Her gaze shifted when Buddy came in, and she smiled as she watched the dog walk over to the opposite side of the bed she was sitting, as if she was getting ready to hop on. 'Get off now and then I'm hopping up.'

 

Jeremy dropped lightly and scooted under the bed. He saw Buddy jump up and he saw the bounce from the mattress as she landed and got comfortable. He listened, hoping he could find out what was going on.

 

“I hope he doesn’t take as long as he did last time to feel better. I was so scared last time,” he heard Reece say, probably to Buddy. “I have an idea on what it could be, but I’d need to reread the diary Tia hid to make sure. I could now, but I don’t want to leave Michael, y’know?”

 

Jeremy was a little confused by that, but he wasn’t about to question it. Instead, he just settled himself down and tucked away his wings, he wouldn’t need them for a while. This was close enough for now, he could feel the subtle nausea fading just from being close to Michael. Hopefully this would help him too.

 

“I’m actually going to check, do you think you could bark if something happens or if Michael wakes up?”

 

Buddy barked, but Jeremy could hear her say, ‘Yes, Ina.’

 

“Good girl.” He watched as the dip in the bed from Reece sitting down went away, and watched Reece’s feet move until she left the room.

 

Jeremy listened and eventually heard Buddy huff, ‘You can come out now.’ Jeremy did, and (silently) popped back to being big. Then he sat next to Michael and pressed a small kiss to his forehead, moving the cloth and re-enchanting it to make sure. Michael seemed to breathe a little easier after getting the contact. “It’s okay love, I’m here,” he whispered.

 

Buddy shifted then, resting her head against his leg and whined softly. Michael just let out a soft sigh, his head tilting closer to Jeremy. ‘Do you think he’s just going to be like this for a week?’

 

Jeremy sighed. “I don’t know. If I can help lessen it, I will, but I really don’t know.” Then he had an idea. Carefully, he let his wings out and rested them against Michael’s skin. He could see red and gold slowly seeping into his wings, as well as the thin, red, glowing scar from where his wing was healed glowing a little brighter. It seemed to help Michael relax a little, and Jeremy wasn’t feeling any negative side effects like he did last time his wings stained.

 

Buddy watched Jeremy do this before letting out a soft huff. ‘It’s not hurting you? I smell the weird smell a little on you now...’

 

Jeremy shook his head. “It's weird, but no. It just feels... warm. Safe. Kinda like how Michael makes me feel.” It was hard to explain, but the stain only seemed to be bringing nice feelings. Maybe it was the difference in biology, but he actually liked the feeling. It felt like Michael, like home. “It’s a weird sort of mix of magics, one I haven’t ever experienced before, but... I don’t think it’ll hurt me. It feels like Michael and I know he’d never hurt me.

 

The dog cocked her head curiously to the side but didn’t question it as she sniffed Michael again. She just rested her head onto her owner’s chest, huffing. ‘Is he changing?’

 

Jeremy paused at that. “Maybe... but into what? He’s human, and if this was because of the bond he would have changed already...” he mused quietly, stroking Buddy gently.

 

Once his wings were half covered in the gold and red, Jeremy pulled them away from Michael. His breathing had evened out a bit and his fever seemed a little less severe. Michael looked kinda relaxed now. He almost seemed to be smiling.

 

‘Well, he protected you and healed you, right? Daddy came in saying you were calling him an angel?’ Buddy offered, her head tilting to the side.

 

Nodding, Jeremy considered it. “Angels were protectors and healers in children’s stories. I loved hearing about them when I was growing up, but I could never find proof. All that there ever was that any fairy lucky enough to love an angel would always be safe. They’re just children’s stories though... maybe...” He sighed. He would love to believe it, but that would be impossible. No one had heard of any angels since before the fairies cut themselves off from humanity centuries ago. They only ever featured in the oldest stories, and there was no proof that they existed.

 

Buddy looked over to Michael then, reaching up to lick his chin. She was mid-lick when her head turned around, whipping towards the door. 'I hear her coming from the study.'

 

Instantly, Jeremy popped down to tiny size and dove under Michael’s pillows, pulling his wings away as he did. He was very glad he had mastered this skill enough to make it silent. He curled around the rose quartz that was still hidden there, feeling it pulse as it let out small bursts of healing energy.

 

He heard the door open, as well as footsteps. They paused a few steps in before he heard Reece sigh. "Jeremy? Are you here?" A heart-stopping beat passed. "Look, if you are here and I'm not going crazy, talk to me instead of hiding. I'm going to be outside the room, so please talk to me if you are." The steps retreated, but the door did not close.

 

Jeremy sighed and poked his head out from under the pillow. Buddy was watching him worriedly, begging him to stay hidden. “I won’t lie to her anymore. If she knows I’m here, she knows enough.” Gently, he patted her on the nose and flew out to the middle of the room. He tucked his wings away and popped back to normal size, head bowed in shame. “I- I am here,” he called, his voice a little hoarse from fear.

 

He heard a sigh from outside, and Reece walked back in then with what looked like a small, worn, yet thick notebook in her hands. Her thumb seemed to be holding her spot in one place as she sighed. "OK, so I was right," she muttered out, her expression curious before she sat down on the edge of Michael's bed. "How long have you been here for?"

 

“Just a few minutes. When Buddy came in,” he confessed, not looking up at her. He was actually fighting back tears of fear. Reece might not be a witch, but she was married to one. He knew the common opinion of fairies (rightly earned, but he was desperate to be anything but that).

 

There was another pause. "Jeremy, you don't have to be bowing and scared like that. Sit down, nothing's changed about how I feel about you," she told him, voice soft and reassuring as he heard the sound of her patting down on Michael's bed. "Any boy who steals my son's heart isn't a bad person."

 

For a second, Jeremy was frozen. Then he slowly looked up and saw that same gentle expression from yesterday, when Jeremy had called her Ina. Hesitantly, he walked over to the bed and sat down, still a little frightened. At least she didn’t hate him. It was a good start.

 

"I had a feeling since this weekend. I mean... I've had a feeling. I have True Sight, I knew there was something magical about you when I first met you. I just didn't have an idea on how until Friday," Reece explained, trying to still sound so soft and comforting. "I'm sorry if I've been giving you off looks, I've just been trying to figure it out. I figured there was some reason why you weren't saying, and I get why now with the typical relations witches and fairies have."

 

A whole bunch of the interaction suddenly made sense. “I don’t blame you if you don’t trust me after everything you must have read and heard.” Jeremy looked down at his lap again. “But I promise you, I only want him safe and happy. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, ever since we first met. I- I hate how fairies are with humans. It’s wrong. And I think a large part of my viewpoint comes from knowing Michael as long as I have.”

 

Since she already knew, Jeremy slowly let all the glamour fade from him, even his clothes. The singe still present on his vest, exposing the electrocution scar, the blue shorts, the no shoes, and his natural skin and ears. He slowly let his wings out too, not wanting to scare her with too much suddenly at once.

 

She seemed to look him over for a good few seconds before just humming and nodding. "Well, a lot of the books Tia has on fairies seem to be redacted versions compared to this diary here." The little notebook she had was handed over to Jeremy then. "I remember that his aunt sent it, asking Tia to give it to him as a gift. She read the first page, saw it was about fairies and witches in Tagalog, and instantly stuffed it away. She never read past that, but I did, and I think you might want to read it over like I did. It was how I figured out that you're a fairy." Reece let out a small sigh before looking over at Buddy, petting her head. "Have you been good for him, Buddy? I read that fairies could talk to some animals if they're of high enough intelligence. You must've had fun getting to really talk to someone."

 

Buddy huffed happily, her tail thumping against the bed. ‘It’s been really nice! Daddy’s mate is super nice, but he’s a little stupid,’ she agreed and Jeremy giggled, it coming out a little whistley before he could stop it.

 

“She just called me nice, but stupid. You’re so mean to me, Buddy!” Jeremy whined, affectionately stroking her. “She’s been getting better at understanding English, but she gets Fairy a lot easier,” he explained further. “I think she’s actually gotten to the point of being one of the most eloquent dogs out there.” This was normal, just adoring Buddy a little. This was something he could handle.

 

Reece nodded then before looking over at Michael, though her hand went to scratch behind Buddy's ear. "I mean, we already knew she was a smart dog, but that's good to know." A soft hum passed her lips. "So... Uh, did you two... bond Friday? Is that why Michael was so clingy to you?"

 

Jeremy flushed a deep plum all the way to the pointed tips of his ears. “Yeah. I... I’ve been in love with him for a while, I started falling when we were fourteen. He knew what that meant and actually felt the same. I... I didn’t realize how it would affect him, I had gotten past the rush a few hours before you got home.” He actually glanced over a few times, face still a dark plum. He almost missed the red tones. If only he had been born an autumn fairy... or a human.

 

He felt Reece's hand on top of one of his hands. "Well... I think you should read the diary I gave you. You understand all human languages, right? It should be easy for you to get then, and everything should make sense." She got up then, ruffling his hair a little. "I'll let you help him for the rest of the week, we'll work something out so Tia doesn't know for now, yeah? It would be better if you stayed and care for him than me. For now, I'll make you something to eat, and something for Michael too if he wakes up." With a soft smile, she left, leaving the door open still.

 

“Thank you, Ina,” Jeremy called to her retreating figure, turning to look at the diary. He saw her pause, glancing over her shoulder. She knew how much those words meant to Jeremy now.

 

Buddy looked between the now-vacant doorway and Jeremy then, huffing softly. 'Well, that went a lot better than I thought.'

 

...Yeah, same here.” Jeremy sighed, turning the diary over and over in his hands. “This is how she knew about everything... why would Michael’s family have a diary on fairies?” he mused to himself, opening it up.

 

As he looked it over, he saw that it was all a chronological diary from a long time ago, which made sense with the condition the notebook was in. He was careful as he flipped each page, thinking about making a newer copy when he could. It seemed like it was only some very old enchantments that was keeping it together at this point, it was that old.

 

The first chunk of information that he got talked about Michael's ancestors, and how one of them bonded with a fairy. They had gotten close, eventually having their own child who seemed to be more powerful than the owner of this diary.

 

The next chunk was actually written by a new owner. As he realized this, Jeremy checked and saw how unique the binding was, how each section was written off in a different type of paper, different ink, and different penmanship. It was Michael's actual ancestry written down, and it seemed to follow each new offspring from the original parents of witch and fairy.

 

They went on and on, and he surmised that, if each new member of the bloodline was exposed to enough fairy magic, they'd become extremely powerful. If not exposed to it in the right way, it could be dangerous for the person, causing a sort of war of witch and fairy magic inside of them. Thankfully, they seemed to learn and adapt along with the fairy magic.

 

The entries eventually trailed off about three centuries ago, which Jeremy realized was when the huge feud and divide between witches and fairies truly started. Before it fully ended though, he saw a term that caught his attention. 'Though few are able to make a perfect meld between their fairy and witch magics, those who are able to become what we shall now call Angels.'

 

Jeremy almost dropped the book in shock. Angels were real? And that meant that- actually, it made sense. Michael’s pull to the barrier as a child. His natural affinity for glamour. Even the fact that every other fairy seemed to find him almost as attractive as Jeremy did. And if Jeremy was ever going to pick someone in the whole world to be an Angel, it would be Michael.

 

He... he’s becoming an Angel...” Jeremy whispered reverently, running his fingers through Michael’s hair. “My Angel.” He couldn’t help but coo a little, letting small frost patterns follow his fingers as they moved from his hair to his skin, cool but not cold. His fever seemed to lessen even more, so Jeremy kept doing it.

 

'Wait, he's what? What did you read?' Buddy nudged Jeremy's leg, trying to get him to talk instead of gawk at Michael. 'I need to know what you know! Don't hog it!' She let out a soft, low howl, which had Michael's face scrunch up ever so slightly in response.

 

Jeremy giggled and turned to look at her. “Turns out Michael has fairy blood in him from a long time ago. And that means when he was exposed to a lot of fairy magic, y’know, when we bonded, it started a change in him. He’s becoming an Angel, which is more powerful than almost every fairy ever. Only a few Royals could compare, and even then!” He was honestly delighted by this find. Not only was it proof that Michael would be okay, but that Angels were real, everything Jeremy had ever dreamed of!

 

Buddy cocked her head to the side then before looking at Michael. 'If he's an angel, where are his angel wings? All angels have big, fluffy, white wings!'

 

Jeremy shook his head. “Those were just winter fairies. Some fairies have bird wings. Angel is more of a title, a power set, for someone who is half fairy and half witch. Michael is becoming that now,” he explained, still tracing the small frost patterns into his skin, watching as they vanished instantly, leaving no residue.

 

'So... is he going to be more powerful than you?' she asked, sniffing Michael's face and licking it, even if his face was still somewhat scrunched up.

 

In theory, yeah. I mean, I’m the first royal bonded to his family, so there’s no records of that in the diary, but he should be more powerful than me. I might get a small boost from him since we’re bonded though.” Jeremy giggled a little at Michael’s expression, gently running his thumb over his forehead to help smooth it out.

 

'Well, they have to put this into the history books for fairies, right?' As she asked, Michael's expression relaxed a little, and he unconsciously leaned into his hand, that hint of a smile shining through.

 

Jeremy shook his head. “Most fairies hate humans, I’m just the weird kid who actually likes them. The only Angels who exist are in children’s stories.

 

'But if you're royal and he's bonded to you, they have to... right?'

 

They won’t change the past. But they won’t be able to ignore us, I don’t think. The Queen knew I had already bonded myself to him and didn’t try to stop it or stop me. So it’s actually likely that he’ll be recognized by the Queen as an Angel, and as the future King’s Bonded.” For the first time ever, Jeremy felt a little proud of his title, of only because it meant Michael would get a better place and more respect in Jeremy’s world.

 

She chuffed before resting her head back down on Michael's chest. 'That's good, but they're stupid if they won't fix what they messed up.'

 

There was a soft knock on the open door then as the scent of tomatoes and chicken filled the room. "Is it alright if I interrupt you two for food?"

 

“Sure thing, Ina! I was just talking with Buddy about Angels in fairy culture. Turns out she’s quite the little freedom fighter.” He chuckled, setting the diary on the bed and giving her a loving scratch behind the ears. “She’s a very good girl.”

 

Buddy just growled happily, her tail thumping against the bed. Reece laughed from where she stood before coming over, two bowls of soup on a tray and some Gatorade bottles. "Wow, you've definitely helped her expand her mind then. And do you think we could get Michael up to eat now or...?"

 

Jeremy though for a moment. “He’s already doing better since I siphoned off some excess magic.” He flapped his wings, the red and gold swirling together as proof. “I might be able to try something, but I don’t know if it’ll work.” He steeled himself, as much as he hated using it for instructions, Michael would need to eat to be able to recover quickly. He leaned down, lips almost brushing the shell of Michael’s ear. “Michael, can you wake up and eat please? Just long enough to eat, then you can rest,” he whispered, gently stroking Michael’s hair.

 

He felt Michael stir, a soft grumble passing his lips before his eyes opened. They were feverish and slightly hazed over, but he was at least awake. "Mm... Whuh?"

 

Jeremy smiled softly at him, still stroking his hair. “Hey there, Mikey. S’time to eat, okay? You can go back to sleep in a minute, but you gotta eat.” Slowly, using almost all his strength as well as flapping his wings, he helped Michael sit up, moving behind him to support him. He didn’t put his wings away, instead he curled them over to rest lightly on Michael’s shoulders and arms. He focused and no more colors moved into them, they stayed still at half capacity.

 

"Mm, OK..." Michael rubbed his eyes for a minute before looking over, smiling weakly at Reece. "Hi Ina," he muttered out, seemingly not making the connection that last time he was really conscious, Reece wasn't supposed to know about Jeremy being a fairy. Well, he was definitely out of it.

 

"Hi baby, I made you and Jeremy something to eat," she told him before gently putting the tray in his lap. "You can have chicken noodle or tomato, whichever you'd prefer. I also have drinks for you two."

 

"Mm, thanks Ina."

 

Jeremy started rambling about a random topic, this time about how he was figuring out how to make his frost patterns hang in the air, while Michael ate. He reached around and helped Michael clumsily guide the spoon to his mouth, and just kept lightly stroking his hair. This, despite the circumstances, felt normal. They could almost be back in their clearing, Michael eating lunch while Jeremy just rambled about everything and nothing at the same time. It felt familiar and safe, and Jeremy quickly lost track of time. It didn’t take too long for Michael to finish eating. “You still need to show me that movie you keep telling me about. Frozen, wasn’t it? You keep calling me Elsa, I gotta know if she’s actually as awesome as me or not.”

 

At that, Michael let out a groan. "She's cool and all, but you're a lot better. That movie's good but overrated and over-hyped," he grumbled out as Reece took away the tray, though left the unfinished of the two drinks on Michael's bedside.

 

“Awww, thanks love,” Jeremy cooed sweetly, pressing a kiss to Michael’s temple. When Michael yawned, Jeremy chuckled. “Time to sleep again, yeah?” With no small amount of wiggling, Jeremy extracted himself from behind Michael and gently set him down. Once he was sure Michael was all comfortable, he pressed a slow kiss to his forehead. “You rest now, Mikey. I’ll be here next time you wake up.”

 

"Mm, OK... 'love you," he told him around a yawn, eyes shutting before he fell asleep almost instantly. Even if he was still recovering from that, he was definitely better than he was when Jeremy first 'left for school' that morning.

 

“I love you too, Angel,” Jeremy murmured, moving to sit on the bed. His wings felt a little twitchy, and he felt some of the energy he had taken from Michael start to drip into him. With a groan, he stood. “Buddy, I need to go and stretch my wings out a bit, you look after him, okay?” After getting a huff of agreement in response, he made his way downstairs.

 

Reece was in the kitchen, washing up the bowls. “Hey Ina, I need to stretch my wings a little, so Buddy is looking after Michael. Could you look after his phone? Brooke’s gonna text at some point to let me know to meet her.” Jeremy reached into the pocket and pulled out Michael’s phone, finding it clear of any messages for now. He’d send everyone an update when he got back inside.

 

Reece looked up from where she was washing, smiling as she took Michael's phone. "I will, don't worry." She placed it a safe distance away from the sink before raising a brow. "How are you going to go stretch your wings though?"

 

Jeremy grinned. “Just watch out the window.” And with that, he shrunk down with the usual pop of ice in water sound. Within seconds, he darted out the dog door and started doing laps around the garden, doing tricks and flips as he went. Looking behind him, he saw a small trail of red following him, evaporating a few seconds after it appeared. Giggling, he spelt out ‘Hello Ina’ before he messed it up, making a small red smoke ball. After a few minutes of this, he felt all the extra energy leave his system and he stopped leaving red trails, so he flew back into the dog door and popped back up to normal size, grinning happily at Reece.

 

Reece was nursing a cup of water then, apparently having watched him the entire time. A brow was raised as she smiled around the rim of her glass. "Oh, I see. So when I've seen Buddy chase something I think is a bird around, it's been you tweeting about?"

 

Jeremy blushed and scowled a little. “I’m not a bird. And I don’t ‘tweet.’ But yes, I do fly around with Buddy in the mornings, usually I’ll collect dew for my cleansing potion at the same time.” He was really hating the whole thing about everyone calling him a bird. Birds were stupid. Except crows and ravens, they were cool and kinda friendly. But only them!

 

At that, Reece laughed. "I'm just messing with you Jeremy, I know that fairy language is complex and I just can only process it and think of it as bird noises since my brain registers them as that. That's cool to know though. You'll have to tell me more about it and your magic and everything since the diary only gives so much."

 

Jeremy pouted, then grinned and nodded. “Sure! It’ll be great to have someone new to talk to about it, especially since I’m coming into my full power set late.” Jeremy checked the bond and felt Michael was fine, still asleep. He didn’t need Jeremy right then. “Well, I’m a frost fairy except apparently I’m more than that. I don’t get how, but I was born with extra powers which are only just coming through. Which kinda makes me a royal.” He scratched the back of his head sheepishly, his wings twitching a little. He aimed for casual as he leaned against the kitchen counter, failing miserably.

 

Reece just snickered playfully at his attempts as she sat down on one of the bar stools in the kitchen, raising a brow. "Well, if you're royalty, why are you here? Shouldn't you be learning fairy court stuff or something?"

 

His wings drooped at that, and Reece made a concerned sound. “I’m kinda in hiding, or I’m supposed to be anyway. A bad fairy wants me either dead or captured, so he can take the throne. Michael agreed to help me hide, and I convinced the court to let me stay with him, despite the prejudice against humans. If I hadn’t known him for so long, I doubt they would have allowed it, but here I am!” It was half-hearted but it was better than nothing. “There have been a few encounters with Goblins since, but Michael has got the Cold Iron wand to protect himself and me. He literally became my sworn protector, a knight in human terms, because he wanted me safe.”

 

"Mm, sounds like Michael alright," Reece mused out before she patted the seat of the bar-stool next to her. He sat down after a moment. "That boy stands up for whatever he believes in, and he sticks to them. If he wants you safe, he'll do it. I'm glad you both have each other though, and I'm happy to help you out however I can until that shit fairy's defeated."

 

Jeremy smiled and pressed a small kiss to her cheek. “That really means a lot to me, Ina.” He paused, thinking for a second. “You remember how I told you Michael stood up to my mom for me? It actually happened, just about half an hour after he swore to protect me. She wanted me to bind him, claim him like a ‘proper’ fairy would. I said no, and so she tried to do it herself. When she couldn’t, she tried to electrocute him, she’s a storm fairy. I stepped between him and her, took the hit instead. He protected me and healed me up. See?” Jeremy turned and showed off the scar on his back and wings. It didn’t hurt anymore, but he certainly had a small fear of storms ever since. “Your son is really brave and very kind. I’m proud to be bonded with him.” His voice was quiet but honest and full of devotion and love. “I just... thought you should know the full story.”

 

When he looked back at her, he saw fondness in her eyes before she reached over and squished his cheek. "Thank you for letting me know, Jeremy. I really do appreciate it..." She looked down at her water glass for a moment before sighing. "Just promise me that you'll both be safe and alright after this, OK?"

 

“I’ll do everything in my power to make sure he comes out okay after this.” A beat. “And I’ll be careful too.” Admittedly, in his own mind he was a bit of an afterthought. Oh well.

 

He waited a moment. “You wanna know something funny?”

 

Reece cocked her head to the side at that. "What?"

 

“He named me. Both of us five years old, a good ten years before I was supposed to get a human name, and he named me. And I’ve been Jeremy ever since.” He chuckled fondly. No one realized just how true that statement was.

 

She seemed to think that over before a knowing smile appeared on her face. "So that's why we saw him coming back from the woods that day... It would also make sense as to why he got sick for a week after." Michael's Ina shook her head fondly. "You two have been closer for way longer than I could have imagined."

 

“He’s been my best friend for as long as I can remember, and my only real family for almost as long. I got other friends eventually, but it’s always been Michael for me. Which is why you can trust me when I say I’ll keep him safe. I’ll do anything within my power to keep him safe. That’s a promise.” Jeremy felt a spike of magic go through him. Well, he had planned on doing it anyways, why not seal it with an oath?

 

"I know I can trust you, Jeremy." Reece got up, patting his head before going back to the sink to finish the dishes. "You also got a text from Brooke. She's asking for an update on things, and also asked to know if you said 'hi' to Buddy for her yet."

 

Jeremy chuckled, and hopped over to scoop up the phone. “I’d better get on that right away.” He turned to go upstairs, but he paused and quickly wandered back over to Reece. “Thank you, Ina,” he murmured, giving her a kiss on the temple before running upstairs to give Buddy her long overdue greetings from Brooke.

Chapter Text

Time passed (or at least Michael assumed it did) in a feverish haze since he passed out after helping Jeremy. He just knew that things were happening and he felt really shitty and that he wanted to curl up into a ball tight enough to pop out of existence. Unfortunately, he was too tired to try that, so he opened his eyes instead when he felt himself waking up. His head was splitting, his body was sore and aching, and he felt like he could barely stomach anything.

 

When he blinked, everything was blurry (duh, no glasses), but he saw someone he could make out since he was right beside him. Jeremy was there, curled up comfortably... without any glamour on…

 

He reached over, gently shaking him, even if his body screamed against it and he felt the world spin a little from moving too quickly. "Jere... Jere, y'r glamour," he got out, and he felt movement by the foot of his bed, presumably from Buddy. "It's off."

 

Jeremy stirred, slowly waking up. His wings stretched up adorably, sort of flapping, and he yawned as he sort of shifted to be sitting up, half pulled by his wings. “S’fine, Mikey...” he grumbled sleepily, before suddenly seeming to wake up properly. “Wait, Mikey, you’re awake! Oh I’ve been so worried, Angel!” Jeremy cupped Michael’s cheeks, keeping his volume low as he looked over Michael carefully. “Here, let me put your glasses on you.” Jeremy let go with one hand and gently slipped on Michael’s glasses. The world snapped into focus and a little of the nausea faded.

 

Michael blinked a few times, readjusting to the sudden focus. "Yeah, 'm awake. What happened? Also, why are you not wearing your glamour? What time is it? Why are you still calling me an angel?" he asked, knowing it was a lot at once, but he was very confused and very sore and felt very ill. He did not like it one bit.

 

“Shhhshhshh. It’s okay. We’ll explain everything soon. Right now, I’ll help you get something to drink.” Jeremy reached for the bedside table and grabbed a glass of water with a straw in it. Michael took a sip when it was placed next to his mouth.

 

“So how much do you remember? Because I’ve barely left your bedside and I’ve been talking a lot.” Jeremy giggled, it coming out a little whistle-y. The sound was apparently enough to get Buddy on her feet and pouncing down onto Michael’s chest happily. “Buddy! Calm down!”

 

But Jeremy could barely be heard over Buddy’s happy chuffs of, ‘You’re awake, you’re awake, daddy’s awake!’

 

Looking up at her, Michael couldn't help but laugh as he gently readjusted her so she wasn't crushing him or hurting his aching chest. "Hi, I can hear you again. I'm awake, I am. Could you please get off of my chest though? It's hurting but I still wanna give you pets."

