Emrys paused a second to catch his breath as his date for the dance emerged from her room. Who's her fairy godmother? It was quite a makeover: her golden hair was done up artfully, rather than left in its typical straightforward ponytail; her torn jeans were now a radiant, glittering gown; even her shoes - yes, she had actually reproduced the look faithfully. He hoped they were magically reinforced and not ordinary glass.
"Do you like it?" Xaviera asked shyly, smiling a bit crookedly as she took in his own ensemble.
The theme of the dance was "Fairy Tale", and although Emrys's thoughts had trended in the same direction, shaped by his childhood influences, his choice of casting was markedly different. He'd never seen himself as the Prince Charming type, anyway. Instead, he stroked his goatee and then rested his hands on the top of his staff, its serpent eyes glittering through his fingers.
"You look good. Very good," he nodded.
She flushed prettily - he hadn't even known if she could blush - and faked an acceptable curtsey. "Thank you." She held out a hand to him hesitantly.
Emrys took her hand, and then her arm, as a proper escort. This part of a fairy-tale, at least, seemed ingrained in him; the courtly mannerisms were almost second nature, however much he suppressed them on a daily basis.
"As you wish," she smiled, walking with him towards the dance. The halls looked liked Grimm's come to life, even more so than normally; nearby, Dysmas stroked a bushy-blue-black beard that trailed down his chest. Emrys nodded to his friend, wondering how he was doing without Nydia. They hadn't talked about it, of course; it wasn't the sort of thing one brought up in casual conversation. Still, Emrys knew it couldn't be easy for him.
Indeed, he eyed Xaviera's neck thoughtfully as he walked by, still stroking his beard. She, in turn, leaned a little closer to Emrys.
He let it pass; if Dysmas wanted a bite, he'd ask directly. As subtle as the guy could be, he dealt fairly with his friends. The doors opened before them, revealing the transformation that had been wrought upon the room itself this week.
The halls of a castle rose up to the sky around them, a faux-medieval theme complete with a giant clock to chime midnight. In the midst of this, Io and Ayla made a stunningly exotic pair.
Ioanna had darkened her skin to mocha and lightened her eyes to ice-blue, shifted her hair to the same ice blue, and dressed in a flowing harem-style outfit that somehow managed to suggest she had a tail of djinni-mist instead of legs. A blue sapphire in her navel completed the look. Ayla, continuing her cross-dressing theme, appeared to have taken on the role of Aladdin, fez and all. Her smirk when she caught sight of Emrys was the sort of cutting gaze her brother usually favored.
He couldn't resist the urge to approach her. "So, may I assume by your outfit that you're here to steal my date?" he smirked. Xaviera, still on his arm, said nothing, but she did move a bit closer to him, her skirts hitting his ankles.
"It looks as if you stole her from someone else," Ayla smirked back at him. "But it looks like you're finally owning up to your role as the villain."
"What can I say?" he shrugged, grinning. "I liked the hat."
"Team Evil," Ioanna smiled. "Better hats."
"Now that's a recruitment poster waiting to happen."
"I'd join," Xaviera interrupted quietly.
"You'd join whatever team Emrys was on," Ayla responded sharply.
"Well, yes," she agreed, nonplussed, snuggling into his arm. It felt nice; these past two weeks, he'd grown increasingly accustomed to having her there. She wasn't Shahin, of course, but he kept her by him out of more than simple pity now.
And, from the look on Ayla's face, she could tell, and didn't like it.
"Moved on?" That wasn't her, though; that voice was male, and coming from behind him. "To my leftovers, I see. Does that mean the little Fifthie is fair game?"
"Hardly, Ardell," Emrys drawled, turning to regard... Prince Charming. Well. "How utterly inappropriate, and unsurprising, your outfit is."
"You don't think I'm cut out for the role?" the taller boy asked, almost striking a pose.
"I'm sure Del could have turned you into a frog for the night." Aelgifu, he noticed, for all of her bitching, had moved protectively closer to Xaviera, Io at her side.
"Oh, now that's uncalled for," Ardell chuckled. "You don't think your Cinderelly would rather go home with me, though?"
"I wouldn't," Xaviera replied quietly, sounding almost surprised by the words coming out of her own mouth. "I like Emrys."
"She's staying with me," he affirmed. It seemed that was enough for Ardell, who shook his head and sauntered off, grinning. Emrys considered his own words as Xaviera smiled up at him beatifically; had he meant just now, or for longer? Was he even sure?
|There's always more to read: tear off the wrapper on some B-side stories!|
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