He awakens to find himself draped over Jared’s shoulder, much the way baby Nadia had been sleeping cradled against Beth’s shoulder. They are in the car, and Jared is driving, one hand on the wheel and one hand holding him gently in place. Jensen arches his back, wings flaring and arms stretching over his head. His spine pops in the most satisfying way. It is luxurious. He feels refreshed and ready to go. The time spent touching Jared while he slept has revitalized him.
“How long was I asleep?” he asks.
“Little over an hour. Beth needed to leave to get dinner started at home and we had kind of a long drive back to get to STK in time to meet Rich and Rob, so I decided to hit the road. Didn’t want to wake you up though. You were pretty tuckered out.”
Jensen hums his agreement as he scrambles up into a sitting position on Jared’s shoulder. “Tell me more about the bar. What will it be like?”
Now that it is no longer supporting him, Jared’s hand falls back down to take up its customary driving position on the wheel. “STK is both a restaurant and a bar. It’s a popular place and can get loud and crowded, but I’m hoping it won’t be too bad since it’s a Monday night. You’ll get to see a lot of people in a relaxed atmosphere, most of them enjoying themselves. And you’ll get to meet two of my best friends. I’ve known them both since college. They’re good guys.”
“Are they also doctors?” Jensen likes that fact that Jared knows so much about the healing arts. Jared helps people on a daily basis, and Jensen couldn’t be prouder to be his friend. There is a good chance that Jensen himself would not be alive if not for Jared’s good heart and his desire to nurse a very sick fairy back to health with only the knowledge gained from a program he had watched during his days attending school.
An idea has started growing in his mind that he should like to visit the place of healing where Jared works. He has not yet broached this idea with Jared because it only just recently occurred to him. The more he thinks on it, the more intense his desire becomes. There will be sick humans there, humans in need of care, humans who are quite possibly sad and in need of cheer. Who better to lend cheer and happiness than a fairy? This is a way in which he could be helpful.
Continuing their conversation, Jared says, “No, I’m the only one crazy enough to go the med school route. Rob is an agricultural engineer. He helps a lot of the farms around here find solutions to their energy supply problems. He designs wind farms, sets up solar panels, that kind of thing.”
Jensen isn’t really clear on what any of that means, but he stores it away for now. Maybe he will ask Rob to explain later. “And Rich?” he asks.
“Rich is a stand up comedian.” Jared gives a wry sort of grin. “He gave college a try, but it didn’t really agree with him. So he dropped out and now he tells jokes for a living. He’s pretty good at it too, just got back from a couple months in Las Vegas, a place where lots of entertainers go to perform. Singing, dancing, that sort of thing. He should have some interesting stories to tell us tonight.”`
Jensen’s wings trembling in anticipation. He looks forward to hearing new stories. The human world is such a vast and interesting place.
They pull into the restaurant’s parking lot some time latter. There are many other cars already there, and Jensen sees Jared’s entire frame stiffen as though he’s readying for battle. He doesn’t like to see Jared in any kind of distress, especially not when it is within his power to alleviate it. Although it makes his wings droop a little, he keeps his voice light as he says, “We do not need to go in if it worries you overly much.”
Jared reaches into his pocket, pulls out the red and white shorts. “It’s okay. This is a good test to see how people will react to you. Just stay close to me, okay? No flitting off on your own to investigate. There may be tight crowds and I can’t fly over everyone’s heads like you can, so you’ll have to go at my pace, make sure we don’t get separated.” He brandishes the disdained human clothing. “And you’ll have to put these back on.”
Jensen sighs, “Yes, alright,” and puts them on.
A light rain has begun. By the time they get from the car to the front door of the restaurant, mist has dampened his wings. There is a light sheen of moisture on his skin, his eyelashes, his hair.
Jensen doesn’t mind the rain. He doesn’t mind getting wet because he doesn’t feel the cold. Or rather, he does feel it, it just doesn’t bother him. Humans don’t like it though. Jared has tugged his jacked closer around himself and his shoulders are hunched up around his ears. That won’t do. Jensen kindly requests that the raindrops disperse from Jared’s clothing, hair, face and hands.
