Fiction, Kingdom of Rust

Building Relationships with the Fair Folk: 4

To welcome fairies to your home, leave out a small bowl of milk before you go to bed. Fairies love milk, and will take this as an offering to them.

Content warning: Coarse language

In some ways, Pidge was a lot like the stray cat that Wes left food out for on the porch. He came and went as he pleased, and you never knew for sure how long he’d stay.

The cat, actually, was a bit more predictable.

“Seen him?” Wes asked, scratching the orange tabby’s ears as it butted against his shin and pushed its nose into the bowl of kibble he’d set out. “Down an alley maybe? Up a tree? Is he hanging out in the colony with you?”

The cat made no answer beyond enthusiastic chewing noises, so Wes stroked its back once more and went back inside. He futzed around in the kitchen a while and then retreated to his room. It was getting late – even for Wes, for whom bedtime was usually when his face collided with his laptop – and so he shut of the lights, arranged something on the windowsill, just in case, and rolled into bed.

He was awoken just before dawn by a drop of something landing on him. “Whum!” said Wes, and sat up fast, shaking his head like someone had just dribbled milk in his ear.

Which they had.

“Ey,” said Pidge, who was perched on his headboard and wiping his mouth. “Din’t mean to wake you.” He set down the bowl he’d been drinking out of and which had previously been on Wes’s windowsill.

“I’m glad you did,” said Wes, reaching for him. Pidge let himself be dragged down into the blankets and only winced a little as Wes’s bony knees jostled him in the groin. “It’s why I left the milk out.” Other lovers might leave notes or flowers – Jessica had occasionally left Wes both, when she was feeling especially sweet – but Pidge wasn’t much of a reader, and Wes still hasn’t figured out what kind of flowers would be non-offensive to someone who frequently addressed plants by name.

In the opaque grey of pre-dawn light, he could see Pidge quirk a pierced eyebrow. “Oh yeah?”

It hadn’t been the most interesting trivia about fairies he’d found online, but it was certainly prevalent. “It’s supposed to be welcoming.”

“Is that why you keep getting me glasses of milk ‘n’ shit everytime I come over?”

Wes didn’t answer, just stuck his nose into Pidge’s neck. Probably Pidge didn’t come just for the milk, but it couldn’t hurt to encourage.

“I appreciate the thought,” said Pidge, and then winced and suppressed a burp. “Never one to turn down your hospitality, me. But hey, Westopher?”


“You couldn’t offer a brother some Lactaid, could you?”

Sometime later, remorseful, Wes hugged his knees as the toilet flushed and Pidge emerged from the bathroom, one hand on his stomach and an expression of regret on his face.

“You didn’t have to drink them just to be nice,” he said, as Pidge slithered under the blankets and nudged at him until Wes made a lap for him to rest his head on. “I didn’t know dairy disagreed with you!”

“Yeah, well, ‘snot whimsical to include ‘but the occasional fairy gets milk shits somethin’ dreadful’ in those pithy little elf blogs you keep finding.”

“Noted,” said Wes, strangely touched that Pidge drank all his offerings and damned the consequences. Maybe it meant that he would come by anyway, without the encouragement. Still, some things didn’t quite add up. “But Pidge?”


“Wouldn’t Lactaid not work on you anyway? Other human medicines don’t.”

Pidge groaned. “I dunno who’s more of an idiot here, you or me. It’s a good thing we can’t reproduce.”

“Can’t we? Well, obviously you and I can’t, but maybe you and a female human -” Wes started to say speculatively, but Pidge pushed him aside and made another dash for the bathroom.

“Sorry,” said Wes again, and hugged his knees. He looked surreptitiously at the open tab on his phone and wondered if he should just trust in Pidge’s dubious affection to keep him coming back. Or maybe he’d try leaving out sparkly objects like recommended instead.

It would be easier on the plumbing.

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