Something was trying to wake me up.
Something was trying to take me away from the pixies I was flying with so that something was very evil.
“Go away,” I grumble, wanting nothing else than to keep flying with my dream pixie friends.
The evil thing chuckles, “Sweetheart, it’s time to get up.”
Okay so maybe it wasn’t an evil thing. It was just my master and the last thing he was, was evil.
Lincoln was too sweet to be evil.
“I’m still sleeping,” I mumble while being sure to keep my eyes shut tight even though the pixies and all the sparkling wings were long gone now.
“Unless you’ve suddenly started talking in your sleep, you are not still sleeping,” Master replies as his voice comes closer and closer, “now wake up for me, love, it’s a very special day.”
“What could be so special it takes me away from pixies?”
Opening one of my eyes, I turn to glare at the man who said he loved me every day, but I wasn’t too sure about that at this moment.
He took me away from my dream about pixies!
Lincoln smiles at me, giving me one of his special, gentle smiles that were extra handsome and made my insides squirm about in my stomach. He was seated right next to me on the edge of the bed with his arms planted firmly on either side of me and studying me with eyes that were almost bright and strangely excited.
Master was rarely ever excited.
“Well,” he draws, leaning down to press a quick kiss to my lips. I lean up for more but he draws away too quickly. While I pout, his smile grows even more, “it’s your birthday and that’s a very special day to me.”
It was my birthday.
Master stares at me and I stare at him.
We keep staring at each other while the word ‘birthday’ keeps spinning and spinning in my head while joy starts to bubble up inside of me.
“It’s my birthday,” I whisper slowly.
“Yes,” Lincoln replies with a giddy smile.
“It’s my special day to get lots of gifts and spend the day doing all my favourite things,” I say as I sit up, trying to get a grip on the world as my heart tries to explode. “It’s my special day, my birthday!” I repeat and Master nods.
“Your first birthday,” he reminds me and then something really does burst on the inside and I scream.
“It’s my first birthday!” I shout way louder than I meant to but Master didn’t seem to mind, his smile only grew extra big like mine.
I’d never had a birthday before and I’d been waiting and waiting until it was my special day to celebrate the day Master saved me and it was finally here!
While I get caught in the sheets and squirm so much I almost fall over, Master laughs and quickly gathers me in his arms where he hugs me so tight I felt like we were glued together.
“Kalem,” he whispers, still smiling from ear to ear as he takes my beaming face in his hands, “Happy Birthday.”
I dive forward and take Master down with me, hugging him so tight he had absolutely no hope of escaping me.
“Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday.” He repeats over and over while he presses never-ending kisses to my cheek and neck and everywhere else he can get me.
I squeal in his arms, basking in all of Lincoln’s attention and love that was way too much for my little heart, it was barely keeping up with all this happiness.
With one final kiss to the corner of my lips, Master settles us both with a cheerful grin, “Happy Birthday love.”
I try to stay still and keep the happy sounds inside but it was too hard and before I knew it, I was wiggling all over Master and squealing all my excitement.
And then we were suddenly on the floor, then back on the bed, and then the floor again, my joy making me pop around by accident.
“Sorry!” I manage as I sit up and help Master up, checking the back of his head to make sure he was okay. “I’m just so... sorry!”
“It’s fine Kalem,” he promises me as he takes my hands in his and brings them to his chest, “I’m happy that you’re so excited.”
“Of course I’m excited! It’s my first birthday Master!” I exclaim ready to explain to him exactly why but I freeze when my eyes falter on the floating things in front of me.
“Um,” I tilt my head to the side, “what is that?”
There were these really big circular things that were floating but tied with strings to the end of our bed. They were only moving a little and were in all sorts of different colours and sizes. I’d never seen anything like it but some were blue, others pink and white but most were yellow.
It wasn’t until one turned a bit that I saw all its letters that read ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ in super fun and bubbly writing.
“Wh-,” I bring my hands to my mouth and my chest tightens, “Master, what are these?!”
“They’re called ballons,” Lincoln whispers from behind me as I walk towards them, “I had a feeling you’d like them.”
“I love them,” I promise as I raise my hand to touch them.
I jump back with a giggle when it goes floating the other way. I’d only touched it a little but it was swinging about and making the others it touched swing too.
I giggle and do it again.
“I like balloons!” I tell Master happily, “thank you! Thank you!”
I turn to Master but freeze again when I turn to find him holding a bouquet in one hand, and a wrapped box in another along with a crown made of flowers that he didn’t have before.
“Lincoln,” I breathe out, suddenly teary but not from sad feelings, just really happy ones that were sometimes so much they made you cry.
I’d only just woken up but I was full of the happy, cry feelings.
