Party for One
Thanks to killuasama
"So I can't like balloons? Vicious stereotyping."
Poor guy's standing there, practically shivering out of his boots. It's pretty funny, you know? Mean, but funny, and I guess that's what dark faeries like. I also guess that me saying that is stereotyping too, but I really don't care.
"No, ma'am." The Cybunny takes off his hat and fans himself, smiling in a stupid sort of way. "I wasn't trying—well, I mean—"
I cackle and pluck the balloon out of his paw, turning around in one sliding motion. "Of course you weren't trying to, dear, but it's what you did." I play with the string. "Anyways, your defense went up. You can leave now."
"Thank you!" I can hear his smile. What an idiot. Trying to suck up, to me, of all people.
I don't give him a response, strutting off with the balloon towards the heart of Faerie City. Just like a heart, actually, pumping out faeries, working to the beat of a monotonous rhythm, organic; not my type of place. Too much repetition, or maybe it's too just too many people.
Anyways, 800 years is plenty of time to realize that the world doesn't care too much for people like me. Dark faeries, that is. Which is good, because I like the lack of attention, so no need to pity me.
I walk faster, pulling the balloon down so it doesn't make me stick out so much. Forgot about that.
A hand grabs my shoulder and I shrug it off instinctively, already scowling. "Blythe."
Blythe smiles, a shining aura—an annoying halo of light that's perpetually following all light faeries— emanating from every immaculate tooth. "What's the balloon for? Something special? You know I like special things."
Of course, Blythe. Just like you, so absolutely special. "Go give some neopet a quest or something, I'm busy."
Her wings flutter indignantly and she frowns. "Now Thyra, I was only trying to be sociable."
"Well, I wasn't."
"You shouldn't be so introverted, you know."
"And why not?" I snap. "Not everyone has to be as bubbly and vacant headed as you, Blythe." I turn away before she can react and head off in a random direction. Before I can feel bad. Which I do anyways.
I sigh, rubbing my forehead. I haven't gone soft, have I?
I look up, brushing away the bangs that have collected over my eyes. "Huh?"
"Are you going to buy something?"
I realize I'm standing in the doorway of a confectionary. An impatient Aisha behind shoves me forward so that she can enter and I stumble a little.
I glare at her for a second before looking back at the Neopian asking me the question, the cashier. "Yeah. Sure." People buy those things for parties, right? Candies and sweetmeats and things... I wonder if anyone says "sweetmeats" anymore.
My hand trails along plastic cartons of Apple Sweeties and gummies, aligned in a row. I can feel the shoppers staring at me. What's wrong with a Dark Faerie having a sweet tooth? "Vicious stereotyping," I mutter, and I step back from the display.
I guess I don't really like candy. Not the sweet kind anyways. I prefer sour things.
I fill up a bag of sour suckers, my favorite, and random assorted sugary-looking things just in case. I pop a few black licorice hearts into my mouth before anyone can notice, just to reassure myself. I am a Dark Faerie. Buying candy doesn't make me soft. Pfft. Of course not.
I pay for the bags and hear a couple of little Wocky girls giggling together and pointing at me on my way out.
I turn and glare but instead of being afraid, they only giggle louder.
I curse their Gummy Slorgs to life and they shriek, dropping them immediately. Good. The anxiety that'd gripped me a minute ago is released and I feel nice and dark again.
Tying the balloon to the bags of candy, I flit up into the air. It's getting dark. I don't want to be late.
I turn just in time to get smacked in the face by a Neopian hurtling through the air. We're slammed onto the ground with an aggressive OOMPHing sound. This, of course, is followed by an immediate cake to the face.
I'm blinded by green icing and seething with rage. I don't move from the ground for a moment, using a single fingernail to scrape off the goo from my eyelids.
"I'm so sorry!" A voice circles me in a uselessly panicked orbit. "Oh my gosh! A faerie! I'm sorry!"
I ignore him for a minute, trying to flap my wings, only to realize that the right one is torn. Wonderful. Guess I won't be flying to the party.
I sigh, beckoning with my hand. "C'mere."
The unidentified Neopian comes obediently, nudging my arm with his shoe.
"Give me your jacket."
I take it from his hands and wipe the cake off my face, throwing it back at him like he's a coat rack. "Now get out of here."
It's a Grundo, wide eyed, stupid. "But I can't, miss! I owe you!"
He kneels dramatically, bowing his head. "For doing your face such an injustice."
Oh, great. A lunatic. "I don't have time for this." I wipe off the remains of the cake from my arms, hoping it isn't somewhere else I can't see. "Go get a new cake somewhere."
"You're released from your debt."
His eyes begin to water and he clasps his hands together. "But Lady Faerie! I can't leave you on good conscience."
Grr. "How do I get you to leave?"
His eyes retract the tears like freakish sponges and he smiles happily. "Once I've repaid you on my own terms."
On his own terms? Sounds vague and inconvenient.
I glance back at the horizon line; the sun is very surely sinking to meet it. I will NOT be late for the party.
"Fine." I look at the splattered remains of cake on the ground. "You needed that?"
