Faery, 3

If A Party Doesn’t Cheer You up, Drugs Are Probably Not the Answer

Ao3 Link

Juniper danced. Or at least that was what he thought he was doing. Really it was more sort of bouncing his arms around a bit while he tried not to fall down.

“Hey, fuckhead. You’ve ruined my life enough, don’t insult my dancing, maybe?”

Your dancing sucks.

“Like you’d fucking know. I’m having fun, okay? I had a bad breakup, I got poisoned, but now I’m feeling better and I’m having fun.” Juniper doesn’t stop dancing as he argues.

You’re still poisoned, that’s why you’ve been dizzy since you started drinking.

Juniper scowls. “That’s because of the alcohol.”

Yeah, it’s interacting badly with Hemlock’s power. Don’t worry, you probably won’t die. Besides, it’s far from the only thing that’s going inside you tonight that’ll interact badly with Hemlock’s power.

“I’m not listening to you, I’m having fun.”

Don’t complain later that I didn’t warn you.

The party was in a hollow tree about a mile out from the court. The coming full moon always made the forest thrum with power, and all kinds of different sources were awake as a result. That much power in one place—which it was since there were three hundred people here—came together like an orchestra, albeit one playing a few hundred different songs. This time of month always caused a party that nobody really planned, it just sort of happened.

Juniper moved backwards as he danced, thinking he should get another drink, a line of thought that stopped, or was rather put on pause, when be bumped into someone. No big deal, everyone bumped into each other, sometimes on purpose. When he’d last opened his eyes there’d been a lot of bumping going on not far from him, though he’d decided he needed more drinks before wandering over to see if he could join in. He’d started to and then seen Hemlock’s face in his head.

“Hey,” said the voice of whomever he’d bumped into.

“Don’t say that like I don’t fucking know who it is,” Juniper mutters before turning around. “Also, whomever? Come on, that’s not the tone of this narrative.”

Shut up and turn around.

Juniper turned around, putting on his best ‘I feel bad that I cheated on your brother but since it was with you I reserve the right to hit you if you try to take the moral high ground’ face. “Hey yourself. Having fun?”

Honeysuckle gave him a ‘you cheated on my brother so I’m mad at you but I also feel guilty because it was with me and so my anger is mostly guilt that I’m projecting onto you’ look. “I was until I saw you.”

Juniper rolled his eyes, pushing down either guilt or nausea. “You knew I was going to be here.”

“You shouldn’t be. Hemlock hasn’t come out of his room since…”

“Stop acting like that’s completely my fault,” Juniper interrupted, feeling a pang of crappiness run through him. “He’s not coming out of his room because he’s afraid he’ll have to talk to you.”

Honeysuckled glared, wings vibrating red. His hair was a tumble of yellow curls flecked with red and he was slender, long armed, and really good at making things disappear. “You lied to us. You told us that he was okay with you…”

“Oh, fuck off, Honeysuckle,” Juniper said, backing away a bit. “You knew I was lying when I did it. You did it because you figured we wouldn’t get caught, just like I did.”

Honeysuckle buzzed forward angrily, but then subsided when Juniper didn’t back down. “It was a shitty thing to do. Stay away from Hemlock. Don’t try to win him back.”

“Do you see me trying?” Juniper asked, holding out his arms. He felt nauseous again. “Unless you’re planning to fuck me, then get lost, will you?”

Honeysuckle did get lost, buzzing away into the crowd. Juniper shook his head, his good mood gone. He went to get another drink.

“Hear the queen’s going to do something about it if it gets to be a bigger problem,” a faery was saying near the floating, glowing orb that was dispensing drinks for everyone. Juniper barely listened while he refilled his, emptied it, then refilled it again.

“Already a huge fucking problem if you ask me,” another said. “They’re massive.”

“They’re just bugs.”

“No, there’s something wrong about them when you get close. Something toxic and gross. They need to be dealt with.”

The alcohol wasn’t working, but fortunately Juniper saw his sometimes friend Grass and zipped over to him. He had a pouch of some mysterious thing that he was handing out. “Hey, what you got tonight?”

Grass smiled mysteriously as if he wasn’t the least mysterious person in the world. “Something new. You want?”

Juniper nodded, holding out his hand. Grass put a small tablet into it. “Will it help me forget that I hate myself?”

Grass nodded slowly, and put a second tablet in Juniper’s hand. “That should do it. Go fly, buddy.”

“Thanks,” Juniper said, taking off and raising his hand to his mouth.

You really shouldn’t take both. One is probably enough until you know what it does.

“Yeah, yeah,” Juniper mutters.

He took both, washed them down with the last of his alcohol, and went to go dance in the sky. As he moved along with the music, Juniper wondered if what he’d taken was actually doing anything. Sometimes Grass’s new mixtures didn’t. Maybe he should go back to drinking, or maybe…

Maybe he was swirling in a world that span with the sound of colours. Everything was moving in a tide, a stream and a wave and Juniper moved with it, forgetting himself and his problems and everything but being part of that wave. Here, there were no worries, no guilt or anger, no sickness, no Hemlock and his brothers, no centaurs, no Juniper, just waves.

One wave crashed into him, and he rode it, and it rode him and they rode together, around and on top of an into each other, drifting and letting the wave carry them, holding each other. Juniper was touched all over and he touched back and they moved together and went into each other and became one, flying in the stream that got stronger and stronger.

Until it wasn’t a stream but a torrent and they were in its centre, a maelstrom of rotted ice that, with a touch and a movement and a word, exploded outwards in a cascade of sounds that made Juniper cry.

And when it was done he lay there in the stream, warm and not alone, Juniper watched the light of the stream dance until the only thing he could see was a dream.

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4 thoughts on “Faery, 3

  1. I assume that Juniper is going to wake up to a) one of Hemlock’s brothers, b) Hemlock himself, and/or c) someone even worse.


  2. …So how did Juniper earn your favor in the first place? Because I haven’t seen any hints of redeeming features from him so far. He doesn’t even have the style and panache of the properly villainous characters going for him—he’s just a flaky, impulsive jackass.


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