A World Beside Our Own

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Memories and More

Last night, Lairelindë shared with me the moment of her death: Fighting Romans while protecting her Gaelic students. The Centurions called her students barbarians and were insulted that she would teach them things that the Empire didn’t even know. There is only so much a handful of druids can do against a legion of Roman soldiers - even with magic on your side. Eventually you run out of energy to keep them at bay, and they charge through.

I wake up feeling depressed. Something Luna notices as she comes into the bedroom. She was out last night with mother, running the club. Every morning, just before sunrise, my family comes back home.

“What is wrong, nettinya? You didn’t sleep well?” Luna’s voice is filled with concern as she sits down on the bed and touches my cheek.

I lean into her touch. It feels so nice when she does this. “I guess you could say I had a nightmare, but it wasn’t mine.” I start. “Aini’emenya shared with me the last days of her Druid grove in Gaul. She had left the Tir and was teaching the Gaelic tribes war tactics, and how to use nature to protect themselves. In the end, they dispatched an entire Legion to take care of her and her followers.”

“So that’s why the Romans had so much trouble in Gaul?” Luna says, thinking back on her world history. “The Elves were teaching the tribes how to fight, boosting their abilities with magic. There was a comic artist once who made a series about that, I guess they passed it down to his family through the generations…”

“And like the Celts, while Gaelic tribes had some writing on stones, they preferred to keep their history passed on word of mouth. Druids and Bards were the lifeblood of keeping their village’s history to pass on to the next generations.” I say thoughtfully. I look at her. “We’ve lost much of our past because the victors wrote history, erasing those they vanquished as nothing but footnotes of conquest.” I say sadly.

“It is why Master Phan and some more of the long-lived races have been writing the history books we use in our schools for the gifted. To teach the actual history of how our world developed.” Luna adds as a comforting statement. “Come, lets get you ready for school. I have a tunic sweater and jeans for you today. Emenya bought some long boots in your size. It should look absolutely adorable on you.” She holds out her hand and I move to allow her to pull me out of bed. She conveniently steals a warm, loving hug as I stand up in front of her.

I head into the bathroom with my mind going over more recent events. I grab a quick morning shower and find my clothing laid out on the bed as I dry myself. It’s been almost two weeks now that I’ve been living with the Rasmussen family. Luna and her mother are still amazingly supportive and as loving as ever. I feel like I’ve gone from living in hell to heaven, and I have vampires to thank for it - the irony of my situation is almost comical.

We tried to talk to my parents this past weekend. That didn’t go well. We even made the call away from home. It was a warm overcast day, so we called from the park in Hillcrest. On a hunch, Ashanna cleaned it, then left my phone behind on the bench after we hung up. Sure enough, the police showed up as we left the park. We watched the situation from across the street for a while. The police had a picture of me, which - of course - looks nothing like I am now. With my feminine styled hair, makeup, and a-cup chest, I no longer look like the boy in the picture they were showing. Rose informs us that the legal papers have been filed, and that my court date will be after the Harvest long weekend. This is the fourth time that she’s helped a minor file for emancipation because of violent or abusive neglect. She knows a judge who’s partial to trans-identified youth, so this should go through smoothly. I started hormone blockers on Monday, Lairelindë doesn’t think they’ll hamper my transformation, it just stops my puberty while we get all this sorted out.

I get dressed, putting on the sports bra that holds my breast forms. Since I started showing a chest this week, Sala’s friends are finally getting the picture that, yes, I am a transgender girl. Using Luna’s lavender-scented products helps me no longer smell male, and the closest thing I have to androgynous clothing now is my gym outfit. I finish getting dressed in the lovely black cable top tunic sweater, jeans, and boots that nearly reach my knees. I love my new wardrobe, it’s so pretty!

I head downstairs and greet my family as they sort out breakfast. I’m getting used to a quick meal of yogurt, cereal, muffin, or pastry in the morning. Weekends Ashanna will cook waffles, pancakes, or an amazing omelet, but not on a school day. I asked them once if we can have Eggo Waffles. My mother and sister had never heard of them. I’ve learned that they never eat frozen or pre-made foods, everything is freshly cooked, freshly grown, or purchased from the weekend market. They've never set foot in a grocery store. I also don’t seem to miss meat, but it’s only been a week and a half since I ran away from my birth family. That might change come the holiday when I’m craving turkey.

“You look tired today, Emenya…” I comment as I munch on my Harvest Crunch cereal.

“We had a bachelor party last night. It was quite tiresome to keep the young men under control, they kept trying to manhandle the dancers.” Ashanna says wearily. “Gron had to threaten to throw a few of them out for not abiding to club rules.”

I’ve met the two-and-a-half meter tall bouncer the club has, I’d hate to be on the half-giant’s bad side.

“We had to end their party at 2am, they were drunk and tried to feel me up as I was serving a round.” Luna’s voice is cold and loathing.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that Luna.” I say with a sympathetic voice, touching her hand gently.

