disneymagics (disneymagics) wrote,

Green Eyes and Binding Ties - 2/10

“Great, see you then.”  Jared presses a button on the rectangular-shaped device that allows him to talk to other humans all over the world, and turns to him, beaming ear to ear.  “It’s all set up.  We’ll meet my sister-in-law and her two kiddos at the playground near their house after lunch, and this evening, we’ll head over to STK for dinner and drinks with the guys.”

Jensen flies in a spiral pattern that ends with him in the center, before shooting straight upwards until he reaches the ceiling, almost cracking his head in his zeal.  He sometimes forgets the ceiling is up there when he’s indoors.  “That is perfect,” he says while pretending he did not just almost knock himself unconscious.

They have decided to start small; go places where Jared knows at least a couple of other humans and can feel somewhat in control.  Depending on how today goes, they can branch out and try larger venues, places where there are lots of humans.  In those places, Jared will not be able to foresee all possible outcomes, and he has admitted to being somewhat nervous.

Jensen knows why.  He knows all about the rules.  Part of him thinks he should be offended by the rules.  The rules are about Jared keeping him from harm, as though the Guardian thinks him incapable of taking care of himself.  However, the offended part of him is tiny, infinitesimal to the point of being nonexistent.  Emotions like being offended are so very contrary to fairy nature, it is difficult for them to take root and grow.  Instead, he takes the rules in the spirit in which they were intended - as love and concern for his well being.

Jared puts down his device, and Jensen marvels at how small it looks when Jared is holding it compared to how large it is the times that he himself has tried to pick it up.  He can do it, despite how heavy and awkwardly shaped it is, but it is not easy, seeing as how it is roughly as tall lengthwise as he is.

“Can we go now?” he asks.  Many of the things in Jared’s house intrigue him.  This day and the ones to follow are not about the things in Jared’s house though.  This is a time of discovering the other wonders the human world has to offer, and Jensen can’t help being a little impatient to get started.

“Not quite yet.”  Jared begins pulling items out of cabinets, drawers, and the place that keeps food cold until it can be consumed.  “I’m going to make myself a sandwich for lunch, and there’s something I need to talk to you about.  A favor I need to ask you.”

Curiosity spikes, over and above the curiosity already buzzing through him.  What favor could Jared possibly require?  “Anything that is mine to give, I offer you gladly.”

Jared smiles, but there is an anxious quality to it.  He begins assembling his food into a tower, random layers of food that come out of packages and containers.  Once he is satisfied at the height, he picks it up with both hands and takes a huge bite. 

Jared’s food looks nothing like what he has seen the rabbits and birds in his meadow eat.  Jensen takes a sniff.  The odor is appealing, not as good as coffee, but good nonetheless.

Putting down his food tower, Jared takes a bag from the counter, opens it, and pulls out a box.  It’s longer than Jensen is tall and has a see through covering on the front.  Inside is a man whose expression is fixed in a friendly, if rigid smile.  In fact, all of him seems very stiff, even his hair.  He isn’t moving at all.  There are no wings, so he isn’t a fairy, although he is only slightly taller than the average fairy.

“Who is he and why is he in that box?”

“It’s not a who.  It’s a what.  It’s a Ken doll.”

Confused, Jensen flies in for a closer look.  He taps on the clear front cover and waves.  “Hello.”

Jared shakes his head.  “Dolls aren’t alive, Comet.  They’re toys, for children mostly.  But I bought this one for a different reason.  What do you think about the clothes he’s wearing?”

Jensen eyes the clothing.  He is beginning to get a bad feeling about where this conversation is heading.  The Ken doll is wearing a bright red short-sleeved shirt that buttons up the front, white palm trees emblazoned all over it.  The pants he is wearing only cover his hips and upper thighs.  They have the same red with white palm tree pattern as the shirt.  Over his eyes are a ‘sweet pair of shades’.  Jensen knows that is what they are called from a program he watched with Jared on the large screen attached to the wall during one of his previous visits.  “I like the bright colors,” he offers hesitantly.

