“I always wondered what I’d look like as a redhead,” Penny muses, running her fingers through her hair, which looks like rubies spun into fine shimmering threads. She turns her head and smiles at Raj, the smile sparkling in her green and gold eyes. “You have some interesting ideas, Raj. Thank you.” Her red hair spills over her sun-kissed shoulders, which never hold moonlight’s gleam no matter how hard he tries to imagine it.
“This is stupid,” Howard grumbles, fiddling with the scabbard of his sword and tugging on the neck of his cloak, trying to get it to sit comfortably. “Why do I have to be the right-hand man?”
“Because you just are, okay?” Raj is getting irritated. “Look, just don’t piss off the Queen’s Darkness. I’ve spent centuries learning how to hurt people. A lot.”
“Queen’s Darkness, my ass.” Howard can’t get used to having long hair; he keeps pushing it back out of his face, even though the long fall of silver hair is pulled back in a single neat braid and there’s barely a stray strand to tickle his face. “You’re not even black enough.”
Raj looks down at himself, at the all-black ensemble of shirt and trousers and cloak. He has to admit that Howard’s right; for some reason even though he can imagine their clothes and hair and eyes right, their skin always stays the same, and so do their bodies underneath the illusion. “Will you stop breaking the fourth wall? This is my fantasy, not yours.”
“Yeah, well, that’s obvious. For one thing, you can talk to Penny. For another, if this were my fantasy, I wouldn’t be the sidekick.”
“Frost isn’t the sidekick, dude! He’s Doyle’s right hand. They have a way more equal relationship than a hero-sidekick deal. Frost’s Doyle’s most trusted lieutenant; when they think he’s dead for good Doyle and Merry are both heartbroken. Doyle gives up the chance to be king of the freakin” Unseelie Court for Frost, for god’s sake.”
“Hey, guys? If you’re done arguing about who’s playing the main role here, could you remember it’s me and can we get going? We have a press conference to get to,” Penny interjects.
“A… press conference?” Raj isn’t sure where this is going, but it sure as hell isn’t where he was planning on it going.
Penny gives him an admirably subdued glare. “Yes, Doyle. A press conference. The public want to know that Princess Meredith is still healthy and well after her recent turmoils, blah blah blah. So let’s go, okay?”
“Uh -- okay,” Raj says.
There is no reality, not even an imaginary one, in which Howard’s Vespa is in any way comparable to the Black Coach. Fortunately there’s a limo waiting for them outside. Howard’s long cloak gets caught in the door, but other than that they manage to get settled in the back of the limo safely. One of Major Walters” men is driving the limo; Raj makes sure to check his credentials before entrusting Pe-- Merry to his care, and then sits in back with the other two.
“All I’m saying is that out of the two of us, I definitely wouldn’t be the sidekick,” Howard continues as if the conversation hadn’t stopped at all as soon as the limo’s moving.
Penny rolls her emerald-jade-gold eyes. “If you two have been fighting like this for a thousand years, I’m surprised you’re not both dead,” she says, reaching over to the mini-bar and pouring herself a drink.
“She has a point. There must be some reason that we’ve been able to get on so well for this long,” Howard says.
“Well, uh, you are my right-hand man.”
Penny snorts into her wineglass in a decidedly non-nobilityesque fashion.
“What?” both of them ask in unison.
““Like that’s not an euphemism.”
“Hang on a minute. I think this fantasy’s going somewhere I hadn’t planned.” Raj glares at both of them. “Can we get back on track here?”
Penny grins wickedly, tongue darting out across her ruby lips, and sets her wineglass down to run a hand up Raj’s black-clad thigh. “Of course we can, Darkness,” she purrs.
Now this is more like it. Raj’s eyes close as Penny’s mouth finds his, and for a long, luscious moment they are Doyle and Merry, falling fast into a deeply passionate encounter, the noble Faerie Guard and his beautiful Princess. He feels feral and wild and lustful as she moves against him, kneeling up on the limo seat to press her firm breasts against his solid chest.
“I’m looking forward to you being my king,” she murmurs before diving in for another kiss. “We’ll rule the Unseelie Court like it’s never been ruled before, with much less blood and gore and stuff, but more sex.”
Maybe her dialogue’s not all that great, but the feeling of her body pressed tightly against his makes it irrelevant. She’s unbuttoning his shirt and he has his hands up under the lush fabric of her top and she’s already making ecstatic moaning noises.
And then the touch of hesitant fingers on his thigh makes him recall one of the reasons Frost might be referred to as Doyle’s right hand.
He breaks the kiss reluctantly and turns his head to see Howard watching him, the green of his own eyes breaking through the appearance of grey. It makes his irises look like an externalization of the inner emotional storm that’s stirring up inside Raj as he gazes at his friend.
“What, you think we’d spend a thousand years as very close friends and not get freaky once in a while?”
“I promise you, Bainidhe Dub will hurt you if I attack you with it. Now will you stay in character?” Raj hisses.
“Come on, Raj, you know damn well that’s not the sword you’re planning to unsheathe here.”
“Um,” says Penny. Raj looks at her; her red hair is darkening to black, and her short black skirt and low-cut jade top are becoming an even skimpier outfit. “Raj, I’m sorry, but Leonard’s fantasizing about me as well, and since you and Howard seem to be pretty cozy…” She shrugs her now-bare shoulders and reaches down to tug her knee-high red boots into a more comfortable position. “Have fun, guys.”
And she vanishes.
“Damn it, Howard! Do you have to ruin everything?”
Howard also shrugs; it sends the grey cloak slipping down off his shoulders to puddle on the seat. “It’s your fantasy, Raj.”
“Fine. Fine.” Raj, frustrated, knots Howard’s long silver hair up in one fist and drags him in for a teeth-clashing, tongue-delving rough kiss. “Just remember one thing,” he whispers against Howard’s gasping lips as his own midnight-black locks spill over their suddenly bare bodies.
“I outrank you here,” Raj breathes into Howard’s ear, feeling the other man go tense and hard and hard against him. “So you have to follow my orders.”
Howard swallows hard, seems about to protest, and finally settles for, “Yes, sir.”
Raj smiles. Suddenly this fantasy, far as it might have come from his original idea, doesn’t seem so bad after all.