 

Buddy instantly curled up next to him, plopping down and resting her head lightly on his chest, tail still wagging furiously. ‘You can still understand me? Yay!’ She ‘boof’ed, her tongue lolling out and she nuzzled his cheek, planting a number of big sloppy kisses there.

 

He let out another laugh as he rested his hand softly on top of her head. "I can... somehow..." Michael looked over at Jeremy then, brows furrowed in confusion. "What happened? The last thing I remember is feeling like a rug was pulled out from under me and a huge wave of nausea and everything before passing out after I healed you back up..."

 

Jeremy scratched the back of his head sheepishly, looking up from Michael’s phone. Well that couldn’t be good. “Turns out we’re not the first human and fairy partners. You have some in your lineage, which means you actually have a little fairy blood in you. And that was trying to surface after we bonded and you saved me.”

 

"Wait... what?" He tried to wrap his head around all of this (and failed) as he stared at Jeremy. "How do you know that? Wh... Huh?" The fact that he was still sore and exhausted and a little overwhelmed didn't help with this sudden bombshell.

 

“There’s a diary that your aunt and uncle sent over with you, it’s complicated, I’ll explain that kettle of fish later. For now, I just gotta finish this one. Basically, you’ve been out for the last three days while your body has been changing. You’re not... totally human anymore. You’re half human, half fairy. Your fairy blood, even if it was small, pushed itself forwards. You actually are an Angel now. That’s the actual term for what you are.”

 

Michael blinked as he stared up at Jeremy, sure that his eyes were wide. "Wait... so I'm an actual angel?" He looked over at his shoulders. "Does this mean I can summon wings for myself?" Too worn to think this properly through, he actually tried to think and summon himself some wings.

 

Jeremy watched him carefully, but giggled a minute later. “Apparently not yet, but who knows? Maybe once you’re a bit more awake. You just sort of made the bed glow.” Jeremy pressed a sweet kiss to Michael’s forehead which helped to cool him down a little, ground him in the now.

 

He hummed softly then before lying back down, feeling a lot better that way. "Well... cool then." A beat passed. "Wait, I've been out for three days?"

 

Jeremy nodded and Buddy whined. ‘Me and Ina and papa have been looked after you but you only woke up to eat. We were all so worried, daddy.’

 

Michael looked down at Buddy then before petting her head. "Well, I'm alright now," he promised with a tired smile. "I'm just... really wiped." Another pause. "Wait, papa?"

 

Jeremy flushed a dark plum, grinning brightly. “She asked if there was another name for dad because you’re her dad, but I’m with you so I’ve also become her other dad.” A pause. “Talking to her so much has really helped her intelligence and vocabulary, so she’s a lot more intelligent than other dogs these days. I’m so proud of this good girl.” Jeremy cooed at her and he leant over and pressed a kiss to her muzzle.

 

Taking this in, Michael couldn't help but laugh before scratching behind Buddy's ear. "I'm glad you've been able to help her with that. She would've never really had the chance to talk to anyone if it wasn't for you."

 

“Well she has a lot to say. Turns out she’s quite the freedom-fighter when it comes to knowledge.” He chuckled, sitting back on the chair he was in.

 

Buddy huffed in agreement. ‘Fairies won’t even record other fairies loving humans.’ She snorted, sounding downright scandalized.

 

Jeremy giggled but he was back on Michael’s phone, texting away.

 

"Woah... Yeah, they definitely should tell people about that, that's not fair," Michael agreed before glancing over at Jeremy, pouting. "And why are you on my phone? I know we said you should get a phone soon, but I didn't mean you use my phone."

 

“I’m just letting everyone know you’re awake, love. They’ve all been so worried,” Jeremy explained, setting the phone aside. He was smiling softly, but his eyes looked a little dazed.

 

He reached over for him then, pouting still. "Are you feeling OK though? You look a little outta it."

 

Jeremy nodded. “I’m fine, just a little overwhelmed. I’ve gotten touches of your magic these past couple of days, but this is the first time I’ve really felt it. The bond is firing up with all of that excess,” he explained gently, taking Michael’s hand.

 

At that moment, another knock rang out the room. “Hey baby. How are you feeling?” Ina was standing in the doorway, then she decided to wander in and sit a little ways down from Buddy.

 

His eyes looked over to Ina, though he gently squeezed Jeremy's hand and intertwined their fingers. "Hi Ina. I feel sore and a bit like shit, but OK I guess? I mean, I don't feel like absolute death, so that's a win."

 

“He’s taking this all surprisingly well, if I’m honest. But I feel like that might be because he’s still waking up, and that we’re due the proper freak out later.” Jeremy chuckled. Buddy might have huffed in agreement but Ina at least pretended to look a little cross.

 

“You should have a little faith in your bonded, Jeremy.” She scowled, ruffling his hair playfully. Jeremy squirmed, lightly batting it away, giggling all the while.

 

“I do, but thirteen years does tend to teach you a lot about a person, Ina.” His wings were flapping happily as he half wrestled against her hand. Wait... wings? And no glamour! And Jeremy was calling her Ina! What. The. Fuck.

 

Obviously something happened while he was asleep, but what? Either way, he felt himself wake up a little more as the sudden adrenaline burst into his system. He tried to swallow down the forming lump in his throat, ignoring the pointed and worried look he was getting from Buddy. “So uh... I missed a lot when I was asleep, huh?” He tried to keep his voice leveled and calm, but he knew it probably didn’t sound how he wanted it to.

 

Instantly, Jeremy’s attention was on him. “Hey, it’s alright Michael. No need to worry.” Jeremy’s free hand started running through his hair. “Ina already knew I was magic, and she suspected fairy since Friday. She- er- sort of caught me, sort of guessed that I would be here once you fell sick and we talked. But it’s okay. She’s okay with it all.”

 

Michael looked up at Ina with wide, confused eyes. She smiled back at him, pressing a gentle kiss on his cheek. “I have True Sight, remember? So I saw Jeremy as magical from the get-go. But I know you wouldn’t fall for just anyone, so I’ve got complete trust in him. And it’s just me who knows, not Titi, don’t worry.” Her voice was sweet and soothing and Michael felt himself relaxing.

 

Michael relaxed, at least a little. Well, if she knew and was taking this all so well, then there wasn’t much to worry about for now, right? He didn’t need to worry... Which was good since he felt exhaustion and his acheyness hitting him like a truck. “Yeah... well, that’s good I guess. Are you gonna explain this to me in better detail when I don’t feel so shitty?” he asked, more so directing this to Jeremy than Ina.

 

Jeremy kisses his forehead. “Of course, Angel. I’ll explain everything.” Everything about him just felt... soft...sweet, right then. More so than normal. He just seemed super relaxed.

 

He couldn’t help but be relaxed by Jeremy, looking up at him with slightly begging eyes. “Could you lie down with me please? I really wanna lie with someone.” Michael saw the look Buddy gave him. “Buddy, I’ll cuddle with you later, I just need Jeremy cuddles right now.”

 

Jeremy practically melted as he nodded. Buddy hopped up and scooted down to Michael’s feet, curling up there with a slightly sour look. Then Jeremy climbed under the covers, wrapping his arms around Michael and his wings too, curling around him. “I knew you’d be okay, but I’ve still been worried. M’glad you’re awake Mikey,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to Michael’s cheek. Ina cooed at them both.

 

Michael felt his face flush at the fact that one of his moms was watching him be all snuggly and cuddly with Jeremy right now. His face warmed and he buried his face into Jeremy’s chest. He couldn’t help but relax a bit, even if he still felt shitty and sore. “Inaaa...”

 

“But you two are adorable!” She pouted before ruffling his hair. Michael felt her stand up from the bed and head over towards the door. “I’ll go get some lunch ready for you two. I’ll come and check on you when it’s done.” There was an obvious smile in her voice as she wandered off.

 

“She’s been watching me cling to you whenever I’ve had the chance. I’m pretty sure she’s used to it by now, Mikey,” Jeremy teased lightly, giving him a gentle squeeze.

 

She may be used to it but I’m not,” he whined out against Jeremy’s unglamoured vest. “It’s, like, embarrassing!” It did make him a little flustered, but it wasn’t as bad as he was saying. He knew that, but it didn’t mean he didn’t have the right to be dramatic, especially since he felt so shit, right?

 

Jeremy giggled and started playing with his hair again while his other hand was tracing patterns along the skin of his arm. “Well I guess I have to help you get use to it then.”

 

‘She’s right though, you two are adorable,’ Buddy growled out teasingly from the end of the bed, her tail thumping against the covers.

 

“You aren’t helping,” Michael muttered out to Buddy before burying his face further against Jeremy’s chest, a playful pout present. “Not one bit.”

 

‘But it’s true!’ she howled, sneezing to let him know she’s only teasing. When she next spoke up, her little boofs were a lot more serious and honest. ‘Papa loves you a lot, daddy. You know that, right? He’s been looking after you even more than me or Ina! And that’s a lot, because I only left your bed a few times.’ Out of the corner of his eye, Michael could see Jeremy turning purple, and he could feel his cheeks and even his chest heat up.

 

“He’s right, you’re not helping,” Jeremy grumbled, hiding his face in Michael’s hair.

 

Michael couldn’t help but laugh at that, even if his aching body screamed at him to stop. “Hey, it’s OK, you’re just very dedicated. It’s really sweet,” he reassured him as he lazily rested an arm over his side. “You’re very sweet. Thank you for letting me know that, Buddy.” He reached and stretched his leg out, gently running his toes along her back for a hot minute.

 

She huffed happily, her tail wagging again, and Jeremy relaxed in his arms.

 

Suddenly, Michael could feel some of his aches and soreness bleeding out of him. Looking up, he saw red and gold spreading through Jeremy’s wings where they were touching his skin, and Jeremy seemed to be relaxing more against him.

 

“Thank you,” Michael muttered out, easily able to connect the dots before he ended up shutting his eyes. “You’re so sweet... I love you so much.”

 

I love you too, Michael,” Jeremy cooed, almost boneless against him.

 

Michael just laughed as he nuzzled against Jeremy, feeling himself almost melting against him in the process. “You’re really so sweet, god, I really love you so much...”

 

 

 

The next day (Thursday or Friday? He wasn’t paying attention, he had a headache and felt feverish today, ugh), Brooke and Jenna came over after school since Jeremy text them all that he was awake and they were able to visit. He was curled up in bed, grumbling and trying not to whine with how badly his head felt.

 

“Hey, at least you aren’t in some weird coma state,” Brooke offered with a soft smile as she sat in his desk chair, pulled up to sit beside his bed as Jenna stood next to her, leaning slightly against the arm of it.

 

“Yeah, we were all really worried when you wouldn’t wake up.” Jenna nodded, keeping her voice low. Jeremy, however, seemed to pick up on his distress, because his wing was instantly on Michael, sapping away some of the fever and headache. It was just enough to take the edge off it them. After a minute, he wandered over to the window.

 

“I’ll be back in a second, I’m just gonna go vent this.” He lifted the window, and flew out, mostly closing it behind him before he shrank.

 

Jenna was watching him go, eyes wide. “I am still not used to that at all.”

 

“Understandable,” Michael muttered out, feeling well enough to be able to shift how he was lying so he could properly face his friends. “I’ve known him since I was five and I’m still getting used to things with him.”

 

Brooke reached over, running her manicured hands along his scalp for a minute before feeling his forehead. “Yeah, that’s a pretty bad fever, sorry to derail the topic.”

 

“Yeah, I know, I’m sweating up a damn storm,” he whined out, forget trying to keep it in. “I hate it, I wish my body would figure shit out already.”

 

“From what Jeremy told us, your entire biology is shifting, that’s not gonna be an easy thing,” Jenna pointed out with a small chuckle. Buddy, who was perched on the end of the bed, sneezed in agreement.

 

“Ugh, I know. I’m just... being behind on works also gonna kill me, I’m going to be swimming in make up work. If this whole shift doesn’t kill me, that will.” He buried his face into one of his polar bear pillows then.

 

“Aww, I’m sure your Ina and Jeremy can figure something out. We haven’t been doing much in classes, and you always get ahead on your online work, so you’re set for a while.”

 

“... I’m still gonna die, Brooke, can’t you see? Don’t you guys care about my tragedy?”

 

“Nope,” Jenna deadpanned.

 

Buddy lifted her head, looked over at Jenna then back at Michael. ‘Me either, even if I don’t really get what you’re talking about.’

 

“Thanks for taking Jenna’s side instead of my own, Buddy,” Michael huffed out as Brooke was laughing at his misery.

 

“Oh god, I forgot how much I missed Buddy. I only got to talk to you once I forced myself to learn how to talk with other animals. I’m sorry for not visiting more,” Brooke apologized.

 

“Does no one care about me? Really? Oh my god.” Michael dramatically flopped back, though winced as his headache flared up as a result.

 

Buddy’s tail was wagging again. ‘I missed you too, Brooke! It’s okay, you can visit more now, especially since Ina knows about Jeremy now.’ There was the sound of the window opening again and the small hum of tiny Jeremy’s wings. He popped back up to normal size, sighing dramatically as he shut the window.

 

“Did you guys break Michael again? Seriously? I was gone for like five minutes!” he grumbled, moving back over to the bed and perching on it lightly. “I will freeze each and every one of your asses. I don’t care if the snow is already doing it, I’m gonna do it,” he threatened playfully.

 

“They don’t care about me or my plights! No cares! It’s a sad sight,” Michael whined out before grabbing for Jeremy’s hand. “Not even my own dog cares for my troubles! She just wants to talk to Brooke! Buddy even sassed me with Jenna. I’m so betrayed, so wounded. That and my head still hurts a lot and I’m sweating a storm while it’s snowing outside.”

 

“Don’t worry, I care, Mikey. And we already know how sassy Buddy is, she’s been roasting me constantly with the bird jokes.” Jeremy was very clearly stifling giggles, even if he was scowling from the bird comment. His thumb rubbed over Michael’s knuckles, leaving cool frosty patterns over it which ran through him, soothing him a little more. “You know, you’re lucky I’m a winter fairy and not like, a summer fairy. I’m actually useful when it comes to fevers.”

 

“Mm, yeah, it really helps right now,” he muttered out as he shut his eyes.

 

“Seriously though Mikey, you’re fine with class work. I’m sure you haven’t been missing much, and Ina will help vouch for you. Jeremy too, especially since you’re missing classes to care for Michael,” Brooke pointed out with a raised brow directed right at Jeremy.

 

“I am literally just in high school to keep up appearances,” Jeremy deadpanned. “I already finished my education back home, and I was set to take the throne as soon as my first season was over.”

 

“Yes, and to keep up appearances now, you still have to do make up work,” Brooke informed Jeremy before patting his head.

 

He batted her hand away with a small scowl. “And I will. But Michael comes first. I’ll catch up when he’s all better.” Then Jeremy perked up, looking concerned. “Wait, when does this semester end? It’s before the solstice, right?”

 

Michael opened his eyes to glance up at Jeremy. “Yeah, break starts the nineteenth of the month, we got a long one this year. Why?”

 

Jeremy squirmed, a little uncomfortable. “It’s- kinda a weird day for winter fairies. Every season has one, and mine is the solstice. It’s... kinda hard for me to control my magic around then.” He scratched the back of his head sheepishly. “And I tend to act a lot more fairy-like then, not the mean aspects, just like, instinctively. From sunrise on the solstice to sunrise the next day. And while the moon is out, my magic gets more intense.” He was blushing a dark plum. “That’s why we never met up around then before.”

 

Michael raised a brow at that, gently squeezing Jeremy’s hand as he got himself to slowly sit up. “Well, how exactly? Ina could help.”

 

“We can too. Well, I can. I know that Jenna’s going to visit family in Florida for the break.” Jenna just shrugged and nodded to that.

 

“I’ll need to be away from people, or well, almost everyone. Mikey would be fine to be around.” Jeremy squeezed his hand. “The solstice is like a celebration, when we get a recharge for all our magic, but um.... well in your fairy-tales, what do people often find fairies doing?” Jeremy was curling in on himself, embarrassed by something.

 

Everyone thought about it, then Jenna gasped and giggled a little. “Dancing. Dancing in fairy circles.” Jeremy nodded miserably.

 

“Hey, that won’t be bad,” Michael said with a smile. “What, are you embarrassed about your dancing? I’ve seen you dance a few times, it’s not bad.”

 

“S’different. This is almost like... ballet or something, it’s supposed to be graceful. And I’m clumsy as shit,” he grumbled, pouting. “It’s always been a sore spot for me, okay? Yet another reason for everyone to doubt that I’m supposed to be the prince!” he cried dramatically, but there was no humor in his voice. “Not to mention the dance itself is supposed to be performed with a partner in the air. And Mikey can’t exactly fly.”

 

“Hey, you can help teach him how. If he’s going to be an Angel, he’ll gain more of an affinity towards it,” Brooke pointed out. “Plus, I know that’s how it’s supposed to be, but you can do it with a little bit of your own style. Set a new standard of more flexibility, you know?”

 

Jeremy was still flushed a dark purple and was curled with his face hiding against his knees. “I guess. And he has his own magic now, so I can teach him.” Jeremy squeezed his hand again, still hiding. He was still pretty overwhelmed and embarrassed. How long would it be before-

 

Jeremy popped tiny and zoomed to hide in Michael’s hair. For the first time, Michael had actually been expecting it.

 

Jenna yelped in surprise, and Michael couldn’t help but smile as he glanced up to his mess he called his hair. “I don’t know how long you’ll want to hide in there. I haven’t properly showered since Monday, so I’m a gross, greasy mess. I’m glad to see you still like hiding in there, though.”

 

“Don’t care,” Jeremy grumbled, “Still feel safer up here. I’ll just have an extra potion if I gotta.”

 

“Okay, so what the fuck just happened? He vanished? What?” Jenna seemed a little freaked, and she obviously didn’t see Jeremy zoom into Michael’s hair. Even Brooke looked a little confused as to what happened.

 

Jeremy peaked out from Michael’s tangled mess and waved a little before ducking back down, still not ready to stop hiding. ‘He did that before when he first arrived, didn’t he daddy? Why does he do it?’ Buddy asked, chuffing quietly.

 

Michael reached over and ran his fingers through Buddy’s fur. “He basically shrinks and hides in my hair whenever he gets overwhelmed. Ever since he figured out how to do that, he’s been doing it. It’s relaxing for him. When he’s calmed down and not as freaked or panicked, he comes out and unshrinks himself.”

 

“That is honestly adorable,” Jenna said after a moment. Brooke was looking a little mischievous as she peered at Michael’s hair.

 

“You realize that’s the fairy equivalent of wanting to wear someone’s sweatshirt, right? Like, him being small and being so close, it’s basically the same as him stealing your hoodie while you’re away. He really has been falling for you for a while.” Jeremy curled up smaller on his head and the heat he was giving out made it very clear that Brooke’s teasing wasn’t helping.

 

Michael couldn’t help but laugh a little at that. “Well, it’s never bothered me. I’ve always liked it since I got use to it. He’s a little comforting weight on my head,” he explained with a warm smile, reaching up and gently patting the top of Jeremy’s head with his finger. “So maybe I’ve been falling for him just as long but never realized it.”

 

Jeremy was leaning into his touch and Michael could feel how he practically melted at his words. “Love you, Mikey,” his whisper-quiet voice called down.

 

Meanwhile, Jenna was very obviously trying to repress the urge to reach for her phone because this sort of cuteness was exactly the sort of thing she loved to gossip about. She started petting Buddy instead.

 

Buddy very much enjoyed the attention, growling softly as her tail thumped against the bed. ‘Thank you Jenna, it feels so nice!’

 

“She’s thanking you for the pets, but thank you for suppressing the gossip urge. It means a lot to me,” Michael said with a smile.

 

Jenna shot him a grin and a quick wink and started cooing over Buddy a little. “Well you’re very welcome, you good girl.” After a minute, Jenna looked up, arching an eyebrow. “Is there any way for me to learn that chirpy language? Or just more about magic in general? I don’t want to be left out the loop anymore, I wanna actually learn a bit more about your world.”

 

Michael blinked in surprise before nodding. “Uh... the fairy language is a lot harder? You have to be magically infused with fairy magic to get it. I can teach you about witch magic though, it just won’t be as powerful as a person born as a witch,” he explained, looking around. “I’d also have to sneak you the book or send pictures, Titi’s super strict about it sometimes and almost killed me for just trying to read it outside once.”

 

“So long as I don’t get you in trouble. Just teach me however.” Jenna grinned.

 

“Or I could just have a conversation with Tia and convince her? Considering all your friends are magical, it kinda makes sense for you to learn about it a bit.” Ina giggled from the door. Everyone turned to look at her in shock except Jeremy who just whistled out a giggle. She was holding a steaming mug of that weird tea she’d been forcing Michael to drink every couple of hours.

 

Brooke laughed awkwardly then as she leaned back. “All of us? Magical? Mrs. Mell, you’re hilarious!” She practically leaned back into the chair, clearly trying not to freak out.

 

“Brooke, I’ve known since I met you. Nymphs have a very distinct look about them. I was just waiting for you to tell us officially.” She arched an eyebrow at Brooke, smirking a little. Meanwhile, Jeremy was losing it while still hiding, his laughter having melted into little more than wheezing chirps. “Stop laughing at Brooke’s panic, Jeremy, wherever you are. You’re sounding like a bird again.” The laughter cut off instantly.

 

Michael burst out laughing then, though stopped as his headache flared up. “OK, OK, ow. Life lesson: never laugh at your friend’s misery, or your boyfriend’s misery. It only backfires.”

 

Jeremy grumbled, but lightly massaged Michael’s head, sending out relaxing pulses. Ina walked forwards and handed him the tea. “The willow bark should help with the headache, baby.”

 

“But it tastes like shit,” Michael muttered out as he took the tea and sniffed the top. He scrunched up his nose at the smell as he groaned.

 

Jeremy popped out from his hair, hovering upside down in front of Michael’s face. “It does, but it’ll help loads, I promise. You’re getting a little fairy biology, you gotta get used to fairy medicine.” Jeremy righted himself and sat back on Michael’s head, not hiding anymore but still staying close.

 

Ina chuckled. “So that’s where you were hiding.”

 

Michael sighed as he blew on the hot surface of the tea. “Does all fairy medicine taste really gross, or is it just this?” he asked before drinking down his tea, a grimace set in his features as he pulled away. “Eugh...”

 

“Just this. Most of it is kinda sweet...” Jeremy trailed off for a minute, and shot off out the door. Within a few seconds, he reappeared, carrying a small pot of honey which he dribbled into Michael’s mug. “Stir that in. Honey helps boost the effects for fairies and means it doesn’t taste so shitty,” he instructed, placing down the pot and sitting on the bedside table, staying small. That meant he was still calming down.

 

Michael nodded, though scrunched up his nose a little. “I just hope it isn’t really sticky,” he muttered out as he used the spoon in the cup to mix it in. He drank the tea, humming a little as it tasted better and the honey nicely coated his throat.

 

Jeremy flew up to Ina and said something too quiet for Michael to hear properly; Jeremy’s voice when he was small was still too quiet. Then he perched back on Michael’s head, rubbing his forehead soothingly. “Any better?”

 

He felt his headache subside a little, a soft sigh escaping him. “Yeah, a little. Thanks Jere.”

 

Jeremy just pressed a small kiss to his forehead in response before he lay belly down on top of Michael’s head, wings perked up.

 

Buddy’s tail was thumping the bed again. ‘Told you papa looked after you really well!’ she howled happily.

 

Brooke giggled and Jenna and Ina looked a little confused. “What’s got her so happy?” Jenna scratched behind her ears affectionately

 

“She just really is happy about how well her ‘papa’ treats Michael,” Brooke explained with a snicker before checking the time on her phone. “Oh, we should get going. We’re getting dinner and then studying for our Economics test next week. You two have fun.”

 

“Yes, because your body waging war against itself is so thrilling. Have fun on your little date,” Michael teased.

 

Jeremy cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted (which sounded about normal volume), “See you later guys!”

 

Jenna waved and followed Brooke out the room. Ina followed, quickly grabbing a basic magic book from Michael’s shelf with a wink. “You boys relax, I’ll go start on dinner.” Jeremy stayed on the top of Michael’s head, humming happily. His wings, which were slowly flapping, lightly moved Michael’s hair. It was a very relaxing feeling.

 

Once they were alone (with Buddy), he lied back in bed and let out a soft sigh. “Mm... I know being up there’s relaxing for you, but I feel gross. How can you handle my grossness right now?”

 

“It doesn’t bother me, really. Human grossness, and apparently angel grossness, is nothing compared to fairy grossness.” Jeremy shrugged, the motion shifting his hair a little. “Besides, under the grossness is the you smell. Since my sense of smell is stronger, I can pick it out easily, and that is what’s so relaxing.”

 

“Doesn’t the grease of my hair feel gross and weird though? And how is fairy grossness so different?” Michael asked as he shifted. “Also... should I take a bath?”

 

‘Yes! You stink!’

 

“Thanks, Buddy.”

 

Jeremy giggled again at Buddy’s comment before patting Michael’s hair. “Believe me when I say I’ve been a lot worse when I’ve been ill. Fairy grossness is horrible, like I’m talking full body grease, crusty wings, the whole lot. And the smell, god, it’s horrible. You know how I sort of smell kinda... like the cold mixed with mint? Was that how you described it? Anyway, when a fairy doesn’t used the potion often enough, they smell like sewage. And there are some who only use it once a week or something.” Jeremy shivered in disgust.

 

Michael scrunched up his nose as he started to imagine that. “Oh god, eugh. That sounds horrible for sure.” He shivered as well before sighing. “I should probably still shower though... this-“ He gestured to all of himself.”-is pretty gross for human standards.”

 

Jeremy hopped off, landing on the bed and popping up to normal size. “Fair enough. Are you alright to walk do you think, or would you prefer some help?” Jeremy looked him over, smiling a little.

 

“Help would be preferred, I’m still super sore,” Michael told him as he slowly sat up. “Also, thank you for not calling me gross like my dog did.”