“Well, that’s something.”  Jared opens the box and pulls the Ken doll out.  “The thing is, Comet,” he looks down at the toy in his hands.  A huff of air escapes his lips.  “I really hate to ask you to do this, but...do you think you could wear these clothes?  Just when we’re around other humans?”

Jensen takes an involuntary step away from the Ken doll.  Fairies don’t wear clothing.  Not ever.  They do not need it and, although he has come to understand some of the reasons why humans wear clothing, it still seems unnecessary and ridiculous to him.  Not only that, but clothing would restrict his ability to fly and to receive nourishment from Jared’s touches.  “Why?  Why would you ask that of me, Jared?”  He cannot help it, he is hurt.  “Are you ashamed of me?”  Shame is another new concept he has only recently learned.

“No!  Never!  Please don’t think that.”  Jared drops the Ken doll into his lap and cups his hands, a signal he wants Jensen to come sit in them.  Jensen does, and Jared begins stroking a finger over his arms, his chest, feathering a touch along his jawline.  “I could never be ashamed of you.  Whether you wear clothing or not makes no difference to me.”

Jensen soaks in the delicious caresses.  “Then why?”

“Okay, this isn’t going to be easy to explain, but I’ll do my best.  See, humans always wear clothing in front of other humans.  From the moment they are born until they die, humans cover up their private areas.  The only exception to this is lovers or small children who need help taking baths or getting dressed.  Other than that, it’s almost never heard of for one human to see another naked and if they do, it’s rather startling for them.”

“That is okay for I am not human.”  This should not be an issue.  Jensen is confused about why, all of a sudden, after three months of knowing each other, his nakedness has just now become a problem.

Jared ducks his head, hazel eyes going soft and wistful.  “That’s right, you aren’t.  But Comet, don’t you see?  That only makes it worse.  Because humans don’t come into contact with fairies often, or at all.  Humans know fairies exist, but most humans have never met one in person.  Wherever we go, you are going to cause a commotion, just by being you.  People are going to flock around you to get a better look.  Everyone is going to want to talk to you, maybe touch you.  Now, add the whole naked factor in and I’m afraid you might cause a riot.”

“Oh.”  His excitement over the adventures to come is starting to fade a bit as Jensen contemplates having to don clothing.  It is unheard of.  Fairies do not have private areas!  The very thought is absurd.  He wonders how Jared would feel if he was told he had to take all his off clothes anytime he came to visit the meadow.

“I just...Humans can be unpredictable during the best of circumstances.  I don’t want to risk losing you because an uneducated pack of humans couldn’t handle seeing a very handsome fairy without any clothes on.”  Jareds finger glides lower until it reaches his inner thigh, thumbnail skimming over the sensitive flesh at his groin.

It is hard for Jensen to stay upset, ever really, but especially when Jared touches him there.

Fairies do not usually get aroused from just a simple touch.  This stands to reason since they rely on touch in order to survive, not for sexual gratification.  Jared’s touches, however, do something to him that no one else’s touches have ever done.  When Jared’s talented fingers get anywhere near his penis, his body reacts with an intoxicating mixture of pleasure and need unlike anything he has ever felt before.

The first time he noticed this phenomenon was during his recuperation from touch starvation when Jared was stroking his stomach and the heel of his hand brushed against Jensen’s nether region.  The way his penis had reacted to the sudden burst of pleasure, throbbing and enlarging, had startled him.  He has since gotten used to the sparks that ignite and pulse whenever Jared’s fingers skim across his crotch.

There must be a reason why only Jared’s touches affect him this way.  Jensen has asked Jared about it from time to time.  Jared has always said it is nothing to be embarrassed about and left it at that, as though he does not wish to explore it further.  Obviously, Jensen is not embarrassed by his own body or the way it responds to Jared and only to Jared.  It is simply a mystery that needs to be solved.  Maybe it has something to do with the difference between the touch of a human and the touch of a fairy.  It’s one of the things he hopes to learn more about as part of their Grand, Super-Awesome, Fantastical Odyssey Into the Human World.

