Not Just Make-Believe
Hiro wasn’t always uninspired – he believed in tales like most naïve children would, for that time in life is when imagination is always at its strongest. He only exhales sharply remembering it now, acknowledging to himself just how fleeting that childhood had been. Up until his arrival to the door of his late parents’ home, the memories of that time had been hazy. It’s a desolate house in the middle of rural nowhere, so it remains seemingly untouched. Though he can’t help but reminisce, this uninhabited building is nothing but a liability to him now.
What am I meant to do with this house now that they’re gone? Hiro frowns, rubbing his temples. He already has enough on his plate with the workload at his job, and now he's solely responsible for all that his parents have left with him. Not to mention that they hadn’t especially left anything of particular value to me, he concludes, after scanning the room but to no avail.
His agitation itches him to pace the living room, followed by an urge to raid the cabinets in hopes of finding a drink. He desperately wants a distraction, preferably in the form of intoxication. However, a distraction in the form of a faint melody is heard instead. Hiro flinches abruptly at the sound that comes from the room down the hall, dispelling his thoughts entirely.
But how? No one lives here anymore.
Hiro tiptoes his way toward the sound, anticipating the sight of some sort of strange, musical thief. A single glance through the crack of the door which has been left slightly ajar reveals where the soft sound was coming from: the grand piano – well, as ‘grand’ as the obsolete thing can be, really. The room itself was an eyesore – from the discoloured beige flaking off the wall, to the splintered furniture. The sheet music strewn across the mouldy floor only added to room’s disarrayed state. All the surroundings only make this stranger appear more out of place in comparison. Stationed at the piano, playing a melody made eerie by the untuned keys, is a fair-skinned lady with fiery eyes in a notable crimson shade. It’s contrasted by her almost translucent, ivory lashes that bat gracefully as she glances up from her sheet music and at the tentative Hiro.
What’s a foreigner doing in mom and dad’s house? Hiro muses, gulping at the sight of her. After the stranger finally fixes her gaze upon him, the corners of her mouth curl into a sly grin. She glides closer to get a better look of him in such a way that appears like she’s floating. What Hiro doesn't realise until he looks toward her feet, however, is that her feet are indeed making no contact with the floor whatsoever; she is floating.
“A flying foreigner thief.” he whispers in a chuckle to no one in particular, as if convincing himself that he’s amused. The pair does nothing but stare at each other for a while, one pair of eyes pensive and the other clouded with disbelief. Without breaking the gaze, she slowly tucks her platinum locks behind her ears, which Hiro notices had long, pointed tips.
Pointy ears? I didn’t know foreigners had such… fanciful features. Almost too fanciful, like a-
“Fairy.” He blurts, before realising he’s voiced his train of thought.
“Ah, so you really can see me!” The stranger exclaims in an almost airy voice, bubbling with enthusiasm. “Yes, that’s correct… technically!”
Hiro chuckles again, this time while pinching his own cheek. I’ve finally gone insane; he thinks to himself. I guess all that work was getting to my head after all. His slight chuckle turns into a hearty laugh which even slightly alarms this ‘fairy’.
“You’re really strange, you know that?” Hiro points a finger at her, still laughing to himself. “So? You’re here to rob this house, right? What do you want? Though, you won’t find very much to steal here.”
“Rather than what I want,” she starts, pointing a finger right back at him. “I should be asking you!”
There’s a silence before she clears her throat and decides to elaborate: “Well, I’m a Leánnan sídhe, the type of fairy–”
“A Lea–” he struggles. “Leana- a what.”
“Just listen.” she interrupts, putting her finger over his lips. “In exchange for you being my lover, I can grant you great talent in anything you please! Amazing deal, right?” she expresses, although Saito looks nothing but dumbfounded.
His lacklustre response makes her eye twitch a little. “You… must not believe me! That must be it.
I’ll admit that becoming my lover may take a toll on yourself – since I will be taking a sum of your blood–”
“What was that?”
“But I insist that it’s an exchange beneficial to us both! Being granted talent in anything isn’t an opportunity you can just stumble across, you know?”
“Hmm…” Hiro ponders in response.
“It appears you understand now!” she sighs in relief. “So, do you have anything you want me to give you–”
“A break.” Hiro interrupts with a mumble.