“It’s your birthday,” Master starts as he closes the space between us and hands me the bouquet of yellow and white flowers that I didn’t know but loved a whole lot now, “and as you said, it’s your day to get lots of gifts,” he places the pretty flower crown on my head and fixes it until its perfect, “and while I’m not used to this, I hope you enjoy every single one because I’m just getting started, love.”
Lincoln tries to hand me my gift but I was already jumping onto him for another hug.
“Master!” I scream as I wrap my arms and legs extra tight around him. “I don’t know what to do! You’re making me too happy! This is dangerous, I might explode!”
Lincoln only laughs, clearly not as concerned as I was, “you’re not going to explode.”
“Tell that to my heart!” I say looking at him seriously, “it’s beating too fast and I’m just so happy it’s filling with all these super good, crazy feelings and I really think it’s going to explode.”
“Then maybe I should put this gift away,” he says raising my present between us.
“No!” I exclaim taking it from him before I quickly fix my flower crown when it tries to fall off.
“How about you try not to explode?” Master teases with a kiss to my nose that makes my heart flutter.
Walking us back to bed, Master sits down with me in his lap and sets the bouquet down carefully so that I could open my gift.
It was wrapped in pretty golden paper with a white ribbon that had yellow outlines like my favourite PJs. I unwrap extra careful since Master took his time to do it all pretty and try not to pop as the gift slowly reveal itself.
My smile wavers and my heart swells when I lay eyes on the familiar dark, hard covered book that I hadn’t seen in months.
“While this isn’t your main present,” Lincoln starts gently, “it’s the most special one.”
“My first book,” I whisper and he nods.
“We spent months making it through this and I know you read all sorts of things on your own now, but I wanted to give you the book that started you off and in some ways... started us off.”
I remembered all the nights Master had read to me with him in his lap, taking his time to slowly explain what each word meant and spelling them out for me as he taught me letters I had trouble with. I remembered how good it felt to be in his lap, to be with him and have him surround me while he cared for me in little ways.
It felt like so long ago, but when I looked down at the cover of The Hobbit, all those feelings came rushing back up of me.
I look up at Lincoln with shaking lips and he smiles, “gift,” he whispers pushing it closer to me and I laugh.
“Gift,” I repeat, remembering how I’d given it to him on his birthday thinking it was perfect.
Leaning forward, I wrap my free hand around Lincoln’s neck and pull him in for a kiss that made us both breathe out against one another.
“I love you,” I whisper against his lips and Master smiles against me.
“I love you too Kalem,” he kisses me again, “more than anything in this world.”
We stay like that for a long time, kissing and hugging and holding one another tight while my heart raced between us.
“Alright,” Lincoln breathes out after some time, “how about we get cleaned up for the morning and give your heart a break before you get any more gifts?”
“These aren’t my gifts?!”
I didn’t think I’d make it through to the end of the day if this continued, and I really didn’t want to die on my first birthday.
That wouldn’t be nice.
“They are, but I told you, love,” Lincoln kisses my cheek and then nuzzles my neck, “I’m just getting started.”
Lifting us once more, Master takes us to the bathroom while I try not to die in his arms.
I try to wash Master and help him clean up, but Master wouldn’t let me. Forcing me to stay still for him while he took extra special care of me in the shower which was already a lot when he did that normally.
But it was nice, having Lincoln massage me and soap me up, kissing me and telling me how much he loved me, and how special I was as he took care of me.
By the time we stepped out of the shower, I felt all bubbly inside and that feeling only grew when Master put my flown crown back on after we were dressed.
The flowers in my crown were little tiny ones that were mostly yellow but there were some pretty pink ones too and they were all tied together like they were holding onto one another while with me.
My magic buzzes under my skin at having them so close to me, sitting on my head all pretty and perfect.
“Master, what are these called?” I ask as I look over the bouquet that was now in a vase.
I wanted them with me all day but Master was being all weird and saying that I wouldn’t need them.
“Tulips,” he replies as he takes my hand and pulls me towards the door, “we’ll plant them soon so you can have them in your garden.”
“I love birthdays!” I cheer happily as I jump up to kiss Master’s cheeks all over.
“Now for your next gift, I know I was supposed to wrap it up, but that was kind of impossible.”
“Well, you’ll see,” Master smiles as lifts me suddenly and walks me to the bedroom door, “I just want you to enjoy your birthday and let me pamper you since it’s your special day.”
“But?” I question with a frown, “that’s your but voice Master, that means there’s a but coming along.”
“But,” Lincoln continues with narrowed, amused eyes, “but I have to ask you to try not to pop too much.”
I tilt my head and squint my eyes like his, “I only pop when I’m too excited.”
“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of,” Lincoln says as he settles his hand on the doorknob, “just try alright love?”
“I’ll try,” I promise and Master finally opens the door.
My mouth falls to the floor and suddenly I understand exactly what Master was talking to.