 

‘It’s true! You reek!’

 

Jeremy shot a small burst of magic at Buddy, which hit her firmly on the nose. She sneezed away the snowflakes while Jeremy laughed. “Be nice, girl. He’s been sick.” Then he turned back to Michael. “Here, grab my arm. I’ll use a little changing glamour so I can actually hold you up.” Jeremy helped him to his feet and together they stumbled towards the bathroom, Buddy barking curses after them in indignation.

 

 

 

After his body finally getting along and getting caught up with his work, the end-of-semester tests flew by in a stressed panic. Even Jeremy got caught up in it, even if he kept saying this was all for appearances.

 

He slept after finals were over, happy to have until the first full week in January to relax. Plus, his aunt and uncle were flying in and they’d be here a few days before Christmas. Maybe he could get more info on this ‘Angel’ business, especially since he didn’t feel different besides more energy (which made his crashes worse).

 

He noticed he was clung to Jeremy when he was starting to wake up. Instead of trying to get up like a normal human being (hey, he wasn’t anymore), he nuzzled closer to Jeremy, yawning. He was glad he glamoured up some nice pajamas for him. They were comfy to snuggle against.

 

Morning, Angel,” Jeremy cooed softly, playing with his hair a little. It was then Michael realized that if he moved his legs a little, they felt really cold. Eyes flying open, he peered down, only to find the whole bed, save for the areas around him and around Buddy, covered in the special, no residue frost Jeremy liked to use. Looking up, Jeremy still had his eyes closed.

 

He felt himself wake up a bit more, especially when he saw Buddy looking at him with wide eyes. “Uh, Jeremy... did you cool down the room a bit for us?”

 

What?” Jeremy’s eyes fluttered open and he cursed. “Damnit! I thought I’d have more time before this happened. Looks like the moon is already up enough...” Looking closer, Michael could see that Jeremy’s facial glamour seemed to be a little unstable (it was almost flickering) and that his pupils had turned into slits. “Sorry, Mikey.” As he turned his gaze from the bed to Michael, his pupils got bigger, rounder. It made him look really cute, kinda like cat eyes.

 

“You don’t need to apologize. I don’t think you should talk with Titi today though, you’re only chirping and everything,” he pointed out before poking his cheek. “We can just say you’re not feeling good. I can deal with this.” Michael raised a hand and gently flicked his fingers. The ice vanished and Buddy relaxed then.

 

Jeremy seemed genuinely surprised by that. “Am I? I was aiming for English like normal... ugh, being around humans who don’t know on the solstice sucks,” Jeremy grumbled, head flopping back onto his pillow dramatically.

 

“You’re a drama king,” Michael said with a wave of his hand. “You’ll be fine. Ina knows and I do too, and if we need Brooke to help, we can call on her. She told us she’d be available just in case.” Michael sat up in bed, even if he didn’t want to, as he stretched his arms above his head.

 

Speaking of Ina, I don’t think it’s a good idea I speak to her either. I don’t think I can keep the influence out of my voice and I don’t want to accidentally hit her with it. You’re just immune because we’re bonded.” Jeremy poked his side while he stretched.

 

He grumbled as he gently swatted away Jeremy’s hand. “Well, I’ll be sure to tell her that. Good to know as well. Also, don’t poke my side, I know I squish but eh.”

 

But you’re so perfect and snuggly!” Jeremy cried dramatically, wrapping his arms around Michael’s middle and nuzzling there and kissing him. Or well, trying to through his shirt. That was a new one. To be fair, Jeremy had warned him that he might be more clingy or affectionate today thanks to the solstice.

 

Michael felt his face heat up at a fast pace. He glanced away and rubbed at his cheeks to have his blush fade before he spoke. “Mm, debatable, but whatever you say.” Reaching down, he poked gently at Jeremy’s head. “I need to get up to get food though.”

 

Jeremy grumbled a little, but then popped small and hopped up onto Michael’s shoulder. “I don’t want to let go of you right now, but I know you need both hands. And Titi is still gonna be asleep anyways so it’s okay.” Jeremy sort of nuzzled Michael’s cheek, giving him a small kiss before settling down properly.

 

“Yeah, lucky you that she sleeps in later than I do during most of the holidays,” Michael said around a sigh before getting up. He saw Buddy follow him as he went downstairs, so he unlocked her doggy door first before filling her bowl and making something to eat.

 

Jeremy stayed perfectly perched throughout the whole thing, somehow balancing easily. Normally he would have fallen off by now, even with his wings out. “So, whatcha gonna have?” Jeremy questioned, flying off Michael’s shoulder just long enough to grab himself a strawberry. By the time he landed again, it was frozen, which meant it wouldn’t drip on Michael’s shirt while Jeremy ate.

 

“I actually have the time to cook something, so I’m going to make a toasted cheese bagel and put some butter on it. It’s simple but delicious,” he explained as he grabbed what he needed from the fridge and pantry.

 

Jeremy hummed. “That sounds really nice! Imma stick to strawberries through, they’re yummy.” He took another bite, even as he watched curiously. “I’m actually going to need to whip up something before we go tonight, so I’ll go gather what I need for it later.

 

“I figured you would.” Michael heated up the toaster oven before looking down at Jeremy as best as he could. “What do you need for tonight?”

 

Just a couple of herbs from the garden, Ina already bought everything else I’ll need. I know it’s a kinda useless tradition, but I always cook myself a special dinner on the solstice. It’d feel weird to go out and do everything without it.” Jeremy sighed, flying off to grab himself a second strawberry. “We’ll also need to leave for the field a little earlier to get you into the air. Once you’re up there, you’ll be fine, but I think we’ll need maybe an extra hour or so to actually get you going... Brooke is still covering for us tonight, right?

 

“Yeah, everything’s all set, don’t worry,” Michael reassured him as he placed the tray with his bagel slices into the small oven. “And it’s not useless, don’t downgrade yourself. What kinda food are you making?” He secretly wished he could eat it, but knew he couldn’t. Jeremy would lose his shit, first off.

 

A creamy chicken and mushroom soup and some fresh bread with rosemary and thyme. It’s cool because the bread only takes about half a hour to make from the get-go, so I don’t have to wait ages to make it.” Jeremy took another bite of his strawberry. “It’s one of my favorites because it’s really warming while not interfering with my magic.

 

For the most part, everything in that sounded amazing (he hated mushrooms). “Man, I wish I could eat your food. That sounds amazing,” Michael muttered out as he got out the butter to spread on his bagel when it was done.

 

I wish I could share,” Jeremy admitted with a shrug. “But even Brooke couldn’t eat my stuff without getting claimed from it. Only fairies and people who are already claimed can eat fairy food, and even then if someone is powerful enough it can change a claim.” Holding onto Michael’s shirt, he leaned forward and took a sniff of the now-buttered bagel. “That smells yummy.

 

“Are you sure you don’t want some now?” Michael asked as he plated the food and went to pour himself a glass of cranberry juice. “I’m willing to share if you ask nicely.”

 

Jeremy turned to face him, still on his shoulder. “Can I try a bite please, Mikey?” He sat down, cross legged and his wings perked up happily. He looked almost like a little figurine of a fairy if it wasn’t for him still wearing the pajamas Michael had conjured up for him.

 

He couldn’t help but laugh a little before nodding. A small piece was ripped off, one with melted cheese and butter, and he handed it to him. “Here you go.” He was tempted to make another reference, but he knew it was Jeremy’s weak point so he stopped himself.

 

Jeremy grabbed the piece and started munching on it after singing out a little, “Thank you Mikey!” He made a small sound of enjoyment as he ate it, obviously liking it. He even wiggled a little from happiness. This was a bit much, even for Jeremy.

 

“I think you’re enjoying that a bit much,” Michael teased out as he poured his glass. He sat down then and began eating. “So, what else is happening tonight?”

 

It’s not my fault the solstice makes everything... more,” Jeremy grumbled.

 

“More?”

 

Yes, more,” he confirmed, taking another bite out of his piece of bagel. He hummed in thought as he contemplated the plan for tonight. “So we get there, I teach you to fly, you get to see me fail at dancing and then I perform the ritual to release the magic. After that we can do what we like; usually it’s stay up partying until sunrise, but maybe we can stargaze or something. Oh, and I have a present for you to help you with your flying for now, which I’ll give to you when we get to the fields.

 

Michael couldn’t help but be curious, especially at the present mention. “You don’t normally have to get me gifts, so you know,” he told him. “So should I pack myself a picnic basket too if we’re gonna be there for a while or?”

 

You might want a blanket and stuff, yeah.” Jeremy nodded. “Also I made it myself, and I wanted to, to help you fly!” He giggled a little, taking another bite of the almost totally eaten chunk of bagel.

 

He couldn’t help but roll his eyes then. “Alright, alright. I will happily accept your gift this once,” he teased as he smiled warmly down at Jeremy.

 

You’d better accept them more than that!” Jeremy poked his cheek playfully, making it known he wasn’t totally serious. “Giving gifts to your partner is fairy culture!

 

“I mean, it’s human culture too, but your love is more than enough,” he mushily cooed out as he let himself be poked.

 

Jeremy seemed to really like that because he leaned over and nuzzled Michael’s cheek, kissing him lightly. Before Michael could say anything, he heard someone chuckling by the door to the kitchen. Ina stood there, watching them both. Jeremy waved but didn’t say a word.

 

Michael felt his cheek warm under the watch of his Ina, and he quickly glanced away from her as he waved as well. “H-hi Ina. How long have you been watching for?”

 

“Long enough to hear you being super mushy and lovey-dovey with your boyfriend.” She chuckled, heading over to the pantry. Jeremy actually left Michael’s shoulder, popped to normal size, and gave her a hug. Ina seemed a little surprised, but she hugged back, giggling a little. “Jeremy, you’ve got kitty eyes!” Jeremy blinked, then shrunk down and flew over to Michael’s shoulder again, sitting down quite happily up there.

 

“Yeah, it’s some side effect because of the solstice, being very affectionate and clingy. He’s not gonna talk to you because he doesn’t wanna accidentally do something to influence you with his powers. I think that was just his way of thanking you for helping for today too, and I wanna thank you too,” he said before drinking some cranberry juice.

 

Jeremy nodded, wings flapping happily, and Ina giggled again. “You’re both more than welcome. You’ve got to tell me what you got up to when you both get back. I’ve always been curious about what happens on fairy nights.” Jeremy nodded again, then gasped and sort of fell off of Michael’s shoulder, mostly from shock from what Michael could tell.

 

Jeremy caught himself with his wings, looking a little dazed as he hovered just in front of Michael. There was a small patch of frost where Jeremy had been sitting.

 

Michael looked down at his shoulder then, and he gently got it off of his nightshirt. “Hey, it’s alright. See? Easy to get off.” He finished off his last bit of his bagel before quickly refilling his cup. “Why don’t we go upstairs and relax for a little bit more until we have to get ready, yeah? Also, Ina, when are Auntie and Uncle flying in, and how far away is their hotel this year?”

 

Jeremy nodded, landing on the table. A tiny patch of frost started spreading from where he was stood, so he quickly jumped onto a mat to keep it off the table.

 

“They arrive tomorrow at around noon, and they’re staying in the hotel about twenty minutes away. So long as there’s no delays, they should be coming over for dinner.” Ina nodded, peering at Jeremy worriedly.

 

“Jere, just stay on my shoulder, I can get rid of the frost,” Michael reassured him before guiding him back to sit down. “And alright, I can’t wait to see them. Oh, they’ll love you, Jere.”

 

As Jeremy hesitantly settled down, he grinned up at Michael. “You think? Even if they figure out I’m a fairy? Because they are the ones who gave Titi the diary, they might spot me like Ina did,” he asked, just loud enough for Michael to hear. At a guess, Ina just heard some quiet chirps.

 

“Oh, they’ll probably know, that notebook belonged to my birth mom I think, so I’m sure they both read it over,” Michael explained, though waved at Ina as he left. He went to the door where the doggy door was, sticking his hand out and whistling for Buddy to come in. “They speak exclusively in Tagalog, so they’ll know something’s up when a white boy suddenly can speak full-blown Tagalog like a native.”

 

What are we going to tell Titi? She doesn’t know and I know she has very... strong feelings about fairies. I overheard her telling Ina about the barrier a few weeks ago and how upset she was that it had been more active recently.” Jeremy drooped, and his wings drooped more. “I don’t want to upset her or make her think I mean any harm.

 

“She’s not going to be upset. She just... she will learn. She loves you, Jere, and if you told her who you really were, she wouldn’t be upset. Maybe it would take a minute for her to adjust, but she loves you for you. She will also love the fairy in you.” Michael paused for a moment as Buddy finally came trekking in, covered in snow since she loved to lie in it and cool off. “Just communicate, but I’ll be right there with you when we do it, OK?”

 

Okay.” Jeremy nodded, still sounding a little unsure.

 

“Are you two talking about Titi? Don’t worry, you’ll have my support there too, Jere. You’re a good kid, we’ll all help her understand.” Ina smiled over her cup of coffee.

 

Buddy perked up too. ‘I don’t know why papa’s upset, but I’ll help too!’ she boofed.

 

Jeremy giggled. “Thank you both.

 

“I told you, it’ll be fine. Now let’s just relax until we gotta go for the solstice, yeah?” He patted Buddy’s head. “And for the last time, no, you can’t come.”

 

Buddy grumbled quietly, too quietly for Michael to make out anything clear, but followed after them up to Michael’s room.

 

Jeremy popped big again and perched himself on the desk chair. Instantly, it started frosting over. Jeremy jumped into the air, hovering where he was and pouting. “Stupid magic. Everything I touch is freezing. And my arms are itchy.

 

“Let me itch you,” he offered as he quickly put a spell on his hands to keep them frozen-proof.

 

Jeremy let his glamoured clothes vanish, and held out his arms, only to let out a squawk of surprise. His arms were covered in what looked to be green vines with small flowers blooming from them. From the way Jeremy stared at them, this was clearly something very new. “These look like Helleborus... and Witch Hazel... winter flowering plants...” he whispered.

 

Michael looked over the plants scaling up his arms as he went and gently prodded at his arms. “Why are they growing on your arms of all places? Are you like some hybrid of Elsa and Poison Ivy?”

 

The vines twisted and tightened where Michael poked them, and Jeremy just kept staring. “But... I’m not a flower fairy. I’m a frost fairy... unless... Michael, do my wings look different?” They did, now that Michael actually thought about it. There was a little more green in them than normal, and a thin, red line right by the top on one side.

 

Michael explained what changed compared to before, mentioning the green and the red line before he kept poking at Jeremy’s arm, testing it more.

 

The line is a scar from where you healed me, that’s been there a while. But... I think my powers of a royal are starting to kick in. Properly. God, this is embarrassing, I had hoped for something other than flowers for my first seasonal power. Oh well, it’s still pretty cool.” Jeremy seemed to be a bit calmer now, barely noticing that Michael was poking his arms, or how the vines there kept twisting and almost flicking at Michael as he kept prodding them.

 

Michael couldn’t help but be amused by the vines as they messed back with him. “Hey, flowers are cool and pretty! Don’t even diss them. You’re Elsa Ivy now.”

 

Still don’t know what that means, but okay! Now... let’s see...” Jeremy looked down at the vines and squinted, obviously focusing very hard. The flowers that were there closed and vanished, and new bulbs opened in their place. Snowdrops and what looked to be pale colored cherry blossoms. “Yes! Okay, so Chloe was right! I can change them!” Jeremy sort of flicked his wrist in Michael’s direction and he suddenly found the hand he had been using to poke wrapped with a vine around his wrist. Jeremy sniggered and smirked at Michael.

 

He let out a small gasp of surprise at that before pouting at Jeremy. “Hey! Not cool, I’m not into that.”

 

Jeremy tugged him forwards lightly before giggling and making the vine release him. “Sorry, couldn’t resist.” Jeremy quickly kissed his cheek before looking down at his arms again. “If I can do what Chloe did...” He trailed off, closing his eyes. Slowly, the vines seemed to shimmer and vanish, almost pressing into his skin. Michael blinked and they had retreated up Jeremy’s arm to form half sleeve tattoos of the vines and flowers. If he looked carefully, they still seemed to be moving ever so slightly.

 

“Holy shit, you have sleeves. Wow, and they look really good.” He put his hands onto his waist then as he peered closer. “That’s so cool. Hell, moving tattoos, a little like Maui in that way...”

 

From Moana, right?” Jeremy sounded excited to possibly understand a reference.

 

Michael clapped his hands in excitement and jumped on his feet. “Yes! You finally got a reference, holy shit!” He quickly wrapped his arms around Jeremy in excitement and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “Finally!”

 

Jeremy giggled and let himself be pulled down, keeping his feet on Michael’s. Luckily, he didn’t frost Michael at all, he just giggled and allowed Micheal to move him.

 

“I’m doing a good job on keeping you cultured! Oh, I’m so proud, ugh,” he said before kissing a kiss to his other cheek and smiling fondly up at Jeremy.

 

I can be taught!” Jeremy cried triumphantly before breaking down in giggles, obviously happy to be held. The flowers on his arms changed to yellow irises and what looked to be mistletoe bunches.

 

Michael looked down at his flowers then and raised a brow before looking up at Jeremy. “What do those flowers mean?”

 

Jeremy looked down, obviously surprised that they had changed, but he grinned and blushed a little. “Yellow iris means passion and strong feelings. And mistletoe means, well, kiss me.” Jeremy pointed up and a small bunch of mistletoe stuck itself to the ceiling above them, frosted there by the looks of things. “So, what do you say? Kiss me?” Jeremy looked entirely too pleased with himself, with a sweet mixture of pride and adoration directed at Michael.

 

“You could’ve just asked me without all this fancy shit,” Michael said with a laugh before pulling Jeremy down into a soft, sweet kiss. He couldn’t help but smile into it, holding him close and gently squeezing him as he savored all of this.

 

 

 

Jeremy was half bouncing as he darted up the hillside to where they would flying. Michael still wasn’t sure how Jeremy would teach him to fly, he didn’t have wings, but he was excited nonetheless.

 

We’ve still got over an hour before the moon hits high enough and I’m forced to dance. So hurry up Mikey!” Jeremy called down to him. To his credit, Michael wasn’t that far behind, but trying to walk through snow wrapped up like the Michelin Man while carrying in a large picnic blanket can be a little challenging. Michael blamed the solstice for Jeremy’s extra energy and impatience.

 

“Hey, you don’t have to be bundled up so much like I do,” Michael grumbled out as he was kicking snow out of his way before walking further along. “Can’t you make a path for me or something? Then I could hurry up.”

 

Jeremy hummed for a second, then nodded. “I can try!” he chirped. Standing on top of the hill, he frowned then threw out his arms to either side. The snow rumbled then parted, leaving frosted grass in a nice pathway for Michael. Looking up at Jeremy, the rainbow in his wings seemed to be more present than ever, and with the full moon behind him, bits of snow tossed from where they had moved and all his glamour gone, he looked more magical than ever.

 

He stumbled after a second, but quickly recover, grinning down at Michael. “I did it!

 

Michael couldn’t help but look fondly up at him before quickly making his way over. “You did, and now I’m here.” A soft kiss was pressed to Jeremy’s cheek, one that lingered, before he looked at his boyfriend with the same fond look.

 

Jeremy was staring at him with adoration, melting against him from the affection. “I love you.” He smiled, pressing a quick kiss to his lips before he pulled back.

 

“I love you too,” he mused out before looking out at the hill. “So... snow cleared first, then plan?”

 

Jeremy nodded and, with a little focus, spun around in the air and cleared out a little circle maybe seven feet in diameter for them to set up in. When he landed, he staggered a little, leaning against Michael for support. “Let’s get the blanket and basket set up, then I’ll start teaching you. Once you’re in the air, it’ll be instinctual from there.

 

Michael held a hand against his shoulder then and smiled softly down at him. "Yeah, sounds good. Also, will I be cold when flying and still need to be super bundled?" he asked as he started setting the spot up.

 

I already thought of that. I charmed your present to keep your hands warm and I’ve been working on a little spell for this. It should last just about long enough for the dance.” Jeremy cupped his cheeks and kissed Michael right on the lips, a warm, lingering sensation. Except that warmth spread throughout his body, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. It was almost uncomfortable with how bundled up he was. “You can probably take off your jacket for now. You’ll be able to feel it wearing off and so you can just grab it again if you need to,” Jeremy murmured against his lips, kissing him lightly again before pulling back.

 

Michael quickly took it off, tossing it somewhere onto the blanket as he grumbled under his breath. "Yeah, that was getting uncomfortable with how hot it suddenly got. It was a weird whiplash, especially since I was getting annoyed with the cold wind on my face."

 

Sorry, I didn’t know how strong it would be on you.” Jeremy giggled. Then, he reached into the pocket, his whole arm seeming to vanish into a patch of ripping air. He felt around for a second before grinning and pulling what he found out. “I know it’s not the best thing in the world, but I made it myself. It should work in the same way a wand works, as a conduit for your magic rather than being inherently magical,” Jeremy explained, pulling his arm out fully and offering Michael... a broom. “I made the handle from cherry, which is why it’s that nice pink-y red color, and the bristles are made from willow.” Jeremy was beaming, apparently not seeing the irony at all in his gift.

 

He wanted so badly to point out the irony, but the prideful look Jeremy held and the hard work Jeremy put into this made him swallow it. He'd tell him... later.

 

Taking the broom, he brushed his fingers across the careful craftsmanship, smiling as he even felt a carving in the handle. He remembered seeing this kind of writing in the Fairy World. "What does this say?" he asked, his voice full of awe.

 

For my Angel, my love,” he murmured, his cheeks flushing a little as he shrugged. “Now, are you ready for your lesson? Firstly, I want you to just get a feel for the broom. Fiddle with it, play with it. Just get a feel of everything.

 

Michael did exactly as he asked, feeling his magic flowing through it like he had with the Cold Iron (which, when he held now, was uncomfortable to hold and, if he tried to use a spell, would leave small burns where he held). He still felt his heart swell at how hard Jeremy worked on it, though tried not to let the irony of this all ruin it. Brooms were used as a conduit a long time ago, but then wands just became handier and brooms became an ironic staple of witches.

 

Good, now climb onto it. However feels comfortable,” Jeremy instructed. Michael followed as he was told. “Okay. Now we just try to let the magic flow through it again.

 

Michael nodded, but this time nothing happened, no special sensations or anything. Jeremy chuckled at Michael’s slightly downtrodden expression. “Don’t worry, that’s why we have the whole hour.

 

"Question though: how am I going to dance with you in the air if I'm sitting on this broom and I'm a novice at flying?" Michael asked as he kept trying to do as Jeremy suggested.

 

The dance is just mirroring each other in the air. And trust me when I say that you’ll know what to do. I might be forced into it by my magic, but it should guide you too.” Jeremy grinned, holding his hand out for the broom. “Here, like this.” As soon as the broom was in his hands, Jeremy set it bristles down and sort of just, hopped on as it stared hovering, his wings perfectly still, his feet just sort of resting around the bottom of the handle. “It’s about channeling yourself through the broom, not flying with it. You’ll fly naturally if you do that.” He landed, handing it back to Michael.

 

Taking what Jeremy said into consideration, Michael nodded and mimicked what he did before trying to channel himself. He imagined his magic coursing through it, his energy, exactly as he did with his wand. No need to worry about flying, just do this…

 

He was so focused on that, he didn’t notice he was in the air until Jeremy pointed it out. “There you go, Angel. Just like that, you’re a natural!” Surprised, Michael looked down only to find himself about six feet off the ground. Jeremy hovered next to him, watching him proudly.

 

He couldn't help but grin before facing Jeremy. "Sweet! ...How do I drive this thing?"

 

Feel what you want it to do, and it’ll do it. Just lean and think.” Jeremy grinned, flitting backward a little. “So long as you keep a little contact with it, it’ll listen to you. And you can even hang off it like I was, one hand one foot sort of thing.” He moved back a little more. “Try to get over to me.

 

Not wanting to risk doing a trick... yet, Michael leaned ever so slightly forward, feeling and wanting to fly to Jeremy, to fly until he was right in front of him and stop then.

 

Slowly, the broom moved as he wanted. The motion was smooth, if somewhat hesitant. “That’s it, just like that. But you need to relax a little, Mikey. You can do this, the broom is just a crutch for now. This is your magic, you don’t need to be afraid of it.” Jeremy flew a little higher, sort of spiraling slowly upwards. “Follow me, and try to keep up. I’ll keep it slow for now.

 

He nodded once, taking a deep breath before he focused and followed Jeremy, taking pride and confidence that he was using his own magic to fly, to follow Jeremy in the air.

 

Jeremy giggled. He started speeding up a little as Michael got more confident with his movements. “Keep up the speed for this!” Jeremy did a loop, making it big enough for Michael to be able to follow easily. And he did! He did a loop-the-loop!

 

Now let’s see if you can catch me!” Jeremy laughed, darting away from Michael, his wings making him easy to spot in the bright moonlight. Humans might have physical strength, but fairies had speed and agility. Time to test this thing out.

 

Michael laughed as he followed Jeremy around, even as he weaved, did sudden turns, and twirled. He mimicked everything he did until he anticipated Jeremy's next sudden flip upside down. He stopped after raising himself a little, and he saw that Jeremy would've suddenly gone above him and back the way they went if he was still following. Instead, he had his arms wide open, pulling Jeremy in for a hug. "Gotcha," he muttered out before kissing him quickly, smiling as he pulled away.

 

Jeremy melted into the kiss, very clearly pleased with being caught. “Mm, yes you did.” Slowly, he started lowering them to the ground, and Michael followed easily. They landed back on the ground in the middle of their picnic blanket. “Told you that you’d be fine up there. Michael, you’re the first human to fly in almost three full centuries! I’m so proud of you!

 

"Aww, thank you. I am pretty special," Michael mused out before bringing them into another kiss, this one quicker but a little more passionate. "Your gift definitely helped and let me even do that, so thank you for that too. I forgot to say it, but I adore it."

