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Chapter 05

Wednesday Morning

‘I can’t believe the Agency doesn’t have any cars here,’ Troy said lounged on Raz’s shoulder, as small and light as a doll. ‘You guys are supposed to rule the world or something, and you don’t have any cars stashed on the road to Joxy?’

The fairy’s feet kicked his ear – which registered as barely more than a tickle. Raz giggled and reminded him, ‘This isn’t Agency business.’

‘Agent,’ Troy said. ‘My point still stands.’

Agent. A strange custom of the fae – to generally refer to anyone working for the Agency as “Agent”. It gave Raz a strange thrill and made him wonder what it would like to take that next step, to become something more. To have a HUD like a Terminator, to be able to teleport without so much as a flick of the wrist.

It was an amazing thought, but it was something that would never happen to him. Only the best and brightest would ever be augmented – and though he was sure he’d rank somewhere on the “brightest” scale, he’d never even twitch the needle of “best”.

‘So why the Joxy store?’ he asked as Troy flitted away from his shoulder and flew in a pattern to flag down the bus. ‘There’s one in the Marches, right?’

A slow, deliciously evil smile spread across Troy’s face. ‘The Joxy store was designed by architects from the Lost. It’s quite astounding.’

His wallet ached. ‘I’ve only got enough for the phone, and the basic plan.’

Troy kissed his cheek. ‘Never mind, Agent. It’s not your budget I plan on blowing.’

Raz felt himself go red, then tried to shake himself back to normalcy as the bus pulled up. He stepped on and tapped his transit card – the one thing that his agency had supplied for the trip – and they found seats down the back, just across from the toilet.

‘Just to go over some small business details,’ Troy said as the fairy lounged against the window, his legs lightly resting on Raz’s. ‘Today is costing two of your remaining sessions – the website would have told you that.’ He gave a lopsided smile. ‘Sorry. Travel time counts.’

‘I’m okay with it,’ Raz said. ‘I mean–’ He blushed again. ‘I definitely want– Later. It’ll be a nice way to close out the day. But– I like this too. I’m still relearning how to socialise.’ He gave a shrug. ‘I guess this is the boyfriend experience?’

Troy slid closer and kissed him. ‘No, that package comes with roses.’

Raz closed his eyes, leaned back against the seat, and let the fairy kiss circuits around his face. It was sexy, but not arousing – the kind of gentle that had been missing from his life.

After a few minutes, Troy slid into his lap – even at full size, the fairy didn’t weigh anywhere near what he should. He wrapped his arms around Troy and let his mind drift into the warmth of the embrace.

A warmth that was–

Raz opened his eyes and was face-to-face with Troy smirking at him.

‘Fairyland,’ he said. ‘It’s not against the law.’

Excitement pounded in his chest – he’d barely made out in public, let alone what was apparently on the table now.

‘Only if you’re comfortable,’ Troy said. ‘But I thought I’d remind you that I’m here to provide a service or two.’

Raz licked his dry lips and mentally ran up a pro/con list. The bus was nearly empty – the driver likely wouldn’t notice if they were quiet, and– And being part of the Agency had attempted to bring some bravery back into his soul.

He’d been one of only two kids to come out during grade twelve, and although he hadn’t had a date to bring to the formal, everyone had still known. He’d come out, even though he’d feared the reactions, the recriminations, and the–

He kissed Troy deeply. ‘I consent.’

Troy slightly adjusted Raz’s head, then pushed his shoulders back against the seat, helping his body to slide in the seat a little. Troy moved back to sit on Raz’s knees, his back – wings withdrawn – wedged against the seat back of the next row.

Troy’s hands went to Raz’s pants, quickly and expertly popping the button and unzipping the fly with the minimum of fuss.

Raz felt his breath catch, and he closed his eyes as both of Troy’s hands went to work.

It just felt…right. There was nothing lewd about it. Nothing– He allowed his eyes to open, and took in the landscape through a haze of eyelashes.

A good day. This was a good day.