The moment I’m exposed to the massive, castle corridor that was covered from head to toe in flowers of all kinds and all colours all I wanted to do was pop to see every inch of it.
Somehow, they were flowers stuck to the roof and the walls, the only place they weren’t was the floor, but still. There were roses; pink, white and red ones, and the new one I learnt, tulips, and there were lilies and hydrangeas and... and...
“Mas..” My voice fades when I look at the giant windows that made up one side of the corridor.
These windows were usually covered by vines that had grown all over the castle outside, they had been from the first day Master brought me home, but now there wasn’t a single vine or leaf in sight.
They were all cleared away now and perfectly clean, allowing me to see the woods resting outside the castle. Sunlight came through too, the little that broke through the cracks and made it underground shone through her, lighting up the flowered hallway from every angle.
It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my entire life and I could barely breathe with the way my throat closed up, my magic swelling up so deep inside of me that tears fell from my eyes.
“Kalem,” Master prompts gently, reminding me that I was in his arms and that he was looking at me, patiently waiting for my reaction.
But I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t even tear my eyes away from all the flowers.
There were so many flowers.
“H-How did you...when? Flowers...” I could barely breathe, “pretty.”
“Well, I started a few weeks ago and employed the help of some of your friends,” Lincoln explains with a grimace that told me that included Aias, “I noticed how you adored the castle’s corridors and I know you worship flowers, so I thought mixing the two in some manner would be best.”
Looking back at Master with wide eyes, finally put the pieces together, “Is that why you kept making me pop us to bed?” When he nods I gasp, “you said you just wanted to get used to it!”
“And I did...” he allows with a chuckle, “I also needed to keep you out of this part of the castle for a while.”
I didn’t know Master could be so sneaky.
“But it was worth it because it finished now and this blossomed pathway is yours to enjoy,” Master tells me eagerly, “it’s my hope that every night before you go to sleep, this brings a smile to your face and another each morning when you walk through it.”
“This...” I start so quietly I couldn’t hear myself, “this is for me?”
“Of course,” Lincoln says with a kiss, his hold on my tightening, “it’s all yours.”
I try to say thank you, I do.
I try to swallow around my awe and falling tears to tell him how much I loved it, how much it meant to me and how I’d cherish it forever and ever. But all I could do was hug my Master tighter than ever before, squeeze him and never let go.
Lincoln wipes my tears away, but even though they kept falling, he just kept smiling at me.
Not for the first time, I wonder how it was possible to love Lincoln even more. I thought I’d reached my love limit, that I was already overflowing with love for him, but again... he made me see that I could love him way, way more.
Master gives me another kiss to my temple before he slowly starts walking us through the magical hallway, letting me take in every beautiful petal.
This was our section of the castle so I knew nobody else would come and I was glad it was all for me because some part of me never wanted to share this with anyone but Master.
Lincoln had done this for me, just for me, and it was way too special for another to see.
It was too perfect and pretty a-and... mine.
Lincoln walks us closer to the walls, letting me pass my fingers over the nearest flowers that all turn towards me, responding to my magic how I responded to them.
These days, my magic just poured out of me whenever I was around flowers and I had a feeling that this special hallway would do that even more!
“I don’t want to leave,” I tell Master when we reach the end of the hallway, “I want to stay here forever.”
“How about we come back after everyone’s had a chance to surprise you?”
I frown with confusion but I don’t get to ask as Master turns a corner and exposes us to members of their clans that were all hanging around before they saw us.
Dropping everything in a rush, they all turn to me with smiles and shout, “Happy Birthday Kalem!”
Something pops and sprays little colourful pieces of paper everywhere! Loud horns and sounds erupt as everyone cheers loudly for me, shouting and screaming my name.
“Ha-happy...” I stutter out, my brain fried from everything happening inside and around me, “my... me... ahh!”
“Happy Birthday Kalem!” Someone shouts with a high whistle.
“Happy Birthday to the kindest person I know!” Another calls making my heart squeeze.
“To the sweetest being in all the realms!” Someone else adds and my eyes fill up again.
“To the best member of this clan!” That gets way more screams and calls and I giggle as my tears fall all at once.
My heart hammers in my chest and my special place inside shines brightly with happiness as I stare at everyone, listening and crying as even more calls and birthday wishes came as more people gathered. They quickly share in the whistles and screams of joy, making me cry even harder in Lincoln’s arms.
It was like we were in a pixie festival and everyone was smiling at me with so much happiness that I really thought I was going to explode.
Appearing in front of everyone else, Sin, Raven, Gazium, Ophelia and Then all come towards me with specially wrapped boxes and bags with big, happy smiles too.
“No,” Lincoln says so firmly that even I jump in surprise as everyone else does, “you guys know the rules.”
With suddenly guilty faces, all my closest friends step back and hide their gifts behind their backs while I glare at Master with a super angry look.