 

Jeremy leant forwards as he pulled away, chasing his lips. When his eyes fluttered open, they were blown wide, wider than would normally be possible thanks to his cat eyes. “I’m glad...

 

Then Jeremy shivered, looking towards the moon. “It’s almost time.” As soon as he said those words, Michael felt a small tug in the pit of his stomach, wanting to stay close to Jeremy, and he found himself moving slowly in a sort of slow sway alongside him.

 

Michael noticed and laughed for a second as he stayed so close to Jeremy. "I'd say it is time, not almost, if this proves anything."

 

Jeremy giggled and pressed a quick kiss to Michael’s forehead “Maybe I’m just used to it.” He held out his hand, a sort of mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “Dance with me?

 

He couldn't help but smile fondly at Jeremy despite the twinkle as he took his hand. "Oh, I was hoping you'd ask. I actually had a feeling you would. Weird, huh?"

 

Super weird,” Jeremy agreed, and Michael felt them slowly leave the ground. He held on tight to his broom and just let the tug in his gut guide him. He and Jeremy lazily circled one another as they rose higher and higher into the air until... Jeremy dropped, and Michael staying high. Jeremy spun gracefully, twisting through the air as elegantly as a professional ballerina could move across a stage. Then he pulled out of his dive, and both he and Michael started moving together, twisting through the air together even as they were so far apart.

 

Then, they were suddenly close, moving in-sync as they twirled through the air. Snow started to fall around them, yet it seemed to halo them in the cold winter air. With how they moved, the snow seemed to avoid touching them, hovering centimeters away from them, even millimeters, but they remained untouched.

 

"And you say you're clumsy," Michael whispered, close enough that Jeremy had to strain and focus to hear him.

 

They stopped as the last syllable left his lips, bodies atoms away from one another as Michael stared into those wide eyes, ensnaring him in Jeremy's intense, blown gaze.

 

Jeremy leaned forward, lips ghosting over Michael’s as he whispered, “I just have an amazing partner.

 

Then he pulled back, one arm wrapping around Michael’s waist. Jeremy started leading him through the air, twisting and turning, his eyes never leaving Michael’s.

 

"I say otherwise," he whispered back, following his lead through each subtle movement. He held onto Jeremy's waist as well, looping with him a few times, twisting and shifting all the while, until Jeremy dipped Michael in the air. The moon acted as a spotlight for them, and Michael felt his cheeks warm at the sight of Jeremy, the shimmer from the moon cascading around the edges of him and making the snow seemingly shine around him.

 

Jeremy brought him back up and continued leading him through the air. Michael wasn’t sure how long they danced for, too lost in the feeling of flying and the moon and Jeremy. Finally though, Jeremy pulled him close, kissed him quick, and slowly started to guide him down to the ground. “You did beautifully, Angel,” he cooed, rubbing their noses together.

 

"I'm going to be honest with you, Jere. I don't remember at least half of what I did, but I feel amazing and know you were amazing," Michael told him before pressing a soft kiss to his lips, only pulling back once they were on the ground.

 

Jeremy chased his lips a little before he realized and giggled. “Thank you, Mikey. And I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.” Jeremy guided Michael to sit down on the blanket, not leaving any frost in his wake this time. “I’ll start the ritual in a moment. For right now, I just wanna snuggle for a minute.

 

"What d'you even have to do for the ritual anyway?" Michael asked as he sat down, taking his broom and lovingly tucking it away where the Cold Iron wand was stowed.

 

Jeremy scrunched up his nose. “I’m not really sure, if I’m honest. I just remember speaking and the moon shining. It’s my magic in control, not me. But it should give you a peek at a bit of what I’m supposed to be. And how my wings will look once all my powers are unlocked,” Jeremy explained, scooting as close to Michael as he possibly could, resting his head onto Michael’s shoulder.

 

"Mm, OK. I get to see it first-hand," Michael hummed out as he wrapped his arm around Jeremy's shoulder before happily resting his head there, getting quite comfortable.

 

After a while, the moon seemed to glow brighter, look bigger in the sky. “It’s time.” Jeremy’s voice sounded different, detached almost. Slowly, very slowly, he pulled away from Michael, eyes fixated on the moon. He was muttering under his breath in a language that Michael didn’t even understand even with his new translation abilities. Jeremy barely looked present, his movements too smooth and his face almost totally blank, save for the movement of his mouth.

 

Michael watched Jeremy carefully, taking in every little or big difference, cataloging this into his mind as he watched this, something no one, not the fairies that performed this even, truly understood or knew about (well, except other fairies maybe... OK, something no other human had seen in centuries at least).

 

Jeremy’s mumbling got louder and louder and suddenly they cut off entirely. What seemed to be a shard of moonlight shot down from the sky and hit Jeremy straight through the chest. He flinched back but didn’t try to get away. His wings started to glow, pulsing brightly. The rainbow he thought he had seen in them before was nothing compared to this. They seemed to shimmer and shift with every twitch and slow flap, the patterns shifting like oil on water while still remaining beautiful and frosted. Magic began pulsing from him, sending out waves of immense power. Michael had a feeling that if he wasn’t close to Jeremy, that he wasn’t considered good by the magic, that he may well have been destroyed by it just from the sheer amount that was rolling off of Jeremy.

 

With wide eyes, Michael wondered if Jeremy would view himself the same if he knew this is what happened to him during the solstice. Would he still think he was weak when he knew this kind of power resided in him? That, once he learned how, he could access this? For once, he understood Squip: if you wanted to take over, you couldn't do it with Jeremy, someone so powerful, standing in your way. The best way to win would be to take him out while he was unable to tap into this vast power.

 

But he wasn't going to let that happen, not on his life.

 

The waves of power slowed down to a stop and the glow from Jeremy’s wings died down back to their normal shimmer. The shard of moonlight faded and Jeremy slumped forwards, panting harshly.

 

Michael carefully got up then, holding Jeremy close before settling down to sit him into his lap. He ran his fingers through his hair, letting his head rest against his shoulder. "I got you," he reassured him, "You're alright."

 

Jeremy curled against him, clearly not present yet but apparently recognizing Michael’s touch. For the first time, Michael felt the bond Jeremy kept mentioning flare up, a warm, loving feeling pouring through along with an influx of energy, possibly overflow from Jeremy’s recharge as he called it.

 

Almost overwhelmed by the love he felt, Michael had to lie back on the blanket with him held close. He used his jacket, all balled up, as a pillow before he sighed and stared lovingly down at Jeremy.

 

"I'm not going to let him get you, Jeremy. No matter what, I'm keeping you safe."

Chapter Text

After getting Jeremy back sometime in the middle of the night (they managed to stargaze a little) and sleeping, it was time for one of the most important things of the year: getting ready for Auntie and Uncle's visit.

 

Michael, who normally never cleaned, was busy making his room spic and span while Jeremy was watching from his bed. He was making sure everything in his closet was neat, his desk looking nicer than Jeremy probably had ever seen it, and he even made sure all of his clothes were in his hamper. An outfit was set out for himself to wear, one without any blatantly obvious logos or anything. He always made sure to be his best for Auntie and Uncle.

 

"OK, they always say they'll be here around dinner, but they're always here at noon," Michael said as he finished adjusting one of his bottles, making sure it wasn't crooked before checking on his gaming shelf.

 

“I’m really excited to meet them!” Jeremy grinned, quickly hovering off of the bed to straighten something on the top shelf. When he landed he looked down at his own ‘outfit.’ “Umm, is this alright to wear, or would you like me to change? I wanna make a good impression!”

 

Looking over at his outfit, Michael wanted to say he looked perfect (he always did to him), but the back of his brain was nagging at him. "Almost." He gently took Jeremy's hand, having him rest his two fingers against his temple before imagining him in a soft white tee and nice jeans instead, but kept the blue cardigan.

 

Jeremy looked down at himself, grinning. “I think I actually want to get one of these for real. And like some real, human clothes,” he said fondly, rubbing the edge of the cardigan as always. Then he looked up at Michael, grinning a little nervously. “So, to confirm: the way we’re working tonight is that I understand a good chunk of Tagalog, but I can’t speak it, and you’ll be my translator, right?” He flinched a little from the lie and quickly took a sip of his drink that Ina had mixed up for him, which had plenty of willow bark mixed in to help keep his inevitable headache at bay.

 

Michael took his free hand, gently rubbing his thumb over his knuckles. "Yeah, that's the plan. And maybe we can do that," he hummed out. "Also, I know you told me you don't really celebrate Christmas and stuff, so I made sure Auntie and Uncle knew that so they know we're keeping it easy and simple this year, no extravagant Christmas stuff."

 

Jeremy chuckled a little. “Yeah I don’t really get Christmas, even if I like the concept of giving gifts to those you care about. I hope you don’t mind that I gave you your gift yesterday though.” He grinned cheekily, wings flapping happily. The colors in them seemed a little brighter today, thanks to yesterday’s recharge.

 

"I don't mind at all," Michael reassured him before giving him a kiss on the cheek. "I think they're mellowing out anyway since I'm eighteen now, so I'm really just hoping for chilling and gift giving and stuff, nothing big." He couldn't help but smile fondly as he saw his wings before giving him one quick peck on the lips. "I gotta quickly change though, but after I change, will you help me tame my bed head? Please?"

 

Jeremy cooed at him sweetly. “Of course, Angel. You get dressed, I’ll make your hair look perfect again.” He plopped down on the bed, waiting for Michael to be ready.

 

"I don't think my hair's ever looked perfect a day in my life, but thank you." He quickly changed then, wearing his nicer pair of jeans and a black long sleeve that had a little rainbow embroidered above his heart. Once done, he turned to Jeremy and sat down beside him. "Please doll me up."

 

Jeremy giggled and picked up the brush, settling himself behind Michael. The way he ran the brush through his hair was sweet and relaxing, and Michael could feel the occasional burst of magic Jeremy used to frost his hair, then have it melt to wet it ever so slightly. “You look great, Mikey. And I have to disagree. As someone who has been in your hair a lot, I can say with some certainly that your have had some perfect hair days.”

 

"Maybe a perfect feeling hair day, but not a perfect looking hair day," Michael playfully offered as he shut his eyes, letting Jeremy do his work.

 

“Well in my opinion, you look perfect every day.” He pressed a quick kiss to Michael’s cheek before continuing his task. “Y’know, except that time when you tried double denim. That was a mistake.”

 

"Hey... I was still a little high when I made that outfit choice, and I wasn't going to wimp out and wear something else and disappoint high me," Michael defended with a pout.

 

“Dork,” Jeremy cooed. Putting down the brush, he scooted around to be in front of Michael, looking at his hair carefully and running his fingers through it a little. “There. How do you like that?”

 

When Michael looked in the mirror, his jaw dropped. His hair was perfectly styled, smooth but with his natural, subtle curls emphasized. It looked softer and healthier than it ever had. Jeremy grinned proudly at his handiwork. “I used to help Chloe and Chrissy do their hair, and Chrissy used to have really short hair so I’ve got practice since your hair type is very similar,” he rambled a little.

 

"I love it," Michael muttered out, leaning in close to his mirror and staring at himself. "Holy shit, I actually look good for once. How the hell did you make that happen?"

 

Jeremy pouted, almost looking offended. “You always look good, Michael. You’re like the most attractive person I know! Ever!”

 

"You're saying that because I'm your bonded boyfriend, Jeremy," Michael pointed out as he looked back at him from over his shoulder. "You're biased."

 

“Am not. I thought that even before we bonded. Even before I started falling for you.” Jeremy came up behind him and wrapped his arms around Michael’s middle, resting his chin on Michael’s shoulder. “I’ve been telling Chrissy it for years. You can ask her next time we see her if you don’t believe me.”

 

"I still think you're biased, no one else would agree with that statement of me being the most attractive person they know," Michael countered, leaning his head against Jeremy's as he stuck his tongue out at him in the mirror.

 

“Correction: every fairy who saw you thought that. That’s why so many were after you, fairies only claim the pretty or attractive humans.” Jeremy kissed his neck. “That first one I scared off was half courting you because he was struck with how gorgeous you are. He was displaying and everything.”

 

A pleasant chill was sent down his spine at Jeremy's gentle touch of his lips against his neck. "Mm... Don't you say that most opinions of the fairies don't matter? Plus, no other human at least thinks so."

 

Jeremy snorted. “You realize Dustin had been flirting with you since eighth grade, right? He’s been trying to date you for ages.” Jeremy actually sounded a little upset by this fact, even if his tone was teasing. The next kiss on his neck was just as gentle but seemed somehow possessive.

 

"Wait... what?" He felt a bit surprised at that, though happily hummed at the kiss he received. "But he's a more popular kid, no way. I just thought he was nice to me because I'd help him out if he asked for help in English and stuff."

 

“Michael, he was flirting with you the whole time. Badly, might I add, but he was flirting. And when I told him we were dating, he ran away saying how it wasn’t worth the trouble of a getting past a protective boyfriend or something along those lines.” Jeremy giggled a little at the memory. “Not to mention that about half the girls in our grade have flirted with you in this semester alone. Face it, Mikey, you’re super desirable.”

 

As he took this information in, he huffed as he looked at himself in the mirror. Did everyone actually think he looked more than halfway decent? "But I have a pimple near my hairline and bad eyebags," Michael muttered out as he pulled down on the skin under his eyes. "And a lot of other things... Plus I'm gay, so girls don't count."

 

“Even if they don’t count for your taste, they still count in the grand scheme of things. Besides-“ Jeremy trailed kisses up Michael’s neck and along his jaw. “I love you and all your perfect imperfections. You don’t have to have perfect skin or have no flaws to be attractive, or to be perfect. And you’re perfect to me.”

 

He felt his cheeks light up then before he gently reached over and patted Jeremy's cheek. "You're also very very biased as my boyfriend, Jeremy, and I don't need to get so flustered before Auntie and Uncle arrive!"

 

Jeremy leaned into the touch, humming happily. “Okay, I’ll stop... for now. I will get you to admit that you’re attractive one of these days though.” With one last kiss to Michael’s jaw, Jeremy detached himself from Michael and quickly started fixing up his own hair, a proud, satisfied smile on his face.

 

Michael rolled his eyes, though rubbed his cheeks a little to try to get the red hue to fade. He managed it by the time Jeremy fixed his own hair and when a random car pulled into their driveway.

 

Michael looked out, eyes widening before he grinned. “They’re here!”

 

Jeremy bounced a few times in place, wings flapping excitedly before he tucked them away. “Let’s go!” He grinned, happy but obviously nervous as he took Michael’s hand and let himself be led downstairs.

 

Michael practically dashed down the stairs, the sound of Buddy’s barking filling the air. ‘I smell them! It’s Auntie and Uncle! Guys, guys, they’re here! Look!’

 

“Buddy, shh, it’s just Auntie and Uncle,” Ina told her, gently patting her head and shushing her.

 

‘I know! I’m trying to tell you that!’

 

Jeremy shot her a look and grinned. “She’s excited to see them, I think. She must recognize them or something.” He giggled, patting Buddy’s head.

 

Ina raised an eyebrow but grinned too. “You’re probably right.”

 

Michael ran over to the door, ready to open it, but Jeremy hung back, smiling and motioning for Michael to go ahead.

 

His excitement too much to contain, he opened the door before either adult had a chance to knock.

 

There stood two people, one who definitely looked similar to Michael in terms of his facial features, hair, and smile (Auntie, of course), but both held a warm love. He couldn’t help but walk through the doorway and bring both into a big hug, babbling happily to his only blood family and in-law left. “Auntie! Uncle! I missed you both so much!

 

They both hugged him back, wrapping him tightly in a warm hug. “We’ve missed you too, Michael. Look at how big you’ve gotten! You tower over both of us now! What have they been feeding you that got you so big?” Auntie teased, kissing his cheek before pinching it.

 

Michael could hear Buddy squirming happily behind him, her claws making a small tap-tap-tap on the floor as she tried to restrain herself. Jeremy giggled a little at her antics.

 

Love? Processed goods? Capitalism?” Michael offered, smiling as he got his Uncle to laugh.

 

Please never change, Michael. Oh, Buddy! Hi good girl,” Uncle called, letting go of the hug and squatting down to her level. He whistled for her, and she happily barreled over, practically toppling him as she leaped and crashed into him.

 

Buddy squirmed on top of him, whining happily as she drenched him in kisses. ‘Uncle! I’ve missed you! You’re here! You’re here!’

 

Everyone chuckled, none harder than Auntie. “I told you she’d still remember you!

 

You’re her favorite after Michael, and Jeremy too these days,” Ina confirmed from where she stood next to Titi. At that comment, Auntie looked over to where Jeremy stood, and he shyly waved. A looked of suspicion flashed over her face before she smiled and waved back.

 

“It’s- er, nice to meet you both,” he said in English, shuffling his feet a little. Oh yeah, Michael had forgotten Jeremy was a little shy considering how easily he had settled in.

 

Michael pulled back from the hug then so he could stand next to Jeremy, an arm around his shoulders. “He said it’s nice to meet you guys. This is Jeremy, I’ve known him for a while and he’s staying with us this year thanks to some circumstances. He’s not from here and he’s my boyfriend too. He understands Tagalog but isn’t confident in speaking it just yet, so I’m his translator for now.” He gave Jeremy a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder.

 

Uncle looked over at him then through the insane amount of love he was getting. “Oh, I’ve heard about you over the phone from Reece and Tia, as well as some texts from Michael. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Michael’s uncle, Eric. I’d give you a proper greeting but I can’t.” He gestured to Buddy, who was proudly sitting in his lap now.

 

Jeremy giggled. “It’s fine, Buddy has a lot of love to give. It’s great to meet you Eric, Michael’s told me a lot about you.” Michael translated for him, and Uncle grinned brightly before being buried under Buddy again. Auntie stepped forwards, offering her hand.

 

I’m Jasmine, it’s nice to meet you Jeremy.

 

Jeremy took her hand and nodded. “You too, Jasmine.” Michael noted that she had mispronounced her name ever so slightly. She at least suspected about Jeremy enough to keep her true name to herself.

 

After quickly being introduced and urging Buddy to let Uncle move around, they got comfortably settled in the living room, talking and catching up on everything (well, almost). Michael sat with Jeremy on the couch, the most PDA they had for now being holding hands and leaning against each other. He was so at-ease with the vibe that he almost missed Titi speaking up.

 

-he got super sick a few weeks ago like how he did before.” Michael glanced over at Titi then, who was mainly talking to Uncle as he was petting Buddy. “He’s obviously better now, but it was really worrisome.

 

The man hummed softly at that as he glanced over at Michael, to where he glanced away himself and pretended to be listening in to the TV playing in the background. “Oh really now?

 

Yes, but he recovered remarkably quickly this time. I’d say he’s never been better,” Ina added quickly, obviously picking up on what Uncle might be thinking. Jeremy shifted uncomfortably.

 

“I- Umm, left my drink upstairs. I’ll be back in a minute,” he muttered, squeezing Michael’s hand before heading up.

 

As soon as he was gone, Auntie fixed Michael with a firm stare. “I take it you know what that boy is, Michael?” she asked bluntly. Well... she never was one to sugar coat things.

 

Michael just quickly nodded, though Titi looked over with a frown. “Jasmine, what exactly is that supposed to mean?” Oh boy.

 

You mean you don’t know? Tia, I know you’re not the biggest fan of them-” That was an understatement. “-but I thought your would least be able for recognise a fairy using glamour.” Auntie sounded genuinely surprised, not to mention confused. And of course, Jeremy chose that exact moment to come back in, carrying his drink and looking relaxed. When all eyes turned on him, he froze and any smoothness in his posture was quickly replaced with fear.

 

Oh boy, alright, crisis imminent. Titi’s eyes widened at Auntie’s statement, looking between Jeremy and her as Michael tried to quickly figure out what to do. “Hey Jere, I need your help with something,” Michael quickly said, going over and grabbing Jeremy before taking him into the backyard through the backdoor. As he shut the door behind himself, he could hear the start of confusion, frustration, and a lot of drama from the past coming up.

 

He let out a sigh as he gently squeezed Jeremy’s arm, taking him to a small bench Titi put near her garden before the snowfall.

 

Jeremy looked really pale, and actually a little green if Michael were honest. “They know... Tia knows, doesn’t she?” he asked quietly, clutching desperately at Michael’s hand. “The wards are acting up. I’m only able to stay here because you’re holding onto me. They’re trying to kick me out.”

 

Michael held tightly onto Jeremy’s hand before bringing him into a hug. “Well I won’t let the wards do that,” he reassured him before he pressed a kiss to the top of Jeremy’s head. “Auntie knew, I’m sure Uncle knew, but Auntie just said it. I know we wanted to tell her another way. They’re probably gonna argue for a bit, Titi and Auntie, but it’ll be fine. I just didn’t want you to hear it.”

 

“She has every reason to be scared of me, to hate me. Most fairies are horrible after all.” Jeremy shifted a little, wrapping his arms around Michael and burying his face into Michael’s chest. He was obviously thinking about the scar on his back, taking it as proof.

 

“She doesn’t. She’s met you, Jeremy, she adores you, even if she’s only known you since the school year started,” Michael told him as he held him close. “This is just something’s she’s gotta learn about and understand that not everyone’s like that, not everyone who is a fairy. She’s smart and kind, she’ll get it. It’ll just be a shock at first, you know? It’ll help her open her mind more.”

 

Jeremy nuzzled closer, lightly holding Michael’s top. “M’just scared Mikey. I really like being here. Feels like home. Don’t want her to be scared of me,” he mumbled.

 

“Jeremy, she won’t be,” Michael reassured him before rubbing patterns into his lower back with one hand. “I promise you that she won’t. She adores you, maybe even more than me sometimes, and wouldn’t want you to leave. Do you logically think that she would force you to leave after everything she’s done for you, all the love she’s given you, after all that?”

 

Jeremy paused, then shook his head. “My mom might, she did... but not Titi.” Jeremy relaxed a bit, still clinging to Michael, but less desperately.

 

After a while, Michael wasn’t really sure how long, Jeremy relaxed further. “The wards are going quiet...”

 

"See? Their arguing has probably just calmed down," Michael reassured him, though was glad because, even if Jeremy was clinging to him and even if he was a human heater, he was getting cold, especially with his ass against cold concrete.

 

“Think we can go inside?” Jeremy asked quietly. “I need a hug from Ina...”

 

He glanced over to the back door, seeing Buddy sticking her head out of her doggy door. 'It's safe. I waited to make sure.'

 

"I think we're good, if Buddy's a trustworthy source," he muttered out, pressing a kiss to Jeremy’s head before gently patting his side so they could get up.

 

Jeremy stood, but he kept a tight grip on Michael’s hand (well, tight for him). He followed Michael inside, staying a little behind him, head bowed a little still. His expression was still a little fearful, still a little broken, but there was a whole lot of hope there too. The moment they entered the living room, Ina scooped Jeremy up into a tight hug, holding him close and murmuring sweet, soothing words into his hair. Jeremy relaxed into her hold, and Michael could just about make out small tears in the corner of his eyes but Michael wasn’t too worried. Nothing beat a mom hug when you were upset.

 

Michael instead focused his gaze to the three adults sitting on the couch, taking up its entirety now. Auntie and Titi, who seemed to have tension between them before, were more relaxed than they had been in years. Titi held a look of regret and sorrow while Auntie held understanding. To the side, Buddy flopped back into Uncle's lap, who looked over and gently waved Michael over. "It's alright now, don't worry. Also, for the record, you two are sweet together."

 

His cheeks warmed at that, and Buddy's snickering through her soft growling didn't help. "Thanks Uncle..."

 

After a second more, Ina let Jeremy go, but stayed close just in case. He stepped forward a little and addressed the adults in the room. “I’m sorry for not being honest about who and what I am at first, and I’m sorry Tia especially for not telling you after Ina found out.” His voice was a little shaky, but when Michael held and squeezed his hand gently he actually smiled over at him, stepping a little closer for comfort.

 

Tia shook her head then. "Jeremy, I fully understand why you did what you did. I'm sorry for making you scared and fearful of even telling us who you are. What I could say doesn't excuse anything. After experiencing discrimination myself, I should know better, but I don't. Can you forgive me and help me learn, even if I mess up along the way?" The look she had was one begging for forgiveness and one of respect for Jeremy. Michael couldn't' help but be a bit proud of Titi, though looked over at Jeremy to see how he felt.

 

Jeremy looked genuinely touched, as if he hadn’t expected her to be so kind, as if he expected her to just tolerate him. He nodded happily, then paused for a moment. His glamour melted away and he let his wings out, which still looked dazzling after his recharge last night.

 

Auntie and Uncle seemed a little shocked, something similar to recognition in their faces as they looked at Jeremy’s wings. Ina looked a little surprised at the small change in them as well, and the new flower tattoos now twisting around his biceps. The flowers were red and pink (Michael didn’t recognize the type but they were really pretty).

 

Hesitantly, Jeremy opened his arms for a hug, his expression shy but hopeful.

 

Tia stood up then, quickly taking Jeremy's nonverbal request as she held him close. A hand of hers ran through his hair as Michael let go of Jeremy's hand. "I'm so sorry, Jeremy. Please help me learn and be better."

 

Jeremy clung to her tightly, melting into her arms. “It’s okay, Titi, I forgive you. I just... thank you for wanting to make me feel safe here. For giving me a home.” His wings were low and relaxed, and Ina came up behind him and carefully hugged them both. Michael watched on fondly until Auntie grabbed his attention.

 

He’s a royal, isn’t he? You bonded yourself to a prince!” She poked him, smiling softly.

 

‘Yup! Papa is a royal and that makes me a princess!’ Buddy chuffed from her place in Uncle’s lap.

 

Michael rolled his eyes at Buddy's statement. "Yeah, he is, but I didn't know that until earlier on this year when he came to stay with me. Buddy’s been able to talk with Jeremy since he can speak to animals with intellect, and now she has this ego that she's a princess."

 

"But she is one!" Uncle defended as he wrapped his arms carefully around Buddy in a hug.

 

'See! Someone gets it!'