Jared opens the door, walks into the restaurant, and runs a hand over his face as if to wipe away the accumulated water. He looks startled, eyebrows raised, when his hand comes away dry. Turning to Jensen, he asks, “Did you do that?”
With a smile and a wink, Jensen says, “I did not wish you to be uncomfortable.”
“Thanks,” Jared grins back.
Seeing Jared smile like that makes Jensen feel flushed with warmth despite the moisture still kissing his own skin. “It was my pleasure.”
The restaurant seems to be made up of several levels and rooms. Benches line the wall in the first small alcove they enter. There is little furniture here other than a small, high table. A human lady stands behind the table, holding an electronic device in one hand.
Humans, in groups of threes and fours, stand around the room, shaking rain from various articles of clothing. Age holds little significance for Jensen, but none of them look small enough to be children. Adults then. Another difference he notices is that these humans don’t seem to see him. Perhaps humans are more perceptive when they are young and lose the ability to observe the ‘out of the ordinary’ as they get older.
Through an archway, Jensen can see another, larger room. Tables of dark wood are set out all around. Many of the tables have humans already sitting at them. A few don’t. Just inside the archway, a staircase leads to the level above. He can see more tables up there and a long counter that takes up one whole wall. A bannister allows the humans on the second level to look down on the first level without fear of falling.
So many humans to meet! So many humans with whom to talk! Jensen’s heart trips madly in his chest. His insides fizzle and spark with excitement. He wants to zip into the room and get started right away, but Jared said he shouldn’t go off alone. He waits, hovering by Jared’s side. Patience is not a trait common to fairies. It is hard for him to wait. He does it though, and he is proud of himself for showing restraint in the face of such temptation.
When it is their turn to talk to the lady behind the tall table, Jensen cannot contain his exuberance any longer. He flies forward and, using his best etiquette, bows deeply. He wants to make a good first impression. “Hello, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jensen.”
The lady startles backwards a step with a bitten off squeal, hands shielding her face as though she is warding off something frightful.
“No, it’s okay. He’s a fairy,” Jared rushes to tell her. “He was just saying hello.”
“Oh my God.” Her hand falls from her face to her heart. “I thought it was a gigantic moth. Scared me to death.” She takes a couple deep breaths to regain her composure. When she speaks again, she looks right through Jared, as though they have been summarily dismissed. “I’m sorry, pets aren’t allowed inside the restaurant.”
Confused, Jensen retreats to Jared’s shoulder. Why is she talking about pets? Without really knowing why, he feels his cheeks heat. The swirl of anticipation inside him changes, turns sour.
“He isn’t a pet.” Jared’s voice sounds icy, as if he’s fighting hard to maintain a civil tone. “Like I just told you, he’s a fairy.”
Her gaze flickers back to Jared’s face, avoiding Jensen’s altogether. “I heard you, but unfortunately that doesn’t change my answer. We have a strict ‘no pets’ policy. It’s right there on the door.” She points at the large double doors through which they had entered. “If you’d like to be seated, you’ll have to leave it outside.”
Jared’s body seems to lengthen in a menacing way as he goes unnaturally still. “Let me speak to your manager,” he says in a voice barely above a whisper, but filled with a hostility such as Jensen has never heard from him or anyone else for that matter. It makes him feel chilled inside, another sensation he’s never before experienced.
The lady’s mouth forms a tight, straight line. She presses a button on her tablet and talks into a string hanging from her shirt. “We need a manager at the hostess stand.” Then, she tells Jared, “A manager will be with you in a moment. Please step to the side.”
Jared does, stiffly, and she turns her attention to the next humans in line behind them.
Whereas before, it seemed as though he was invisible to most of the humans in the room, now all eyes are upon him. Humans all around are staring and pointing, muttering to each other. It is attention, but it does not feel like the good kind.