Firstly, he’d just stop me from getting special gifts and secondly, he was being really really mean.
“It’s my birthday,” I remind him, “and they’re my friends.”
“Yes, I know love,” he replies as gently as he could, “but your best friend has claimed the right to give you the first gift after mine, so unless you want to make the elf upset, I suggest we get to his first.”
My anger immediately clears at the mention of Aias.
Master had told me that you got gifts from those who loved you and care about you on your birthday, but I didn’t want to be too hopeful in assuming anyone other than Master would get me one.
I was already so happy all Master had done for me, and how everyone told me happy birthday, I didn’t need anything else.
But since I was getting more, and from Aias! I was super excited!
I jump down from Master’s arms and run to my friends to hug them all quickly while thanking them. “I promise I’ll open yours after Aias’,” I say before telling everyone else thanks for being so sweet and remembering my birthday when they didn’t have to.
Master leads me through the hallways with his hands on my shoulders, not letting me get distracted by everyone who rushes over to wish me a very happy birthday. I smile at them all and hug the ones I can, sharing my happiness with them since I had way too much inside of me.
Lincoln takes me out to my gardens which were in full bloom now that I knew how to use my magic better. Before, they grew as best as they could, but without love and affection, none of the plants was as big and beautiful as they were now.
“Master, can you tell me what it is?” I ask Lincoln as he leads us through my little maze, “wait no! Don’t tell me.”
“I wasn’t going to,”
“Wait, now I want to know!” I whine before shaking my head, “no! No! Surprises are the best!”
“Just be patient love,” Lincoln replies with a squeeze to my shoulders.
I nod, “Patient Kalem. Patient Kalem.”
But Patient Kalem was hard to summon when Excited Kalem was having the best birthday ever!
I felt Aias before I saw him.
Well actually, I felt his magic all around us, under the soil and in the air, hidden in plain sight in all the cracks of the world like he taught me. But eventually, my eyes found him standing in the centre of the garden with his hands behind his back and a special smile on his lips.
Lincoln lets me go and even though he didn’t look too happy, he doesn’t stop me from running over to hug Aias as tightly as I could.
Aias collects me in his arms with his prettiest smile, holding me firm and with all the love he taught me hugs and special friends should have.
“Happy Birthday young one,” he whispers against my head before he kisses it. I relax into him, loving how his magic mixing in with mine, “this is a day I will celebrate to the end of my days.”
“Aias!” I chide him, my cheeks heating up quickly.
Looking down at me, Aias doesn’t hide his smiles or love as his hair glows and his magic sparks happily, “your first birthday, I hope to share many more with you, my special friend.”
“Thank you!” I say beaming up at him with a giggle, “and we will! My birthday and yours, forever!”
“That sounds like a smart plan,” Aias allows with a wink.
“Master said I had to get my next gift from you before anyone else.”
“This first competent thing he’s managed to achieve in his lifetime,” Aias mutters with a flicked gaze to Master who snarls from behind me.
“Not on my birthday,” I whine, “please!”
Aias eyes me for a moment before he sighs, his shoulders slumping with defeat, “only because you wish it and only for this exclusive, precious day.”
“Yay!” I was going to take whatever I could get since it was clear to me now that Master and Aias would never ever ever get along.
“Now,” he offers me his hand, “if you will.”
I glance back at Master and he nods with a smile, “enjoy love, I’ll be here when you get back, along with Malcolm, Wequie and all your other friends.”
My heart jumps at Lincoln’s words since I was even more excited now to see Malcolm and Mr W, but still...
“Get back?” I question looking at Aias now.
“Trust me, you will adore it,”
I stare at Aias’ hand for only a second longer before I let my fingers slip between his, holding his hand super tight as he smiles at me, a look of pride flashing behind his golden eyes.
I trusted Aias always, he was my friend. My best friend.
Glancing to Lincoln and nodding, Aias breathes in deep and the magic that I felt circling all around us before, zones in on the two of us. The air picks up from a gentle breeze into a whirlwind that surrounded us completely until I couldn’t see anything other than Aias.
Still smiling at me, Aias tightens his fingers around mine and closes his eyes, I quickly do the same.
One moment we were in my garden, with Master and all my plants, and the next, when the circling winds cleared, we were in an empty field that stretched out for as far as I could see from every angle.
It was full of grass higher than I’d ever seen before and it was swaying all around the river I just spotted across from us.
I’d never seen a river in person before and couldn’t stop my gasp as I watched the water move like it thought it would from Aias’ descriptions. It was just like he said it was, streams of water that seemed to topple over one another, their flow creating the strangest but most beautiful sound ever and I knew I could fall asleep to it at any time.
“Aias, where are we?” I ask knowing we couldn’t be anywhere near to the castle anymore.
Master really hated lots of water.