 

Jeremy giggled from his place between Ina and Titi, who had half let him go now. “She’s happy that Eric is saying she’s a princess,” he explained, extracting himself to kneel in front of her. “Of course, since I’m her papa now, she is a princess,” he cooed at her in a baby voice, scratching under her chin.

 

She sneezed at Michael. ‘Ha! Told you so.’

 

Jeremy stood and wrapped himself close to Michael again, obviously a little buzzed and lacking filters just from having such a sudden change in his emotions. “Of course, that means Michael is sort of a prince too.”

 

"Well, we always knew he'd be special, but not like this," Uncle teased, and Michael just whined a little as he held onto Jeremy and buried his face into Jeremy's shoulder.

 

"Yeah, who knew we'd be adopting someone who would become royalty," Titi added on. Michael felt his face heating up and he just whined into Jeremy's shoulder, holding onto him a little tighter.

 

Jeremy also seemed to be blushing from that comment, because he hid his face in Michael’s hair. Everyone let out a small ‘awww’ at the action.

 

Michael’s more than just that! He’s actually becoming an Angel thanks to bonding with Jeremy. So our son is a literal angel now,” Ina teased, poking him.

 

Auntie hummed, sounding impressed. “That normally takes years of being together before it can trigger, bonded or not! It takes a lot of trust to let enough fairy magic in to actually stabilize the change.

 

"Well, I've known Jeremy since a few months after I came here," Michael explained. "Can Jeremy and I at least sit down if you four are going to coo us to death? I wanna at least die in a comfortable spot."

 

You two take the loveseat, Titi and I will take the other chairs.” Michael quickly sat down, face still flaming, and Jeremy climbed into his lap. His wings naturally curled around Michael, a soft and relaxing presence.

 

We’ve known each other since we were five. He was exploring and found the barrier and I was trying to get my magic to work in the clearing on the other side,” Jeremy explained as he got comfortable. “He gave me my name. He couldn’t pronounce my birth name of-” Jeremy let out a few chirps, something Michael hadn’t heard him say in years. “-so he called me Jeremy instead.

 

"Oh, yeah, that's tricky for someone to pronounce," Uncle said as he gently patted Buddy's sides. "I like Jeremy a lot better."

 

Michael felt his cheeks warm at that before he wrapped his arms around Jeremy, burying his face into his shoulder. He was getting a little overwhelmed, but he was fine. His family would only tease him in a well-meaning manner.

 

Titi hummed in thought at that. "So that's where you went. You promised that you wouldn't go back in."

 

"No, I sorta forgot to answer that. You just thought I did that."

 

Well we only found each other again by accident. I had honestly thought I had offended him or scared him off when he didn’t turn up for our next meeting, and I only just found out that he had been sick. I’m just glad we found each other again, I might have turned out a lot differently if we didn’t.” Jeremy legitimately shivered at that, his wings twitching uncomfortably. When he relaxed, he lightly rested his wing against the back of Michael’s neck, letting cool, relaxing feelings help calm him.

 

"Fate works in mysterious ways. I'm glad that you two found each other. May I ask, though, why you're staying with Michael for now, especially if you're royalty?" Uncle asked. Buddy looked between Uncle and them two for a bit with worry, especially since she was really the only one in the house besides them who knew the real reason why Jeremy was staying.

 

It’s... kinda complicated.” Jeremy paused, then looked back at Michael. “Should I tell them everything? Or would that be too much?” he murmured

 

Michael looked at him then, how he shifted letting Jeremy's wings press further against his neck. "Tell them a basic summary you think's good, I trust you," he muttered out, only loud enough for Jeremy to hear, before resting his head back against Jeremy's shoulder.

 

Jeremy nodded, pressing a kiss onto his forehead, which seemed to be as much comfort to him as it was for Michael. “I’m in hiding. There’s a dangerous, corrupted fairy, Squip, who wants me captured. He wants to kill me so he can take the throne. Michael agreed to help me hide, and after a goblin attack, he swore to protect me. And I did the same for him, a bit more recently.” Okay, Michael didn’t know about that little detail.

 

Auntie hummed softly before pointing over to Jeremy's wing, the one with the red line running along it. "Did that repaired tear happen because of this Squip? And did the oath Michael made help him to heal it?"

 

Jeremy nodded. “It got torn during an attack recently. I had been grabbed and it got torn when they pulled me back. And... I-er... Called for him. I think it was enough to trigger his fairy blood or something because he basically destroyed the ones on me and he healed my wings which would have taken years otherwise.” He looked a little guilty, the wing not on Michael twitching a little. Auntie seemed to pick up on it.

 

You Called him? You have his true name?

 

Michael looked over at Auntie then, shrugging. “I gave it to him when I was five. I know now to not do that to any other fairy, but I didn’t even know he was a fairy at first. I just thought he was in some weird costume. He’s only ever used it to help.

 

And he has my name.” Wait, what? Michael wasn’t going to question that right now, but he was really going to be asking about that later. Auntie, Uncle, and Titi all looked surprised and impressed. Ina just looked sort of proud.

 

"Well, you two are truly close then. If you two have known each other for so long, though, that can sort of be expected." Auntie chuckled from where she sat before scratching behind Buddy's ears, who was growling softly at all of this attention. "Maybe you two will truly be able to change things."

 

"All I want is for Jeremy to be safe. If things change because of that, then good, but I don't really care about that right now."

 

Jeremy chuckled, kissing his forehead again. “I just want to be somewhere where I can actually live with Michael safely and happily. I love him so much,” Jeremy cooed, and everyone sort of melted.

 

That... that means a lot coming from a fairy, doesn’t it Jasmine?” Uncle asked quietly, looking at Jeremy with surprise. Auntie nodded.

 

Fairies only fall in love once. They love one person only for the rest of their lives.

 

"I'm really glad it's me, even if it took me a while to get it," Michael admitted as he gently squeezed Jeremy's middle. "But uh... yeah, that's sort of the big news this year. Ta-dah." He did little jazz hands after pulling his arms back from around Jeremy before letting them return there.

 

Jeremy facepalmed, giggling. It was his proper, whistley giggle that Michael so rarely got to hear. “Again with the jazz hands! What is it with you revealing stuff and jazz hands?” Everyone laughed at that, even Buddy.

 

‘Yeah dad, you always do that wiggly thing with your hands.’

 

"It helps me get out some of my energy and it helps to make the mood less tense!" he defended with a pout. "I am in my own home with my family to enjoy time together, not to be ridiculed!"

 

Stop calling me a bird and maybe I’ll let up.” Jeremy patted his head fondly.

 

"I haven't been doing that lately, so let up," he muttered out, though he was smiling.

 

 

 

Later that night, after Auntie and Uncle had left for the hotel, Jeremy and Michael were getting ready for bed. Jeremy was lounging on his belly on the covers, all glamour off, legs up and wings perky. He looked more relaxed than Michael had ever seen him while both Ina and Titi were in the house.

 

“I know I don’t need it anymore, but can you still help me glamour up some pajamas? They’re really comfy.” Jeremy giggled, watching as Michael dug around his drawers for some new pajamas himself.

 

"Of course. I love snuggling you when you have pajamas on." Michael pulled out an old band tee and some Stitch lounge pants before tossing them on top of Jeremy. "By the way, are you ever gonna change out of those clothes? I know you don't need to, but doesn't wearing that while pretending to wear other stuff get... boring?"

 

Jeremy flailed a little when they landed on top of him, but he got free quickly and grinned up at Michael. “Hmm... actually, do you have any old pajamas? If you do, I’ll wear some proper ones for once.”

 

Michael was sure his eyes lit up at the suggestion. He practically dug through his pajama drawer to find something. He quickly pulled out and tossed Jeremy his pajamas, eyes twinkling with joy and mischief. "Here."

 

Jeremy looked at the soft, flannel pajamas curiously, studying the picture of Scooby Doo and the gang on the front of them. “You need to show me where these guys are from. I like the dog,” he said, slipping his vest off. With no shirt to cover his torso, Michael could see the subtle muscles he had there, as well as how the flower tattoos spread over his shoulders and part of the way down his sides. When he turned to put his vest on the desk chair, his wing joint and his electrocution scar were more visible than they had ever been before.

 

At seeing this, he walked over and almost touched where his scars were. He kept himself from doing that though, hand still somewhat outstretched. "I... Can I touch it? Your scar and where I repaired your wing?"

 

Jeremy flapped his wings slowly, not in hesitation, just almost as though he was relaxing. “Yeah. I trust you.” His tone was certain and calm, and he spread his wings enough for Michael to reach easily, bending forwards a little for balance.

 

His hand carefully reached over, brushing along the red line with a soft hum. "You called me by my true name and helped me unlock my powers better so I could do this... What if I called you by yours? And I really do know your true name?"

 

“Me using your true name only unlocked your powers because I was in danger. I Called for help and your true powers came forwards so you could help me,” Jeremy explained, relaxing into the touch. “And yes, you do know it.” He giggled a little.

 

He hummed for a second before his fingers stilled against the end of the line, where it was more of a big dot since it was where the rip ended and met the scar's start (or end, depending on how you viewed it). "Was it... exactly how I said your name when I gave it? Butchered English pronunciation and all?" he asked, the realization that it probably was dawning on him.

 

Jeremy hummed happily, not saying a word. Michael could tell he was smiling, even if he was facing away.

 

"Holy shit, I don't even really remember how to say it since I've been saying it right for over a decade," Michael said around a laugh, pulling his hand back to sort of bury his face into his hands in slight embarrassment. "Oh my god."

 

Michael could see the slight flush creep down Jeremy’s neck, and his wings fluttered a little. “It was the first time a name ever felt right to me. My fairy name was good and all, but my best friend gave me my true name,” he murmured, still facing away. “Why not try it? You’ve got my permission to.”

 

"Jere, I don't even remember how to say it. Like, I used to say the name of this appliance store, H. H. Gregg, super weirdly, but I stopped after being corrected enough times and can't remember how I used to say it, even though I know now it was super funny."

 

Jeremy turned around, and stepped close to Michael. They were inches from each other and Jeremy’s gaze was soft and loving. “Jeremy,” he murmured, booping Michael on the nose.

 

Michael frowned as he tried to mimic how Jeremy said it. "J... Jeremy," he tried, huffing when he didn't get it right. "Ugh, god damnit."

 

“It’s okay, try again.” Jeremy smiled. “Jeremy.

 

He continued to frown as he tried. "J... Jeremy. Fuck!"

 

Jeremy rubbed their noses together then pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “That was close. Jeremy.”

 

Huffing, Michael tried once more. "Jer... Jere... Jeremy."

 

Jeremy shivered and melted against him, warm expression slipping to a blissful one. “Mmm, that’s right.” His wings drooped as he relaxed totally.

 

Michael made sure to hold him before letting his pride over the fact he said it right fill him. "Don't melt on me just yet, I gotta get changed and then we can cuddle," he teased before pressing a kiss to his cheek.

 

Jeremy slowly, reluctantly, pulled back and stood on his own two feet. He grinned dazedly up at Michael. “I can see why you enjoy that so much.” He reached for the pajamas Michael had given him and started slipping them on. He tucked away his wings before putting the shirt on.

 

Once he was all dressed, he turned back to face Michael again, looking a little more awake. The pajamas were massive on his slimmer frame and hung off him adorably.

 

If he was wearing his patch-covered hoodie, Michael was sure it would be a close dupe to his blush. "Y-y'look comfy," he muttered out as he pulled his shirt down over his head, the collar making his hair poof a little afterwards.

 

Jeremy rocked back a little on his feet, looking up at Michael and grinning. “Yup, these are super soft. I like ‘em even better than the glamour ones. ‘Cause they’re yours.” He hopped forward and ruffled Michael’s hair. “Y’hair’s all extra poofy because I styled it today,” he mused out loud, apparently totally unaware how cute he was being.

 

"Jeremy, you're gonna be the death of me," he muttered out before wrapping his arms around Jeremy's middle. Michael brought them close before letting himself fall back onto the bed, bouncing a little and making Buddy, who was half-asleep on the edge of the bed, startled.

 

Jeremy giggled, happily letting himself be pulled down and nuzzling himself closer to Michael. Buddy grumbled something about how they were being grossly adorable as she curled up again, making sure to send Michael a small glare.

 

"Oh hush, you got so much TLC today from Uncle," Michael told her as he stuck out his tongue before bringing Jeremy further along the bed, eventually getting the two of them under the covers.

 

‘I still don’t need to see it,’ she grumbled, snorting a little as she got comfortable. He could tell she wasn’t being serious.

 

Jeremy pressed a number of kisses to Michael’s cheek, bringing Michael’s attention back onto him. “M’so happy Mikey. Now the whole family knows and they still want me here.”

 

"Of course they do. If they didn't, I'd call them crazy," Michael said with a grin before nuzzling his head against his pillow. "I told you that they'd still love you."

 

“I l-l-love them too.” That was a big thing for Jeremy to be able to say and Michael knew that. “I l-love them so much.” He rested his head on Michael’s chest.

 

Fondness and pride overtook Michael as he held Jeremy closer, pressing a multitude of kisses to his curls before resettling. "Now, let's sleep, OK? They'll probably be back before my normal wake-up time and I want as much sleep as possible."

 

Jeremy nodded, sighing a little. “I love you, Michael,” he murmured.

 

"I love you too, Jeremy.”

Chapter Text

The holidays passed quickly after that. Jeremy started teaching everyone about fairy magic and culture, and Titi worked on her prejudices. By the time Auntie and Uncle left for the Philippines again, Michael was feeling happier and more relaxed than he could ever remember. Finally, there were no more secrets and he could share Jeremy with his whole family. It was an awesome feeling.

 

Which is why he wasn’t even that upset that winter break was almost over. When she came back from Florida and before the break ended, Jenna had demanded the wand (after learning some spells) and once Jeremy had gotten her oath to only use it in defense and to never use it against a peaceful fairy, she turned out to be pretty good with it.

 

Michael still couldn’t make wings, but he was starting to get the hang of his new powers. It was like using his usual spells, but instantaneously and with less of a power drain. Jeremy also worked on his powers, and he started stealing Michael’s clothes to wear instead of just making them using glamour. Titi and Ina even got him a real version of his blue cardigan for himself.

 

Walking into school on the first day back, Michael couldn’t help but feel like something was off. He couldn’t place what, but there was definitely something missing from the hallways.

 

“What’s on your mind, dude?” Jeremy asked, arching an eyebrow.

 

"I don't... It feels like there's something missing," Michael muttered out as he walked to his locker, grabbing what he'd need for his classes. "Don't you feel that? I can't place my finger on it though... Maybe I'm just imagining it."

 

Jeremy frowned, thinking. “No, it does feel a bit weird... almost like it’s too nice around here. I feel all squirmy, like something is about to come up behind me.”

 

He shut his locker then, eyes wide. "Oh, Rich!" He looked around then, unsure on if he should frown or not. "Yeah, normally he'd be here or we'd have at least seen him... Maybe he's just not coming today, a lot of kids don't come the first day back because of vacation or plain ol' laziness."

 

“He’s probably being lazy,” Jeremy grumbled, then grinned. “At least we don’t have to deal with him. I still haven’t forgiven him for the whole depression incident.”

 

"Hey, I don't think he'd do that on purpose. He may be an ass, but he just never struck me as that kinda person..."

 

Jeremy huffed, but nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. I can’t help my nature but I can still control how it affects me. But still. He’s an ass and a break from him would be very nice.”

 

"I mean yeah, but I don't know, I have a bad feeling since he got mixed up with this Squip stuff," he muttered out as he started walking with Jeremy to his first period. "Is it bad to say that I hope we see him in first period?"

 

For a moment, Jeremy was silent, then he sighed. “No, it’s not a bad thing. You’re worried about someone, and for a good reason, even if he makes our life a little harder. That’s very kind and sweet of you. S’why you’re the Angel of this relationship and I’m just the Jeremy.” He bumped their shoulders together with a small grin.

 

Michael rolled his eyes before bumping his shoulder back against Jeremy. "You aren't just 'the Jeremy,' but it's the best way to describe you right now because I want to come up with something better, but we only got four hours of sleep after I forgot we had school today until two in the morning."

 

Jeremy pretended to look upset. “You were up until two A.M.? On a school night? Michael! I expected better from you!” He paused. “I would expect at least three.” Jeremy couldn’t seem to hold it in anymore and broke down into giggles as they made it to first period.

 

 

 

The rest of the day passed with this unnatural peace because Rich wasn't there during first period or the rest of the day. By the time they were getting ready to go back, Michael packing his few things he'd need for the little homework they got, he couldn't shake the terrible feeling. "Either most of our teachers were merciful or hungover today. I'm guessing the latter."

 

Jeremy nodded. “Especially Mr. Adams. Did you see him? He looked worse than a zomb-.” They were walking through the student parking lot when suddenly Jeremy stopped, staring at the woods, transfixed by something. Michael peered over to where Jeremy was looking, but he saw nothing but trees and bushes.

 

"What? Did you see something?" Michael asked, looking and squinting, as if that would help.

 

Jeremy didn’t reply, too fixated on whatever he had seen. He lightly tugged Michael forward, towards the woods.

 

Frowning at that, Michael started to walk, following Jeremy and wherever he wanted him to go. He also had his magic ready if he needed it.

 

Jeremy kept walking, his wings suddenly popping out as if in surprised. “He’s here...” From way Jeremy said those words, it wasn’t Squip who was waiting for them. “And he’s got something shiny.”

 

"Wait... what?" Michael blinked as he looked at Jeremy, brows furrowed. He knew that fairies liked shiny, pretty things, it was sort of hard-wired into them, but he wasn't entirely sure who 'he' was and what 'shiny' thing he had. "Jeremy, please explain."

 

Jeremy tugged on him harder, leading him deeper into the forest with a small whine. He could just about make out a figure a few feet ahead of them. All Michael could make out was that the figure was short and was carrying what looked to be a very shiny, very pretty necklace that gave off a strong magical trace. That had to be what Jeremy was after.

 

Michael stopped Jeremy at that point, wrapping his arm around Jeremy and keeping him back. "Jeremy, no, stop." He kept Jeremy from moving any closer as he held a hand out to the form in front of him. "Who's there? Show yourself or else."

 

Jeremy struggled weakly, but didn’t try to escape his grasp. Michael heard a sigh and what sounded to be a mutter of, “Well this should be far enough, I guess.”

 

Rich came into view from the dense trees, holding out the silver necklace, which was studded with turquoise. Michael could feel magic pulsing off of it, and Jeremy whined slightly and struggled a little again, apparently unable to really see that it was their usual tormentor holding the necklace.

 

Instead of saying something to Jeremy again, he gently squeezed him again, trying to get him to stop as he focused in on Rich. He narrowed his eyes at him. "What the hell do you want, Rich? Why did you want us out here?" He felt chills running down his spine, and he wasn't entirely sure on what to place it on. Michael held Jeremy a bit closer, quickly glancing around to see if there was any danger besides the obvious threat in front of them.

 

“Relax, Mell. I’m alone, I just had to find a way to get you both alone to talk.” Rich sighed, tossing the necklace over to Jeremy who caught it and instantly started fiddling with it, slowly coming back to himself if his quiet, evaluative chirps were anything to go by.

 

Something seemed... different about Rich. Like he seemed quite different than normal, but there was just something off about him. Then it struck Michael. He had a lisp. And his eyes, instead of being brown, were a sort of pleasant, mossy green. They looks sad.

 

Michael couldn't help but shift uncomfortably where he stood, still keeping his arm around Jeremy as he lowered his hand. "About what? The makeup work for English?"

 

Rich actually snorted at that as he leaned against a tree. “No, I need to talk to you about Squip.” Jeremy stiffened in Michael’s arms, then pressed closer to him, wings drooping just from the name.

 

"What about him? It better be something good and not some vague threat or something," he muttered out as he gently squeezed Jeremy's shoulder. "I'm sort of not in the mood for some stupid summons or some shit."

 

“No, it’s nothing like that. I’m here to warn you.” Rich sighed heavily. “I’m really sorry about all the shit I’ve been pulling since sophomore year, okay? Just, hear me out. At least you can be warned about what’s coming up if nothing else.” He sounded sincere at least, which was a first.

 

Cautious, Michael allowed himself to relax, if only a little. He trusted his gut and had been right so many times, so he hoped his gut feeling wasn't off now. "I'm listening."

 

Rich actually looked relieved and instantly launched into explaining. “You probably don’t remember me freshmen year, do you? I was just the invisible, loser witch kid who no one noticed existed. Then he approached me.” Rich scowled. “Squip can be shockingly charming. Anyways, I instantly recognized him for what he was thanks to my True Sight, but I was desperate enough to take him up on his offer: be his eyes and ears in the human world in exchange for being made cool enough that no one would pick on me anymore. See where this is going yet?”

 

Unfortunately, he did. He couldn't help but scowl, though not at Rich. "Why did he pick you? And why are you warning us now?"

 

Rich shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe it was because I was desperate and I could see him, or maybe he figured the Prince would come here. All I know is that I’ve been claimed by an asshole.” He shuddered. “I’ve got some clarity right now. I’ve been given some wiggle room while he’s busy planning, so I had to tell you guys while I had the chance.”

 

Michael's eyes widened at that news, and even if he went through such torment, he couldn't help but feel sympathetic for Rich, empathetic even. He had almost been claimed, and he saw what happened in the Royal courts with claimed humans. "I... I'm sorry. We'll save you. What's he planning though?"

 

“He’s coming to get Jeremy himself.” Rich rubbed at his eyes tiredly. “I don’t know when, but he’s coming. And he’s experimenting with goblin mutation, making them stronger. He’s going to try to enchant both you and Jeremy, make you guys loyal to him instead of kill you like he originally planned. If he can even get one of you, he’s got both because of your bond. But you guys are too powerful to kill if he can avoid it. He wants you as assets.”

 

He nodded as he listened before looking at Rich again, looking into his mossy eyes. They were normally brown, a nice shade of it even (after being face-to-face with him so many times, you grew to remember weird details). "He's started experimenting on you too, hasn't he? During break too, right?"

 

“...Yeah. I think that’s why I’ve got the wiggle room now,” Rich confessed. “I... I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done to you. Being claimed... it really messes with you, man. Takes away what they don’t like about you to make you perfect for what they want you for. I’m just so sorry.” He sighed, pushing away from the tree. “I’d recommend you guys try to get away from here, as far as you can. He knows where you live and how to take down your mom’s wards.” He jumped when the necklace was suddenly thrown back to him.

 

Jeremy stood straighter but stayed close to Michael. “You sound like you’ve had a rough time of it yourself, Rich. You’d better keep hold of that, the protection charms on it are really strong. You did a good job.” Michael knew this was Jeremy’s way of showing solidarity, and judging by the shocked look on Rich’s face, so did he.

 

Michael hesitated for a second, but he gave Rich a smile. "We'll save you and stop Squip, I promise Rich. It might take a while, after the bullying he made y'do, but if you're always this nice, I'd like to get to know the real Richard Goranski." He gave him a sloppy salute with one hand before hurrying with Jeremy to get back to the car.

 

“I’d really like that. Good luck!” he heard Rich call after them.

 

“Michael, what are we gonna do?” Jeremy asked, pulling his wings back through the thin slits in his clothes that Titi had set up for him. “If he knows where we live-“

 

"We're going to take a little road trip," was what he said as he quickly unlocked his car and tossed his bag into the backseat. "We're going back home, telling Ina and Titi, packing our bags, and going for now. When we do end up having to fight Squip, I don't want it to be at home. He's only going to come after us, and we can take him." He shut the backseat door before opening the driver's side. "Hey, I can find a roller rink to take you to. Sweet."

 

Jeremy’s panic seemed to be soothed a little by that, and he attempted a smile. “My balance is better than yours, so I wonder how well I’d do compared to you with skating...” Jeremy still looked freaked as he climbed in, strapping himself into the car. As Michael started driving, Jeremy ducked his head a little. “I feel really bad for Rich. And for being so mean to him when he enchanted you.”

 

"Neither of us knew, Jeremy," Michael said with a sigh as his grip was tense and tight on the steering wheel. "We just gotta help him, y'know? It's all we can do right now, especially since he risked his neck to tell us all this and warn us. It's... it's the least we can do."

 

Jeremy nodded slowly. “Yeah. The only problem is you can’t break a claim, even if it’s yours...” He trailed off before suddenly sitting up straight, as if having an idea. “But you can shift them! I’m more powerful than Squip, if what everyone keeps telling me is true, I can shift his claim to me. Then my desire for him to be himself would basically let him be as he wanted. It’s the closest to total freedom we can get.” Jeremy frowned distastefully at the idea, but his nod was resolute. He was willing to violate his own standards about having a claimed human to try to help Rich. That was a big thing.

 

"You... you're really something, Jere," Michael muttered out, nothing negative behind his words as reached a hand over, taking one of Jeremy's hands and quickly squeezing it before focusing back on the road. "You're a really good person."

 

Jeremy’s smile, which Michael saw out of the corner of his eye, was soft and sweet. “Yeah, well I learned from the best.” He squeezed Michael’s hand back, then released it so he could focus properly.

 

Michael stayed quiet as he quickly drove back home, though made sure not to break any traffic laws, before he hastily parked in the driveway. He saw that Ina's car was home (since she worked in a different county, she didn't resume work until Wednesday) and let out a sigh. He snatched his backpack out of his backseat as soon as he turned off the ignition, practically dashing in with Jeremy as Buddy barked for them. "Ina, I'll explain in a minute, but Jeremy and I need to pack for a road trip," he shouted as he dashed inside, leaping over Buddy's barking form, ignoring the confusion he left in his and Jeremy's wake.

 

Ina sounded like she almost dropped her mug of hot chocolate, but she quickly followed them upstairs. “I’ll grab you a couple of suitcases. Just explain while you pack.” She nodded, vanishing up to the attic for a few minutes before coming down with two medium-sized suitcases. She set them on the bed and turned to Michael. “Explain. I know you wouldn’t be doing this without a good reason.”