He groaned as Troy increased his rhythm, his heart trying to catch up to the beat of each one of the fairy’s strokes.

Troy kissed him, and he came.

Raz slumped further against the seat but kept himself still enough for the fairy to clean him up.

Troy removed himself from his lap and headed to the bus’s single restroom, a tiny purple baggie of the dirty tissues in hand.

Raz tidied his pants and sat straight, half of him burning with embarrassment, the other half of him proud beyond compare that he’d done something as…bold as that. Raz of the bedsit never would have done that. Raz of the bedsit only ever fantasized about being with someone.

No one wanted to stick their dick in crazy. It was the one thing that had always rattled around in his mind when he’d thought of approaching someone. No one wanted to kiss crazy. No one wanted to catch crazy.

Yet, here he was, with a beautiful guy, whose interest seemed to go beyond their financial relationship.

Troy returned, shrank to the size of a doll again, and laid on Raz’s bag. ‘Unless you’re Hila,’ he said, ‘you’ve got a refractory period, so you may as well get some of your muggle questions out of the way.’

‘How do you–’

‘Humans always have more questions. It can get a bit annoying, acting like a fae-cyclopedia, but I don’t mind it every once in a while.’

Raz made a face. ‘Yeah, that’s kind of the problem. I don’t want to…act like a straight person.’

Troy gave him a confused look.

‘Straight person finds out they’re talking to someone on the rainbow, and suddenly it’s all “How do dicks work?” and “Is it really sex if it’s two girls?” and whatever else comes running out of their mouths.’

Troy started to laugh and rolled off the bag. His wings extended and kept him from crashing to the floor. He flitted up to Raz’s face and pressed a miniature hand against his nose. ‘How did they manage to sleep through all their sexual health and gender relations classes?’

Raz sighed. ‘I went through twelve years of standard schooling. Thirteen if you count preschool. In all that time, I had maybe…half a dozen half-hour classes on the entirety of sex and reproduction. And it was purely about heterosexual reproduction. Us little gays weren’t even mentioned as existing.’

Troy wrapped his arms around Raz’s ear. ‘Forcing that level of ignorance on children is awful.’

‘It’s getting better. Slowly. I’m sure by the time that my nibling is in school, they might acknowledge that there are same-sex attractions. I still don’t expect them to even try to broach gender identity.’

Troy sighed and slowly grew back to his full height. His wingtips touched Raz’s face.

They continued in silence for a few minutes, the bus taking them closer to the shopping district of Joxy.

‘Opin,’ Troy said.

‘Open what?’

‘My name,’ Troy said, ‘is Opin. Troy’s my name when I’m working. It’s also a user handle I use on some sites. I’m a bit of a nerd for human history.’ Troy smiled, brown eyes glittering in the sun that filtered in through the bus’s windows. ‘And I do definitely plan on flirting with you, Agent.’

‘What would you like me to call you?’

Troy raised a hand to Raz’s face and rested his thumb on Raz’s lips. ‘I like the way your mouth goes when you say “Troy”, so you can keep calling me that.’

Raz kissed the thumb against his lips, then pulled the hand away, his fingers entwining with Troy’s. ‘Michael Hu,’ he said. ‘My mother is white; my father is Chinese. It’s– Having a name like this is normal.’

Troy gave him a blank look.

‘Michael is Western; Hu is Chinese. Having a white name makes it easier – we’re not exactly living in a post-racism society.’

‘Humans are weird,’ Troy commented. ‘So who is Raz?’

‘Videogame character. Like a psychic investigator. I played Psychonauts around the–’ He swallowed. ‘Around the time I went crazy. Or realised I was crazy. Just before I had my breakdown.’

The words were spilling out.

He looked out the window. ‘I went– I didn’t put on pants. I fell out school. I lost everything. And everyone. And I thought if I could just go– Go into my own brain and rip out whatever wasn’t working– Thought I could cut it out. Be normal again. Be– Be what people expected again.’

Troy squeezed his hand. ‘At least there are other people on the outside with you. You’re not alone.’

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