“As today is not only your birthday, but your first to be celebrated, I sought the best way to make my gift to you an extraordinary one,” he explains with his hands still holding mine, “ideally, I would’ve done this in our realm. But it’ll be many years still before we can manage that particular trip safely, so, I’ve brought you to another.”
I gasp as I look around, trying to figure out where we could be.
I’d learned about many different species and even more realms when we were still trying to figure out where I was and there were so many that I wanted to visit one day.
“As you know, Wequie is an incubus,” I nod my head quickly, “and they live in several hovels and boroughs that connect them to other worlds,” I nod my head even faster, shifting on my toes now with excitement, “well, this is a special one of those pathways that Wequie showed to me.”
I’m already screaming before Aias has a chance to finish his sentence because even though I didn’t know where we were for sure, we were outside of our normal realm and that was something special!
“No one is near, we made sure of it, which will allow me to give you my intended present without worry,” Aias continues as he turns me so that I was facing the river head-on, “stand right here,” Aias instructs, his smile unusually innocent.
“Okay,” I agree, planting my feet super firm to keep me in my spot.
I thought my gift was coming here, but apparently, I was getting even more!
Once he’s got me where he wants, Aias steps back slowly and sheds his smaller elven form to grow into his real one.
Aias’ hair disappears quietly to transform into the short, silver curls I’d grown to love, and his ears stretch out into even longer, pointer tips that pointed to the clear skies. I had to stretch my back more than usual to look at Aias now since he was so tall like this. He was like some super handsome giant that I probably would’ve found scary if he wasn’t my friend.
“I hope you enjoy this, I truly do,” Aias says and his lips tremble just a bit to show the nerves he was trying to hide.
“I’ll love anything you give me since it comes from you, promise!”
That makes Aias smile turn happy and pretty again and his eyes light up as he steps into the water. The second Aias feels the water against his skin, he relaxes into it as if it was the best thing in the entire world.
I’d never seen Aias look so happy before. Not like he did now as he went deeper and deeper into the river’s water until it touched his hips.
His smile was wide and true, his now silver eyes light and relaxed as he passed his fingers over and through the coming waters, a happy laugh bubbling up from deep within his chest.
Aias looked just like I felt when I was with my flowers - like he’d just found the greatest thing in the entire universe.
“Alright,” he says focusing his eyes on me again.
Getting himself settled with a few deep breaths, Aias dips his hands further into the water before he straightens and raises his arms slowly. His now silver eyes shine like pretty lights and the water dripping from his fingers stop midair before they follow after them.
Little droplets of water rise from the stream, going higher and higher without struggle as Aias hands keep moving cautiously. His fingers twist and the stream mocks the movement, doing everything Aias did as it followed after his fluid, slow movements until delicate rings of water were surrounding his entire body.
It was like a dance, a really special complicated one that Aias performed with care as he built the water up, shaping it and directing it so that it was eventually flowing above him and climbing.
A little gasp escapes me as I watch it grow higher and higher, moving towards the sky like some perfect tower made with magic.
I keep darting my eyes between the water tower and Aias, watching carefully with a racing heart as Aias stills for a moment before he drops his hands, but the water doesn’t fall, it stays exactly where he’d left it, spiralling up to the sky.
He looks at me then, panting heavily in the middle of it all and offers his hand.
I got to him without hesitation, only stopping to put my flower crown down before I went straight into the water after him.
I didn’t mind how cold the water was, or how it wet my clothes. All I knew was that Aias had done something amazing and I wanted to experience every bit of it with him.
When I’m within arm’s reach and just outside his spiralled tower, Aias takes my hand and pulls me through. I shriek at the cold water that washes over me on my way in, and then laugh as Aias holds me against him in the centre, pointing up for me to look at what was going on around us.
It was a bit like being under the tub at home. When it was full and I dipped my head under the water during a bath and opened my eyes. It was like that. Except, the water was so much clearer here and the clear sky and the fluffy white clouds were my views.
I felt like there was a firework going off inside of me.
“Aias!” I exclaim as I look back at him, “this is amazing!”
“I’m glad you like it,” he breathes out with a chuckle, “now for the fun part.”
“This isn’t the fun part?!”
What was it with everyone showing me something amazing, only to show me something even more amazing after?
Aias only grins before he passes his fingers through the nearest stream that immediately makes the looping streams around us spread out further, giving us more room to move without getting wet.
Aias raises his foot and the water still in the flowing river follows after him, breaking itself off into a flat platform like a single tile that Aias steps onto without thought.
It holds him as another quickly forms a bit higher for him.
I was squealing. I was squealing now and there was no way for me to stop.
Aias continues a few steps up before he turns and takes my hand, pulling me up behind him before I could think of doing anything else.
It was scary, walking on water like this. But that was because we weren’t supposed to be! But other than that, it was super exciting and I didn’t want to stop.