The Grundo looks at it in surprise, as if noticing it for the first time. "Well, I'd planned on gormandizing it is all. I guess not anymore."
"It means eating something ravenously." He smiles. "I take special interest in words beginning with 'gorm'."
"Really," I say with the least amount of interest possible, beginning to walk. "And why's that?"
"Because it's my name."
"Huh." Responding to a small inclination to be sociable, I continue, "So I bet you play Gormball."
He blinks, antenna drooping. "What's that?"
It's going to be a long night.
"...so I totally gormed that gormless Techo with the pudding I found, right in the face. I consider myself a gourmand, you know, but I think losing the pudding was worth it."
He's been talking like this for hours. I swear he's doing it just to annoy me, squeezing random "gorm" words into his sentences. I'm not even sure what he's talking about anymore.
"We're here." I stop abruptly, an uncomfortable sensation suddenly running through me. Something like fear, but curdled with embarrassment. We're on the outskirts of town, even a little farther than most dark faerie homes. Close to what people would call the middle of nowhere.
Gorm's eyes widen. "Where are we? Some kind of haunted mansion?" He moves closer to me, whispering, "You might have to hold my hand."
I roll my eyes, stepping into the crumbling fixture before us. "It's my house."
"Oh!" He perks up immediately, rushing past me and into the living room. Or at least, that's what I call it. Its got a couple of chairs at least, and ratty carpeting, and a sofa I found in the rubbish dump one day. I let the spyders roam so I can get that nice cobwebs look. Just how I like it.
"You live here?" Gorm's sitting on a stray chair, bouncing lightly.
I'm not in the mood for critique. "So what? You got a problem?"
He looks at me with wild surprise. "I think it's gormolicus!"
He chuckles. "I made that one up. But I think it should mean, 'nice in a spooky kind of way'."
I smile, but it turns into a scowl. Don't encourage him.
With a sigh—I've been doing that a lot today— I collapse onto the couch. "Well, thanks for walking me home. You can leave now."
Gorm stops bouncing, raising his eyebrows, if you can call them that. "No, I can't. I haven't met any of my conditions yet."
I squirm uncomfortably. The sun is nearly set. "But I've got something to attend." I continue hurriedly, before he can ask if he can join me. "Alone."
He beams at across the room, as if I'm some beautiful creature. "Is that what the balloon is for? And the candy?"
Huffily, I cross my arms. "Perhaps."
He thinks for a moment, head in the hands he's propped up. "What's your name?"
I get up, finally. My shadow looms over him. "Get out."
"Out." Grabbing his arm, I make my way to the door. This has gone too far. This is my house, after all, and I should be able to do what I want, right? And I don't even know him. And I hate company. I want to be alone on my—
"Is it your birthday?"
The sentence hangs in the air like a bad word and I freeze. Oh, great.
I follow his gaze to the open kitchen door, open wide enough to see the dinner table set with a cake and unlit candles. A spyder sleeps beside it with a birthday hat on. I don't remember giving him that. Little thief.
Gorm wiggles his arm out of my grip and turns around, a stupid grin forming on his ugly little face. "It is, huh? Your birthday?" The grins falters. "Where are your friends?"
I cross my arms, looking across the room and blowing my bangs out of my face. "I don't need those."
I look at him, slit-eyed. "I don't. You can leave now."
"I don't have lots of friends either."
More pouting on my part. "I don't need a sob story, dear."
He nods sagely, taking my hand and suddenly patting it. I'm frozen with startled disgust and I let him lead me to the kitchen. What does he think he's doing? I could turn him into a mortog right now, on a whim, if I felt like it. I could do all manner of horrible things to him. And his hand is sweating. It's revolting.
"I'll sing you happy birthday." He thrusts me into the single chair at the dinner table. It takes him a second to realize that there's nowhere else to sit, so he busies himself with the matches and the lighting of the cake instead.
"Leave," I say, a little halfheartedly. I feel that curdled fear again. Ugh.
He mumbles a song mostly consisting of the word "gorm" while he lights each candle, ignoring me entirely. How rude! This is my house!
Once all the candles are lit, he looks at me. Very solemnly, as if he's gone through the steps of a sacred ritual and he's waiting for me to do my part. I mostly just sit and stew in the uncomfortable fear-like feeling.
Then, in the most frightening manner possible, he says, "I think I'm going to have to be your friend."
"What?" Where's all of this even coming from?
"Yes." He nods his head with zen-like serenity.
I stare at him. "I'm tired, okay?"
"Me too." He looks at the cake and his tongue hangs out like a puppyblew. He's starting to look a little drooly. "But um, my mouth isn't."
I stare. First the cake, which actually looks kind of good, to him, focused on the cake entirely, the reflection of fire squirming around in his eyes.
In his cake induced rapture, he murmurs, "I'm quite the gourmand, you know."
I sigh, and then sigh again, and then the sigh becomes me blowing out the candles. Gorm claps. "Happy birthday, faerie lady!"
He reaches for the knife to cut the cake but I snatch it before he gets to it. "Me first. Birthday girl." I stab the cake. "And the name's Thyra."