 

"You know that kid Rich who bullies me?" Ina, though grimacing, nodded. "Well, Squip's had him claimed since sophomore year. Squip must've been planning this out for a while. He managed to come out and warn us about Squip's plans, and we need to go. Being here's too dangerous. When I can, I'll text you, but we aren't safe to be around. He's planning something and is probably close to being done, and then he's coming after us. You all aren't getting caught in the crossfire." As he explained, Michael quickly packed his and Jeremy's clothes, stuffing them into the suitcases along with some toiletries he had lying around. He also dumped out his backpack of his school stuff and started packing things like his electronics, chargers, and witch supplies.

 

Ina hesitated, then nodded. “This isn’t something we can help with, is it?” she asked quietly, pulling Jeremy into a hug.

 

He let her, dropping the clothes he was carrying into the suitcase. “No, you’ll get hurt if you are near us, Ina. You and Titi don’t have any protection against his magic, not like me and Michael do.” Ina held out her arms for Michael to hug her too. She looked a little desperate.

 

Michael hugged her, letting it linger as he took a deep breath. “I promise we’ll be back as soon as we can, Ina. I’d rather not leave either, I don’t want to, but... We have to.”

 

Buddy sat in front of the group, whining and putting her front paws up on them. ‘You and papa have to go? I can come and look after you, right daddy? I gotta look after you!’

 

Michael let go of Ina then and squatted down in front of Buddy after gently having her get off. “Buddy, I have an important job for you. You need to stay here and look after the house and whoever’s here. You’re a smart, good girl and can do that for me, right?”

 

She looked sad but her tail wagged a little. ‘I can do that, daddy. And you and papa look after each other, right? You’ll come home safe?’ She licked at his chin.

 

Jeremy knelt down next to both of them, hugging Buddy and stroking her head. “We will, sweetheart. We’ll be home before you know it.” He sounded like he was on her verge of tears. “And when we get back we can have a big snuggle pile, yeah?

 

“Yeah, we’ll need one after how much we’re gonna miss you,” Michael told her before hugging her along with Jeremy, giving her a kiss on her wet nose before focusing on packing again. He had to focus on something, not this sad farewell. It was only temporary, but if he focused too hard on it, he’d break down a little.

 

Jeremy stood and grabbed an atlas from Michael’s shelf. He opened it and dropped it onto the bed, pointing at a place on the map of the states. “Linville Gorge in North Carolina. It’s about an eleven hour drive from here total, but it has some of the oldest forests in the world. Normal fairy magic will be really strong there and goblins will be weaker.” He looked up at Michael, then over to Ina. “That’s where I think we should head.”

 

“Put it into Waze on my phone, we’ll head there,” Michael told Jeremy as he kept packing. He couldn’t afford to slip up right now.

 

Jeremy did as instructed, fumbling a little but managing it after a moment. “I’ll go and pack you boys some food and call Titi to explain. Don’t leave before saying goodbye,” Ina instructed before pressing a quick kiss to both of their heads and leaving. Jeremy nodded, grabbing a couple of spell book from the shelf.

 

Michael made sure their suitcases were properly packed, toiletries and all from the bathroom too, before he quickly zipped them up along with his own backpack. “Got everything packed?” he asked. “We’ll also need to get mint leaves before we go so you can have your refreshing potion thing.”

 

“We’ve got everything except the mint leaves. I’ll go and grab them when we go downstairs. I can keep them in the pocket.” Jeremy looked around and grabbed a suitcase. “Ready?”

 

Buddy huffed, looking them over carefully. ‘Don’t forget your warm jacket, daddy,’ she reminded him, nudging his hand.

 

Michael pet Buddy’s head then and sighed softly. “I won’t, I’ll grab it from the hook downstairs. Thank you.” He looked over at Jeremy as he grabbed the other suitcase and slung his backpack on. “I’m ready.” He wasn’t ready, but he’d pretend until he knew any possibly breakdown no longer had a chance of happening.

 

Once they were downstairs, Jeremy ran off to grab the mint and Ina came over with a large backpack of food. “I’ve left some cash in here too so you’ll be able to get a place to stay if you need to.” She pressed a kiss on Michael’s cheek. “You make sure that both of my sons make it home, you hear me young man?” She chuckled wetly. “I love you, Michael.”

 

Jeremy came back and scooped up the backpack of food. “Thank you Ina. I- I love you.” He pressed a quick kiss to her temple, and she scooped both the boys into a hug.

 

“I love you too, Jeremy.” From next to him, Michael felt a burst of warm magic bubble through Jeremy, less intense, a lot softer, but no less powerful than when they had confessed to one another. “Come home safe.”

 

Michael, returning the hug, just nodded as he tried to keep his emotions detached for the moment being. He couldn’t afford to get upset right now, he had to drive. “We’ll come home safe, don’t worry. I’m not gonna let anything bad happen to either of us,” he promised, even if he wasn’t too sure he could keep it.

 

Ina released them and scrubbed at her face with her sleeve. “Now go. There’s a motel you can stop at about three hours away in that direction so you can properly plan. Call me when you get there,” she instructed, herding them towards the door and handing Michael his coat.

 

“I will,” he said as he took his coat, putting it on. “I love you Ina.”

 

“I love you too, Michael.” Michael felt a burst of warmth in his chest at that for some reason, a sort of strength bleeding into his being, despite having heard those words a lot. Jeremy took his hand, squeezed it, and together they walked out the door.

 

 

 

Michael wanted to just keep going, to have a reason to not focus on what was really going on, but he conceded and stopped at the motel. Thankfully, it seemed to be a nice one (for motel standards).

 

He opened the door to their room, sighing as he sat down on the bed and opened up the backpack full of food. He skipped lunch and refused to eat or drink while driving, so he needed something.

 

After closing the curtains and locking the door, Jeremy let his wings out and sat on the bed. Michael knew that it was uncomfortable for him to keep them in during high emotion periods, so he didn’t say anything. The silence was uncomfortable as they sat together, Jeremy taking a couple of strawberries to nibble on.

 

Michael took out some apple slices, chewing on them as he tried to keep himself more present in the situation. He had just been following the GPS app, getting tunnel vision for just driving, and detached himself from the situation to keep himself from bursting. Now that he had a chance to resettle, he didn’t know what to say or do.

 

“Your fairy half is getting stronger,” Jeremy remarked eventually, trying to sound casual but failing completely. “I felt that burst of magic when you and Ina said you love each other. Familial love is just as much of a special thing as romantic love, so it should mean that we’ll both end up stronger because of it.”

 

“So it’s going to be that whole ‘love conquers all’ troupe that saves our asses in the end? Man, I’m sure writers would have a field day with that,” Michael said, trying to hold humor in his tone. He wasn’t sure if it worked or not.

 

Jeremy shrugged, chucking a little.”Love is rare for fairies. S’why it’s so powerful.” He leaned back, looking a little more relaxed. “Maybe you should write a book if it’s such a common trope” He lightly rested his wing against Michael, brushing it against the back of his neck.

 

“Maybe I will,” Michael muttered out, feeling himself relax and become a little more present at the touch. “Everyone would read the shit out of it.”

 

“They really would. It’d be a best seller.” Jeremy was smiling a little, leaning on Michael’s shoulder.

 

The silence that fell was less awkward this time. When Jeremy broke it, his voice was soft, hesitant. “I know it’s probably selfish, and I wish you were out of harm's way, but I’m really glad you’re here Mikey... I... I feel safer with you here.”

 

“It is selfish, but I honestly wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t here with you. It’s alright to be selfish sometimes.” He rested an arm carefully around Jeremy, trying to provide the same reassurance Jeremy had given him.

 

Jeremy melted into his hold, nuzzling against him. “I guess I’m still learning the boundaries. Fairies are selfish by nature and I try really hard not to be.” A beat. “I’m scared, Mikey. Scared for both of us and what’s gonna happen. I’m barely keeping it together right now.”

 

He ran his finger along Jeremy’s arm then, gentle as he went, remembering how he had those ‘tattoos’ now. “Same here. The only reason I’m not absolutely breaking down is because, I think, I’m detaching myself from the situation right now. Like, I know it’s happening, but it doesn’t actually feel like I’m apart of it. It’s like I’m just reading or watching this happen, even if I’m right here.”

 

He could feel the tattoos shifting under his touch ever so slightly, and it was sort of reminder that Jeremy was actually wearing clothes now, not glamour. “I get that, except for me it’s the other way around. I’m feeling everything at once and my brain is sort of nope-ing out of dealing with it all. And since you’re here, it’s focusing on that. So long as you’re here, you’re safe, I can function alright.”

 

“Yeah, even if I’m not feeling that, I can understand that. You’re definitely helping me just not lose it right now, if I’m going to be honest here.” He let out a breathy laugh before eating the rest of the apple slice he was holding. “This isn’t how people who are defeating some great evil should act, huh? Yet here we are...”

 

“We’re just kids still, Mikey. It’s supposed to be adults doing this,” Jeremy pointed out, grabbing another strawberry and freezing it. “We’re just doing the best we can.”

 

“We’re technically adults in the eyes of the law. We’re both eighteen,” Michael pointed out before taking another apple slice to munch on. “When do we stop being kids and start being adults if it isn’t when society dictates it?”

 

Jeremy thought for a moment, then sighed. “I guess it’s when we step up. And that’s what we’re doing now. So I guess we are being adults.” Jeremy nuzzled closer. “It was easier when we were just kids messing around in the clearing by the barrier. But I’m still glad I’m came to the human world and stayed with you.” Jeremy pressed a small kiss to Michael’s jaw, letting a whole conversation of unsaid words linger. Even if he wasn’t saying it out loud, Michael could hear the small declaration of love in it.

 

Michael leaned into the kiss, smiling as he gently squeezed Jeremy. “I’m glad you did too. You changed my life for the better, Jeremy,” he admitted and then gently pressed his apple slice against Jeremy’s lips. “Let’s eat so we don’t die and then do some planning? Or maybe take a nap.”

 

Jeremy took the slice and ate it, humming slightly as he swallowed. “Plan, then nap,” Jeremy agreed. “We can set up wards to make sure we’re not disturbed.”

 

“Ugh, I wish it was nap first,” he muttered up before eating half an apple slice in one bite. “Fine, let’s be productive first.”

 

The next half an hour was spent eating and reviewing spells that could be useful, not to mention setting up the warning wards around the motel. After a quick but emotional call home to let everyone know they were safe, Jeremy and Michael both settled down to rest. “You wanna try shrinking before we sleep? It could be useful and it feels nice to sleep while small if you can manage it.”

 

Michael raised a brow over at Jeremy then before shrugging. “Sure, why the hell not. Maybe I can hide in your hair then.”

 

Jeremy giggled, than sat up properly to face Michael. “Okay, so you need to focus on yourself. Let your magic pulse and try to just force it into a smaller shape. Like you’re stuffing it into a small box. Your body should follow.”

 

“Uh... weird but alright,” he muttered out before trying to do just that. He shut his eyes to focus, trying his best to imagine and follow Jeremy’s instructions.

 

For a second, nothing happened. Then Michael felt a sort of rush, followed by a little light headedness. When he opened his eyes, Jeremy was staring down at him, looking giant. That almost made him fall over, but something caught him mid-fall. Looking back, two wings that looked to be made of golden light flapped, keeping him upright. They seemed to work just fine, even if they seemed to be intangible.

 

He tried to twist himself around to better see the wings before he realized he was just twirling in the air. “Holy shit, I fucking have wings! This is so sick! They’re, like, cool holographic ones!”

 

Jeremy giggled, the sound a little louder now he was small but not overwhelmingly so. “You do! And it makes sense they’re like that, since you weren’t born with them.” Jeremy held out his hand for Michael to land on. “Your senses should be a little stronger while you’re small too, and since you’re powerful, you shouldn’t have any problems holding this size.”

 

"That's rad as hell," he muttered out before landing in the palm of Jeremy's hand. "Everything's a little intimidating when I'm so small though. Like, you even look intimidating, and you really aren't."

 

“I know right?” Jeremy raised his hand a little. “Try hiding. I think you’ll be surprised how comforting it is.”

 

"I'm gonna be walking on your head though, are you sure it's OK? I got gross crap probably stuck to the bottom of my shoes," he muttered out, even if he knew what the answer was going to be.

 

“Just do it, Mikey. Trust me.” Hesitantly, Michael flew up on to Jeremy’s head. The moment he landed in the soft curls, he felt an overwhelming sense of warmth and safety, just sort of surrounded by Jeremy. It was almost as good as cuddling, just more intense somehow. He felt himself start to melt into the feeling.

 

"It's weird how nice this is," Michael muttered out as he sat down on top of his head. "Like, I'll stay here for a bit, but I wanna actually nap with you, not on you, at least not like this."

 

“Yeah I get that. But if you end up just needing a break now, you can do this. It’s brilliant to do if you’re overwhelmed. And it’s great to escape from someone because you can move a lot faster when you’re small.” Being in contact with Jeremy’s head, he could almost feel the vibrations from his voice. “Besides, I wanna nap with you too. Feel free to stay up there as long as you like, though. It’s not too bad from the other side for once.” Jeremy reached up and gently patted Michael's head with one finger, giggling a little. He moved slowly so as not to scare Michael too much.

 

Michael let out a soft hum, smiling at the soft touches before hopping out and hovering in the air. "I think I'm good, I wanna know how to turn back. I'm assume it's just imagining letting all that stuff out and thinking big?"

 

“Yup. Also, focus on the wings while you let yourself grow.”

 

He nodded and did that. He heard a small 'pop' before he felt himself land on the ground. Opening his eyes, he looked and saw his cool wings were gone before he huffed and flopped down onto the motel bed. "As much as I don't want to sleep here, my too-tired gene is showing and I'm willing to look past it."

 

Jeremy nodded, lifting the covers and climbing in. “The wards will wake us if anything magic comes close. We need the rest.” He held up the other side for Michael to climb in too.

 

Michael happily climbed in, feeling the exhaustion of everything, mentally and physically, beginning to hit him. It wasn't hard for him to fall asleep.

 

 

 

Michael woke to the feeling of his heart almost beating out of his chest and a loud buzz ringing in his ears. Jeremy was also sitting up, looking dazed and confused. For a second he flailed, then he turned to Michael, eyes wide. “The wards. Goblins,” he whispered, sticking his arm into the pocket to grab his dagger.

 

With wide eyes, Michael quickly got up, getting his magic ready. "Good thing we only brought in the food bag," he muttered out as he slung the bag of food and money over his shoulder.

 

As soon as he said that, the handle on the door jiggled. The boys froze, getting ready for whatever may come. The door then slammed open and about a dozen of the five foot high goblins poured in, all furiously brandishing spears and some even having stone swords. A human woman standing outside looked over curiously but apparently could see nothing.

 

From where they stood, Michael glanced over at Jeremy, trying to ask what the fuck was happening and why they weren't being seen.

 

Jeremy smacked his forehead, as if cursing his own stupidity. “Most humans can’t see fairy stuff without help!” he scowled, slashing at the nearest goblin. The woman outside frowned and started walking closer.

 

"Well that's good," he muttered out before blasting the next nearest goblin. "But what the fuck are we going to do?"

 

Jeremy stuck his hand back into the pocket and grabbed something. He tossed it at the woman. “Look through that, then run if what you see scares you,” he instructed, his voice layered with so much influence that even Michael felt the smallest desire to do what he said, and he was supposed to be immune!

 

She lifted the thing to her face, and Michael could see it was a rock with a natural hole in it. The woman peered through it, screamed, and ran off, dropping the rock to the ground. Jeremy started freezing a couple of goblins to the floor.

 

"Well, that at least helped, thanks," Michael said as he sent an electrical surge through the frozen goblins before aiming them at more of them, hoping to fry them into unconsciousness. "How many of these do you think are here, 'cause we need to book it."

 

“This would be be the advance hunting party, so I’d say twelve or so, and with about thirty more within ten minutes away.” He grimaced, sending out some vines to grab some of the goblins, who hissed and fizzled at the touch. “Burst the tomatoes I’m about to grow!” he instructed, and very quickly about five large tomatoes started forming on the vines.

 

As instructed, he started to burst them as they formed. He used zaps large enough to burst them, but not powerful enough to do any damage to Jeremy's vines. "Yeah, we're fucking booking it, I can't deal with all of this shit right now."

 

Where the tomato juice hit the goblins, it hissed and burned. All the goblins left stumbled back. “Let’s move it!” Jeremy shouted, bolting out the door with Michael and scoping up the rock as they ran to the car.

 

Michael unlocked the car as soon as he knew it would unlock, and he practically jumped in as he started the ignition, almost forgetting to buckle up. "Well, left the keys in the room, hope that's alright, hope my anxiety doesn't spike later because I didn't give it to them in person," he rambled as he quickly backed them out of the near-empty motel lot and started to drive on the road, quickly heading to the freeway.

 

Jeremy reached out and placed his hand on Michael’s arm. “Breathe, Michael. You’re gonna pass out if you don’t calm down a little. We made it out. And the motel had rules that said you could just leave the keys in the room.”

 

He nodded, letting Jeremy's hand ground him as he took a few deep breaths. "Yeah, yeah... We'll be fine," he muttered out as he merged into the high-speed lane of traffic, grateful that there weren't too many cars going right now (it was past the rush hour traffic at this point, the lights from the sky having faded hours ago).

 

“At least we managed to get some rest...” Jeremy mumbled, lightly rubbing at Michael’s shoulder. “And we just kicked like a dozen goblin’s asses. So that’s a few less to deal with later.”

 

"Yeah, but I don't know how well I'm gonna do if I have to drive over twelve hours without a break in fear of those things popping up while I'm napping, snacking, or if I'm in the bathroom," Michael thought out loud, still feeling tense even if he was being grounded.

 

Jeremy thought for a few moments. “We’ll take it in shifts,” he decided as he checked his watch. “We managed a full six hours before they caught us, and according to Titi, they left the barrier a few minutes after we left the house. We’ll travel to the next motel and you can rest and eat for a while. I’ll keep guard. I’ll sleep and stuff while we’re in the car.” He rubbed Michael’s shoulder again. From what Michael could see from the corner of his eye, Jeremy looked exhausted.

 

Michael couldn't help but frown, even if that sounded like the best choice. "You better get some rest now then. You don't mind if I play some music to keep my mind from just buzzing with anxieties and existentialism during the ride, right?"

 

Jeremy waved his free hand. “Go for it. I just...” He trailed off, rubbing at his temple.

 

"Just... say what's on your mind, Jeremy."

 

“I’m scared. I don’t know if I can sleep. And I’ve got this...lingering headache which is sort of stemming from the electrocution scar. It feels like there is something magic happening from it, but I can’t actually pinpoint what,” Jeremy confessed quietly. He shook his head, still rubbing at Michael’s shoulder. It seemed to be a comfort to him.

 

He thought about it for a moment, looking ahead to confirm what the Waze app was telling him (he quickly punched in the next motel address at a red light). Well, his mom did that, a storm fairy... which Squip also was.... "Do you think Squip could be doing something with it? Your mom made that, but they're both storm fairies. Maybe that helps him, or..."

 

“It’s... possible. Fairy magic is cooperative for the most part. But that would mean mom was with him at the very least, voluntarily working for him at worst.” The way he said that made it sound like he wasn’t surprised by the idea at all.

 

"Yeah, but she tried to kill me. She probably thinks I'm the shittiest influence on you, so I wouldn't put it past her." Michael frowned as he turned the volume up to his phone a few clicks. "Think that could be it? He's trying to tap into you and influencing you? Trying to get in your head?"

 

“I-... I-... I won’t let him. I can’t let him. I won’t let myself be a danger to you. I won’t!” Jeremy pulled away, curling up a little in his seat. A quick glance over at him showed that he was clutching his head, his eyes wide with fear. Obviously it was a possibility.

 

"Hey hey hey, Jere, please look at me," he muttered out as he reached a hand out, grabbing for him while driving. "Please."

 

Jeremy took a gasping breath when Michael got touched him, and a few deep breaths later he looked up. He was practically vibrating from how hard he was shaking.

 

“You know about what he’s doing. He’s trying to get into your head to mess with you. The fact that you’re able to pick up on it is a big deal, and we know what he’s trying to do.” He gently squeezed his shoulder, which his hand held onto. “He thinks he can’t even beat us in a one-on-one and is using his minions and dirty tactics. We need to know that, take the love we have for each other and from everyone, and beat his sorry ass.”

 

Jeremy’s shivering slowly calmed down, and his breathing evened out. “You’re right. I’m just... I’m so scared, Mikey. Like more than I have ever been, and I had to directly escape him and the goblins before I got to you on that first day.” He sighed and leaned into Michael’s touch.

 

"Well, that was escaping, you were running away. Now you're confronting him. There's a huge difference, but it's showing huge bravery. You're facing something, even if it scares you."

 

Jeremy nodded slowly and relaxed a bit more. “I know I can face it so long as we’re together. You’re my Player One after all.” He reached up and held on to Michael’s hand, squeezing it. ”God that was sappy. You’ve made me super sappy, Michael! I never used to be this gay,” he whined. He sounded a little better at least.

 

Michael couldn't help but belt out laughing at that. "I've brought out the sappiness in you, and I'm proud of that." He pulled his hand over, quickly kissing the back of his hand, before dropping it against his console, eyes on the road the entire time. "I'll write it on my resume."

 

“You do that,” Jeremy agreed. “Tell everyone how you made a prince all sappy. Romanced the wings off of him. Literally.” He was giggling, but it slowly died off. “Still don’t think I can sleep,” he admitted quietly.

 

"That's fine," Michael told him, rubbing his thumb along Jeremy's knuckles. "Let the dulcet tones of Joe Iconis and George Salazar possibly lull you to sleep along with the soothing voice of the Waze navigation person." With that, he moved his and Jeremy's hand forward, quickly starting up the CD he had (Ina and Titi bought him the CD for the holidays) before resting their hands back against the console.

Chapter Text

Despite Jeremy's insistence that he'd never be able to sleep, Jeremy passed out half an hour into the next stretch. Michael, knowing how exhausted Jeremy had to be, decided to drive a little longer and taking less breaks than Jeremy would want (read: instead of having three breaks, he gave himself one). Even if he was tired, he knew he'd be fine. Hey, he went to school one week while running on only a collective time of four hours of sleep the entire week, so this was nothing.

 

Sooner than Jeremy expected (he told him he was a fast driver when he wanted to be), they arrived at the Gorge. Michael parked the car in the visitor lot, locking it up before sticking his keys into the pocket of his sweats. "Alright, which way, oh wise Jeremy?"

 

Jeremy snorted and sort of just held out his hand. The trees seemed to shiver along one of the many trails, and Jeremy nodded. “This way. It leads to an older part of the forest.” He pointed down the path which had reacted.

 

Michael nodded as he took Jeremy's hand, swinging it between them as they walked. "Hey, do you think someone's ever saved the day in sweats?"

 

Jeremy looked him over properly. “Hmm no, but you’re not exactly the usual style of hero, are you? You’re unique, and so you can save the day in sweats if you want. You’re my one-of-a-kind Angel.” Jeremy nodded to himself, happy with his response. “Also, aren’t your legs cold? Those are warm, but not that warm.”

 

"A little, though I was gonna ask if you could warm me up a bit. I don't wanna fight Squip and his minions all bundled up in winter gear," Michael requested, leaning a little against Jeremy as he gave him puppy-dog eyes.

 

Jeremy giggled and pressed a quick kiss to Michael’s cheek. Instantly, any chill he had been feeling dropped out of him. “You could have just asked, no need for dramatics. I’m more than happy to make sure you stay healthy, Mikey.” Jeremy giggled, leaning his head on Michael’s shoulder with a giggle. Honestly, this felt more like a date than the precursor to an epic showdown against a dreaded foe. Jeremy seemed to be feeling the same way, because he kept shooting what Michael recognized as heart eyes (seriously, how had he not noticed them at first?) at him.

 

Michael just happily pointed out some scenery that peaked his interest as they walked along the path. Eventually, he felt them reach the end of the path, a clearing present as Jeremy and him stopped. Even if he wasn't as in-touch with his fairy side as Jeremy, he could feel the absolute power radiating from further ahead, not even just the clearing in front of them.

 

Jeremy took a deep breath, the energy here seemingly wiping away any lingering tiredness from him. “Now this, this is an old forest. There’s so much untapped magic here.” He sighed, eyes struggling to focus a little. “It’s a little overwhelming if I’m honest. Wow.”

 

"I can imagine," he muttered out, only feeling a slight buzz in his system. It really helped with that lingering tiredness that he felt, so he honestly appreciated it. "It's what I imagine coffee feeling like if I actually drank it."

 

“You remember that time we both got that massive sugar rush?” Jeremy asked. He did. They were eleven and even if it had taken a lot more for Jeremy, they had both been spacey and bouncing off the trees of their clearing for hours after. “It’s kinda like that for me. I’ll get used to it, just wow!”

 

"Well, we gotta go further in," Michael said, gently tugging Jeremy's hand as he took a step into the actual clearing. "C'mon."

 

Jeremy waved his hand, stumbling forwards. “I’m fine, I’m coming.” He giggled a little, then stuck his hand into the pocket. He pulled out the picnic blanket from the solstice. “I brought this so we could sit and wait. No point in tiring ourselves out before they even get here.”

 

"So we're literally going to sit and wait for them?" Michael couldn't help but ask around a laugh as he playfully poked the blanket.

 

Jeremy shrugged as he let his wings out, glamour falling. “I mean, yeah. We have our battlefield picked out, now we just need to wait for our opponents.” He picked what he seemed to deem an appropriate spot because he stopped and laid out the blanket. “You also might want to get your broom out. It works as a wand as much as it lets you fly as well. Both are gonna be useful, I’m sure.”

 

He shrugged before reaching into his ‘pocket’ and pulling out his broom. “Yeah, that’s true. Plus I can keep those grubby things from getting their slimy hands on me, eugh.” With that, he flopped back into the blanket, almost starfishing.

 

Jeremy giggled and poked at Michael’s hair. A weight settled on it. When he reached up, he pulled off a dark red pointed hat, obviously glamour but it felt real. Jeremy giggled mischievously.

 

Michael narrowed his eyes at his boyfriend then before he plopped the hat back down on top of his head. "How long have you known about the stereotypical witch?"