Jensen tries a hesitant wave.
No one waves back.
The heat in his cheeks expands until it feels like his whole face is aflame. He huddles against Jared’s neck and whispers into his ear. “It is all right. We can go. Let us just go.” The reception he is receiving here is very different from the reception he received at the playground. It seems as though humans are not all alike and do not react the same way to similar situations. Well, at least the trip was not a total waste. He has certainly learned a valuable lesson.
Jared seems to deflate slightly. He cups a hand near his shoulder for Jensen to climb onto. Jensen does so with some relief at being held close and safe, away from eyes that are not as friendly or welcoming as he always supposed they would be.
“Jensen, this isn’t your fault. I’m not going to let her treat you like that. You have as much right to be here as anyone else.”
“But I do not understand. I am even wearing human clothing, am I not? What makes her dislike me so? Did I do something wrong?”
“You were perfectly polite. Some people just don’t like the unfamiliar. It has nothing to do with you. If she doesn’t want to take the time to get to know you, see how special you are, that’s her loss, not yours.”
Another lady approaches. She wears a crisp shirt buttoned all the way up to her chin with a navy blue bow tied around her neck. The lady at the tall table waves her toward them.
“I’m the manager. What can I do for you?” she asks with a small smile that somehow fails to make her look happy. Jensen thinks maybe it is the uncomfortable human clothing that is making it difficult for her to find her joy. It would certainly make him unhappy to be wearing such confining clothing.
“We’re meeting some friends here for dinner, but your hostess won’t seat us.” As he talks, Jared un-cups his hand, indicating that ‘us’ refers to both him and Jensen.
The manager lady’s eyes widen. She gasps in a short huff of air and takes a step closer such that she is directly in front of him. “A fairy!” Her whole face transforms, takes on an air of utter wonderment. “I’ve always wanted to see one. And now here one is...in my restaurant of all places! Wow, your wings, they’re beautiful and so, so dainty, just like I always imagined they would be. The pictures I’ve seen don’t do you justice.”
Jensen stands on Jared’s palm and salutes the manager lady by covering his heart with his closed fist. “Jensen, at your service. I am very pleased to make your acquaintance.” His exuberance may have been tempered by recent events, but not his manners.
Her cheeks flush pink. “You are absolutely the most adorable thing I have ever seen. I’m so sorry about the misunderstanding. Of course you can be seated. Do you have any preferences? A booth by the window, perhaps? Or, I believe the Chef’s table is available. Follow me and I’ll seat you myself.”
“Actually,” Jared cuts her off before she begins leading them away. “We’re meeting some friends. I’m not sure if they’re already here or not.”
“In that case, feel free to look around. If you don’t find them, please ask for me. My name is Cynthia. I’ll make sure you get the best table in the house.”
Jensen feels like he is inside a whirlwind. To go from feeling euphoric to dejected to jubilant again all in the matter of a few moments is making him dizzy. For the first time in his life, he wishes his emotions were not so all-consuming, that he could feel things a little less whole-heartedly. But that has always been his way, and since his emotions have mostly been positive up until this point, it has never been an issue before.
He ponders leaving the safety of Jared’s hand to fly by his side, maybe get a better view of his surroundings. It is his first time in a human eating establishment. He has been looking forward to this all day. In the end, he decides to stay put for now. There will be time to explore later, when he is feeling less out of sorts.
Turns out, humans are exhausting.
First his niece thinking that a fairy can be owned by someone and now the hostess thinking fairies are somehow analogous with pets. What next?
Despite the effusive reaction he’d received from the manager, Jensen’s feelings are hurt. Jared can tell by the way his expressive eyes have shuttered. The fact that he hasn’t left the confines of Jared’s cupped hand is also a sign that Jensen isn’t feeling like his normally effervescent self.
