A few days after Jack had helped Ydris out of his cauldron of misery and self-doubt about his magic, he left the Highland and trotted down to Moorland Stables on Dale. He saw Justin standing with his father and Z cuddling Phantom a small way away. It was to Z that walked over to.
As he swung down off of Dale, Z greeted her friend with a cheery, ‘Hey, Dad.’
‘Hey, daughter,’ Jack said, ‘I need a favour.’
‘Who’s knees have you cut now?’ Z said with a very serious face.
Jack looked confused. ‘What? No, it’s about Ydris.’
Z immediately relaxed. ‘Oh, thank God, I don’t have to put up with another knee on my porch,’ she breathed, a hand on her chest.
‘Shut up, you fucker,’ the man said, rolling his eyes.
‘Okay, what did you actually want?’
‘Well, Ydris had a bit of a meltdown the other day - some self-doubt about his magic-’
‘How so?’ Z cut across her friend as he spoke.
‘He was doubting that people were interested in his “obscure kind of fantasy”, that he’s a has-been,’ Jack explained, ‘anyway, I need you to spread the word that Ydris is doing a show at Fort Pinta on Friday. I know you have your connections.’
Z laughed. ‘Yeah, my underground drug ring will definitely be there.’
Jack snorted. ‘I’ll look forward to it.’
Later that evening, Jack went back to the Highland and into the wagon. ‘You’re doing a show at Fort Pinta on Friday,’ he said to his boyfriend, who was writing in his spellbook as he so often did nowadays.
The hand he was writing had a sudden seizure, spilling ink over his page. ‘What?’ he said, voice strained and panicked. He gripped the pen tightly and turned to look at his boyfriend, the Pandoric swirl over his eye seemed to grow stronger and darken with his sudden onslaught of emotion.
Jack got out his phone and tapped onto tumblr to find out if there was any information about an actor that was in the final stages of cancer. ‘I’ve organised with James that you’re gonna perform a magic show in Fort Pinta on Friday,’ he said again, scrolling through his dashboard.
‘Why? I need more time than three days to prepare for a show,’ he said, voice strained with stress.
‘Because you need to boost your confidence,’ the younger man replied, still scrolling on his phone, thankfully he hadn’t seen anything that would upset him.
The magician stared down at his spellbook, eyes focused on the bleed of ink, hands fiddling with his pen. He gulped. ‘I’d best get practising then, hadn’t I?’
Jack smiled. ‘Yes, you’d better.’
Friday rolled around, and last night was the first time that Jack thought that this was the first time that he had seen Ydris sleep. The magician had been almost non-stop practising his routine for the show; sparks and flashes coming from his hands, objects levitating, wet objects suddenly becoming dry, other things suddenly bursting in flames.
As Ydris sat down next to Jack, the younger man noticed that his hands were shaking. He put his own hand on Ydris’. ‘You’ll be fine,’ he said, pecking his boyfriend on the cheek, ‘you’re an amazing magician and you’ve been practising non-stop, and you’ve perfected everything. You’ll be fine.’ He squeezed the magician’s hands with a smile.
Ydris grinned and returned Jack’s small kiss. ‘Thank you,’ he said, and then stood up. ‘You go on ahead, I’ll be right there.’
‘Okay,’ Jack said, giving his boyfriend a last kiss. ‘Good luck, and you’ll be fine.’ He swung up onto Knight and cantered off to Fort Pinta.
Jack heard the sounds of people arriving just as he pinned the last of the bunting on the old bartizans tower where Isebell had previously performed her own magic show. He turned around and saw about thirty people looking at him. His cheeks flamed and he felt the panic starting to grip at him.
Z saw her friend starting to go under the surface and hurried onto the stage. She gripped his shoulders and started to edge him off of the stage. ‘Ydris will here in a moment, guys, haha,’ she called to the crowd.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang and a puff of smoke rolled from behind the two friends. There was a coughing and a gloved hand waved the smoke away.
Zelda let out a shriek. ‘Jesus CHRIST, Ydris!’ she yelped, ‘warn me when you’re about to teleport behind me!’
The magician chuckled. ‘Sorry, Z,’ he said with a smirk.
