“Acorn? Did you write this?”
Rune Leveau, the owner of the Lucky Devil and Acorn’s personal hero, was not happy. Acorn knew it because she was crossing her arms and clenching her jaw. It was a very clear sign she was not happy and Acorn did not want to answer her. “Acorn. I’m speaking to you.”
The little brownie kicked their tiny feet, starring at the table top, their little head too heavy to lift. Rune’s large finger appeared in Acorn’s vision, lifting the little chin up gently to make the brownie look at her caretaker. Instead, Acorn stubbornly turned their head away from the finger, refusing to look at Rune.
It wasn’t fair. Acorn was trying to do something for the greater good.
“Acorn, look at me,” Rune said gently but firmly. Acorn shook their little head in a really hard ‘no.’
Rune straightened again and looked over at Christopher, who had a shade of guilt on his face as well.
“I’m sorry Rune,” the troll florist said, “I didn’t know what he had written on that piece of paper, I just wanted to help.”
Acorn’s head snapped up. “I’m not a he!” the little Fae declared, with a stomp.
“Oh! I beg your pardon. I just assumed…. But I shouldn’t assume…” Christopher flustered, looking at Rune for help.
“Acorn, would you please share with Christopher what pronouns you prefer to be referred by,” Rune instructed, kindly.
“They or their!” Acorn declared.
Christopher nodded sagely. “That’s… confusing…”
“It is what they want so that is what we do,” Rune stated. “Did you know that Fae choose everything about themselves?”
“What do you mean?” Christopher cocked an eyebrow at Rune.
“I just learned this recently, but apparently, unlike us mortal peoples who have our identities and genetics all randomized by the will of who knows what, Fae are born like little blobs of potential, like caterpillars. Or kind of like caterpillars. I didn’t really understand anything the Orange Lady said until caterpillars and caterpillars is where I make my stand.”
“You’ve met the Orange Lady?” Christopher other eyebrow rose up to meet the first one.
“You’ve heard of her?”
“The rebel Fae who is rumored to still serve the defunct Faerie Court and is wanted by numerous corporate police forces for illegal activities against the city?” Christopher went back to switching out the flowers he was delivering, plucking up the final three wilting vases with his large, angular hands.
“Oh right, I got you that true crimes book for the last Secret Santa.” Rune nodded as she remembered. “Any way, it turns out when baby Fae are ready to grow to the next phase of Faerie life they get to pick their gender, their type, whether they fly or not, what sort of powers they want to have, what color their hair and eyes will be. Apparently they can chance their minds too at later stages of their life cycles. It’s really fascinating.”
“Ha, if I could have done that, I would have gone for shorter tusks,” Christopher said, tapping his perfectly white lower tusks, the tips of which were level with his nose.
“Why? What’s wrong with tusks?”
“I don’t know Rune, what’s wrong with curly hair or only having two legs or having a wide nose?” Rune was surprised by Christopher’s sharp tone. Gruffly he picked up his box, having refilled his box with all the old vases. “Maybe if I had smaller tusks or no tusks, your friend wouldn’t have punched me on sight.”
Acorn was confused by all of this grown up talk. If the troll didn’t want tusks, why did he grow them at all? Acorn remembered fondly how much Mother Titania had laughed with delight when Acorn had informed her that they wanted to be genderless. It had just seemed right to them at the time. Acorn was proud to be what they were.
Before Acorn could contemplate the sadnesses of being people who couldn’t simply decide for themselves what they wanted to be, Ms. Rune turned her attention back to the little brownie.
“Now, back to what you were doing playing the Lucky Devil, Acorn.”
But before Acorn could say anything more, a high pitched voice squealed.
“There he is! Get him! Defend our Lady!!”
A swarm of little Fae charged into the Lounge Bar in a mass of color and sparkle. They poured out of everywhere, filling the air with little bodies all centering on poor Christopher. Like untrained dive bombers, the little Fae began to drop like shooting stars, aiming for the helpless troll. The troll only got his mouth open enough to express surprise right before poofed a puff of blue faerie dust right in his face. Several more colors popped after that: red, orange, green, indigo, maroon, grey, silver, turquoise, etc. The air quickly thick with dust and Lady Rune was alternating between coughing and ordering every little firefly who didn’t want to be literally grounded to get out of the bar immediately.
Acorn took the opportunity to escape out of the front door. Lady Rune had ordered them to after all.