“Aias!” I shout through my laughter, not knowing what else I could do or say to express how amazing this was.
“I know,” he replies with a laugh of his own before he lets my hand go and my eyes immediately widen, “don’t worry, just enjoy it,” he says as the steps around and above us grow in number, “trust it like you would your flowers.”
I could never do that but I could trust Aias, so I do that instead.
I take the next step on my own, slowly, carefully, and when I make it, I cheer happily for myself before I try another. The little tiles of water keep coming towards me, offering me steps before I had to think of where to go as we climbed higher and higher in this special water tower.
“You can do anything you wish with it,” Aias informs me as he steps off his water tile and falls for one painfully scary moment before some of the river’s water rushes to meet him and surround him from behind.
Aias laughs, soaked to the bone but beyond happy as the water that caught him raised itself and kept going higher until he was almost in the clouds.
With a shaky breath, I do the same, except I squeeze my eyes shut as I go falling.
My heart drops in my chest and I scream but just before I made myself pop to safety, the water came up behind me and surrounded me like a safe bed. It holds me up and casts me upwards just as it did to Aias.
I blink my eyes open and rub the water from my eyes to see the skies I was quickly approaching.
I cheer happily as it takes me right up beside Aias, leaving us laying down side by side with nothing but the clouds passing around and above us.
“This is...” I wanted to use another word but all I could think was, “amazing!” Aias only laughs so I search for something else, “It’s like... better than a pixie festival!”
“Really?” Aias questions disbelieving, “I didn’t think anything was better than a pixie festival to you.”
I tilt my head to the side to glare at Aias but freeze when he turns and looks at me.
It was like an image flashing before my eyes, but for a moment, I was reminded of all those nights in our cells when we’d lay down just like this and look at each other. When the screams were too loud, the pain too much, we’d look at the one good thing we had.
It all felt like so long ago now. Like some super bad dream that I was stuck in for too long instead of most of my life.
Aias’ eyes soften, remembering it as I did, and just like back then, he offers me his hands.
I take it. I always took it and always would.
“Thank you Aias,” I say with a weak smile, “for this gift and being here for my birthday a-and protecting me and helping me,” I giggle when I realise I was saying everything, “thank you for everything... for being my friend, my best friend.”
Raising my hand to kiss the back of it, “always,” he whispers like a promise, “this is the first of many celebrations together, young one.”
“I promise,” Aias confirms as if there was no other reality, “we’ve got many, many years together still Kalem, and each and every one of them is destined to be filled with happiness and laughter.”
“That sounds really nice,”
“It will be,” Aias promises softly, “it will be.”
“Me next!” Gazium declares, pushing in front of Sin to hand me the pretty golden bag he had stuffed with sparkling white paper. “My turn!”
Carefully making space for Gazium on the table that was covered from corner to corner in gifts, I give Sin a small smile and he winks back at me, patient and willing to wait a little longer.
“You’re going to love this!” Gazium declares as he shifts excitedly in his place.
Glancing up at Master who was standing behind my birthday chair that had yellow ribbons all over it, I try to see if he knew what it was but he just shrugged innocently.
Since Aias brought me back home from our wonderful time with his water, Master had been glued to my side all day surprising me with little and big presents that each was better than the last.
I’d spent the day being bombarded by gifts and hugs and happy times that made me cry and laugh and then cry even more. I thought it was all over when Master had led me to the dining hall where Malcolm had been waiting with the rest of the clan.
Everyone had all jumped out saying Happy Birthday in the room that had been decorated all special for me.
There were balloons everywhere, ribbons and little pretty sparkling things I didn’t know the name of, but the entire dining hall was decorated and Malcolm had come running over to hug me and wish me a happy birthday too!
It was a birthday party, that’s what they called it. A celebration to enjoy my special day with those I loved and it just made it all better.
Now in my birthday chair which was usually Master’s chair, everyone talked and laughed while I got my remaining gifts for what was the best day of my entire life.
“Come on,” Gazium urges me as I pull out the pretty paper surrounding his gift to look inside of the bag.
Frowning, I pull out the little pink bottle that was made of glass and shaped like a really long flower. There was some sort of liquid inside and maybe I was supposed to drink it, but when I pulled the top off, it had nowhere to drink from.
“I...” I start with a smile, “I love...” lying was bad, “thank you!” I say instead.
Gazium’s excited smile drops instantly, “you hate it.”
“No!” I say quickly as I hug it to my chest, “I just... I don’t know what it is.”
I didn’t want to admit it since Gazium had gotten me something special, but I had no idea what the funny liquid, bottle thing was!
“It’s perfume,” Gazium explains sadly, “Pylen said your favourite flower was a sunflower, but they don’t really have scents so I got your next favourite in a perfume, jasmine buds and tuberose.”