“Very well.  I shall wear them.”  He stands up, proudly displaying his not-private areas in such a way as to make it clear he welcomes anyone who wishes to look to do so. 

“Thank you, Comet.  I really appreciate it.  Just the board shorts.  You don’t have to wear the shirt.  Not sure it would fit over your wings anyway,” Jared babbles as he hastily strips the Ken doll out of his short pants and passes them over.

“Shades too.” Jensen holds out his hand imperiously.

Jared chuckles.  “The shades are just pretend.  You won’t be able to see through them.”

Jensen doesn’t alter his stance.

“Okay, here you go.”  And Jared gives him the shades as well.

The shorts are a little loose on him, the stretchy waistband riding low on his hips.  He cannot see a thing through the shades.  It is not about what he can see though.  It is about how he looks.  If he has to do this, he is doing it his way.  He flutters his wings experimentally, making sure his center of balance is not too compromised for him to fly.

“Are you gonna be okay?”  Jared sounds unsure.

“I will be fine,” Jensen answers.  To prove his point, he strikes a pose, left hip thrust out rakishly and chin held high.  “And what is more, I make this look good.”

The shades get taken away by large fingers, and he can see Jared’s grinning face.  “That you do, Comet.  That you do.”

The drive to the playground where they’ll meet Bethany and her two kiddos, Gabriella and Nadia, takes about ninety minutes.  His brother’s family lives in the next town over, and this being Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, the road leading there traverses mostly pasture land and horse fields.

This is Jensen’s first time riding inside a car.  To say he’s fascinated would be a huge understatement.  He flits nonstop from one window to the next, back and forth, chattering about everything he sees as they drive past it.  His wings, which are sheer and delicate like those of a dragonfly or butterfly, give off a steady stream of dust. 

There’s so much of it in the small confines of the car, that Jared feels almost giddy from the large dose he’s getting.  Fairy dust is not usually this concentrated.  It’s only with enormous effort that he’s able to keep himself from bursting with laughter over nothing other than the sheer joy at being alive.  He wonders if the fairies themselves are affected by the dust and that’s why they’re usually so happy and carefree.  Or if it’s their infectious good humor infused into the dust that gives it those properties.

“What are those things over there?”  Jensen points out the window.

Jared glances where he’s pointing.  “Those are horses.”

“Those are horses?  Wow, their legs are much skinnier than I was expecting.  And they allow humans to ride them?  I do so look forward to meeting some when we go to the horse farm.”

One of the places they’ve decided to go later on in the week is a horse farm where Jared’s friend, Ty, works.  The horses there are bred and trained for racing.  The stables for those horses are nicer than Jared’s house.  He hopes Jensen will be impressed by how well the horses are treated.

Jensen looks ridiculously cute in the Hawaiian board shorts.  They only just barely manage to stay on his slender hips as he flies around inside the car.  He was a bit grumpy about them at first, and Jared hated hated hated having to ask him to wear them, but he seems to have forgotten he even has them on now that they’ve started the adventure.  Oh, not adventure, better not let Jensen hear him call it that, no.  Now that they’ve started their Grand, Super-Awesome, Fantastical Odyssey Into the Human World.

Jared loves watching Jensen when he’s like this, all big green eyes and delighted grins.  He’s charming on a level that gives any puppy or kitten Jared has ever seen a run for its money.  Even though Jared can’t watch him full time like he’d like - he is driving, after all - he still steels glances at every opportunity.  Jensen’s skin is a healthy sun-kissed bronze.  Caramel-colored freckles are sprinkled generously over his cheeks and nose.  He has slightly pointed ears, high cheekbones, and tiny dimples at the corners of his mouth that only come out when he purses his full lips in a certain way.  And his eyelashes, Jesus, his eyelashes are ridiculously long and thick, making his green eyes look large, guileless like a manga character’s.  Okay, Jared may be a little obsessed with the way Jensen looks.  In his defense, it’s impossible to ignore how well put together he is.  He’s like a miniature Adonis.

