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Summer Stretched the Rules

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Lee was staring, the words coming at him just the way they could when Tony was overexcited. He didn't quite like the direction they were taking; he sat up and gently overrode the next sentence. "You do realize that if you finish that with 'and if you stick around me, that might be too dangerous, so you shouldn't,' I'll smack you, don't you?"

That did cut his boyfriend's babbling.

"For one thing, it's absolutely cliché--"

"Hey! We haven't done it!"

That did get Lee to smile a little. "Can you see Raymond Dark display that much weakness?" But the green eyes remained, concerned, on the other young man's face. "And for another thing, I know."

A small pause, the words hanging in air weighted by shared experience, then Tony's shoulders slumped, a little, and Lee moved closer, one arm going around his shoulders. "I know. And I know things aren't going to go away just because we wish them to. And I'm still. here." It maybe wasn't entirely fair to use this voice on him like that... but it did take care of the budding panic. Or aftereffect panic.

He didn't like it when his too-recent (in his opinion) boyfriend and very young wizard was in that state. But this isn't exactly about me, either, is it.

Lee eased off a bit from the velvety voice and into warm, steady. "How about you calm down a bit and tell me what happened?"

So Tony did.

***

There were weird sounds coming out of Amy's car. Like, really weird.

No, not that kind of weird. ... not the (theoretically) haunted or possessed kind of weird, either. Just weird clanking when it was moving, and an even weirder whine (maybe it was a screech, but it sounded like a whine!) when you pressed the breaks.

The logical conclusion to which was that her car was in for repairs, and Tony found that the levels of noise she could generate in his van could rival, if not quite win over, those that Brianna and Ashley had managed. Which was scary. Except her information was even more pointed and her questions, well, uh. Much better directed.

At least he wasn't going to be driving her long or far. Just getting her from Burnaby to the meeting point she had with Jack. He'd been out of touch for the afternoon or she'd have made him come pick her up, but it was a food place date and Lee had a late photoshoot that he'd whizzed to when Peter called a wrap and Tony had had stuff to finish and-- ('I know the part that says where I was, you realize,' Lee interjected with a smile. '-- oh. Yeah, right, sorry.' Tony shot him a sheepish glance and tossed another container of leftovers into the microwave.)

Anyway, he had a bit of time, and while he wasn't overly eager to be the third wheel, he got dragooned into sitting down for at least a coffee with them, Jack having, as per usual, questions, and too little no-Amy time, for the last couple of weeks, apparently, to catch him on a one-on-one. Although once they'd sat down, the two of them apparently had some catching up to do for the few hours since Jack would pick up his phone, so Tony was reduced to shifting in his seat and trying to find another place to focus his attention, rather than on them. Not that he minded some activities, just watching them too closely-- ('Tony.' There was definitely laughter in Lee's voice. The wizard actually blushed. 'Aaaanyway--')

Then in danced their waitress.

She was young, almost too young looking to be allowed to work at a place like that and as such. Her hair had been bound into long dreadlocks, each of them a different shade, from a deep lavender to pale blue and green to pure white, so that when she moved it almost seemed that her hair had been formed from glacial ice, and that was some effect. She wore leather pants and a white uniform shirt tight enough for her nipples to be pressing against the strained fabric... and even through this blatant display of, well, girlness, there was something about her pale, radiant... perfect features, the beautiful feline motions, that was just androgynous enough for Tony to find himself reacting to her.

He was honestly and very much gay.

He hadn't had any sort of reaction to a girl, even if this faint, since, well, ever.

Somehow, even the silver glitter at her bellybutton made him more aware of his own body. Well, the piercing at his brow, but still.

It was... odd. Weird.

As she approached and bantered ... alluringly? with Jack and Amy, the realization dawned on him, between his reaction and the cast to her features and the way she seemed to take sensuous pleasure in things as simple as picking up the menus from the table...

Different. Possibly inhuman (although this time there was definitely no superimposed horned demonic figure, thank you very much). At any rate... alien. He swallowed.

And she did really seem to dance over to their table, the odd eyes, seeming almost cat-like, centering on him with a strange smile - although she didn't seem to be quite meeting his look. "Something frightening, cutie? Come on, what will you have?" Now she spared attention for the other two again. "What will you all have?"

All that Tony could come up with was, "Um..."

"How about some pie? Tonight, it's on the house, if you have coffee." Which was a bit odd, although it was late enough that coffee might not be a frequent order. He swallowed as the canted eyes flicked back to him. "Offer's valid for everybody."

Amy asked if the pie was good, and after emphatic (somehow) affirmation, she didn't have much trouble to get Jack to agree. Trying to figure out what was going on, Tony didn't quite register when he agreed to have both, too. Well, he didn't mind the coffee, and he couldn't exactly run away without figuring it out, now could he?