She takes my hand and smiles. “You are my ray of sunshine every morning.” She says affectionately.

She is about to bring my hand up and kiss it, till a look from her mother stops her. Ashanna has caught on to Luna’s flirting and is limiting her daughters having romantic exchanges - for which I’m grateful. I know I have no willpower against Luna’s advances. I’ve caught myself more than once nearly kissing my sister. While I’m technically adopted, it still wouldn’t look good for us to be a couple. Luna gives my hand one last affectionate squeeze before letting it go.

Luna is helping me with my makeup after breakfast and apologizes to me. “It is so hard to only love you as a sibling.” She says sadly.

“I know.” I reply, closing my eyes so that she can put on eyeshadow. “It’s hard to contain my feelings for you too.” I agree with her. “Just try not to kiss me, that would really make things awkward.” I say teasingly.

Luna giggles. “You are always joking, you’re so cute.” Seeing her smile is like winning the lottery, she is so beautiful.


We get to school and it doesn’t take long for my pretty platinum-haired Sala to find me and give me a loving hug. People have started calling her my girlfriend the way she holds on to me.

“So, have you thought about my question from Monday?” She asks me excitedly.

“Refresh my memory.” I say as we walk. She has been repeatedly asking me since the weekend, but I want to make sure.

“Who are you taking to the Harvest Dance on Friday?” she asks impatiently.

“I thought I was going with Luna.” I reply with a coy smile and wait for the expected.

“No! You can’t take your sister to the dance! You have to bring a date!” Sala exclaims loudly, causing heads to turn.

“I heard that!” Luna says as she is only a few meters away. My newfound friends giggle at her reaction.

“Come on, Simia. Please! You need to bring a date….” Sala pleads, she looks so adorable when she gives me that look.

“And who would I bring as a date to the dance?” I say playing dumb. “I don’t really know anyone in the school very well.”

Sala gives me an annoyed glare as a response. I finally give in, I know what she wants me to say, there’s no point in dragging it on any longer.

“Okay. Okay. I was only teasing.” I say tenderly and stop. My motion forces Sala to turn and face me. “Sala, may I have the honour of escorting you to the dance?” I ask with poise. I read that line in a book somewhere. This is the first time I’ve ever asked anyone out. Might as well make it sound fancy. She is royalty after all.

Sala’s whole face lights up as if she were just given the best gift ever. “Yes, I would love to!” Her cheerful voice is easily an octave higher in her excitement, and she hugs me tight as a thank you.

“She’s been waiting since last Friday for you to ask that question.” Ginette smiles as we resume walking. “You just made her year.”

To say that I’m not developing feelings for my affectionate little Fae would be a lie. She’s so easily lovable. While not as attractive as my lovely Luna, at least it should be safe to date the girl who now has her arm around my waist. She’s going to be even more clingy today now that I’m her date. Compared to the other girls in my class: a vampire, 2 werewolves, and Sala’s 3 magi friends, she really is the cutest girl in my grade. She’s also one of the shortest. I’m close to 2 meters tall, and she’s a half meter shorter than I am. Her head is chest height to me, when I have breasts, she’s going to have nice pillows to cuddle. She’s already started with the forms I wear.

I never realized I had competition for my Fae’s affections. Yet I can tell that a few in my class are jealous that another girl caught Sala’s eye. I can see it in their faces as she looks up at me lovingly, talking about the dress she’s going to be wearing.

First class today after homeroom is French. I love Rose’s accent; she is so fluent and is impressed how fast I am picking up on the articulation. Now if I can just get verb conjugation right… Rose is patient with the class, she admits its one of the harder human languages to learn. French grammar is filled with so many rules, exceptions to the rules, and exceptions to the exceptions of those rules… it’s almost hard to follow. At least pronunciation is clear. Unlike Common, where the same word can have over one meaning, depending on how it’s pronounced, French is straight forward on what means what. I just don’t like how gendered the language is: everything has a gender, even things like tables and chairs! Rose can’t explain why, it’s just how the language developed.

“Now there are some words that can have more than one meaning.” Rose writes the verb ‘Aimer’ on the blackboard. “French is a romantic language, there is no difference between loving something and simply liking something. It’s the same word. It’s the context that is important.” She explains. “I can say: ‘Je vous aimes.’ To the entire class, which means literally means I love you all. Not that I romantically love you, but I care for you all as my students.” Rose walks along the rows and stops at my desk. “However, if our dear Simiathlas were to say to our lovely Sala here. ‘Je t'aimes.’” Her tone is suggestive. “It could have a much deeper meaning.” She teases me. The class giggles and a few even whistle, leaving both Sala and I blushing as we look at each other, Sala looks down bashfully.