After they’ve passed a dozen or so white-washed, fenced-in pastures, and there are no new sights to marvel at, Jensen settles down on Jared’s shoulder, pulling his legs up to sit cross-legged.  He starts asking questions about human children.  Jared has admittedly never raised a child of his own, so he falls back on his pediatric training to answer most of them.

During a lull in the conversation, Jared asks a question of his own.  “How are fairy children raised?”

“Fairy children aren’t raised.  In fact, fairies do not go through the learning and developmental stages you describe as human childhood.”

Interesting.  “Okay, how do fairies develop?”

“If you are to understand that, first you must know how fairies are conceived.”  Jensen drops his legs, one to the front and one to the back so he’s straddling Jared’s shoulder, facing him.  Scooting forward, he wraps both arms around Jared’s neck and rests his head against the skin just under Jared’s ear..  He must be feeling the need for as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.  It’s been a while since Jared has touched him - two hands on the wheel for safety and all that.

Jensen continues, “During the summer solstice, all eligible fairies are invited to the mating ritual being held in closest proximity.  I myself have attended twice.”

There’s a hint of pride in his voice that makes Jared think being eligible to attend involves more than just being a certain age or being healthy or something otherwise easily attainable.  He doesn’t want to sideline their current conversation though, so he decides to pursue that one at a later time.  Instead, he just says, “Sounds special.”

He feels Jensen nod against his neck.  “Yes, it is.  At any given ritual, there will be exactly forty-eight fairies in attendance.  The female fairies each select a male partner from those present.  Seldom are two fairies from the same quadral invited at the same time to the same ritual, so it is uncommon for quadral mates to conceive a faeling together.”

“A faeling is a fairy child?”

“Yes, but not in the way you are probably thinking.”

A traffic light ahead on the rural road they’re traveling turns yellow.  Jared slows and brings the car to a stop, using the opportunity to stroke a finger down Jensen’s leg to the ankle of his wee foot.  “So, you have never mated with Alona or Felicia?”

Jensen nuzzles his neck.  “No.  And in any case, the mating itself is not the significant part of the ritual.  It is called the mating ritual, but it is much more about what follows.  Faeling are conceived during the height of the solstice and are born mere hours afterward.  The fae who conceived and gave birth to the faeling do not consider themselves that faeling’s parents.  They harbor no feelings of ownership or possessiveness over the one they have brought into the world, but instead feel only an outpouring of love for all the life newly arrived on the planet.  All the faeling born during the night are brought to the nurturing ring, a safe and hidden place, where they are loved and cared for by all forty-eight fairies, never wondering which one is the one they conceived, treating them all with equal amounts of adoration.  There, they learn fae customs and absorb enough nutrients from the touch of all those around them to grow to their full size.  Much of what it means to be a fairy is innate, instinctual, so there is not much that needs to be taught.  The process takes only one moon cycle.  At that time, they are placed into their quadrals and given over to their newly appointed guardian.”

Jared has a lot to think about.  So much information he never knew before.  Information that isn’t in any of the books he’s read.  “Fairies don’t have parents, then?  Or siblings?”

“We don’t have familial relationships, no.  We feel the same love for all fairies.  We consider ourselves related to all equally.”

Jared hums, mulling this over while he enjoys the feel of Jensen’s breath on his throat, lithe, warm body moving with every inhale and exhale. 

The idea that fairies feel no special romantic-type love strikes him as sad.  Well, if he’s honest, he doesn’t think it’s sad for the fairies, more that it’s sad for him.  Sad because, as much as he wants to deny it, to pretend he only feels friendship for Jensen, he’s beginning to realize he might possibly feel more.  That’s right, he’s crushing on his friend, who just happens to be a fairy, and oh yeah, fairies don’t fall in love. 

