How to summon a fairy queen
She was slim and beautiful and covered in peanut butter.
“Pidge?” said Wes, and then said it again, higher and more desperate. “Pidge??”
Pidge said something barely audible from the kitchen where he was wrist deep in a fucking turkey, Westopher, this better be a fucking emergency.
“It’s an emergency,” said Wes, and leapt back as she swiped for his ankles. “Pidge! It happened again!”
It had started – well, obviously, it had started with Pidge. It had started when Wes had stitched up the hole in his dealer’s gut and consequently saved the life of an exiled lordling of Faerie. Or, depending on who you asked, created a damned inconvenient blood debt with a scapegrace middle child whose family was just comfortable, okay, you don’t gotta turn everything into hyperbole you dramaqueen.
But he had rescued Pidge, and had discovered that magic was real, Faerie was a sewer grate away, and fairies tread lightly between the boundaries of worlds. He had also discovered that Pidge was lousy at answering questions, due to a combination of natural reticence and even more natural ignorance, and when Wes got tired of hearing ‘I dunno, can you describe exactly why a refrigerator works?’ he had turned to the internet.
It had been helpful, almost, in allowing him to discover the concept of geas and glamour; of lore and law; of over hill and under mound and the concept of the court. So he had kept reading, digging through Wikipedia and academic texts alike, and some of what he found seemed plausible; some of what he found even seemed probable.
And some was ‘how too grow yourown fairie wings’, and was mostly bullshit.
Wes had read Pidge the one about wings, since Pidge hadn’t had a good answer for ‘why don’t you have them?’ and Pidge had laughed himself sick over ‘clap eight times and put your magick symbol on.’ So Wes had kept digging through ‘1018 Free Magic Spells’ because Pidge was pretty cute when he laughed, and because you never knew what you might find.
The problem was when Wes started trying them out.
The greater problem was when they started working.
“God fucking damn it,” said Pidge, wiping his hands on the dish towel tucked into his belt as he stepped out onto the porch and looked down into the tupperware. “What did I tell you, Westopher? What did I tell you?”
“You told me they wouldn’t work and to stop being an idiot.” That had been before Wes had successfully mastered what the website had called frigokinesis and had made it start snowing, very briefly, in the vegetable crisper.
“And then I said best not to test them, just in case.”
“I’m a scientist,” said Wes. “Testing is what I do. It’s basic empiricism, oh, help -” Thin, spindly fingers had seized his shoelaces and tiny, needle teeth gnashed as he frantically shook his shoe off and crowded back towards the door and Pidge’s broad chest.
Pidge wrapped an arm around his waist and lifted him backwards, depositing him none too gently on the other side on the lintel. “She won’t be able to cross the stoop,” he said gruffly. “Not unless you invite her. Though shit, you summoned her, didn’t you? Idiot.”
“The spell said an ice cube in a tupperware would work for the water element,” said Wes from behind his shoulder. “And peanut butter, for earth I guess? But it said it would only work in a bonsai grove, which sounded dumb, do they even know what a bonsai is? So I took that ficus you got at Echobrook and figured it was a decent substitution but I didn’t actually think it would work.”
Pidge shook his head, and Wes clung to his arm as the figure dragged herself through the peanut butter, beads of venom dripping from her fangs, lacquer wings beating furiously. “Never thought your problem would be not believing in something enough. Where the fuck do you find these things?”
“It was a 5/5 rated spell,” said Wes, into Pidge’s bicep. “But they all are, really, I don’t know who rates them. Even the grow your own wings one was 5/5. It said ‘how too summin a fairie queen’ and I thought, well, I have all those things, except the bonsai grove, so I got the ficus -”
“Ain’t a fairy queen,” said Pidge. “Just your average pixie jenny, not even a queen, those are a lot bigger, but the jennies are mad for nut butters. Dunno why.”
“Protein content maybe? Or the fats? Or – ahh, Pidge, she’s biting!”
“Stand back,” said Pidge, unnecessarily, and raised an open palm.
“Don’t hurt her!”
“Don’t hurt her!” said Pidge in a high, scathing voice. “You really are the limit, Andrada.”
“You knew what you were getting into,” said Wes, but scooted his chair a little further from the high pitched chittering coming from the top of the fridge. “Trapping all those spiders under cups should have tipped you off.”
“That and the sympathy for cold-blooded murderous fey beings trying to kill you.”
“Jenny wasn’t trying to kill us! She was just a little upset.”
“I was talking about my siblings. But yeah, no shit she’s upset. She’s in a tupperware and stuffed next to a cuisinart, she’s fucking livid.”
Wes cast an unhappy glance at the top of the fridge. They’d tried to let the pixie free on a string, so that Pidge could assess whether her wing needed splinting, and she’d immediately dived into the turkey and sent stuffing flying everywhere. Wes had only prevented fairy on fairy violence by throwing his shirt over her and giving Pidge his best pleading look, one which was especially effective while topless. Not for the sex appeal, he guessed, but for the tragic patheticness of it all.
“And for the record,” said Pidge, “when I fell for your ass I did not know what I was getting into. If I’d known what I was getting into I woulda tried a lot harder to die in that sewer.”
Wes reached across the table – across the distressed carcass of the turkey and scattered piles of stuffing – and took Pidge’s hand. “I’m glad you didn’t.”
Pidge twisted his face around in the way he did when he was trying not to look besotted – a look Wes only knew because Jessica had pointed it out to him – and said, “Right, well, we gotta find a way to stop these dumbass spells from wreaking havoc on your life and my cooking.”
The dumbass spells, Wes might have pointed out, wreaked a lot less havoc on his life than anything that had happened within the first month of meeting Pidge, but he didn’t want to give Pidge another reason to start talking about dying in the sewer again. Instead he asked, “Why do they even work? Does this mean they’re out there working for other people?”
“Not unless they got a magical boyfriend too. It’s a proximity thing, like I’ve told you – warned you. My innate magical whatsit is subject to tainting your environment and making you susceptible to gimcrack internet spells actually working for you. Wisest thing would be to stop trying ‘em.”
“Hmm,” said Wes, noncommittally. “You could stop dripping magical essence around the house.”
“You like my essence.”
“Hmm,” said Wes again, more commitally, and picked up Pidge’s hand to kiss the knuckles. He considered suggesting that if it was the quality of spell Pidge objected to, he could always give Wes something better, but then decided it would be better for Pidge to reach this conclusion himself.
“Fine,” said Pidge, watching Wes’s lips on the back of his hand. “Fine, we’ll figure something else out, mebbe cast some wards around the areas you wanna spellcast in, mebbe get you some better resources.” He caught sight of Wes’s face and added, “After we splint this biddy’s wing.”
“See? You know exactly what you’re getting into.” This time, Wes leaned across the table and kissed him, and Pidge didn’t bother twisting up his face at all.