In a few minutes, he was picking at his pie, too confused to even taste it yet. Amy was talking about something, some caller from the day, she'd not even touched hers, but Tony wasn't even registering her words looking around. All the staff seemed to have something alien and way too beautiful and kind of cold (or maybe it was just because it was winter outside, and he had been chilled? Or was still? He did sip form his coffee to try and warm up); all the patrons were... well. There were something odd about them. Kind of vacant faces, kind of too quiet - for a moment it felt like Amy's was the only voice he could hear, the sound of Jack digging into his pie a quiet counterpoint - and kind of too focused on the lithe figures up and about the place.

He turned back to his friends (well, he was still wary of calling Jack that, but he supposed he technically was, right?) only to see the blond's face starting to go slack as he finished chewing the bite. The pie in the plate by the mountie's hat was more than halfway finished, he must have been very hungry.

"Amy?" But she just went one with her story, waving a hand and talking animatedly. Until Tony reached and caught her arm. "AMY."

"What?"

"Um. Look around you, will ya?"

"Why?"

The wizard - and he was very much feeling like he might need to be that - turned his head towards Jack, and she followed his gaze. Pulled her arm free and waved it in front of her date. Frowned. Then did look at the rest of the place. "I think there's something ... alien? Not human? in the staff. I don't know what, though."

She frowned. Then looked down at her plate. At Tony's. "Did you actually eat any of that?"

"Nu-huh. Trying to figure out--"

"Good. Don't."

"Okay. What do you figure?"

The hot-pink hair with black roots swung, waiting as one of the waiters drifted by, in and out of hearing. Amy's gaze lingered on the sinuous grace of his motions (Tony's own ears turned slightly red at the casual, lopsided smile, or the memory of it), then his friend leaned forward and lowered her voice. "Okay, so. Very beautiful, alien, and the gifts they give get you, um." Brief glimpse sideways at Jack, who had caught the eye of their waitress and was smiling, his face elated. Amy ground her teeth and her hand twitched as if she wanted to smack him, but she lifted her chin, looking - or trying to - particularly noble. "Enthralled."

"I don't like riddles."

"You're no fun."

"Amy!"

She rolled her eyes. "Fae."

"... fairies? You've gotta be kidding--"

"Not... well, fairies is kinda misleading. Fae. Sidhe. Fair folk, and, well, they are."

"Yeah. And they've got Jack." Amy's face fell, cutting off the rest of the explanation. "And everybody else in here."

"Yeah..."

"Fucking great." Tony pushed at the food, then his eyes widened and he looked back up at her. "And the coffee?"

Bright-haired and sad-eyed headshake. "Not a present. I mean, I think if it was in their land, it might not matter, but here they must follow rules."

"And how come they've not done anything like this? On a great big scale? We'd have heard, right? Or you'd have heard." Or somebody else would have heard.

She shrugged. "I don't know."

"And how do we get them out?"

"I don't know! How do we get out?"

"Oh. Uh..."

He looked around, or rather, at the staff. Watched them for a minute, trying not to get distracted by the rather frank stares back.

Her. The one that had talked to them first. He took a deep breath, then called her over. The delicate eyebrows rose, he could see that across the space between them, but she did dance over.

"Let them go."

"Wha-at?" There was a teasing in her voice. "You figured something out, didn't you?"

He glared. "You got my friend. You got people who did nothing wrong. Let them go!"

"I might. Or I might not. Why should I? They are mine now..." Her eyes met and lingered on Jack's, and the blond shuddered, visibly pleased.

"What right do you have to do something like that?!"

Definitely amusement at his indignation. "Oh, I might say that my Summer counterpart broke a few rules, it's making it possible for me break a few on my own." A twist in her voice which made Jack whimper, naked longing in the sound. "Have some fun."

"Whatever. Let. them. go."

She leaned over Tony, the boobage in his face definitely detracting from the distraction, thankfully - an effect she probably didn't expect - and murmured, "make me."

He reacted without thinking, the concentration and the spell spurred by the unusual stimulation way faster than he normally managed anything but the fetching spell...

... and she just danced out of the way, the noises somewhere behind her assuring him he'd managed what he'd been trying, but his attention was too focused on the Fae as she purred, "oh, what do we have here? A wizard? Let's see how you handle this..."

Her eyes changed, just a very subtle shift, and she drew a breath in.

Tony didn't wait to see what he was about to receive. The notice-me-not was complete and he was away from his seat in a heartbeat.

Amy's voice caught up with him as she whispered towards the place he had been at, a moment ago. "Are you crazy? You know you still don't know how to stop this one--" She ulped, as the feline eyes focused on her, and Tony swore under his breath. Was he going to get Amy into trouble--

The thought hitched to a stop as the ice-looking hair was thrown back and the Fae laughed. Long, and amused... it sounded like she hadn't heard a joke that good for a long time.

"Oh, young wizard, this is an entertainment I did not expect. Let's see if I can... help." The temperature in the restaurant dropped enough for Tony to start shivering. His next breath billowed in the icy air. And then he could feel himself yoinked out from the spell.

Definitely a different variety of feeling it than, uh, the previous times he'd been brought back. "Ow."

"You shouldn't threaten people before you know you have at least as much muscle as them, you know. You'll get into trouble." An irritatingly didactic tease in her voice.