Fucking fantastic.

Pushing thoughts of inappropriate feeling for Jensen aside like he’s been doing for a while now, he refocuses on the conversation at hand.  “And it only takes one month for fairies to go from birth to adulthood?”

“Essentially, yes, that is true,” Jensen agrees.

“Have you ever see them?  The fairies conceived during the rituals you attended?”

“I have not.”

The map program on his phone dings before Jared can ask his next question.  In the Australian accent Jared had programmed it with, it announces, In five hundred yards, turn left.  Destination will be on the right.

Jensen pushes off his neck and takes flight, going from peaceful serenity to energetic exuberance in a fraction of a second.  “Are we almost there?”

Jared follows the instructions and pulls into a parking space.  Half a dozen other cars are parked in front of the lightly wooded area.  Jared lets go a relieved sigh.  Six other families isn’t too bad.  He can handle that many curious people...he thinks.  “We’re here,” he announces, and opens his door.

Tall pine trees surround the play area.  Pine straw and cones litter the ground in a thick, spongy layer.  Several picnic tables provide shaded seating for families who are interested in eating while their children have fun on the playground equipment.  There’s a concrete pathway that winds through the trees and ends at an open gate inside a high brick wall.  A sign at the entrance reads, WELCOME TO FUN FOREST.  No one is sitting at the picnic tables, so Jared assumes the owners of the other cars, including his sister-in-law and nieces, must be inside the gated playground area.

Zipping past him through the open car door, Jensen makes a happy warbling noise that sounds like a mixture of a kittens purr and a small birds song. As Jensen flies higher and higher, his joyous purr/song gets harder for Jared to hear.  Looking up, he can only barely make out vibrant green wings flashing in and out of the pine branches high above him.  To anyone else from this distance, he probably looks like an exotic bird.

Great, first place they’ve gone and he’s already having a hard time keeping an eye on the little fairy.  This does not bode well for the rest of their adventures.

Just as Jared is about to call out for him to please come back down, Jensen beats him to it, spiraling gracefully downwards like a leaf caught in a slow moving whirlpool, wings outstretched to their widest span.  At the end of his glide, he hovers, a delighted look on his elfin face.  “There are small humans on the other side of that wall.  I saw them from the tree tops.  Shall we go in?”

“Yeah, Oka-“  before Jared can finish, Jensen takes off through the gate.  He’s definitely going to have to talk to the speedy little fairy about having a tad more patience with the slow-moving human who is supposed to be his companion and guide.

Jared sprints through the gate, intent on catching up, and nearly collides with a young child, a girl of maybe four or five, her hair in pigtails.  She’s staring raptly straight ahead where Jensen is fluttering right at her eye level.

“Are you a fairy?” she asks, in that matter-of-fact way only a very young child would have the presence of mind to use in such a situation.

“Yes, it is very nice to meet you.”  Here Jensen pauses to bend at the waist as though sketching a royal bow.  “My name is Jensen.  What is yours?”

Obviously enchanted, the girl giggles.  “Emily.”

From across the playground, way on the other side - this place is enormous - Jared sees Bethany stand up from a park bench and begin waving her arms over her head, a stroller by her side.  He puts one hand up to let her know he sees her, and says to Jensen, “That’s my sister-in-law over there.  We should head over.”

Jensen bobs his head, still looking at his new admirer.  “We are going over there.  But if you would like, we can play together later.”

Emily wastes no time, shouting at a woman sitting on a bench behind them with her phone in her hand, “Mommy, I’m going to go play with the fairy.”  As an afterthought she adds, “Okay?”

Jared doesn’t wait to hear what the answer is going to be before he starts walking.  He’s pretty sure he knows what’s about to happen.  He’s been mentally preparing himself for this.

With Jensen flitting along next to him, they pass some swings, a climbing wall, and a large, wooden structure with turrets for climbing, a bridge linking two separate sections, and a slide that spirals down from the higher of the two turrets.