As much as Jared would love for Jensen to always be happy and never have a single bad experience, the sad truth of the matter is that humans run the full gamut of pleasant to despicable. The curious fairy has his heart set on meeting as many humans as possible. That means he’s going to meet the bad as well as the good, the kind as well as the cruel. The only thing Jared can do is try to limit his exposure to the not-so-wonderful aspects of human nature.
Moving slowly among the tables on the first floor, Jared keeps an eye out for his friends, until he sees Rob’s familiar, scruffy face at a booth near the back wall. The man’s beard and mustache seem bushier than the last time they’d hung out together. “There they are.”
Rob stands up as he makes his way towards them. “Jared, you made it. We were beginning to wonder.”
The other man at the booth is sitting with his back to Jared and Jensen. He stands up when Rob does, a smile splitting his face like he’s just won the lottery. “Big J! You’re just in time to help me convince this stick-in-the-mud to come with me the next time I go to Vegas. I had the time of my life there. You should come, too!”
“Can’t wait to hear all about it. I have someone I want you to meet first though.” Jared knows that Jensen’s first inclination is always to fly forward and introduce himself. He doesn’t do it this time. Jared can hardly blame him after what happened at the hostess stand. The fairy’s unnatural reticence speaks volumes as to his mental state - confused, hurt, sad. So, Jared takes matters into his own hands, or hand as it were. Extending the hand with Jensen on it, he says, “Guys, this is my friend, Jensen. Jensen, this is Rob and Rich.”
“It is a great pleasure to meet friends of Jared.” Jensen’s wings unfurl to maintain his balance while standing on Jared’s moving palm.
There’s no bow. As far as Jensen’s customary greetings go, it’s on the subdued side. Rob and Rich are none the wiser, however, since they’ve never seen one of Jensen’s embellished introductions.
“Whoa, you weren’t kidding, Big J. He is magnificent,” Rich says, bending over to get a closer look. “I must say, you don’t disappoint, Little J. Is it okay if I call you Little J?”
Jensen gets a puzzled look on his wee face, eyebrows scrunched together adorably.
“It’s a nickname,” Jared explains. “Although that one maybe isn’t in the best taste.”
“Uh yeah, demeaning much, Dick.” Rob rolls his eyes.
Rich puts his hands up in a no-harm-meant gesture. “What demeaning? It’s not demeaning. And I don’t see anything wrong with the nickname Dick, either. My dad calls me Dick.
“A nickname?” Jensen pipes up. “Like the way you sometimes call me Comet, even though it is not my name?”
“Yeah, just like that. Rich loves giving everybody a nickname. You can tell him no if you don’t like it though.”
“Sure, no hard feelings,” Rich says.
Rob, whose expression often seems stuck in a hang-dog pout, says, “Yeah, good luck with that. He’s started calling me Eeyore, and no matter how many times I tell him to cut it out, he won’t.”
“I mean, come on.” Rich points at Rob’s woe-is-me expression and raises his eyebrows, meaning clear.
“You may call me Little J if it pleases you,” Jensen chimes in. “I have many nicknames now, one for each human place I have visited. Comet at Jared’s house, Jared’s Jensen at the playground, and Little J here. Launching himself off Jared’s hand, he flies up toward the light fixture over their booth. The light hits his wings and refracts, causing a dozen or so emerald sparkles to dance on the gleaming tabletop.
Jared is glad to see him shaking off his earlier listless mood. Anyone else may not have noticed it, but to Jared, who knows how upbeat and cheerful Jensen usually is, it was hard to see him acting so melancholy.
“Magnificent,” Rich breathes out, voice low. Then, he sits back down in the booth, gesturing that the others should do the same. “You’re not usually late. What kept you today, Big J?”
Rob sits and scoots over in the booth, making room for Jared.
“We would have been earlier, but we had a little trouble at the hostess stand.” Jared isn’t sure how much he wants to divulge. The subject is still a sore one for him, and Jensen has just now started acting like himself and not as if he’s going to spend the rest of his Grand, Super-Awesome, Fantastical Odyssey Into the Human World curled up inside Jared’s hand.