Tony just glared, even if he had no idea what to do next. "I hate bullies. And I'm not quitting!"

To his surprise, she was still laughing. "Oh my. Don't worry, I think this amusement right here was enough, unexpected and funny, to make up for this." She lowered her head, and Tony could hear Jack's gasp, the muffled words between him and Amy. The soft murmur of voices through the entire place. "But you really, really should be more careful, you know. The Sidhe do not grant wishes without a price." She was tall enough that she didn't need to rise to tip-toes or anything to hover her lips close to his, the scent of chilled grapes and deep snow tickling his nostrils. "Maybe another time you might exchange one captive," her head canted and she did meet his gaze, for an instant, and then ran her fingertip along his chin, a cold shiver running through him... surprisingly on this side of unpleasant, if barely, "for another?"

Her eyes flashed in a too-familiar grin, just for a moment as she was turning away, and this time there was nothing pleasant in the shudder that shook Tony, nor in the way his fingernails dug into his palms.

Before he could think of a clever response, she'd picked up a hum, making all the staff turn towards her, and--

-- next thing Tony knew, he was nodding down, nose almost into his uneaten pie.

His head snapped up to look at Amy, whose eyes were coming into focus against his, and then they both looked at Jack, who was blinking in confusion, and dragged him out of the place before people thought to start asking about explanations. Out of the fucking diner. Towards Jack's car.

As they were brisking across the parking lot, Amy said thoughtfully, "you know. That thing she had going with her hair. It was pretty cool, don't you think?"

Tony groaned. "Just... don't do it where I can see, okay? Pretty please? I'll make you ... some food to beg you?"

She snorted. "Please. That's not an allure, that's a downright threat. Maybe you should have tried that on her."

"Somehow I don't think..."

"I was joking, Tony."

"Oh. Right. Of course you were."

"You gonna be alright, going home?"

"What? Yeah, sure."

"Your hands are shaking."

He looked down, then shoved them in his pockets. "Yeah, I'll be fine. I'm not going back there to have any food, and I think Lee might be home by the time I get there anyway, and--"

"Yeah, I get it." She coolly snatched the keys from Jack's fingers and pointed him to the passenger seat. "Catch you at work on Monday?"

"Oh, yeah. Have, uh. Fun."

She snickered and drove off, shoulders squared, and Tony caught the way Jack was frowning and knew she was about to be on the receiving end of his questioning.

Well. Better Amy than him, right?

***

They'd ended up doing things while Tony was telling about it. Getting a snack, for example, except in Tony's case it was less of a snack and more of a major meal, which made Lee worried just how much magic he'd been using; then the story kind of filled that in. Then they cleaned up, sort of. Then they'd sprawled on the bed, close enough for Lee to sense the residual tension making the younger man's motions just a little jerkier, harder. On top of the evident tiredness...

"So, you packed both of them up, bundled them Amy's way, and came home."

"More or less. I hope that Jack can handle that, and if not, he's got her to help him out.. although her ability to clarify what happened is... well, it's Amy..." he trailed off as the green eyes stayed steady on him, not distracted by the attempted humor.

"And so, because things outside your control will come about anyway, I should stay away to stay safe?"

"You should, yeah."

The green eyes rolled, lightly. "Doesn't the whole danger thing apply both to whoever is nearby, and to me even if I do stay away, since your sympathies are a little... hard to hide?" Tony looked away and Lee's hand cupped his cheek, lightly. "The difference is that here," he ran his fingers down his neck, down his chest over the t-shirt, "here is where I want to be."

The pale eyes snapped to his, slightly wider, still wondering even after all the affirmations. "You do mean this."

"Oh, definitely." Amused. They'd played the game of Tony mooning over him and not thinking himself worth his affection long enough. A little extra reassurance was never going to be over the top. "Besides, you did save the day. Again."

Tony's eyes narrowed, catching the soft tease. "Oh, bite me."

The smile that Lee flashed him was very brief, before he leaned down to where his fingers had hitched the familiar black t-shirt up... and he did. Then murmured against the fair skin, letting his voice improve on the very positive reaction. "I was rather hoping you'd say that."

Somewhat later, after they'd gotten sweaty and sticky, and then cleaned up, and then were curled up as though they hadn't bothered to clean up, Lee spoke into the dark hair. "Tony?"

"Mmm?"

"Be careful, okay?"

"I am..." The voice was drowsy, but. Lee's words held enough of a hold on him to pay attention.

"No, I mean. With the whole... magic thing. You're a big kid on the block now, and we know you are." The actor could feel his boyfriend's lips stretch in a smile, over the skin of his neck where the younger man's face was tucked in against him. "But you're not the biggest kid, either." Softer, lower, and he knew that even his voice alone, like this, could get Tony to shiver. "I don't want you hurt, either, you know. Shit will come, I know. But just... be careful."

The wizard shifted, head popping up to look at him, pale blue eyes open, and oddly soft. "I... you..."

"Yeah. I mean that. Just... be careful."

"O-kay..."

It was the kiss after that which chased the last of the tension away.