Maggie wanted me to move. I wouldn't. I sat on the edge of the fountain and stared at them, waiting for something to make sense. Maybe that was asking for too much. Maybe this sort of insanity happened all the time in Elsewhere, and the others were so used to it that suddenly deciding my father was fae sounded normal.
It didn't sound normal to me.
"Japanese," I said, though none of them had been talking to me.
Maggie looked at me, a little smile quirking her lips, but she must have realized how unsettled this had made me. She waved the other two to be silent and came to sit by me on the fountain's edge.
"I know that's what you believed growing up, Mark," she said, a hand on my arm. "But this isn't so bad, you know."
"Too much change," I finally said, trying to fit this new idea into my worldview. It wasn't going to fit. I couldn't be fae. Half-fae. What did that even mean? I couldn't even begin to frame questions and I found myself staring at Edmond, as though he was going to give me any answers.
"I am constantly amazed by the human ability to ignore the obvious," Edmond said with a shake of his head. "How you people figured out civilization --"
Maggie came over and scooped him up with an indulgent smile. Maybe she had seen my fingers twitching. When I looked at her she grinned and I couldn't figure out why this wasn't bothering her more. She was my cousin. Me being --
Well, she had more contact with fae than she had with Japanese, I suppose.
A cold wind blew out of North Street over us and I shivered at the feel of snow flakes brushing over my skin.
"He's anxious for us to get to work," Davis said. He glanced up the street and frowned. "Something is coming."
I could see movement in the fog and snow but I didn't realize what we faced until the one hundred plus pound snow leopard bounded out of the snow and crossed to the fountain. I was in the fight or flight stage -- and definitely edging far over to the flight side.
"Hey, Snow," Edmond said and jumped from Maggie's protective arms to walk over and rub against the big cat's leg.
"Hello, dark and daring little brother," the big cat said, a rumble of words that sounded as though he purred as he spoke. He looked around at the rest of us and gave a regal nod to Maggie. "I came as soon as I could. Lord Ice felt you might need some guidance."
"Always glad to have your help, Lord Snow," Maggie said with a friendly nod. "This is my cousin Mark. We seem to have run into a problem with him."
"So the dragon seems to believe." He sat down and shook snow from his very large paws sending Edmond leaping away with a bit of a hiss. I thought the big cat smiled. Then he looked at me, large green eyes blinking. "You are not aware of your heritage, I see. Not knowing you are half fae would have made matters far worse if you'd stayed in the human world for a few more years. Here, at least, you have a chance to learn to control your powers. I do suppose this is hard to get used to, though."
"Right up there with having polite discussions with snow leopards," I replied.
The big cat gave a coughing laugh, but a nod of understanding.
The wind blew past again and Lord Snow looked over his shoulder with a twitch of his tail. "For a creature who claims he doesn't care about what goes on outside his realm and who has no concept of time, our fine dragon friend seems to be in a bit of a hurry. Or at least seems to think we should be. Come along boy. We can walk and talk at the same time."
I found myself falling in beside the snow leopard while the others went on ahead. I had no idea where we were going.
"We will need to find out who your father is," Lord Snow said with a glance at me.
"I've no idea," I said.
"That may have been for your own protection. We don't know, after all, why your father was even in the human lands. We need to learn these things before we can understand anything about why you might have been drawn here now. Have you shown any aspects of fae powers?"
"Yes," Davis said. "When he saw a were-creature killing a girl on the human side, he called a gun from the were's pack and killed it."
"I --" I began. Then I stopped. Stopped talking and stopped moving. I stopped seeing anything around me as well. "Is that how I got the gun?"
"Yes," Davis said. "And I think that gives us a good lead on where to look for his father. He called the gun instinctively, with no training --"
"Mark is a Protector!" Maggie said, startled. "We need to get to the court. We need to get him sanctioned right away."
The others agreed. I still had no better idea of what was going on than I had before. I had to find the right questions to ask, but my mind was still trying to fit the idea of being half-fae into my thoughts.
"Why didn't my mother tell me?" I finally asked. "It's not like we don't know about Elsewhere --"
"She might not have known," Edmond explained. "We don't know. There's no reason to speculate on that --" He stopped talking and looked over his shoulder with a sudden hiss of anger. "You know, I think we could have one conversation without being interrupted."
This was not going to be the conversation. Whatever was coming, it was loud and large and we didn't have time to run.
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