Rose returns to front of the class. “Intonation can change the meaning and how your portray your message.” She reinforces. “I want you all to finish ‘Le Petite Prince’ that we started reading on Monday. Next week, I’ll bring in this nice animated movie for ya’ all to watch.” She smiles. “For those who may be stuck on the meaning of the story, you can cheat and find the translated version of the novel and movie over the long weekend. However, we will analyze the French version, so keep that in mind.” The bell rings and she smiles. “For those of you who have Gym tomorrow, I’ll see you then, otherwise, have a great long weekend.”

It’s strange switching gears from one language arts class to the other, but grammar class is next. Penny is teaching us passive voice on verbs, which while difficult, feels easy compared to my last class.

Math just wizzes right by and before I know it, we’re heading out for lunch. “This morning is going by so quickly.” Ginette comments.

“The look on your faces when Coach Montgomery used you two as an example between like and love was so cute. Seems even the teachers have picked up on your relationship.” Sam teases.

“What did she do?” Luna asks, I can hear the touch of annoyance in her voice. Luna’s still not appreciating Sala’s affections for me.

“Coach was explaining how French is a romantic language, so they use the verb aimer for both like and love. Your intonation and intentions can change what it means.” Lynn explains.

“I’ve been taking French, yes I know that.” Luna frowns, trying to get where the girls are going.

Ginette echos Rose’s lesson. “Well, if I say ‘Je vous aimes.’, it can merely mean that I care for all of you as you are my friends.” Luna nods, waiting for the other half. “Coach then went to Simia and said that if she were to say ‘Je t'aimes.’ To Sala.” Using the same provocative tone. “It could have a deeper meaning.” She grins.

“I see.” Luna doesn’t look impressed.

“Oh, come now Luna.” Ginette exclaims, “Are you annoyed that Simia might end up with a girlfriend and not a boyfriend?”

“No, Simia told me when she first joined the family that she has no interest in boys.” Luna says munching on her plasma fruit salad.

“So what is it then?” Lynn probes.

“Luna still doesn’t fully trust Sala.” I reply for my sister, passing off her jealousy as something else. “She’s just being protective, I’ve never dated before.”

“Well, that makes more sense now.” Ginette smiles. “I remember when Thomas asked me to the Love Festival last year, my Dad was so strict on what he could do and when I was to be home. I couldn’t even stay the whole dance. I understand overprotective family.”

“Wait, it’s not like Simia can get pregnant.” Lynn says, “what’s the diff if you two get close?”

“I’d be more worried what Simia could do to Sala considering what’s still in her pants.” Ginette gives me a slight glare.

“I’ve never even kissed someone, and you’re talking about pregnancy!?” I try to keep my voice down.

“You’ve never even kissed anyone?” Sam says surprised. She gives Luna a challenging look.

“Sam, she’s my sister.” Luna scolds her at the suggestion that there is more to my relationship with my sister.

“Don’t think I haven’t noticed your jealousy towards Sala for what it is.” Sam challenges Luna. “You care more for Simia than you let on.”

I give my sister a worried look, wondering what she’s going to answer, will she admit her feelings in front of my friends?

Sala breaks the tension. “It’s because I’m Fae, she probably loves Simia, but that’s not the primary reason for her distrust.”

Ginette suddenly looks at her friend, surprised.

I look at Sala affectionately. “You didn’t need to tell them, you know.”

Ginette suddenly looks at me in shock. “You’ve only known her for two weeks, how could you tell?”

“Simia can see thought the veil.” Luna replies for me. “There’s not a single illusion that she’s come across that she can’t peer through and see what’s truly there. First me, then Sala. She could tell that Master Phan was a vampire the moment she saw him.”

The bell ringing saves us from further discussion, and we gather up our things and part ways with Luna as we head to Biology class.

“So, you’re Fae!?” Ginette says, amazed as we walk to class. Sala just nods as an answer.

“Explains why she’s so short.” Sam teases.

“Hey!” Sala says, offended.

“Don’t let your size bother you.” I say hugging her to me. “It’s not the size of your person, but the size of your heart that matters.”

Sala leans against me affectionately. “You are such a romantic.”

“How many students in this school have illusion charms?” Lynn asks me.

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, I see every creature's true form, you’d have to point out the ones that look human to you. The only exception are werewolves. They look human till the full moon, then I can smell them… the fur gives off a certain odour.” I reply

As we get into class, Ginette lowers her voice. “So Luna says that you first saw her true form, she just looks like any other black girl here in school, what is she?”

“I can’t tell you that answer without her permission.” I reply calmly. It’s not my place to out Luna’s race. “I look at Sala, and no, you can’t tell her either.”

“I can’t even give her a hint?” Sala asks pleadingly.

The bell rings, so I merely just shake my head.

Later, in Botany class, Master Phan has caught on that, not only does Lairelindë know just as much about Botany as he does, she could probably teach him a few things about rare plants and magical variants. Not to mention my ancestor taught me a spell to detect any plant I want on my own. So, he no longer quizzes me on the material we are studying, he knows I already have the answer, and probably more than he wants to hear about it. He’s still better at drawing than I am, so he has me beat there. For now, Lairelindë says, I can hear the smile in her comment.

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