It becomes a moot point when Jensen alights on the tabletop and says, “Yes, the lady at the front table said I was not allowed in the restaurant because there is a strict ‘no pets’ policy. But I did not understand what that meant.” He turns his pixie face up to Jared. “What did she mean, Jared? Why does she think I am a domesticated animal?”
Crap! This is something he really doesn’t want to explain. He supposes he’ll have to though. Jensen needs to know how some humans will see him, needs to be prepared in case this happens again, or worse, someone tries to capture and cage him like he’s a stray in need of a home or a wild animal that needs to be contained. It’s probably an eventuality he should have foreseen and warned the fairy about earlier. Jensen is ultra trusting, not used to having to be on his guard. He would never imagine that someone might mean to harm him.
Before he can come up with an answer, Rob says, “No shit! She called you a pet? What the hell?”
Time to step in. “You see, here’s the thing, Comet, humans as a species have many good qualities, but they also have some not-so-great ones. One of their worst is a superiority complex. Humans pretty much think they’re better than any other species on the planet and tend to treat other species as inferior. Hence the whole ‘pet’ thing.”
“I’m sorry, Little J, but Jared’s right, humans can be assholes,” Rich says.
Jared winces. He probably wouldn’t have been that blunt. Then again, Rich isn’t wrong.
Jensen makes a pbbbbt sound with his lips and tongue. “Humans just have not seen enough fairies. I am here to rectify that situation. Once they meet me, they will know I am no animal. They cannot put a collar on me. I will not be domesticated!”
“Here, here, Little J! You tell’em,” Rich fist pumps the air.
The restaurant manager, Cynthia, comes over then, an order pad in her hand. “You found your friends! Great! I just want to apologize again for what happened earlier. I’ll wait on you myself tonight. Your meals and drinks will all be complimentary.”
Surprised, Jared says, “I appreciate it, but that’s not necessary.”
Cynthia shakes her head, “I insist.” She looks at Jensen, smiles softly. “You’ve made my childhood dream come true, and I want you to know you’re always welcome here. So, what can I start you off with? Drinks? Appetizers?”
They order a round of draft beer and some onion rings to start. They each order a different cut of beef as their entrees; ribeye for Jared, NY strip for Rob, and filet mignon for Rich. You just don’t go to STK for anything other than steak.
When Jensen doesn’t order anything, Cynthia asks, “And what for you? I’m sure I can find something small enough for you to use as a cup if you’d like some of what your friends ordered to drink. Or wait, don’t fairies drink cream? I can bring you some cream.” She looks pleased at having remembered this tidbit of fairy lore from her childhood.
Jensen laughs. “I am afraid you have been misinformed. We do not drink cream. We do not drink anything. We absorb all the moisture we need from the air.”
“Hmmmm, you’re never too old to learn something new, I guess,” she says, still smiling. “I’ll definitely remember that for the next time you visit us.” She hustles off, returning shortly with three tall glasses filled with the frothy Blue Moon craft beer they have on tap.
Jensen flutters over as soon as the glasses are deposited on the table. He inhales deeply, swipes at his nose, and grins. “The bubbles tickle. I like it.”
Rob picks up his glass, takes a drink, and when he lowers it, there’s a layer of froth stuck to his mustache. “Yeah, it’s good stuff. Hey, I’ve been meaning to tell you, I dig your shorts.”
Jensen grimaces. He plucks at the board shorts irritably. “I do not like them. Jared says humans will not be able to control themselves around me if I do not wear at least this much clothing. He says I am irresistible enough as it is without adding naked into it. But what I do not understand is why clothing is so important to humans. Maybe you all could just try taking your clothes off instead of making me put them on. You might find that you like it.”
Jared feels his face heat as his friends’ gazes travel from Jensen to him. Their astonishment quickly transforms into hilarity, chuckles becoming full blown, uncontrollable laughter. Jared and Jensen both join in. Jared wonders if Jensen understands why what he just said is so funny or if he’s only laughing because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Rich wipes tears from his eyes. “Oh man, he’s a hoot. Forget ol’ Eeyore over there, you and me in Vegas, Little J. What an epic trip that would be.”