 

Jeremy burst out laughing. “Since we were twelve! You showed me witches and fairies on your new phone!” He rolled backwards, hovering a little into the air as he laughed.

 

He narrowed his eyes as he stared out into a random bit of space in the air, trying to recall. "... Oh fuck, I'm an idiot."

 

Jeremy poked Michael and suddenly his hoodie and sweats turned into elaborate, burgundy robes. Jeremy laughed harder, actually falling out of the air with a small ‘oof.’ He didn’t stop laughing.

 

He let out a squawk at that, looking down at himself with a frown. "If that's how you wanna be," Michael muttered out as he remembered that he knew illusionary glamour too. Reaching up, he poked Jeremy and made his clothes transform into the stereotypical fairy attire, 'made' of leaves and all, including all of the extremely pointy shoes and ears as well as the ridiculous markings. "There."

 

Jeremy sat up and looked down at himself, feeling his ears and poking his shoes. For a moment, he looked shocked, then he fell over laughing again. “Oh I haven’t done this in years!” he gasped out, trying to calm himself. “I used to play like this with Jake and Chrissy when we were kids, see who could dress each other up the most ridiculously. I once got Jake in a sexy red dress, complete with heels and make up, for a whole day. And he loved it too! It was awesome!” Jeremy lost it all over again, clinging to Michael’s arm as he gasped between fits of laughter.

 

"I'm guessing that, if we were playing that, I would have won?" Michael asked with an arched brow and a grin as he couldn't help but laugh along with Jeremy. Hey, his laugh was contagious and he was extremely tired, sue him.

 

Jeremy nodded, his laughter dying down to his usual whistling giggle. “Yeah, you win. This time around. I’ll get you yet.” With a quick peck to Michael’s cheek, the robes and hat melted away, leaving Michael in his usual clothes.

 

Michael grinned before poking Jeremy's side, laughing as he squirmed and his glamour melted away as well. "There we go, there's my adorable Jeremy."

 

His wings fluttered happily as he settled down and curled up next to Michael. “We’ve got a while before they arrive. I just wanna enjoy this for a while longer,” he murmured, wings and body relaxing.

 

"I get that," he muttered out as he pressed a soft kiss to Jeremy's forehead, holding him close.

 

They stayed like that for maybe an hour more, curled up on a picnic blanket in the snow. It was a strange sort of peace, the calm before the storm, but Michael savored every minute that he could of it. Eventually, Jeremy sat up a little, blinking. “They’re here. At the edge of the gorge.” His eyes looked distant, as though he were seeing something else than what was in front of him. “They’ve found the car and they know it’s ours. We don’t have long.”

 

Michael looked over at where Jeremy was staring out to, pressing a soft kiss to Jeremy's temple as he sat up with him. "Let's get ready then," he muttered out, helping Jeremy up before tucking the blanket into his little pocket dimension and having his broom at the ready.

 

Jeremy leaned into his kiss before seeming to come back to himself. He pulled out his dagger and let his tattoos turn back into vines. They writhed under his cardigan threateningly, almost snake-like in their movements.

 

As he stood ready, Michael felt the odd peace begin to break. The air shook oddly, making a tension fill the air as in stormed the goblins. They were armed, ready, and even slimier than before. The dumb look in their eyes, though, seemed to only grow more intense compared to the ones he saw at the start of their road-trip, which settled poorly with him.

 

Jeremy seemed to notice too. “These guys are several years into the change now, they should be much more developed. And look, there’s a red cap in their groups, they should definitely be more intelligent. Unless…” He trailed off, then gasped. “Squip’s been draining them. They’re not as strong as usual because he’s been taking part of them and putting them somewhere else!” Jeremy dropped to a lower, battle ready stance. “This is the first wave. Just like a video game, right? Ready, Player One?” Jeremy asked with a savage grin. Michael recognized it from their intense gaming sessions over these past few months, when Jeremy knew he had the advantage.

 

Michael quickly nodded, a fiendish grin taking over his features as he held out his broom, ready to fight or take flight into the air if need be. "Ready, Player Two," he said as he felt the powerful surge they had, knowing they'd decimate the goblins easy.

 

A dozen goblins had assembled at the other end of the clearing, ready and screaming to fight. The one with the strange red hat stepped forwards, silencing the others and pointing its stone sword at Michael. “Human. You will bow to Squip. You and Fairy will bow to Squip. Surrender and we do not hurt you,” it grunted out, its speech sounding closer to caveman grunts than fairy. Out of the corner of his eye, Michael could see Jeremy discreetly pointing at the ground and sending dark green vines into it.

 

Michael pretended to think it over then. “I... if we surrender now, we aren’t going to get hurt? Squip and you all are that merciful?” He rapped the end of his broom handle against his chin then in ‘deep thought’ as he saw Jeremy’s vines moving closer. “I...” Closer. “I...” They leaned in, and the vines were close enough. “I don’t think so, fuckos.”

 

The vines burst from the snow, smacking half of them over and ensnaring even more in their grasp. The goblins flailed to escape as they were hoisted into the air.

 

“Michael, take them out! I can only hold them for so long!”

 

Nodding, Michael aimed his broom at then, channeling his power and sending a powerful paralysis spell through them, enough to do permanent damage. “Drop ‘em, they’re done.”

 

The goblins dropped from the air and the vines started thrashing and attacking every goblin they could reach. Where they smacked the goblins, cold burns appeared as well as large chunks of ice, weighing them down and causing them to scream in pain.

 

Some of the goblins, including the one in the red hat, managed to escape the vines and started charging towards the boys. Jeremy was obviously too busy dealing with his vines so Michael took charge.

 

Taking inspiration from Jeremy’s earlier attacks at the motel, he grew a tomato at the end of his broom using nature magic. He started literally hitting them with the broom, smashing the tomato against each other. After flying into the air while he kept hold onto his broom after each attack, he would quickly fly back down and repeat the process with each goblin.

 

Where the tomatoes hit the goblins, the juice hissed and burnt them like acid. By the time he was done, half of them lay mangled on the snow and the others were basically piles of gross goo.

 

Turning back to Jeremy, Michael saw that he had finished off all of his goblins too. He let the vines go and they withered and died. Jeremy stumbled backwards, frowning a little. “I... didn’t know I could do that if I’m honest.”

 

“Hey, we’re both sorta super powered right now with the fairy hot spot we’re in,” Michael told him as he quickly wiped away any splattered goo on himself.

 

Jeremy nodded, pulling out a cloth and helping clean Michael up. “I know you hate this stuff so I came prepared.” Once he was clean, Jeremy pressed a quick kiss to his nose and smiled. “One set down.” Suddenly, he stiffened. His eyes darted around, unfocused and afraid. “They’re surrounding us... there’s so many... I... where did they all come from? And what is that?” he muttered, just a stream of consciousness rather than him actually wanting to talk.

 

Michael looked around then, seeing that no actual goblins were there yet. He reached a hand out, gently holding his hand and squeezing it to try to ground him. “Hey, we got this,” he promised as he held tight to his broom as well.

 

Jeremy sounded close to hyperventilating as he finally refocused on Michael. “We’re trapped. There’s at least a hundred around the whole clearing, and something big is coming and I can sense Squip’s energy in the forest now.” He squeezed at Michael’s hand desperately.

 

“Hey, it’s just another wave and we’re getting stronger,” Michael tried to reassure Jeremy as well as himself. Well, things were certainly sounding grim, but the heroes were supposed to be an optimist in this kinda situation. That’s what pop culture and every type of media taught him. The power of friendship and love and all that.

 

Jeremy took a couple of deep breaths, squeezing at Michael’s hand with every gasp. Finally, he seemed to calm down enough to function. “You’re right. We can do this. We have to do this.” He nodded, tugging Michael away from the tree line. “The big thing is gonna come through there. I don’t know what it is, but it felt... scared. And sad. So I don’t think we should hurt it unless we have to.” He pointed at the trail.

 

Michael looked over at where he pointed before nodding. “Alright, I won’t then,” he told him as he got ready, pointing his broom in that direction. “Game plan: I get the big guy, you start handling the little ones, then once he’s out but not dead, I’ll join in with the rest.”

 

After a moment’s hesitation, Jeremy nodded. “I’ll try to make sure we have a clear path if we need to run.” Even as he said those words, the goblins he was talking about started appearing at the edge of the clearing, forming a ring around the edge. They didn’t move any closer, though, just seeming to be standing guard.

 

Slow, thundering footsteps seemed to shake the ground as a great creature appeared at the edge of the trail. It looked somewhat human in shape, but looked more like a giant, killer toad than anything else. Several goblins were herding it forwards from behind using their spears. Something about the mossy green eyes and the large red crest on the top of its head seemed familiar.

 

Michael let the idea run rampant in his mind for a moment before he felt his heart break. He had seen those eyes Monday, and if Jeremy was right about him being scared and sad... “Oh god, Rich, no...” He crumbled for a moment before regaining himself, standing tall as he pointed his broom to him. “We promised that we’d save you and we will.”

 

Rich sent him a pitiful, apologetic look as he was prodded forwards. “That’s Rich?!” Michael could feel a burst of ice cold anger pulse through Jeremy and suddenly the goblins behind Rich were encased in a thick layer of ice.

 

Rich looked behind himself, but shuddered as electricity ran through him. “Squip has a hold of him magically. He’s got no choice,” Jeremy pointed out, fists glowing with magic. Rich shot them both another sad look before he stated charging.

 

“I figured as much,” Michael said as he shot up into the air, grabbing Jeremy and tugging him up with him above Rich and out of his reach. It gave them a moment to think. “What do you think’s our best option?”

 

“Stun him, I’ll tie him down with the vines. Then we fight our way out. We can’t deal with this many rushing us at once. We’ll be better off deeper in.” Jeremy hopped off the broom to hover by himself.

 

“Got it.” His gaze shifted sadly back over to Rich. “Hey, Goranski!” When he saw his gaze shift to him, he mouthed out an ‘I’m sorry’ as he channeled a powerful stunning spell and shot it against him. He used a lot of his power, knowing he could easily regain it in this hot spot.

 

Rich yelled out as he crumpled to the ground, and a number of vines encased him carefully. Jeremy, who had landed on the ground by this point, was careful to keep him pinned without hurting him. Then, he sadly rubbed Rich’s head and said something Michael couldn’t make out.

 

Michael kept himself close, starting to stun some of the surrounding goblins so they wouldn’t start moving forward to attack Jeremy straight away. “Jeremy, as soon as you’re done, we gotta book it!”

 

Jeremy looked up and nodded, but was instantly drawn into a battle with a goblin who had snuck around Rich. He didn’t have a chance to use his magic, using his dagger to deflect the stone sword. At the very least, he seemed experienced with using it.

 

Cursing under his breath, Michael flung some tomatoes that he grew from the handle of his broom, letting some vines continually bloom them as he chucked them at goblins. “Back the fuck off! I have fruit and I’m not afraid to use it!”

 

Some of them backed off but the sheer overwhelming numbers continued to pour over Jeremy, who was barely fighting them off. Then suddenly, Jeremy froze mid swing. The goblins formed a tight circle around him.

 

Michael’s eyes widened as he caught wind of this. “Jere? Jeremy!” His tomato attacks focused on those goblins, and it felt like he was playing some fucked up Galaga clone as he tried to duck down and pick Jeremy up between tosses, though couldn’t get him because he had to avoid being grabbed by the surrounding goblins. “Jeremy, fly up before they grab you, please!”

 

Jeremy didn’t move, eyes locked on the tree line, his breathing harsh and heavy. During his dives, Michael could see that Jeremy was shaking and he had gone deathly pale. The scar on his back was glowing through the fabric of his clothes ever so slightly.

 

As he noticed his scar, he cursed under his breath. “Son of a bitch can’t even play fair.” He kept trying to chuck tomatoes, but he felt himself starting to run out of steam and needed to give his vines a break. Plus, if Squip was here, it was better to take out the source, right? Regardless, he chucked the remaining tomatoes sprouting from his broom handle as he couldn’t help but apologize, zooming towards the tree line he was honed in on.

 

If he wanted Jeremy, he’d be shit out of luck.

 

From the tree line, a tall, decently handsome fairy stepped out. His features were sharp and his expression cold, and his wings seemed to be made of blue electricity.

 

He held out his hand and shot a bolt of electricity at Michael’s broom, causing him to veer off-course. As it was, it felt like his hair got a little singed at the ends. The fairy, who could only be Squip, made a motion to some of the goblins next to him who started carrying a large wooden box towards Jeremy. Squip had his hand still pointed at Michael, meaning that trying to stop the box would be very challenging.

 

Michael did not want to see whatever was on the box be used on Jeremy, but he knew that there was likely no way for him to get it away from Jeremy in time. He felt powerless, and he absolutely hated it. Wasn’t he supposed to be able to summon some ungodly power to stop the big bad?

 

Regardless (because good was supposed to triumph over evil, right?), Michael kept eye contact with Squip as he summoned one more tomato behind him on a vine, and he quickly grabbed it and chucked it at the goblins moving towards Jeremy.

 

One of the goblins stumbled, but another quickly took its place, carrying the box to Jeremy, who was still frozen with fear. He didn’t react when two goblins grabbed his arm and forced him forwards. He didn’t reach when the box was opened in front of him. He didn’t even react when two of the goblins screamed as they grabbed the heavy iron cuffs from the box. It wasn’t until he himself had the cuffs on his wrists that he screamed in pain and collapsed to his knees. Within seconds, his wings drooped and drained of all the colors they once had, and he was left a whimpering mess on the floor. Michael could feel just the tiniest echo of Jeremy’s pain through the bond, and that was nearly overwhelming itself.

 

“Jeremy!” Michael felt anger building up in him as his gaze shifted back to Squip. He couldn’t do anything about the cuffs, he’d burn himself and get overwhelmed by goblins, so the source was the only way to go.

 

“Let go of him, you piece of shit,” he almost hissed out as he tries to culminate a lot of his power into an energy sapping spell.

 

Squip looked vaguely bored as he pointed a finger at Jeremy and send an arc of blue electricity at him. Jeremy screeched and seemed to pass out. Michael, on the other hand, felt as if he himself had been shocked and was barely able to slow his fall as he fell out of the sky.

 

He felt all of the power he had drain near instantly, including the spell he was preparing. It took almost all he had to not fall face first into the ground. “What...”

 

Squip walked over and hoisted him up by his shirt. That shouldn’t be possible, considering fairies had a lot less physical strength; Jeremy was barely able to shove Michael over using his full strength and his wings.

 

“An Angel’s greatest weakness is also their greatest strength,” Squip began, his voice deep and smooth. “You remove the fairy from the equation, the Angel becomes useless. Kill the fairy and you kill the Angel.”

 

He narrowed his eyes at Squip, trying to muster up as much power as he could. Michael hated that he found that he couldn’t, exhaustion from the drives, this battle, everything catching up to him. All he could do was hold onto Squip’s hands and try to pry them off of his shirt collar, which was now digging into the back of his neck. He was too tired to even make a quip.

 

“It’s fortunate that you’re both useful to me or else you’d be long dead. I can’t win any loyalties without the original prince.” Something about Squip’s tone was... off. Uncomfortably so. Almost echo-y. Michael wasn’t sure what, exactly, he just knew it was starting to give him a headache as well and was sort of familiar.

 

“There’s no way we’re g’nna listen t’you,” he managed to get out, still trying (and failing) to grab Squip’s hold fingers and pry them off of his shirt.

 

“I think you’ll find, Michael, that you have no choice. You yourself are exhausted and without your connection to the prince, you stand no chance against even the most basic enchantments.” As he spoke, Michael could feel the beginnings of something start poking at his brain. It felt too sweet, too charming, to the point of being almost sickening. “You’re going to love me, you’re going to obey me. And I’ll even let you stay with Prince Jeremy, having you near will keep him pacified. You two can be together forever, just like you wanted.”

 

He tried to shake it off, mentally and physically, as he felt his own efforts beginning to slip away. His efforts to break free were less insistent, but he kept trying. They had come this far, he couldn't let himself fall to Squip, even if the feeling and everything he was saying was beginning to feel so enticing. "No, not like this, not with you," he hissed out, trying his hardest. Michael couldn't fail now. This wasn't how this was supposed to go.

 

“There’s no resisting it, Michael. It’s what you want. Because I only want to help, I want to make your life better. You don’t have to be afraid.”

 

Even if it did nothing to truly help, he kept shaking his head. He felt tears begin to brim at the edges of his vision. "Y'only want t'help yourself!"

 

SQUIP shook his head gently, his cocky expression melting into something that might have been genuine, if Michael didn’t know better... right?

 

“No, I want to help you. You and Jeremy and every fairy and human. I want to make sure both of our races can coexist peacefully. That way, they can both survive together and each race knows their place. And because of that, you’ll get to stay with Prince Jeremy.” Fairies can’t lie, so either it was true or he actually believed it. Either way, he couldn’t be lying.

 

Michael tried to find where Squip was twisting words around to make it sound good, but it was hard with the sickeningly sweet feeling wrapping around his head. He just knew that whatever Squip wanted wasn't right, that's why they came out here to fight him, to beat him... "'Cause it'll help you," he muttered out, his hands almost stilling against the top of Squip's.

 

“That’s right. It’ll help me to help you. And then you can help them to help you. Every other fairy and human will finally understand and you’ll be able to be with Jeremy, no judgement or problems.”

 

He knew something was wrong with what Squip was saying, though he couldn’t exactly say what. “I...” Michael felt it getting harder to think, felt his hand completely still, felt his resistance slipping away... he hated it.

 

“All you have to do it let me in, take my magic inside you. Then you’ll understand.”

 

This was wrong. He didn’t know why, but he knew it. As he stared up, his mouth seemingly working against him, he felt himself about to agree. With his last bit of strength and thought, he tried one last thing that popped into his head as he whimpered out his name.

 

Jeremy.”

 

Suddenly, Michael could hear his own heartbeat. It was slow and steady and much too calm for what he was going through. The first loud beat chased away the sweet, heady feeling from his mind. The second beat had Squip, and by extension Michael, look over to where Jeremy was in shock. The third sent the goblins surrounding Jeremy flying, vaporizing before they hit the ground.

 

From the pulse of energy, beating in time to Michael’s own heart, Jeremy stood. His wings were bright, even brighter than they had been on the solstice and the colors in them danced to the same rhythm as the energy, as Michael’s heart beat.

 

The cuffs burned bright red, then orange, then white and they melted off his wrists, leaving deep burns. Jeremy didn’t seem to even feel them. He stepped forwards, almost silhouetted against his own wings.

 

Michael felt himself aware, though he wasn't sure if it was because of the sudden adrenaline he felt or whatever was happening with Jeremy (maybe they were both the same thing?). He couldn't help but watch as Jeremy walked closer and closer, all in time with his calm heartbeat.

 

Jeremy looked up at Squip, and Michael could see that they were overtaken by the fizzing, multicolored energy that his wings pulsed with. “Release him,” Jeremy commanded, his voice pure influence. Squip seemed helpless but to obey, dropping Michael to the floor and taking a step back in fear. “Don’t move.” Squip froze.

 

Michael hissed after he was dropped, struggling to try to even get up by his elbows. Even with his glasses on, the world seemed blurry, which probably wasn't a good thing. He'd care more if he didn't feel so shit. "Jere..."

 

Jeremy didn’t seem to hear him, the heartbeat too loud, too consuming. Jeremy reached up and put a single hand on Squip’s face. “They’re mine,” was all he said.

 

From the corner of his eye, Michael saw some of the energy reach over to Rich, encasing him. The vines melted away and he slowly stood and started stumbling towards the group, shrinking back to something more human as he went.

 

Jeremy didn’t notice that either, too focused on Squip. “Now give him back.” Squip’s form seemed to fizzle and crackle, and grey and purple smoke bellowed out of him. His wings reformed into something close to dragonfly wings, still crackling with electricity but almost benign in their look. His clothes, which had been dyed grey, turned lavender. And his face, though covered and screaming, somehow lost the sharp edges to it, even if it didn’t physically change.

 

As he watched this happen, Michael managed to push himself up onto his elbows, even trying to have himself sit up as he watched this change. Confusion passed briefly through his exhausted mind before he realized something as he saw the last of the smoke wafting away: Squip had been some sort of parasite, latching onto this fairy. Jeremy utterly decimated it just with his words, his influence. Was this the true extent of Jeremy's power?

 

Jeremy released the fairy who was formally Squip. As he did so, his glow faded back to normal and he swayed on the spot for a moment. The other fairy collapsed to his knees, utterly wiped and sobbing. Jeremy’s eyes, which were their usual, beautiful blue, rolled back into his head and he collapsed.

 

As soon as Jeremy hit the ground, as he attempted to reach out to him, Michael felt that adrenaline he had before vanish.

 

It definitely seemed to be the only thing keeping him conscious until now, because as soon as it went, so did he.

Chapter Text

Michael wasn't sure if seconds or years passed by the time he managed to be brought back to consciousness, if only for a brief moment. He felt strong yet stout arms carrying him, cradling him close. He felt cold air brushing against him, and he couldn't help but instinctively curl up to whoever was holding him. "Fuck..."

 

"Oh shit, you're up," he heard a voice mutter out, though it sounded hoarse compared to normal, like there were metaphorical frogs in his throat. Glancing up, Michael could barely make out Rich's form, but he had stained skin marks, like he was bruised all over. They were green and yellow, like he'd had them for a week. Had he been asleep for a week? "I didn't think you'd be up so quickly, it's only been an hour." Oh... Guess not. He'd like to sleep for a whole week though.

 

Instead of saying that, though, he let out an intellectual, "Huh," as he was barely holding onto his consciousness as is.

 

“M’surprised you’re awake dude,” Wait where did that surfer dude voice come from? He didn’t know any surfers. “You should probably rest. Your body’s been through some gnarly magic.” Looking over, Michael saw Squip, or the guy who was Squip, looking over at him with concern. He was carrying Jeremy very gently.

 

Michael blinked a few times as he narrowed his eyes at this guy. "... Who the fuck are you?" Hey, his filter was gone and this fairy dude went from Keanu Reeves in the Matrix to Keanu Reeves from Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Adventure.

 

The fairy didn’t seem to be bothered by Michael’s bluntness. If anything, if seemed to make him happier. “Name’s Jason. I’m the poor dumbass who got himself totally whacked up by Squip. It’s awesome to properly meet you, dude. You seem totally rad.” Jeremy grumbled sleepily in this guy’s- Jason’s?- arms.

 

"I, uh... thanks?" Michael glanced up at Rich questioningly then, and all he got was a slight shrug back. "I think I'm gonna fall back asleep now, this is too weird for me right now, and that's saying something."

 

Jason nodded. “Go for it, bro. You’ve got hella magic to vent from your system. Sorry ‘bout that.”

 

"Uh... yeah, it's cool, wasn't you?" Not wanting to process all of this right now, he let unconsciousness happily take him.

 

 

 

When unconsciousness spat him back out, he felt the slight bumps and movement from wherever he was. It took him a minute to realize it wasn't freezing cold. Blinking, he took a minute to realize he was in his own car, but was in the backseat, lying against Jeremy who was also buckled up but out cold in the middle of the seat. Wait, if they were both back here, who was-

 

"Jason, I told you, this isn't my car, I don't know where shit is. I just took Michael's keys from his sweats and used his phone to direct us back to Jersey."

 

“But Richard, my dude, I have just come out of a mega coma after being possessed! I need the good stuff to help me cope!” Jason whined from the passenger seat.

 

"I know that you smell weed and that I told you that Mell smokes, but that doesn't mean you can try to raid his car and smoke his weed. That shit can get to be expensive if it's good quality," he heard Rich counter from the driver's seat. Wait, Rich could drive?

 

“Fine. But when he next wakes up, I’m asking him,” Jason grumbled, his tone pouty and not threatening at all. Why had Squip chosen this guy as it’s host or whatever? He seemed like an idiot. Jason turned around and noticed Michael was awake. “Yo, dude! You’re up! Hey, you got any weed in here?”

 

"Oh god, Jason, please leave Michael alone."

 

Michael was still taken aback by his earlier thoughts that it took him a good minute. "Wh... my weed?" He had to think long and hard about that. Did he have any weed in here? Sure, he had hot-boxed his car once or twice, but did he have a leftover blunt in here somewhere? "Uh..."

 

“Oh shit, sorry dude. You’re still really out of it. I can hold off for now. Maybe when you’re feeling better we can share a blunt or something.” Okay maybe Michael was a bit harsh. Jason didn’t seem so bad after all, just a little excitable.

 

He just blinked at that and nodded before leaning his head over, resting it on top of Jeremy's head (he assumed) as Rich gave him as reassuring of a smile as he could in the rear view mirror. "I told you leave him alone, Jason. I know you wanna make it up to them, which you don't have to, but bugging them while they're resting might not be the best way."

 

Jason grinned and nodded. “Sure thing, dude. No hard feelings, right?” He offered Michael a fist bump, but before Michael had a chance to really process it, a pale hand reached out and smacked it away. Jason pulled back, eyes wide and scared. Jeremy continued sleeping peacefully.

 

Michael, after seeing Jeremy's hand fall back, just gave Jason a soft, "No hard feelin's," before he felt himself fall back asleep.

 

 

 

When Michael next woke up, it was to the car stopping. “Okay, I’ll take the Prince, you take Michael. We’ll get these dudes inside in no time,” Jason said, undoing his seat-belt.

 

"Yeah, of course. You're lucky I managed to answer one of his mom's calls so they won't go apeshit seeing us come in with them," he heard Rich mutter out before the engine shut off. Wait, were they back in New Jersey already?

 

Michael was reaching up, rubbing one of his eyes (one of his arms was stuck behind Jeremy, he realized) when the door to his left opened. Glancing over, he saw Rich, still wearing those bruises as he gave him a hesitant smile. "Hey, uh... welcome home?"

 

The other door opened up, and Jason grinned over at him. “Your home is totally rad, dude! And your moms sounded really awesome over the- uh- the phone! Don’t worry, they’re all set to look after you and and the Prince.” Jason kept his voice low so as not to disturb Jeremy at all as he hesitantly started unbuckling him.