“Give me a break!” he finally erupts with rage. “You expect me to believe this?! And to think mom and dad had such troublesome neighbours…! If you wanted to take something you should’ve just done it quietly!” he huffs, his face rested in his hands. “I’m busy! I still have deadlines I need to catch up on… or else the company will be on my case again– I don’t have time to entertain your– your– fiction!”
Even in such circumstances, Hiro feels embarrassed by his sudden outburst at this fairy-thief-lady. The embarrassment only intensifies when she just stares at him in silence, her head tilting slightly in confusion, and her hand rubbing her chin. Her response makes him flush.
“Why am I lecturing a stranger…?” he sighs. “A trespassing one, no less.”
“I just do not understand.” She finally speaks, still visibly bemused. “You dismiss what you deem ‘fiction’ so firmly and yet… are so fixated on the fiction you call ‘company’ and ‘deadlines’.”
“…Huh? You’re spouting nonsense again. That’s not fiction, that’s real!” Hiro yells stubbornly.
“But something ‘real’ is what actually exists, what can actually be seen and touched, yes?” she asks, then gestures to herself smugly. “Despite your doubts, I am a real fae in physical form, I appear before you now as we speak.”
I suppose that’s true: she really is flying, though I’m still not sure if I’ve gone nuts. Hiro finds himself nodding, then profusely shaking his head.
“But what about this ‘company’ you speak of? You modern humans have collectively invented this fiction you call a ‘company’, which is by no means a physical object – but rather some sort of force that you as a species deem reality and a necessity in your lives. Not only that but ‘jobs’, ‘laws’, ‘government’, and many more meaningless concepts of fiction exist in your human world, and you unquestioningly yield to them like your lives depend on it… yet humans in the distant past have never lived with such fiction… and managed just fine…!
You humans speak of these concepts as if they provide you sustenance. In reality, however, your only means of achieving such is, and always has been, food and drink. That is fact, not fiction.”
Hiro’s expression was incredulous, but he can’t bring himself to disagree with the fairy at all.
“If anything…!” she presses, Hiro shocked that she has the capacity to add any more. “These fictions are the very cause of your strife. I would know! I’ve seen how your people live in those lands you call ‘Tokyo’ – for such a huge swarm of living beings, those pursuing ‘jobs’ seem the most lifeless of all.” she giggles to herself until she notices Hiro slumped over, utterly defeated.
The fae suddenly remembers that humans are weak in both body and mind and makes a mental note to communicate in a gentler manner next time.
“…Mr Human?” she approaches Hiro meekly poking his head lightly.
“Company.” he mumbles, glancing up at the fairy.
“Argh, I already told you!” she grunts, “Companies are–”
“No, I mean… your company. That’s my wish.” He mutters gingerly, the fae even more bewildered than before.
“…My presence is a given if we’re to become lovers. If company is all you seek, this won’t exactly be very beneficial for you.”
“If you were to give me talent in something, maybe it’d give me some recognition and status.” Hiro chuckles weakly. “But in the end, that’s all just ‘meaningless concepts of fiction’, isn’t that right? Ha-ha…”
The fairy winced a little at her own logic pressed against her and agreed guiltily. “It benefits me so I don’t mind, but I can’t imagine why…?” she trails off as their eyes meet once more, though the disbelief that previously clouded Hiro’s eyes has faded, revealing a gaze that pleaded for solace.
“Having a lover as beautiful as yourself coddling me seems worth a little bit of blood” It appears he heard that minor detail she mentioned. She averts her gaze, making him scoff. “Might as well indulge in fiction I might actually enjoy.” This time it was she who scoffs, displeased by the man acknowledging her as ‘fiction’.
“So… do we have a deal?” she asks, sneaking a glance at him. He nods in response.
This leánnan sídhe has taken many human lovers, for that was her kind’s sustenance, but she’s never encountered a human who is quite as frugal as he, despite showing how intertwined he was with the human world just moments ago.
She approaches him, almost completely closing the distance between their bodies before cupping his flushed face in her hands.
“H-Hiro” he stutters, his eyes moving in every direction but in front of him.
“Then, Hiro…” she seals the contract by gently pressing her lips onto his, making Hiro flush a crimson as bright as her eyes.
“We have a deal.”