Z took Jack off stage and narrowed her eyes at Ydris. ‘Mmmm, I’m sure you are,’ she said, although her tone was amused.
With his friends off of the stage, Ydris snapped his fingers and a spotlight from no discernible source beamed down on him and followed him as he stepped into the centre of the stage. He swept his arms wide and cleared his throat. ‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he called, applying a spell to project his voice, ‘welcome to the Great Ydris’ magic show. I promise you that you will astounded-’ a nearby plant burst into flames - ‘and amazed-’ a box shot up into the air and floated above the flaming plant, as the flames licked the wood of the box, it turned into water and collapsed onto the plant, putting out the fire.
There were “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd, and several children clapped with glee.
Ydris’ lips twitched in a smirk and he continued with his show. From the side of the crowd, an excited street magician watched with rapt attention.
Afterwards, a familiar face came up to Jack and his Oldenburg gelding.
‘Do you know the Great Ydris?’ Isebell squealed, petting Knight’s nose, adoration in her eyes.
‘Yeah, quite well,’ Jack said with a chuckle.
‘Oh?’ the street magician replied, cocking her head like a puppy.
‘He’s my boyfriend.’
‘Oh!’ Isebell squealed again, ‘I had no idea that the Great Ydris was so inclined.’
Jack frowned. ‘He swings both ways, I’m pretty sure; sometimes he’ll talk about an ex-girlfriend that he had, but he doesn’t really talk about her much, I think it still hurts.’
‘Oh, I see,’ the girl replied.
And that was that conversation over with. Jack felt a little uneasy about the street magician, not that he thought she was a bad person, but they way that she spoke about Ydris seemed… obsessive. Jack was perfectly aware that he could be somewhat the same when he was talking about Ydris, but Isebell was like a crazy fangirl.
It was at that moment that Ydris came over to them. ‘Hey, Jack. Hey, Isebell,’ he greeted with a smile, his gave Jack a kiss on his forehead.
‘Holy cheesebits, you know my name!’ Isebell squealed, clasping her hands together with an open-mouthed grin.
The magician smirked and chuckled. ‘Of course I do,’ he said,’I know everything.’
Jack rolled his eyes. ‘Sure, hon,’ he said, ‘that’s why you always forget where you put your runes.’
‘Hush, you,’ his boyfriend said, ‘I don’t need you embarrassing me in front of a fan.’ He chuckled with amusement, and Jack knew that Ydris was only joking, thankfully, otherwise it would have completely shattered his confidence.
The younger man responded by sticking his tongue out at the wizard.
Isebell then piped up. ‘The Great Ydris, I’ve loved your magic for so long, and you inspired me to take up my own magic!’ she cried.
‘Oh, well, that’s lovely, I’m glad,’ Ydris responded with a smile.
The conversation slowly grew from magic into Ydris’ more personal life. Jack frowned as Isebell then asked how Ydris met Jack. The wizard told the story and conveniently left out the parts where he had done bugger all.
Jack laughed, even though the green-eyed monster was gnawing at his stomach. ‘Yeah, one minor detail there that you missed: the fact that I did almost everything.’
Ydris chuckled awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck. ‘Heh, heh, yeah, I guess you did.’
Isebell giggled. ‘Um, I was thinking, Great Ydris,’ she stuttered, ‘would you like to go out for a coffee sometime? We can talk about magic, I would love to learn from you.’
Jack almost had an aneurism as the words left Isebell’s mouth.
Ydris froze with a shocked look on his face. (Ydris.exe has stopped working, Z thought in the background). ‘Um… I mean… I don’t leave my Highland all that much… I… maybe…’ He looked at Jack, and saw the thunderous rage on the smaller man’s face. ‘Um… sorry, Isebell… I have a full schedule… busy guy, ya know?’
Jack left before Isebell could respond, although he could tell from her expression that she was very disappointed. He walked over to Z and thumped his forehead into Z’s shoulder. ‘What’s wrong, Dad?’ she said, putting an arm around his shoulders.
‘Isebell just asked Ydris out for a coffee,’ Jack said.
‘Did he say he would?’ Z asked.
‘No, he said he had a full schedule.’
‘Aww, is someone jealous?’ his friend teased.
‘Shut up,’ Jack sniped, butting Z’s shoulder with his head.