This playground is impressive.  It’s easily the largest, most elaborate playground he’s ever seen.  Which is great except for the innumerable places there are for kids (or fairies) to hide.  A kid (or fairy) could, without even trying, give their parents (or Jared) a heart attack by tucking themselves into some out of sight section of the playground equipment, under the bridge just as one example.  He can see how easy it would be to lose sight of your kid (or fairy) for just a second and then become convinced that said kid (or fairy) had been abducted.  Jared gives the wooden structure a baleful look just on principle.

Even as small as Jensen is, kids have no trouble at all spotting him from across the playground.  By the time they reach Bethany, they have an entourage that includes five children and even a couple parents.

“Uncle Jared!” Gabriella calls out from the nearby swings.

“Hey, Pipsqueak!” Jared greats her.  Being the first niece and the first grandchild born to the Padalecki clan has earned her the dubious honor of that nickname.

At five years old, Gabriella is the oldest of his two nieces.  Her wavy brown hair and dimpled cheeks leave no doubt that she and Jared come from the same gene pool.  She jumps off the swing and comes running over, the crowd of children and their parents parting to let her through.

Usually, Jared’s arrival would be the cause of much excitement.  Today though, he doesn’t even get a hug.  As soon as she sees Jensen, he has her full attention.

For Jensen’s part, he’s totally in his element, not a shy bone in his tiny body.  Even though Jared is the only human he’s ever met, he’s acting as if having a group of people all staring at him in awe and amazement is a normal, everyday occurrence.  Instead of waiting to be introduced, he flits from one person to the next - child or adult makes no difference - speaking with each in turn, answering questions, performing mid-air acrobatics, and generally showing off for the crowd.

Every once in a while, one of the younger children, no doubt enthralled with the brilliance of his wings, reaches out with clumsy hands to try and grab him.  The first time this happens, Jared lunges forward to prevent Jensen’s wings from being mangled.  He need not have worried, however.  Jensen is incredibly aerodynamic.  He effortlessly slips past the chubby, reaching hand, laughing all the while.

Bethany gets his attention, saying, “Jared, come sit with me.  Looks like your friend is going to be busy for a while.”

On her lap sits Jared’s younger niece, ten month old Nadia.  The baby seems content to watch the proceedings from the safety of her mother’s arms.

“Hey there, Munchkin,” Jared says as he sits on the bench, reaching out to run a finger over the baby’s downy-soft cheek.  “Hey, Beth.”

His sister-in-law smiles down at the baby on her lap.  “So much for me getting to meet a fairy.  I was really looking forward to it after hearing you talk about him so much.  It doesn’t look like his admirers are going to be leaving anytime soon though.”

“Don’t worry, you’ll get to meet him.  He’ll come over here from time to time when he needs nourishment.”  Jared looks back over to where Jensen seems to have organized a game of follow the leader, with him as the leader.  He’s currently flying over a series of upright logs set at varying heights, and touching one foot down on top of each before flying on to the next.  The string of children behind him are all hopping on one foot from log to log.

The afternoon passes pleasantly enough.  Jared visits with Bethany and holds baby Nadia while watching Jensen and his new playmates.  His fear of losing the fairy amongst all the swings and slides and other paraphernalia proves to be unfounded.  There’s no way to lose sight of him.  All Jared has to do is follow the sounds of laughter and the assembled kids to know where the fairy is.

The gaggle of children around Jensen fluctuates.  Some of them get hauled off - literally kicking and screaming in some instances - by parents who have other things to do or places to go.  New ones arrive at the playground and are instantly drawn into the fairy appreciation society.  They play lots of different games, some of them Jared recognizes as his own childhood favorites, some of them he’s never seen before.

As he’d foreseen, Jensen does return every once in a while to cuddle up to his neck and absorb enough contact to continue.  On his first snuggle visit, he introduces himself to Bethany and instantly charms her by fluttering over to give her a kiss on each check and apologize profusely for ignoring her for so long.  He then holds a - seemingly - one-sided conversation with Nadia, the baby cooing and gurgling all the while.