 

Michael could faintly hear barking in the background, his mind too exhausted to translate exactly what those barks meant, but he couldn't help but feel a little better after hearing them. "Yeah, everything's going to be fine," Rich reassured him as he felt his seat-belt move off of him, presumably from being unbuckled as well.

 

"Mm... Just b'careful, Buddy jumps."

 

"Wait, you fucking named your dog Buddy?"

 

"Mhm..."

 

“Buddy is a most excellent name, my dude Rich. Don’t insult Buddy,” Jason protested, scooping Jeremy into his arms. Jeremy stirred a little but otherwise didn’t react. Now he was a little more awake, Michael could make out the harsh burns over Jeremy’s wrists, cutting down a good couple of layers and leaving the skin raw and puckered and angry.

 

"I'm not insulting the name, I just find it hilarious and such a Mell thing to do," he heard Rich defend as he felt himself scooped up again. Rich shut the door with his foot, and he watched as the witch and fairy carried him and Jeremy up the driveway. He didn't miss the faint traces of what seemed to be circuitry running all along Jason's skin, seemingly lying underneath the surface.

 

Jason noticed his gaze, and he turned a bright yellow. Was that his blush? Either way, he shrugged a little around Jeremy. “Er, yeah. Parting present from Squip. You ended up with a little too, which is totally not bodacious, but at least it’s easy enough to hide with some glamour.”

 

Michael let out a soft hum, resting his head against Rich's chest as he heard the barking grow louder. Glancing over, he saw Buddy practically pushing against the large glass window, as if she was trying to break it open to get out to them. He also saw Ina and Titi rushing over to the doorway, and he couldn't help but smile as he saw the door whip open, almost off its hinges.

 

“Oh my babies! Get them inside, take them upstairs to Michael’s room! I’ll go get the med kit!” Titi fussed, running off. Ina hovered worriedly, looking between them all.

 

“Mrs. Mell, totally rad to meet you in person. Sorry about being an unexpected guest, but I need to look after the Prince. I owe him that much,” Jason greeted as he shimmied past her.

 

"I, uh... hi," Rich said, sounding so small when he was normally so big and bold. "I'm sorry for what I did to your son and Jeremy, truly." He seemed to be unable to look Ina or Titi in the eye as he hurried by.

 

Ina looked between the two carrying her sons. “It wasn’t your fault, either of you, from what you explained. You’re welcome to stay for now if you like, just until they both wake up,” she said eventually.

 

Jason’s wings perked up, sparking happily. “That means a lot to me, ma’am.”

 

Rich quickly nodded, muttering out a small 'thanks' before hurrying up the stairs. Looking down, Michael was surprised to see that Buddy hadn't tried to jump at all, but was waiting patiently by his and Jeremy's sides, pacing between the two and trailing behind as Jason and Rich carried them both up the stairs. She sniffed and licked his hand as it dangled, and Michael couldn't help but shoot her an exhausted smile as he muttered out, "Good girl."

 

Her tail wagged as she followed them. ‘You came home, daddy. And you brought papa back too. I’m so happy.’ Jeremy shifted, sort of half turning towards Buddy. Jason was careful to not let him slip.

 

Both Jeremy and Michael were carefully placed onto his bed, and Buddy hopped up and sat at the end, watching them both carefully. Jeremy tried to nuzzle against Michael, but whimpered when his wrists moved against the sheets.

 

Looking down at his wrist, Michael managed to summon up enough energy to gently hold his wrists, muttering a numbing spell before placing them back down. Exhaustion took him back over, and he rested his head down against his pillow before weakly waving over for Buddy. "'Missed you, hun."

 

Buddy moved to lie over Jeremy’s legs and onto Michael’s chest, her tail wagging softly. ‘Missed you too, daddy.’

 

“We’ll be downstairs,” Jason muttered, tugged at Rich’s sleeve. He was looking around excitedly but left as soon as Rich followed.

 

Titi came in just at they left. She pulled out some cream and some bandages. “It looks like you and Rich helped Jeremy’s wrist for any really bad damage, but he’s going to need a lot of care to heal properly.”

 

"He whimpered in his sleep from movin' them against t'sheets," Michael explained, "So I numbed the pain for him." His hand instinctively reached down, practically burying itself into Buddy's fur as the other reached to bury itself into Jeremy's hair.

 

Jeremy relaxed further, wiggling towards Michael even as Titi gently took his wrists and stated applying cream. “You both did so well, honey,” she murmured. Ina moved around to sit on the other side of the bed, where she started running her fingers through Michael’s hair.

 

Michael leaned into Ina's touch, humming softly as he felt himself begin to relax. "Mm... 'm I gonna have t'go to school? I really don't wanna."

 

“No baby, you don’t. We’ve all got time off so we can spend some time together while you’re recovering,” Ina cooed, still stroking his hair. Titi started using bandages around Jeremy’s wrists, focusing hard.

 

"That's good," he muttered out. "I definitely couldn't focus on any work 'till Jere's better." As he said that, he shut his eyes but started barely running his fingers through Jeremy's hair.

 

Jeremy hummed and half murmured, half slurred out something. It was hazy, but Michael heard it. “Love you, Mikey.”

 

Even if he was tired, even if he felt himself falling asleep, there was no way Michael couldn't respond before falling back asleep. "I love y'too, Jere."

 

 

 

“So, where are we going exactly? It had better be worth getting up so early during spring break! We were supposed to spend this week sleeping now your project was done!” Jeremy grumbled as he stared out the car window, watching the world go by.

 

"I thought you were all OK with getting up early," he heard Michael almost laugh out, giddiness in his voice as the dulcet tones of Bon Jovi currently played, one of the many groups on the most recently burned CD. "And I told you that it was a surprise, dum dum, so why would I ruin it and tell you?"

 

“You and your human times have made me lazy. I haven’t had to get up at dawn in months.” Jeremy reached over and poked him before looking out the window again. He groaned when he noticed the red Mini. “Ugh, did you know we’re being followed... again?” He didn’t mind too much. He just wished Rich and Jason would realize that they didn’t have to pay him back or anything, and that Rich would take being basically a free claimed instead of sticking close. Jeremy even left him food so he didn’t have to worry about staying close to Jeremy to eat!

 

"I know we are, Jere, but shh. Enjoy the view, because we're getting off the freeway soon... That sorta rhymed," he finished as he turned his signal on to get off at the next exit, to which the red Mini followed. "Seriously, don't blame me and my 'human times' for making you lazy. You chose to make your bed, so lie in it."

 

Jeremy giggled a little before trying to compose himself to be grumpy again. It was hard. “Are we almost there at last? It’s been ages.”

 

"Jeremy, it has been almost four hours, and I told you that you could sleep during the car ride," Michael told him as they exited the freeway and he started to drive somewhere. "Plus, you haven't been driving this whole time, dumbass.”

 

“Yeah, but you know how I get with long car rides. Can’t sleep in the car so much anymore,” he muttered. Long car rides still made him antsy after the trip to the Gorge, and sleeping in the car felt too much like the trip back, where he was barely conscious. Still, he focused on where they were going, trying to shake the sour thoughts. “I’m really curious now!”

 

"I promise this'll be worth it. I saw it on Waze when we were driving after the first motel, and I got really hyped up," Michael started to ramble, though he quickly cut himself off as he turned off the main road and into a parking lot.

 

Looking out the window, Jeremy saw a sign that read 'Roller Rink' in front of what seemed to be a very nice, very well-kept skating rink, all closed in with a pathway leading up to him that was reminiscent of the bowling alley Michael took him to once. Since it probably wasn't spring break for whatever town they were in, the parking lot was mostly deserted. "Now we can see who the better skater is."

 

“Oh my god. I had forgotten about that...” Jeremy mumbled, eyes going wide. He wanted to grab and pull Michael into a hug, but he knew he needed to wait until he had parked the car. He felt his wings shift and try to pop out from the sheer excitement he was feeling.

 

"Well I didn't," Michael proudly exclaimed as he parked the car, reaching over and pulling Jeremy into a one-armed hug. "Also, we're gonna be bombarded by those two asses in a minute, so anything you wanna get out now before they knock on my window, spill it now or forever hold your peace."

 

Jeremy started peppering Michael’s face with kisses, whispering out praise and thanks and little declarations of love. He was really excited now, especially since he finally remembered that conversation properly. Finally, he just rested with his forehead against Michael’s, staring into his eyes with love and adoration. “Thank you for this, Mikey.”

 

He watched as Michael smiled back with as much love and adoration. "Of course. Plus, I haven't been to a roller rink in ages, so I don't wanna get too rusty." Michael quickly leaned in, pressing a lingering kiss to Jeremy's lips that would've probably lasted longer than five seconds if there wasn't a sudden rapping on Jeremy's window that he knew too well at this point.

 

Jeremy groaned as he detached himself and shoot a weak glare at Jason. As fond as he was of the storm fairy, he really did lack tack and a sense of timing. At least Rich knew when to hang back. “Time to face the children,” Jeremy half grumbled, half chuckled. He had basically been adopted by the two after freeing them, and they seemed determined to pay him back somehow. It was like those green things in... what was the movie again? Oh yeah! Toy Story!

 

As if reading his mind, Michael pulled back and raised his hands up towards Jeremy, as if reaching for him. "Jeremyyy," he called out, almost perfectly mimicking the green things from Toy Story before Michael broke character, laughing before he unbuckled and exited the car, waving to Rich.

 

Over the course of the past few months, Rich and Michael recovered from their former relationship and were starting to actually become friends. He was even starting to be accepted by Jenna and Brooke, who became even more protective of him and Jeremy since they went and defeated Squip.

 

Jeremy giggled at Michael’s antics before climbing out the car too, assisted by Jason. “Dude, I’m fine. Really! I can manage a car ride without needing too much assistance, especially since it’s with Michael.” He chuckled, messing up Jason’s dark hair. Jason blushed but grinned back.

 

“Just wanted to be sure, Jeremy. I can’t help but worry, I know how car rides make you uncomfortable.”

 

Jeremy sighed dramatically but he clapped Jason on the shoulder. “Well thanks for looking out for me as always, dude. Glad to know I have such a loyal knight on my side.” The moment he had been able, Jason had sworn to Jeremy to protect and look after him, which made him a knight in a position just lower than Michael in rank.

 

His attention was taken away from Jason when he felt a hand grab his own and tug him towards the rink. “C’mon asshole, let me kick your ass at roller skating!”

 

Jeremy gasped, but let himself be pulled along. “How dare you, Mr. Mell? I’ll have you know that we are going to be equally terrible at skating since it’s been years for you and I have natural balance but no experience.” He couldn’t wipe the dopey grin off his face.

 

 

 

As it turns out, once Michael masters a skill, he only needed a few minutes until he was at peak mastery once again. Thankfully, he was kind and helped Jeremy learn how to skate. By the time they left, he could at least do it on his own and both had little Pac-Man Ghost plushies, Blinky for Michael and Inky for Jeremy, won for them by Jason.

 

“I told you I’d kick your ass,” Michael mused out around the straw of the slushie he finished off before tossing it into the trash can outside the rink.

 

“Yeah, well... I would have done better if I could have my wings out,” Jeremy grumbled. His stomach mirrored the sound and he grimaced. “Sorry, I guess I’m even more hungry than I thought.”

 

For a second, he scanned around, then he spotted an old apple tree by the side of the parking lot. Since it was spring, there was no fruit, but since Jeremy had unlocked his seasonal powers, he could quite easily use them to grow himself an apple. That was easy stuff.

 

Jeremy quickly wandered over and reached up. After a quick look around, he made the tree form the apple, it’s dark red skin glistening in the sunlight beautifully. As he went to grab it, a tanned hand shot out and picked it first, and a loud crunch could be heard from behind him.

Jeremy spun around in horror to find Michael happily munching on the apple, even as Jeremy felt the claim begin to settle over him. “Michael, what have you done...?”

 

Michael just raised a brow at him as he shook the apple in his hand. "Uh... eating this apple you made? And don't freak out, I know what I just did, I'm not a dumbass."

 

“Michael, you just claimed yourself. You made me claim you!” Jeremy felt himself filling with horror, which Michael would now be able to feel. Fuck. “Do you realise how hard I fought myself to make sure that this didn’t happen? Don’t you realize what this means? I just- how could you do this?” Jeremy felt panic start to bubble up inside him.

 

He knew enough about claiming to know that humans always lost something in the process, be it free will, autonomous action, or, in Rich’s case, anger issues. But Jeremy didn’t know of a case where people hadn’t lost at least a part of themselves, if not the whole thing. And now he had claimed Michael. What had he lost?

 

Michael just shrugged as he kept eating the apple. "I trust you, Jere," was all he said as he kept fucking eating the goddamn apple like an asshole. "Plus, I couldn't keep myself from waiting any longer. I wanna know what your food tastes like, and it's fucking delicious."

 

Jeremy barked out a laugh, which honestly came out more like a sob. He had never wanted this, even if a part of his instincts had. He never wanted to take Michael like this, and the choice was taken away from him. How ironic.

 

Jeremy wasn’t sure he could stay standing much longer, couldn’t watch any further, but he couldn’t look away from Michael eating that godforsaken apple. Jeremy was certain he might pass out at any second. “Yeah, well I don’t trust fairies,” was all he could manage.

 

As he finished the last bite of the apple, Michael walked over to Jeremy and wrapped his arm around his shoulder. "Well, if what you've told me is right, and what I've read in the books about fairies is true too, I have a revelation for you: when claimed, fairies change humans to be their perfect ideal. My question for you is this: is there anything you want to change about me? Anything ever?"

 

Jeremy shook his head, no hesitation. He loved Michael exactly as he was. He was still torn between wanting to melt into his hold and run away. Alternatively, he could faint. That could be an option too.

 

“Everything about you is so wonderful, Mikey. ‘Don’t want to change you,” Jeremy said, his voice small and lost. He wasn’t sure what to think right now. He was just scared.

 

"Exactly. If your perfect ideal for me is not wanting to change me, then nothing's changed. Well, except for the fact I can eat your food now," Michael mused out before Jeremy felt him gently kiss his forehead. "Do I feel any different to you? Act any different? Smell any different?"

 

Slowly, Jeremy shook his head again. Michael felt exactly the same as ever. It was just now Michael would be aware of his every feeling and desire and want to give it to him. Rich had a muted version since the claim was transferred, but Michael would be getting the full blast. That was a side effect that he knew was present no matter what. He really just needed a hug or something to ground him, this was too much.

 

Michael just looked at him still, gently rubbing his arms. "Do you need a hug? You look like you need a hug," his boyfriend said around a soft laugh. "I feel like you need it too, and I feel this sorta desire in the back of my head, but I don't feel the need to act on it. I feel like you hearing that'll make you feel a bit better." Michael shrugged as he still had an arm around him. "I would've wanted to hug you anyway, even if there wasn't this nagging need barely here."

 

Jeremy nodded, actually really glad to hear that. If Michael wasn’t jumping on the desire as soon as he felt it, then that meant Jeremy’s own want of Michael staying himself was stronger than the instinct.

 

With that, he felt Michael's warm arms wrap around him, pulling him in close. "There you go, come to Michael," Jeremy heard Michael mutter out, patting his head with the hand that held his plushie.

 

Jeremy chuckled a little wetly at that. “You’re an absolute dumbass, you know that? A stupid fucking sweet as shit dumbass.” Jeremy smacked him lightly before burrowing himself into the hug. “I can’t believe you claimed yourself. I think you’re the first for real this time around. I don’t think anyone else is stupid enough to actually claim themselves.”

 

"Hey, but guess what Jere? I'm your absolute dumbass who was stupid enough to claim himself! Doesn't that make you feel proud that I'm the first to do this?" Michael jokingly asked before a multitude of kisses were placed to the top of his curly-haired head.

 

Jeremy couldn’t help but melt under the affection as always. “Yeah okay, I am a bit. But we’re gonna have to sort some stuff out, including how I’m gonna cook for you. Since I don’t think you want the whole just eating nearby where I am sort of rule that Rich uses. And we need to figure out how far away you can get from me because you have college coming up and I have Prince stuff,” Jeremy grumbled. Then he smirked devilishly. In his head, he focused on making Michael let him go, spin around, and then hug him again. If he had been right about the feeling in his head, this should work.

 

Confusion was evident in Michael's expression after he did just that. He blinked a few times as he looked down at Jeremy then. "Did you just... Oh, you fucking shit," Michael almost cried out before bringing Jeremy into a noogie. "Don't betray my trust like that! What if I was one spin away from hurling? That would've been all on you. For Shame!"

 

Jeremy squealed and flailed as he tried to escape the noogie. “Relax Mikey! Gah! I have a sense of how you’re doing to! Let go! Ah!” He didn’t push it through the claim at all, and he felt the bond light up with love and affection. They really were connected in every way possible now. Well... almost every way. There was still a human thing they could do.

 

It wasn't until Michael's boisterous laughter, full of snorting and hardy chuckles, calmed down that Michael finally pulled back. "Just so y'know, I pulled away 'cause I wanted to, not 'cause you told me to," Michael reassured him before wrapping both arms around his middle and pulling him close. "Also, how long do you think until Jason and Rich come out and ruin the mome-"

 

“Michael! My best friend!” Rich cried, latching himself onto Michael’s back with a dopey look on his face. Oh yeah, Jeremy had forgotten about that side effect. Any existing claims became really affectionate to new ones to help them ‘settle in,’ for want of a better phrase. Michael didn’t have the full story for what he signed up for. Jason trailed behind Rich, grinning casually.

 

Michael practically yelped at that, looking back at Rich then with wide eyes. "Uh, we're friends, I don't know about best friends. You'd have to fight Jeremy for that title," he almost stuttered out as he gently hit Rich in the head with his Blinky plush. "Don't just randomly latch onto people and scare them shitless either, Rich! Agh!"

 

“Claiming is wack, right bro?” Jason chuckled as he sauntered over. “Don’t worry, he’ll only be like this for a week at most. Better suck up this totally awesome affection while you can, my dude. He’s gonna be super embarrassed once it wears off.” Carefully, Jason pried Rich off of Michael, holding him back from clinging again.

 

“Rich, please go back to your car and start driving you and Jason home. We’ll be heading off in just a sec too,” Jeremy assured him, shooting Michael an amused look.

 

Michael grimaced a little. He knew Michael could be easily overwhelmed, so hopefully this wouldn't last the full week. Well, he did bring this upon himself.

 

"You're lucky I love you," Michael muttered out, pushing his Blinky plush into Jeremy's hold before taking his keys and sauntering off to his Cruiser.

 

Yup, he was lucky that Michael loved him. How did he get so lucky?

 

 

 

Jeremy flew through his portal back to the human world, flopping face down on his and Michael’s bed with a groan. Michael barely noticed, too absorbed in this really important essay on 3D modelling due next week, as well as the two portfolio pieces he had to start work on by Friday. Studying video game design was so much harder than he had originally thought (but it was so rewarding).

 

“Ugh, today was exhausting,” Jeremy grumbled.

 

"Don't talk about exhausting to me until you're a stressed college student," was all Michael said, eyes never leaving his computer screen unless it was to scribble something on his many papers he had out for his essay outline, writing something in a purple highlighter before he continued typing. The now-capped highlighter was held in between his teeth until he grabbed it a few seconds later, crossed something out, and then continued typing away with the highlighter now resting on the paper.

 

“This is your own fault and you know it! At least you chose to do your course, I’m stuck as prince whether I like it or not. You’re just lucky I can commute, or else you’d starve.” Jeremy was fiddling with a small box or something as he sat up, shooting Michael a playful glare. “How’s the blog coming? And the book? Any progress or have you been stuck on that essay all day like you promised you wouldn’t do?”

 

"Hey look, this essay needs to get done today, I told you I wouldn't work on the blog or the book until I was done," Michael muttered out. "Plus, I haven't worked on it all day. I had classes all this morning, duh."

 

Jeremy sighed and wandered over to Michael, wrapping his arms around Michael’s shoulders. “You need a break. I can tell you haven’t eaten all day, even after I made the fresh bread for you.” He pouted.

 

"Hey, I'm almost done with this essay! I can't take a break 'till I'm done," he whined out, not taking his eyes off of his work as he typed away. "I want you to read it after to make sure, ‘cause if I look at it again once I'm done, I'm just gonna chuck my laptop and I like my laptop a lot."

 

“How long is almost done? An hour?” Michael nodded. “Okay, I’ll start dinner, you finish up. And you are leaving this room after an hour whether you want to or not, you hear?” Jeremy pressed a quick kiss to his cheek and wandered out with the echo of his threat bouncing through the claim.

 

"Nooo, don't pull that with me today Jere," he whined out, though he knew that no matter what, after an hour, he would end up going to eat. Knowing Jeremy wouldn't respond to him, he just focused even more on his paper, cranking the last page of writing out.

 

As soon as he hit the 'save' button, finishing adding the last sentence, he felt a small need to go eat buzz in the back of his head. "Ugh, I'm coming," he muttered out, making sure his laptop was plugged in before getting out of his rolling desk chair and making his way into the kitchen.

 

Once he left their bedroom, the smell of a simple meal filled his nose, and Michael wondered if Jeremy knew he was secretly craving chicken parmesan all day. That with a mix of garlic bread and homemade marinara sauce almost made his mouth water as he entered their little dining room area in their apartment they rented (Jeremy, as a Prince, managed to steadily have the funds to pay for this, converting it through some weird system Michael didn't bother to learn). "God, that smells amazing."

 

Jeremy came over from the dining table where he was just setting down the food. “I’m glad you approve.” When he noticed the slight annoyance in Michael’s state, he huffed. “Michael, you’re going to make yourself sick if I don’t intervene, Angel or not. I’m just making sure you’re well looked after, love.” Jeremy wrapped his arms around Michael’s shoulders and pouted.

 

He let out a heavy sigh as he leaned his head against Jeremy's. "I know, I know, but I need to really get started on my portfolios. I wanna get enough done so I can just spend a nice day with you Thursday when you don't have to do Prince stuff and I have my classes cancelled," he muttered out, gently resting a hand against one of Jeremy's.

 

Jeremy leaned up and kissed Michael’s nose. “I know, but if you’re sick, you’ll just be stuck in bed the whole time. Now let’s eat, I missed lunch too thanks to Jason needing a hand getting the winter fairies to cooperate.” Jeremy led Michael over to the table and pulled out his chair, as usual. Once they were both seated, they started eating and chatting about their day.

 

Michael couldn't help but smile as he gently played footsies with Jeremy as he ate. Even if this was so simple, so quaint, it was so perfect in Michael's eyes. "Hey, your season of being Prince'll be done soon and I'm in my last semester, so we'll be done with this sorta stuff soon," Michael said with a shrug after a playful complaint from Jeremy. "Then I can do video game stuff while I write that book and can get more time to update 'life-with-my-fairy-boyfriend.' Still can't believe everyone thinks it's just a cute nickname for you and that I'm reclaiming the term 'fairy' and making it your cute nickname, but it works."

 

Jeremy chuckled as he finished off his meal. “Yeah, it’s sweet. Plus, they all melted over my Angel comment in that one video you posted.” He sighed. “Things are about to get a lot... more soon enough. And there was something I promised myself I’d do while I was still a prince.” Jeremy looked a little nervous, and he was fidgeting a little, his wings twitching. Michael finished off the last of his food with a reassuring smile, which seemed to be enough.

 

Jeremy stood, and started walking around the table to Michael. “We’ve been best friends for a long time, and you’re my bonded, my one. And I know it’s hard to explain in human terms, so I wanted to know if I could make it a little easier on you with your friends. And I’ve been wanting to do this since the first time you said ‘I love you.’” Jeremy dropped to one knee next to Michael, opening a small velvet box to reveal a simple gold band with small rubies and sapphires set into it, making snowflake patterns. “Michael, will you marry me?”

 

It took Michael a moment to register what was happening. He couldn't help but feel his cheeks start to ache with how quickly and wide he was smiling. Michael got down on his knees next to Jeremy on the floor, bringing his arms up and tugging Jeremy close into a hug. "Of course, you nerd." He pressed a multitude of kisses across Jeremy's face, bringing himself back to practically beam down at his boyf- no, fiance. "I'd be insane to say no, and I don't think I'm that far down the rabbit hole yet to claim that title yet."

 

Jeremy giggled and quickly took Michael’s hand to slip the ring on, letting out a breath it seemed that he didn’t know he was holding. “I was terrified anyways. Why was I so nervous?” He shook his head, kissing Michael back. “Ina and Titi are gonna be thrilled that I finally went through with this.”

 

"How long have you been planning this out?" he couldn't help but ask before admiring his ring, honestly in awe at it.

 

Jeremy flushed a deep purple. “Since Squip? But Ina told me to wait at least until graduation. And then I wanted to wait for when it felt right.”

 

He couldn't help but laugh a bit at that, his cheeks surely coloring at this point. "Yeah, I'm glad you waited. Oh, I can have a fucking wedding with you! Oh my god, it's going to be so good. We could invite whoever we wanted and have it be a small wedding if we really wanted to. Ah, I gotta explain to you all the stuff about weddings, you don't have those, oh boy-"

 

Jeremy silenced him with a kiss. “Later. I just want to enjoy this for now. Just enjoy the fact that in every way, you’re mine and I’m yours now.” He rubbed their noses together. “Let’s move to the couch, I’ll clean up later.”

 

"Oh yeah, yeah, definitely. I'm gonna have to call Jenna and Brooke and tell them about this later, they're gonna be so happy," he couldn't help but get out as he pressed a kiss to Jeremy's lips, reveling in this moment.

 

If you had told Michael that, when he moved to America so he wouldn't be sick all the time, he'd meet a boy in the woods that would change his life, he would say it sounded fake and that he wanted to watch cartoons between his feverish bouts. He was really glad that this was his life now though, that he met that fairy boy in the woods because his Ina and Titi fell asleep.

 

It really sounded like the start of some convoluted fairy tale, but nope, this was reality and he was happy that it was his reality.