“Oh!” I say at the mention of some of my favourite scents, “so how does it work?”
Before Gazium had to, Master takes the bottle from me and stretches my arm out. I hold it where he left it and watch carefully as he presses down and some of the liquid comes out in little spurts.
I stare at my wet skin, confused.
“Smell it,” Lincoln instructs and I frown.
“This is weird,” I state because there was something wet on my skin and now they wanted me to sniff it and that was just weird.
“Indulge us, love,” Master begs and so I bring my wrist to my nose and inhale.
“Oh..” I sniff again, “oh my God,” more sniffs, “ohhhhh!”
I keep sniffing my wrist trying to figure out how I suddenly smelt like sweet soft flowers. I close my eyes and inhale deeply, wanting the scent all over me forever and ever.
“I love it!” I say once I open my eyes again, “I really do! I’m not lying or trying to be nice, this is really nice! Ahhh!” I sniff my arm again even though it was weird, “Thank you Gazium!”
Revealed, Gazium perks up again and welcomes my hug when I jump up to give him one. I squeeze him super tight and he promises to get me more amazing scents to try and wear.
“Why did you never tell me about perfume?” I ask Master once I’m back in my chair.
“I like your natural scent,” he says with a shrug, “you smell like honey.”
Before I could ask what honey was, Sin comes up to give me my next gift. It turned out to be a picture book that had all sorts of traditional dances across several species, and they were all named with a little description of each.
“I’ll teach you any you desire,” Sin promises as I flick through the pages with amazement.
I get more gifts from all my other friends, and some special tokens from others in the clan until I was literally drowning in gifts that each made me feel like I could fly.
“Out of the way!” A voice I knew calls from somewhere in the room, “it is my turn and I will not wait for a second longer.”
People part like a sea and Mr W comes heading straight for us. The second our eyes meet we both make a sound of happiness while Master grumbles behind me.
Running straight over, Wequie dives straight over the table and into me to hug me.
We almost go to the ground as the chair sways but Master keeps it upright while he tries to peel Mr W off of me, but he wasn’t letting go.
Master gives up when I give him my begging eyes and folds his arms while Mr W sits in my lap and snickers at him.
“Happy Birthday Kalem!” He cheers like a one-man parade, “here is to the first of many and I swear by all the hells, I won’t miss a single one.”
“Goodie,” Lincoln whispers but we don’t listen.
“Thanks, Mr W! You’re the best demon friend in the whole world!”
“I’ll let that little name go because it’s your name day,” Wequie says before he pulls a box out of nowhere, “but here is your present.”
Clapping my hands together excitedly, I take the black box and grin up at him.
“I had several, and I mean several gifts lined up for you but your grumpy master said no to all of them,” Mr W groans sadly as he glares up at Lincoln.
“They were highly inappropriate and unnecessary,” Master shoots back quickly.
“So,” Wequie continues while he rolls his eyes before settling them on me, “I was forced to get you something disgustingly mundane so I hope you excuse this present of mine. In the future, I’ll know to sneak them to you in more clever ways.”
I nod my head excitedly, but I already knew that no matter what Mr W gave to me, I’d love it all since it came from him.
Undoing the carefully tied ribbon and opening the box, my eyes widen when a watch and necklace reveal themselves.
The watch looked like it was made out of little crystals and had a bit of a pink tint to it and the necklace looked like something made out of pure glass. It was like nothing I’d ever seen from Master’s jewels or Aias’ Malcolm’s.
“This watch is enchanted,” Wequie explains as he takes it out of its box and fixes it carefully on my left wrist, “let’s say for some reason you go somewhere where time passes slower,” he glances up at me and winks, “then this watch will adjust to that place, and let’s say hypothetically time was to freeze around you,” he gives me a little smirk, “then this watch would continue so you can track how long it been and when things unfreeze again-”
“Hypothetically,” I add sneakily and he grins with a snort.
“Yes, well then the watch would return to the proper time but you’d be able to see how much time has passed.”
“It sounds like a very special watch,” I say as I raise it to look at it before I smile at him, “I love it.”
“I’m glad to hear,” he replies before he gets the necklace and his smile turns a little softer, “this glass consists of sand from my homelands,” for the first time ever, Mr W’s golden eyes flicker with sadness just a little, “its a fine precious sand... and it’s a piece of my home that I want you to have always.”
I didn’t understand why Mr W was suddenly getting so sad and quiet if it was so special, but then Lincoln was stepping beside us and rubbing Wequie’s shoulder gently, squeezing it with a comforting smile.
Wequie closed his eyes and leaned into it before he looked to me again and smiled, “there are only two more like it in this world,” he explains shakily, “with Lincoln and Malcolm, the rest of my chosen family and now... there’s another with you.”
“I’m your family?” I ask and my voice cracks just a little.