“Hey!” Rob says, wearing an exaggerated hurt expression that makes him look even more like the sad donkey than ever.
“Will you tell us some stories about your adventures in this place called Vegas?” Jensen asks.
Rich, the attention hound that he is, eagerly agrees and is soon regaling them with stories of his exploits.
The onion rings come. They order a second round of drinks.
For every swallow Jared takes, Jensen swoops in to inhale bubbles through his nose. It’s around the time their entrees come that Jared notices the giggles now accompanying Jensen’s enjoyment of the frothy beverage’s aroma.
A thought occurs to him. If Jensen absorbs moisture from the air, doesn’t it stand to reason that he absorbs other things as well? The way he gets so hyper just from being around a steaming cup of coffee would make a lot more sense if this was true. And if he absorbs caffeine particles from breathing in the steam from coffee, then he must also absorb alcohol particles from smelling beer. Jensen’s system isn’t adapted for processing alcohol. Which means he could end up with a very drunk little fairy on his hands by the end of the evening.
Conversation slows down as they tuck into their meals. The steak is excellent, juicy and well seasoned, buttery. The baked potatoes that come with their meals are loaded with cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits. Jared’s going to have to hit the gym a little harder for the next week or so, but it’s worth it.
The culinary proceedings hold little interest for Jensen, and he begins flitting around the restaurant, exploring. As he attracts attention from patrons at other tables, he stops to introduce himself. Soon he’s socializing freely with the tables on either side of theirs. Jared keeps a close eye on him, but he’s doing well, having fun. The alcohol hasn’t lowered his inhibitions because Jensen didn’t have any inhibitions to lower in the first place. He’s just naturally open and friendly.
The young couple at a table one row over from theirs seem especially enthralled with Jensen’s presence. They ask if they can take a selfie with him. He obliges happily once he understands what they want. The people at the table across from them, seeing this, get up and go over for a fairy selfie also. Soon there’s a line of people wanting pictures with the gregarious fairy. Even the manager gets in on the action, saying she’s going to get the picture printed so she can hang it on the restaurant wall, like Jensen is a celebrity and having his picture in the restaurant will bring in more customers. Judging by the gathering crowd, she could be right.
Jared starts to get nervous. There’s too many people.
He stands up to put an end to it, but Rich stops him with a hand on his arm. “He’s fine. Let him enjoy himself. The manager is there. She’ll make sure things stay under control. Besides, I have something I want to ask you.”
Jared looks. The line is orderly, people patiently waiting their turn. Cynthia is directing them as though she’s the handler for a movie star. She keeps the line moving and seems to have taken a personal interest in Jensen’s safety. Jensen is showboating. The curlicue patterns he’s flying are eliciting impressed oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
The amount of pixie dust produced by a fairy is directly proportional to the health and happiness of that fairy. Right now, dust is streaming behind him like a heavy snowfall. It swirls through the air and wherever it lands it glistens.
Slowly, Jared sits back down, his attention reverts to his friends.
Rich leans forward and rests his forearms on the table, hands clasped. “So, what’s the deal between you and Little J?”
Rob turns on the bench seat so that he’s angled more towards Jared.
Jared’s stomach jolts at the unexpectedness of the question. “What do you mean?”
“When you introduced him, you called him your friend, but man, I’ve been watching you all night, and you don’t look at him like he’s just a friend. You look at him like he’s the sun, moon, and stars all wrapped up in one tiny package.”
Jared doesn’t know what to say. ‘It’s complicated’ doesn’t even begin to describe his relationship with Jensen. There’s the whole crush thing, yeah. Jensen is funny and sweet, charming and confident in a way that is endearing instead of annoying. He’s always chipper, and his good moods are contagious. He can make even the most mundane task seem thrilling because everything is new and exciting to him. There’s never a dull moment when he’s around. He’s a better person than most, if not all, of the humans Jared knows.