“She is getting bored and wishes for her toy, the one with the flashing red lights that plays music.”  Jensen informs Beth.

“You can understand her?” Beth asks as she retrieves the toy from the large bag at her feet.

“Certainly,” Jensen says.

When offered the toy, Nadia grabs it with both hands and stuffs one end into her mouth.

Jensen watches the baby drool all over the toy with an expression Jared can’t quite decipher.  It’s either disgust or fascination.  He opens his mouth like he wants to ask a question, but is interrupted by Gabriella who comes skipping over at that moment. 

“Jensen, are you coming back?  I told the other kids I’d come get you since you’re my uncle’s fairy, so that means you kind of belong to me too.”

Jared inhales the wrong way and tries to protest around the coughing fit that ensues, tell Gabriella that fairies don’t belong to anyone.  All he manages to do is splutter in a way that is mostly unintelligible.

Bethany comes to the rescue.  “Gabriella, Jensen is a person.  You can’t own a person.  Tell Jensen you’re sorry.”

Tears spring to Gabriella’s eyes at the reprimand, bottom lip coming out in a pout.  “I’m sorry, Jensen.”

“It is all right.  I am perfectly content being Jared’s Jensen.”  He flies over to the girl, giving her neck a hug.  “Please do not fret.  Come, I know a game we have not yet played.”

And just like the awkward moment is diffused.

As they run/fly back to the other kids, Beth shakes her head.  “I’m sorry about that, Jared.  I’ll talk to her again when we get home, explain why it was wrong.”

“It’s okay.  He took it better than I expected.  Probably because he doesn’t understand all the implications.  I’ll have a talk with him about it, too.  He says he wants to understand more about humans.  I feel like it’s important he understand the ugly parts of humanity as well as the good parts.”

Out by the jungle gym, Jensen seems to be playing a game similar to King of the Mountain.  The children are taking turns climbing the structure while Jensen flies around between them.  Beth points and says, “He has more energy than anyone I’ve ever seen.  He’s a mother’s dream come true, tiring all those kids out the way he is.  Gabriella is going to sleep well tonight.  I’ll bet they all will.”

Jared chuckles.  “Yeah, he could make a fortune as a babysitter.  Imagine what parents would be willing to pay.”

But even Jensen’s energy isn’t boundless.  By around five o’clock, after they’ve been at the playground for just short of three hours, Jensen looks like he’s ready to crash.  He lands on Jared’s knee with less grace than usual, and says, “I think I need to rest, just for a short while.”  Wings drooping and eyelids at half mast, he climbs into Jared’s lowered hand.  A slight frown mars his sleepy face.  He tugs at the red and white board shorts.  “May I take these off now, Jared.  Please.”

Jared looks around.  Most of the other families are either already gone or are packing up to leave.  With Jensen tucked into his hand, no one will be the wiser, so there’s no harm in it.  And if Jensen will be more comfortable, after the busy afternoon he’s had, he deserves it.  Beth won’t care.

“Sure thing.”  Jared helps Jensen pull off the offending shorts.  Jensen makes a kittenish mewl of satisfaction.  Curling up in a ball on Jared’s palm, he’s fast asleep within moments.

Beth hikes Nadia, who fell asleep a while ago, up higher on her shoulder.  Looking at the sleeping fairy she says, “He’s really quite something isn’t he?  Are the other fairies like him?”

Jared caresses a gossamer wing.  The fragile membrane feels like it’s made from the most exquisite silk.  He thinks about Jensen’s curiosity.  He thinks about Jensen’s love of all things ‘human’, certainly a rarity among fairies.  He thinks about how much Jensen cares about every living creature.  About his bravery and about his unfettered joy.  “No, I believe it’s safe to say that Jensen is one of a kind, even among the fae.”

Chapter 3


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