“Of course you are,” Mr W says as he leans in and hugs me all tight again, “this goes beyond friendship Kalem, in my heart, you’re a part of my litter.”
I didn’t even know what a little was, but I knew it meant family and love and happiness like this forever, so I hugged Wequie even tighter and nodded against him, “thank you,” I whisper against him, “I love being a part of your littler.”
“As you should,” he replies smartly as he pulls back and kisses my temple, “now, it is time for Malcolm’s surprise so I shall not keep you any longer.”
Jumping off of my lap, Wequie claps his hands together and gestures for Sin and Then to come towards us.
They step into place quickly as Master backs away, letting them lift either side of my chair and pick it up with me still in it.
“Ahhh!” I scream as I cling to the handles, not liking being put so high up and far away from everyone, “Master!”
“I’m right behind you love,” Lincoln calls as he follows behind the chair that was moving now.
Everyone stops talking and watches with excited eyes as I’m carried around the table and to the lower level of the hall, in front of all the other tables. As they set me down, the entire room goes pitch black as suddenly all the lights and decorations disappear from me and everyone goes quiet.
I feel myself curl tighter into myself as I cling to my chair.
“Birthday’s are supposed to be happy,” I call out to everyone, “not scary.”
A little laughter comes but nothing more comes afterwards, just silence and darkness.
“Happy Birthday to you,” everyone was singing now.
“Happy Birthday to you,” light was coming from the doorway now.
“Happy Birthday Dear Kalem,” sparking lights and a golden glow that was getting closer and closer, finally letting me see everyone around me again.
All of my friends, my clan, everyone I loved - all here with me.
“Happy Birthday to you!”
Malcolm steps out from the parted crowd behind a massive cake that was the owner of all the sparkling lights and golden glow that I saw were candles now.
My hands raise to my mouth as I look up at the cake, my cake.
The cake was four levels high and a soft creamy colour that matched the icing that went all around it in delicate swirls. There were little bows all over it that were made of icing, and flowered decorations at the base where a pack saying ‘Happy Birthday Kalem’ rested.
And at the top, there was a little figure that looked just like me with his little arms in the air and smiled for all the world to see.
Malcolm crouches down right in front of me, looking a bit taller and bigger than usual as he held the cake before me with a big smile on his face.
“Hip-hip hurrah!” Everyone shouts around me with big smiles and even bigger hearts.
“Hip-hip hurrah!” My eyes fill and my tears fall.
“Hip-hip hurrah!” I smile shakily around my sobs.
“Now since this is your first time, I’ll tell you what you have to do,” Malcolm says from behind the cake, “you close your eyes and make a wish, then you blow out the candles.”
“A w-wish?” I question, trying to speak around my suddenly tight throat.
“A wish,” Aias repeats from beside Wequie, “something you desire.”
I knew what a wish was. I just didn’t have one when I already had everything I ever wanted.
Somewhere I felt safe, protected, happy.
People I could talk to about anything, people who made me laugh and smile.
The ones I would do anything to protect. The ones who I knew would do the same for me.
The feeling I’d never known existed before Lincoln. The one that felt like so much sometimes it was almost painful
I had Lincoln.
I couldn’t wish for anything else.
“I,” I take a deep breath and sniff as I look around at all the happy, elated faces, “I always thought t-that when my birthday came, i-it’d be me and Master,” I look up at Lincoln who smiles down at me, “I-I never thought that I’d have so many people i-in my life who I l-loved.”
I close my eyes and shake my head as I try to settle my sobs, “I n-never thought I could be t-this happy... but I am.”
Master sets a hand on my shoulder and wraps his other around mine as he squeezes, holding me and giving me all his love and strength to continue.
“Thank y-you,” I croak, as I look around again, “thank you f-for being here, f-for spending t-this day with m-me, for... everything.”
I close my eyes, and I lean forward, blowing away all the candles I could while I wished to have this forever.
The way I’m crying like a little bitch.
Like Kalem has come so fucking far. He’s so adorable still but I can see how he’s growing up each time I write from him POV and ughhhhhhhhhhh *BLOWS NOSE VERY AGGRESSIVELY*
I know it’s been a while since I updated Master, rest assured, the next book to be updated will be Master for at least 3 more chapters.
Things are pretty happy right now. Do you guys things will continue like this or will shit hit the fan????
I just LOVED Lincoln and Aias’ gifts to Kalem. Like ugh, that flower hallway thing would make me cry every day if I was Kalem. And then Aias sharing his magic so much even when it’s a risk ughhhh their friendship!!!!
If you want to know why Wequie got so teary-eyed with his gift, the extra on my Patreon ‘When Wequie met Lincoln’ is pretty insightful on his past.
Anyways, voting will be up for this month’s Patreon extras in a few hours and another update soon enough.
Until next time,