None of that is problematic. It’s the physical part of the equation that’s giving Jared’s conscience a work out.
He can’t deny there’s some attraction there, on his part at least. Jensen is gorgeous. He also knows Jensen sometimes gets aroused from his touches, has seen the evidence of this arousal and has even talked to him about it, but he hasn’t been able to get any real sense of what that means for a fairy. They might get aroused all the time for all he knows.
From the way Jensen describes mating, the act of procreation sounds perfunctory. That doesn’t mean they don’t have sex at other times, maybe even frequently.
Then there’s the question of sex between a human and a fairy. What would that even be like? He’s thought about it. Heaven help him, he’s thought about it. Jensen made a comment way back when they first met that fairy magic was versatile, and Jared’s imagination has had time to come up with all sorts of scenarios. And yet, the question remains - how much does Jensen understand about having sex with a human and how much significance would it hold for him?
At last, Jared breaks the silence that has fallen over their table as he tries to make sense of his feelings for Jensen. “Would it be weird if I told you I’ve never felt for anyone the way I feel about him?” Jared asks. It’s not a rhetorical question. He really wants to know his friends’ opinions on whether a romantic relationship is even possible.
Rich leans back in his seat, tilts his head, expression intent. “Wouldn’t be weird. I mean, he’s not like anyone you’ve ever known before, right?”
Jared looks down at his plate. The potato skin and a few pieces of meat too grisly to eat are the only parts of his meal remaining.
Pushing his own plate away, Rich sighs. “Hey, it’s not my - or anyone else’s - place to judge. That’s something you gotta work out for yourself. Just...you might want to talk to him about it, that’s all I’m saying.”
Rob picks up his napkin, wipes his hands, and says, “If you have strong feelings for him, and it seems like you do, you owe it to him and to yourself to sort them out. Find out if he feels the same way. Keeping those kinds of feelings to yourself is a sure fire road to heartache.”
“Fuck,” Jared moans, both hands scrubbing over his face. One thing he absolutely cannot do it lose Jensen’s friendship. Nothing is worth that.
From the table across the aisle, an ethereal note rises above the regular restaurant din. A single voice, clear and melodic, begins to sing. It’s not a song Jared knows. It’s in the secret language known only to the fae.
Jared’s not sure why, whether someone asked him to or he just got the notion in his own head, but Jensen is singing.
Jensen’s normal speaking voice has a musical quality to it, a lilting, harmonious cadence. His singing voice...well, his singing voice elevates that to another level. It’s nothing short of angelic. Within minutes, the restaurant is completely silent except for the sound of Jensen’s song, airy and transcendent, life altering.
No one in the restaurant is unaffected. Some people are frozen in place, mouths open in awe. Some have tears running down their cheeks. Others are clutching hands with their significant others, gazes locked on one another.
A chill runs down Jared’s spine. This moment feels profoundly meaningful.
As the last note wavers in the air and fades away into silence, the spell breaks. The volume of human voices gradually increases back to normal.
Jensen returns to the table, grinning a lopsided grin and seeming very pleased with himself. He tucks himself into the crook of Jared’s neck, head nestled under his chin. “You’re tall,” he slurs.
Even as the slurring concerns him, Jared has to chuckle because no duh, compared to Jensen, everyone is tall. “I am, huh?”
Jensen nods into his neck. “This was fun,” he murmurs. “I believe I am ready to leave. Can we go to your house now?”
“Sure.” Jared turns to Rich and Rob. “Well guys, looks like we’re heading out.”
His friends say their good-byes. Jensen rouses himself long enough to extend an invitation to his meadow which Rich and Rob seem pleased to receive, saying they would love to come for a visit sometime.
Hand coming up to caress the fairy’s side, Jared swigs the last of his beer. He’s driving, so he’s limited himself to only two. His head is clear.
Good thing because it looks like he’s got some more thinking to do.